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published on 09/09/2003

The Mountain Arts Community Center Changes Fee Plans

By staff writer

Over twenty-five people were in the audience at the monthly Signal Mountain Town Council meeting on Monday, September 8th. At 7:00 PM, MAYOR JIM ALTHAUS called the meeting to order. Councilmember ROBERT WHITE opened the meeting with prayer and Town Recorder DIANA CAMPBELL called roll. Also present were Town Attorney PHIL NOBLETT, Town Manager HERSHEL DICK Vice-Mayor and Councilmember BILL LEONARD and Councilmember STEVE RUFFIN. Councilmember RACHEL BRYANT was absent. The minutes of the August 11th SM Town Council meeting were approved.

Since there were no resolutions or ordinances to be approved, the meeting moved on to the citizen’s and other’s opportunity to address the council. First up was LOLLY DURANT representing the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC) Review Committee. Each of the Councilmembers had been given minutes of the committee’s previous meeting as well as a Proposal based on the discussion and decision of the committee. Members of the Review Committee included LOLLY and DANIEL DURANT, PRIS SHARTLE, JOE DUMAS, KAREN SHROPSHIRE, MACC Director, HERSHEL DICK, DIANA CAMPBELL, and VICE-MAYOR LEONARD as facilitator. The decision of the Review Committee was two-fold. One that all fees for classes and use of the MACC will now be collected at MACC with MACC keeping an account of the fees and reimbursing the Town for use. There will no longer be “non-resident fees” collected. A two tier system will go into place which will cover the cost of non-residents therefore being fair to both residents who pay taxes and non-residents who don’t. Everyone on the Town Council agreed this was a good proposal. Vice-mayor Leonard pointed out that MACC is more than just a facility for art classes; that in fact it is a diverse entity very different from the other departments meeting the needs of non-profits, private citizens, and other groups in and around our Town. GLEN SHOWALTER, a member of the MACC Board, pointed out that this is a great step in the “right” direction as it will open doors that have previously been closed. Grant money will be more accessible and a full-scale capitol fund drive is now doable. Both can make MACC more self-sufficient and less dependant on the Town for its needs. Hershel Dick agreed and supported the Proposal on the condition it be reviewed in January, 2005. The Town Council voted unanimously to approve the Proposal, which will go into effect immediately.

BO PATTEN addressed the Council concerning a problem DR. WILLLINGHAM had trying to get mulch with his Bobcat loader. Being turned away by Town employees, Mr. Patten suggested people with special needs be exempt from the rules of only using a shovel. Mayor Althaus agreed and offered his apologies on behalf of the Town. Hershel Dick said people should call him at the Town Hall before going and he will make sure they won’t be turned away.

Joe Dumas, a member of the MACC Review Committee pointed out that the statistics of each department should be re-calculated on all the fees on an average of several years. Doing this will give the Town a truer assessment of the cost of running that department.

LISA HAWKINS invited the Mayor and members of the Town Council to participate in this year’s “Walk to School Days” on October 10 beginning at 7:45 AM. Children will be walking to school all over the world as this an international event. She also recognized and thanked Officer GREGG HILL for his support in this effort.

The Signal Mountain Planning Commission met and among other things finished their third hour of training. LOU OLIPHANT, secretary, reported that town attorney, Phil Noblett was present at the meeting. Some members will complete their training at the October 2nd meeting.

Councilmember Robert White presented a slide show as he reported on the Strategic Plan proposal. The Town of Signal Mountain is to begin a strategic planning process on September 30th, 7:00 PM at the MACC. If you miss a session come to the next one at 6:30 PM to catch up. Look for details in the paper or check out the Strategy Plan for dates, times, and updates on this great opportunity. All residents of the Town of Signal Mountain are invited to participate. Mayor Althaus said, “Citizens of SM, we want to hear from you.” Councilmember White introduced the facilitators for the meetings, CHIP BAKER, LISA HAWKINS, ART DICKERSON, GLENN BAIRD, and MARK SHARTLE. Vice-mayor Bill Leonard serves as co-facilitator. Each member of the Town Council and members of the audience applauded Councilmember White and the Town for initiating this process.

Mayor Althaus spoke in praise of Officer BILL WHITE for his part in the exchange of peace officers with Romania. Four came over to visit the USA and two came up to Signal Mountain. This exchange is part of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. The Mayor said the men were impressed with our Town and the Town was proud to show them around.

After looking into the garage sale issue, town attorney Phil Noblett reported that the only wording pertaining to garage sales is in the zoning ordinance and should be within our town codes; therefore he gave the Councilmembers a proposed ordinance to review and be presented at the next Town Council meeting for a vote and first reading.

Town manager Hershel Dick invited residents to participate in an auction of town property on September 13th. A list is available at the Town Hall or check out the Town Web Site for details. Mayor Althaus reminded citizens that the stormwater fees will now be collected with the property taxes which go out to residents before October 1st. Three residents have still not paid their stormwater fees from last year so Mr. Noblett will be mailing a letter to them.

The meeting ended at 8:40 PM.
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