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published on 01/26/2004

Official Signal Mountain Town Council Minutes - July 2003

Town Recorder

The Town Council of the Town of Signal Mountain held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, July 14, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall. Those present were:

Mayor James H. Althaus
Vice-Mayor William O. Leonard
Councilmember Rachel Bryant
Councilmember Stephen Ruffin
Councilmember Robert E. White, II

Also present were:Town Manager Hershel Dick, Town Recorder Diana Campbell

Mayor Althaus caused the meeting to order and Vice-Mayor Leonard offered the prayer,
Councilmember Ruffin moved that the minutes of the June 9, 2003, regular meeting and the June 30, 2003, special called meeting be approved. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Bryant and passed unanimously.

Bill Sonnenburg addressed the Council regarding the proposed parking addition at Rainbow Lake. He suggested that the homeowners cooperate and work with Sam Powell. He pointed out that vegetation had encroached on the current parking area. He said the neighbors were concerned that if the additional parking area was made 200 feet wide and 38 feet deep, it would be more space than would be needed. He said that from talking with the homeowners, there were rarely many cars in the parking area unless there was some special event. The homeowners wanted to have a say in the way the parking area would look.

Mayor Althaus introduced Sam Powell and pointed out he was a well-known State conservationist. Mr., Powell gave a history of Rainbow Lake. It started in the 1960’s when Mayor Smith learned there were 400-500 acres there belonging to Signal Mountain, and he requested that it be put into a wilderness area. The area was planned so that it would be the southernmost tip of the Cumberland Trail. The parking lot was built at no cost to the Town. He started working on grants about five years ago. He received a grant about three years ago, which included work on Green Gorge and on trails and the parking lot at Rainbow Lake. A continuous trail from Signal Point to Rainbow Lake would be completed in about six weeks. He said he thought Mr. Sonnenburg proposal was good. He thought the person who left a note at his house saying the work was done without the Council’s knowledge should apologize to him.

Citizens expressing concerns regarding the additional parking area were Linda McGann – that there might be out-of-state cars parked there, Eric McLean – that off-street parking would be good and could Police close the gate, Amy Miller- that she had smelled a strong odor coming from Alexian while visiting Rainbow Falls, and Bob Bartlett – that there had been no communication about this project. Marion Nentwig asked that information be posted in both Signal Mountain papers. Jocelyn Willis asked if grants applied for could be kept in a place where citizens could go to look at them. Mayor Althaus told her the Town Recorder would have copies of the grants.

At this point in the meeting, Bill Sonnenburg, Sam Powell and citizens left the Council room to discuss the parking lot.

Bob Bartlett asked the status of the Bob Moon retirement issue and had it been resolved. Mayor Althaus informed him that Bob Moon had not taken it to court and neither would the Town.

Lolly Ballard Durant read a letter she had written to the Council and Town Manager regarding the Mountain Arts Community Center. She was concerned about the user fee being assessed on the non-residents. She suggested a two-tier membership fee similar to the one the Hunter Arts Museum had. She said she thought many people were not participating in MACC because of the inconvenience of having to come to the Town Hall to pay the fee. Her family had pledged $12,000 to the capital campaign for MACC. Mayor Althaus said the matter was not a political issue, but a fairness issue. He said the Council had spent hours trying to work out a fair policy. It was decided to have a committee appointed to look into the issue. Councilmember Bryant pointed out that the Town would take care of those who could not afford to pay. The committee appointed to look into this issue was Karen Shropshire, Lolly Durant, Bernard Wolfe, Joe Dumas, Pris Shartle, Mayor Althaus, Hershel Dick, and Diana Campbell.

Hershel Dick informed the Council and those present that the Town had received its Storm Water Permit. Mayor Althaus commented on the amount of work that had gone into obtaining the permit.

The next item before the Council was bids. The Town Manager informed the Council of the three bids received on guardrails for Mississippi Avenue. He stated the low bid was LU, Inc. for $25,137.20, Rio Grande Fence Co. was $27,567.50, and Cumberland Guardrails was $29,377.50. Councilmember Ruffin moved that the bid be awarded to the low bidder, LU, Inc. in the amount of $25,137.20. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Bryant and passed unanimously.

Diana Campbell informed the Council that bid to Lockhart’s Concrete Finishing in the amount of $8,000.00 to build a concrete pad and Ewton Fence in the amount of $6,700.00 to install a chain link fence at 124 Short Creek for the Fire Department training unit.

Councilmember White thanked Greg Goodgame for the remarks he made earlier in the meeting that he had been to Council meetings where there were more Councilmember’s present than citizens. He also thanked the Mayor for all his work.

Councilmember Bryant commented on the importance of communication and asked Hershel Dick to check the 700 block of Windy Way for a possible patching project.

Councilmember Ruffin said the most popular day in office was the day you were elected. No one on the Council ran for glory – certainly no glory in this job. He said he loved being on the Council and was learning more every day.

Vice-Mayor Leonard said he felt that communication was a two-way street and that the Council was aware that communication is very important.

Mayor Althaus explained that in the event the Town annexes more land into the Town a fire substation would have to be building near the annexed area. Some property had become available on Edwards Point Road which had a building that could be used. It would need extensive renovation. The Mayor recommended that the Council consider the property. Pris Shartle said she thought people would say they did not know about this. The Mayor said there would need to be a series of meeting with the Town Attorney, Town Manager, Realtor, etc. He said someone on the Council should be designated to carry the ball on this. Councilmember White volunteered. Councilmember Ruffin thought the Town should look at options. Councilmember Bryant mentioned maintenance of old buildings. Vice-Mayor Leonard said once the word was out, the cost would go up. Councilmember Bryant moved that Hershel Dick and Diana Campbell be those designated. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Ruffin and passed unanimously.

Pris Shartle inquired about the last person appointed to the Playground Committee. The Council informed her person was Brandi Buntain.

Glenn Showalter asked for support for the Signal Mountain Playhouse production of “The King and I”.

Diana Campbell reported there would be a meeting on Rainbow Lake on the following Monday in the Council meeting.

Bill Close requested that the Town lower the speed limit from Signal Point and James Boulevard to Alexian’s entrance to 15 mph and install a sign saying you are entering a hospital zone, a quite zone, handicapped pedestrians. The architect for Alexian said he could include these in the specifications for Alexian Village. He said there are many walkers and people in wheelchairs in the area. No Council action was taken.

Councilmember Bryant reported that someone was at the pool late in the day and no lifeguards were on the stands - they were lying on tables.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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