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published on 05/11/2004

New Police and Fire Captains for the Town of Signal Mountain

By staff writer

Gathered in the Town of Hall, residents and visitors, witnessed the members of the Town of Signal Mountain Town Council as they conducted the business of the Town at the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, May 10, 2004. Before the meeting began, Mayor Jim Althaus presented a “thank-you” from Thrasher Elementary School for the Town’s support of the building of the new gym. Afterwards, Boy Scout, Zachary Seymore led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the U.S.A.

Mayor Althaus called the meeting to order and then Vice-mayor and Councilmember Bill Leonard offered an opening prayer reading from the prayer offered at the National Day of Prayer on May 6, 2004. Town recorder, Diana Campbell called roll. All members of the Town Council were present: Robert White, Rachel Bryant, Steve Ruffin, Bill Leonard, and Jim Althaus. Also present were the town manager, Hershel Dick and town attorney, Phil Noblett.

Before proceeding with the meeting, the town manager presented to the Town Council and residents in attendance, Boyd (Bo) A. Veal and Donald James (Jim) Frazey, the newly appointed Police and Fire Captains, respectively. Also present were the families of both of these men. Both men remained throughout the meeting to greet residents afterwards.

The first order of business was to pass on the first reading an ordinance that amended the 2 Budget. These were monies being transferred from one account to another to pay for funds already designated.

Up next were six resolutions under consideration. The first two and last were voted on and the middle three were deferred to a later date. The first resolution appointed Mr. Owen C. Leslie, Jr. as a member of the Board of Directors for the Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board for the Town of Signal Mountain, for a six-year term. He is filling the vacancy, which occurred when respected board member, Mr. John Witherspoon died.

The last resolution awarded a contract to Vulcan Materials for paving the streets in the Town. According to the vice-mayor there are over 60 miles of paved roads within the Town limits and the Town re-paves around three miles a year. Staying “on top” of the job is a challenge, according to Mr. Leonard, but would be more costly if the Town got behind on the job. These are the streets that are scheduled to be resurfaced this next year: Glamis, Crown Point West – Inverness to Ferncliff, Crown Point East, Echo, Woodbine, Balfour, Stone Haven, Rock Crest, Texas – James to Kentucky, Hidden Brook – Arden to Whispering Pines, Skyline Park, Chalet, Leavitt, and Florida.

Both these resolutions passed unanimously.

The second resolution pertained to the vacation leave, holiday leave and compensatory leave policies for the Town employees as recommended by the Personnel Committee. This is the second time this resolution has been brought to the Council for consideration. The first was at last month’s meeting, at which time it was deferred so that Councilmembers could review the resolution. Councilmember Bryant raised questions concerning the policies pertaining to the earned vacation leave of the regular permanent full-time employees. After a lengthy and somewhat heated discussion between Mayor Althaus and Councilmember Bryant, the vote was called and it passed with one nay vote.

The final three resolutions deferred were each related to benefits for the Town employees. Because the Town of Signal Mountain is part of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, is was suggested that the Town make certain changes in benefits to become consistent with policies that the System have put into place. It became increasingly clear that the three resolutions were confusing and therefore Councilmember Bryant requested the town attorney research and explain them before the Council votes on the changes.

Certificates of Appreciation were presented to Glenn Baird, Art Dickerson, Cleo Long, Lisa Hawkins, Deanna Dougherty, Andy Tucker, Chip Baker, Kevin King, Pris and Mark Shartle by Councilmember Robert White, on behalf of the Town of Signal Mountain for “the many hours of your personal time as a facilitator in the Mountain Vision Strategic Planning.”

During citizens’ and other’s opportunity to address the Council, Mr. John Tallman asked on behalf of his mother, a resident of the Town of Signal Mountain, that the Town consider auditing Comcast Cable to which the town recorder said an audit is scheduled this year. Sharing a concern he has over billing practices and unfair treatment of residents in Alexian Village, Mr. Tallman expressed his dismay to which Mayor Althaus asked him to give the town manager a brief written summation of what occurred so that he could investigate on behalf of one of the Town’s residents.

*Two residents, Jean Holland and Polly Reagan, asked why there was no forum being planned to address the referendum being voted on May 18 for the high school. Vice-mayor Leonard pointed out that it wasn’t the Town’s responsibility to hold a forum to which resident Joe Dumas responded by saying he tried but the FOSMHS did not feel one was necessary. Members, Lizetta Paturalski and Glenn Baird, of the Friends of Signal Mountain High School were present and both responded to the women’s concerns as well as Dr. Paul Nolan, also present at the meeting. As Mr. Baird explained, the FOSMHS have been around for over six years. They should not have to sit down with a group of people who are against the high school and explain to people why they are for the high school. It is a grassroots organization with hundreds of volunteers going door to door making every effort possible to reach residents and answer as many questions as possible. Mrs. Paaturalski added that every effort was made to speak at all the organizations on the mountain. It became clear to others in the audience that the two women were not so much concerned about raising taxes as they were other issues. Hamilton County School Board Chairman, Mr. Chip Baker, also present at the meeting as well as Mr. Baird invited the two women as well as anyone else to contact them and ask any question to which they would be glad to answer.
*Editor’s note: I am paraphrasing the words used in this discussion, as it was lengthy.

Another resident, Carrol Hile, expressed her concern over the manner in which former Public Safety Director, Larry Eddings had been treated recently especially the way his job was terminated. She asked if it could not be reversed or if nothing else could the Town not honor him in some way for the fine service he provided, in her opinion, to the Town. She also expressed concern that the Town did not inform the residents in advance that this was under consideration. Both the mayor and vice-mayor explained to Ms. Hile the process that was taken and thanked her for her concern.

Marilyn Garner, chairman of the newly created Beautification Fund of the Garden Club of Signal Mountain, addressed the Town Council explaining the fund and the projects which the Garden Club plans in future to help make the Town of Signal Mountain and the Town of Walden and the unincorporated areas more beautiful. Donations to the fund can be made through Mrs. Garner. Updates and lists of donors will be posted in the Signal Mountain Mirror on a regular basis.

Lou Oliphant, secretary of the Planning Commission presented the minutes of the meeting of May 6, 2004, to the Town Council.

During new business, Councilmember White responded to the high school issue by reminding residents that it is all about the kids and what’s best for them. He then read the poem, “The Mustn’ts” by Shel Silverstein, which Principal Jean Trohanis, read at the groundbreaking for the Thrasher Gym last month. Councilmember Bryant thanked everyone for closing Shoal Creek Road on May 2 so that people could walk it and enjoy the natural beauty. Councilmember Ruffin and Leonard both spoke on the importance of the Council and the work of the Town. Mayor Althaus addressed the upcoming budget meeting schedule noting that May 15 will be a time to look at the budget for the councilmembers. May 22, they will meet with all the department heads. June 14 the regular scheduled meeting and hearing for the public to present the budget for the first reading and then June 18, the special called meeting will be the second and final reading of the 2 Budget.

The meeting adjourned around 9:30 PM.

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