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published on 11/09/2004

Signal Mountain Town Council Elects new Mayor and Vice-mayor

By staff writer

Jim Althaus & Rachel Bryant
Signal Mountain town attorney Phil Noblett presided over the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, November 7, 2004, at the Signal Mountain Town Hall. After leading everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, the opening prayer, and welcoming all, the election of mayor and vice-mayor was held. Elected as mayor was Mr. Bill Leonard and the newly elected vice-mayor is Mr. Steve Ruffin, both terms are two-year terms.

Afterwards, the formal meeting began with Mayor Leonard presiding over the meeting. After thanking all the many town employees and department heads present as well as the office staff for providing the reception, which followed the meeting, the town recorder, Diana Campbell called roll. Also present was the town manager, Hershel Dick, Councilmember Robert White and newly sworn in Councilmembers Lizetta Paturlaski and Bob Linehart.

During citizens’ opportunity to address the Council, Becky Pinkston, representing the Newcomers organization on the mountain, invited everyone to the Annual Tree Lighting held each year at the Mountain Arts Community Center. This year it is on Friday, December 3 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM.

Second to address the Council was Glenn Showalter who announced the schedule for the Santa Claus Train at James Park. This second annual event will begin the Friday before Thanksgiving, November 19th with a new “crated car” on the train to be revealed on the same night as the Tree Lighting at MACC.

David Barrow, a resident of Signal Mountain, and staff attorney for Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Board made a presentation to the Council. The local equivalent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this not-for-profit organization proposed two changes in our Town ordinances, which they recommended to Chattanooga and the nine other County municipalities. Doing so will fulfill the requirements to maintain Hamilton County’s participation in the ozone Early Action Compact with the EPA. One related to Open Burning Regulations and the other to Stage One Vapor Recapture at local service stations on the mountain. Details on these recommendations are available at the Town Hall. No decision was made at the meeting.

Resident Joe Dumas congratulated everyone who ran in the recent election including George Hatch, also present at the meeting for a job well done. Dr. Dumas offered his services to the Town Council. Mayor Leonard responded by thanking Joe and George for stepping forward and running for office.

Shannon DeFriese, a resident of Hampton Road, encouraged the Town Council to keep the speeding problems on Hampton and Ault Roads a priority. She suggested stop signs on Hampton Road at the Brow Estates entrance as one option. Several members of the Council agreed to continue discussion on the subject and come to some decision. Both the town manager and police Caption Bo Veal responded to Mrs. DeFriese’s concerns.

Mayor Leonard thanked Mr. Sam Powell, also present at the meeting, for all his hard work at the Shackleford Ridge Park, which was dedicated recently.

Lou Oliphant, secretary of the Signal Mountain Planning Commission presented the monthly report to the Town Council.

Two resolutions were presented and passed at the meeting; both recognized and commended years of public service to the Town of Signal Mountain. The first presented to Rachel Bryant for her four years of service as a Councilmember and the other to Jim Althaus who was sworn in as a member of the Town Council in May 1991 and served continuously and as the mayor since 1994 for a total of thirteen years. According to Mayor Leonard making passing these resolutions puts them in the Town archives as official documents for the Town of Signal Mountain.

Vice-mayor and Councilmember Ruffin had to leave early to catch a plane, but the rest of the Council addressed the audience briefly thanking Mrs. Bryant and former Mayor Althaus. Councilmembers Linehart and Paturlaski thanked their families and citizens who voted for them and pledged their service to the Town. Town attorney, Phil Noblett reminded the Council of the 9:00 AM work session planned for Saturday, November 13th at the Town Hall, which is open to the public. Town manager, Hershel Dick, stood and thanked on behalf of all the town employees, former Mayor Jim Althaus for his service to which Mayor Althaus responded.

Mayor Bill Leonard closed the meeting by thanking everyone, again, for taking the time to come and encouraged everyone to return each month to witness to the business of the Town of Signal Mountain.

The meeting ended at 8:15 PM with a reception following, honoring both the past and newly elected Councilmembers.
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