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published on 01/11/2005

Signal Mountain Town Council Meets

By staff writer

The January 10th meeting of the Signal Mountain Town Council proved to be one of the shortest meetings I have attended since I began attending meetings in February of 2001. Mayor Bill Leonard called the meeting to order and invited Boy Scout Troop 116, led by Scoutmaster Bryan Wright, to come forward and lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Councilmember Bob Linehart offered the prayer.

The town recorder, Diana Campbell then called roll. In addition to the mayor and Councilmember Linehart, Vice-mayor and Councilmember Steve Ruffin, Councilmembers Lizetta Paturlaski and Robert White were present. Also present were the town manager Hershel Dick and town attorney Phil Noblett.

The minutes of the December 13th regularly scheduled meeting were approved as corrected.

The Ordinance to amend the speed limit on Taft Highway was approved at the first reading at the December 13th meeting. At tonight’s meeting, the Council approved an amendment to the Ordinance and will vote on the entire Ordinance at another meeting. The original ordinance changed the speed limit on Taft Highway from Ault Road to Elberfield Road from the posted 40 mph to 30 mph. The town manager learned that because Ault Road is within a posted school zone the change could not be made there. The Council voted to begin the posted 30 mph speed at Shoal Creek Road instead of Ault. There was no discussion on when the next reading would be held.

There were two Resolutions presented at the meeting. The first authorized the mayor to execute an amendment to the interlocal agreement with five other towns in the use of the chipper machine used by these towns including the Town of Signal Mountain. According to the town recorder the cost of using the chipper has increased to $425.00/hr, a 25% increase in last year’s fees. And according to the town manager in order that the Town continue sharing the use of this chipper, it will have to pay the increased fee. Using the chipper benefits the town in many ways; one being that it helps in reaching the 25% reduction in waste as required by the EPA. Chips are available free to the public at the recycle center on a regular basis. Councilmember Paturlaski pointed out that the packet presented to the Council for review before voting on this resolution was excellent.

The second Resolution was one pertaining to the bank signatures required by Sun Trust bank in that it required the Town Council sign its forms, not accepting the general forms the Town signed for all the other banks when the new Council came into service. Both these Resolutions passed.

Citizen John Houstrup addressed the Council complimenting them on the great job they are doing as a new Council. He commented that he had been attending meetings since they were held in the old town hall on Ridgeway Drive and only missed a meeting when he and his wife traveled south to Texas during the winter months.

Mayor Leonard complimented the Scouts in the audience as well as students in Mrs. Skate’s government class, also present at the meeting.

The Planning Commission did not meet so there was no report, however secretary Lou Oliphant was present at the meeting. She asked the Council what the little flags around the Town Hall were and the town manager stated that Marilyn Garner and members of the Signal Mountain Beautification Fund Committee were in the process of planting or designating where assorted flowers and blooming trees would be planted. Councilmember White added that the Beautification Fund Committee has done a tremendous job within the Town and that now is a good time to make a donation in honor or memory of someone to help the committee with all the current projects.

Councilmember Ruffin expressed his appreciation to serve on this Town Council and told of his trip during the holidays to Europe and how much he enjoyed it, but then how great it was to see the American Flag when he landed in Atlanta on his return home to the States.

Under new business, Councilmember Linehart reported that Recreation Director, Scott Cook will be working on a five-year plan with the Recreation Advisory Board. Attorney, Phil Noblett reported that the current building and electrical codes once based on the Southern Standards are no long current and that new International Codes are in place so all the Town building codes need to be revised. He will begin working on these code changes and bringing them to the Council for approval at future meetings. The town manager pointed out that Bill Wagner, Signal Mountain building inspector was already attending workshops and beginning to understand the changes that need to be made.

Mayor Leonard addressed the audience by pointing out all the good things that are happening in our Town including the upcoming Winterfest at the Mountain Arts Community Center. He also spoke of a future work session, where the future of the Town of Signal Mountain can be discussed including putting into place the annexation plan and securing the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s plan to rebuild the road coming up the mountain in the near future. He spoke on the sadness of the vandalism of the Santa Train and finally of the “Good Neighbor Policy” he and the rest of the Council wish to maintain with regards to the Town of Walden and Hamilton County – they are dedicated to working together with everyone on Walden’s Ridge. Included in the packet received by the Town was a letter from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service of the University of Tennessee announcing the schedule of the 2005 elected Officials Academy in Knoxville. According the letter, Signal Mountain Mayor Bill Leonard has complete all five sessions of Level 1 and all eight sessions of Level 2.

The meeting ended around 7:45 PM.
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