Monday April 2nd, 2007 home > community > government > council notes
Signal Mountain Community Information and Events Signal Mountain Town Web Site
Site Map
Contact Us
Sponsored Links
Bluff Creek at Fox Run
Mountain City Realtors
The Grapevine
Push Hard Lumber
Town of Signal Mountain
Official town council meeting minutes
Town council meeting notes
Signal Mountain Town Budget
Signal Mountain Public Library
Signal Mountain Recycling Center
Signal Mountain Post Office
Signal Mountain Emergency Services
Signal Mountain Utility Services
History of Signal Mountain
Just for Kids
Community Interests
Signal Mountain Newcomers
Signal Mountain Historic District
Signal Mountain Recreation & Sports
The Signal Mountain Baptist Church
St. Augustine Catholic Church
Signal Mountain Bible
Signal Mountain Church of Christ
Signal Mountain Presbyterian
St. Timothy's Episcopal
Wayside Presbyterian
Signal Crest United Methodist
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
signal mountain

this will open the article in a new window that is printer friendly. printer-friendly version
published on 02/16/2005

Signal Mountain Town Council Meets


The Signal Mountain Town Council meeting of February 14, 2005 was unusual in two respects. Most notably, it was the first meeting chaired by a Vice Mayor in several years – “at least six,” according to Town Manager Hershel Dick. Second, it was the shortest Council meeting in recent history, if not ever; at approximately 35 minutes, it was about 10 minutes shorter than January’s brief regular session. (A supplemental meeting/work session was held on January 27.)

Two Cub Scouts opened the meeting by leading town officials and about 15-20 citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Vice Mayor Steve Ruffin, acting as mayor in the absence of Bill Leonard, then read a short scripture passage (“Love one another as I have loved you …” from the Gospel according to John) and offered a prayer. Town Recorder Diana Campbell called the roll; all Town officials were present with the exception of Mayor Leonard who, according to Vice Mayor Ruffin, was “somewhere around the horn of South America.”

Following the roll call, the Council unanimously approved (with one minor correction) the minutes of the January 10 and 27 meetings. With four agenda items already covered in approximately four minutes, the Council moved on to the only really substantial issue of the evening: consideration, on second reading, of an amendment to the Town’s speed limit ordinance. Town Attorney Phil Noblett explained the extent of the commercial zone to which a reduced speed limit of 30 miles per hour (down from the present 40) would apply upon passage of the amended ordinance: Ridgeway Avenue/Taft Highway from Shoal Creek Falls Road to Elberfeld Road at the north end of the shopping center. Other areas within the Town will retain current speed limits. Councilmember Lizetta Paturalski made the point that Bill Leonard had driven through the area in question and counted the large number of highway entrances and exits while verifying that the new speed limit would add only 12 seconds to the time required to traverse the area.

Citizen Diane Gallagher asked the Council why the reduced speed area did not start at the Town’s only stop light (thus extending through most of the Town instead of just the shopping center area). Steve Ruffin opined that the Council chose the area that they thought was most appropriate; Lizetta Paturalski added that the commercial area was selected based on the recommendation of the Town’s police captain; and Councilmember Bob Linehart stated that the Council had had a good deal of internal discussion on the subject but suggested that Ms. Gallagher should get some friends to come to future Council meetings and suggest expanding the 30 mph speed zone. Council members pointed out that this amendment was just a first step toward improving safety in the Town, and that further amendments could always be made later.

Citizen Mary Nell Moreland suggested adding more traffic lights at points of congestion within the Town. Vice Mayor Ruffin expressed his opinion that being a “one stoplight town” was part of Signal Mountain’s charm, but that we might need to add more lights at some point in the future. Phil Noblett added that from a legal standpoint, for any new signals to be erected, a traffic engineer would have to conduct a study of the proposed locations to determine whether conditions warranted the addition of the signals. The Council then abandoned the discussion of just how many signals belong in Signal Mountain (one, obviously) and voted 4-0 to adopt the revised speed limit ordinance.

Town Recorder Campbell presented a resolution authorizing the Town to “cash in” ten shares of Met Life stock worth approximately $400. Several years ago, the Town had insurance through the (then) privately-owned company, and when it went public the Town was awarded ten shares of stock; however, the certificates were never sent to the Town and eventually ended up on the state’s unclaimed property list, where they were discovered by an alert Senator David Fowler who informed Town officials. By a 4-0 vote, the Council authorized the sale of the ten shares of stock, with the proceeds to go into the Town’s general fund.

As is customary, citizens and others in the audience were given the opportunity to address the Council. Jeff Duncan of the Signal Mountain Parks Board did so, asking the Council, the audience, and the media to note that he had been working with Hershel Dick and Diana Campbell to get maps of local hiking trails added to the town’s web site. Dr. Mike Whittle, a mountain resident and UTC professor, has been using a portable GPS tracking unit to produce maps of several of the local trails. For the convenience of the hiking public, these maps will soon be linked from the town’s site at

There were no motions, reports, or other discussion items on the agenda. Lou Oliphant was not able to attend the Council meeting to present her report on the Planning Commission’s activities, so it will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. The Planning Commission’s annual report for 2004 has been submitted to the Town Manager.

Only 19 minutes into the meeting, all agenda items had been dealt with save the last: New Business. Councilmember Robert White briefly mentioned the Elected Officials Academy operated by MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service, an office that aids municipalities across the state), thanking the Town for supporting Councilmembers’ attendance. Lizetta Paturalski stated that she found the academy beneficial and said that, having attended with officials from other towns all over Tennessee, it brought home to her how fortunate we are to be living in Signal Mountain.

Bob Linehart mentioned his conversation with the director of the state’s highway beautification program regarding an “adopt-a-highway” initiative for U.S. 127 coming up the mountain, which is not very attractive at present due to the litter. There are many rules and regulations to this program, including an age limitation (volunteers must be at least 16 years old). There is also a rule that prohibits companies from donating to the program for the purpose of hiring a contractor to do the clean-up work. This is unfortunate, as there are companies that are willing to sponsor the removal of litter and trimming of the kudzu that has taken over the roadside. (Good luck!) However, there is a chance that this limitation may be rescinded during the next few months, which would allow the road beautification project to go forward. Citizen Jean Dolan wondered aloud if this approach would solve the problem; she feels there is a need to educate the public to refrain from throwing trash on highways. Councilmembers were of the opinion that people know better but would throw trash anyway; but that we should set a responsible example by encouraging people to pick up trash. Councilmember Linehart closed by applauding Jeff Duncan, Sam Powell and the Parks Board for their efforts with the trails and pointed out that the Board is working on a plan for the resources it oversees which will be presented later this year.

Town Recorder Campbell mentioned that residents would soon be receiving a storm water survey and asked that they take the time to fill it out and return it to Town Hall. Finally, Steve Ruffin closed out his “ten minutes of fame” (actually about 35 minutes) by declaring that Signal Mountain is the best place to live, “bar none.” He noted that spring flowers will soon be in bloom, making Signal Mountain “one of the prettiest towns in the United States.” Turning his attention to the media, Vice Mayor Ruffin thanked Kimberly Starks of the Times-Free Press, who is leaving to take a position with a newspaper in the Atlanta area, for her coverage of Town affairs over the past few years. Town officials and citizens gave Ms. Starks a round of applause, and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:35 p.m.

Joe Dumas is a faculty member in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at UTC. Joe has been a resident of Signal Mountain since 1993 and regularly attends Town Council meetings. His wife, Chereé, is an agent in the Signal Mountain office of Crye-Leike, Realtors.
Valid XHTML 1.0!