- Town of Signal Mountain
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- Signal Mountain Public Library
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- History of Signal Mountain
- HATS OFF
- Just for Kids
- Community Interests
- Signal Mountain Newcomers
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- The Signal Mountain Baptist Church
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- Signal Mountain Bible
- Signal Mountain Church of Christ
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published on 12/12/2006
New Council Begins Work
sigmtn.com staff writer
Over 100 people greeted members of the Town Council for the Town of Signal Mountain when they entered the Town Hall. Twenty or so were high school students from Red Bank there for their civics class. Mayor Paul Hendricks called the meeting to order and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Tonight’s rendition was exceptional due to the presence of two flag football teams, young men in grades one through fifth, who pledged the flag with a spirit that brought smiles and pride to those who were listening.
Before roll call Mayor Hendricks welcomed Councilmember Bill Lusk who was elected by the Council at a called meeting on December 4th and sworn in prior to tonight’s meeting. The Reverend George L. Choyce, from St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church gave the invocation. The town recorder, Sherry Morrison called roll. In addition to the Mayor, Vice-mayor and Councilmember Hershel Dick, Councilmembers Lizetta Paturalski and Annette Allen were present. Also present were the town attorney, Phil Noblett and town manager Diana Campbell. Loretta Hopper, public works director and Fire Chief John Vlasis were also present.
Mayor Hendricks introduced Robert White, commissioner of the Signal Mountain Flag Football League. Mr. White reminded the Council that the league at been around for fourteen years and that not once had they asked the town for help with finances, but this next year he hoped they would consider putting it in the budget. He then introduced the new commissioner David Wagner. Mr. Wagner thanked Mr. White for his service to the league these last four years as commissioner. He then added, “We’ve got the makings of a great football mountain thanks to Robert White for getting the league to where it is today.” Members of the Fighting Irish and Bengal’s football teams came forward one team at a time and presented their game footballs to Mayor Hendricks.
After the approval of three previous meetings minutes, the Council heard a resolution appointing members to the Town of Signal Mountain Library Board. Mayor Hendricks pointed out that in an effort to make available to the public vacancies on boards and commissions, the Town Council will be publicizing these vacancies in the future. However, the business of the Town most go on and because appointments in the past came from within the boards at their recommendation, the Library appointment was already in the making. The Council voted to accept the recommendations of the Library Board and appointed both Jennifer Mastin and Carol Downs to three-year terms. The mayor asked if either was present at the meeting. They were not, but Dee Dee Ralston, chairman of the Library Board thanked the Council for accepting the board’s recommendations.
There were four ordinances up for approval on first reading. The first was an ethics policy for Town personnel. The State requires a policy, and the one presented was proposed by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS). The Town has the option to change the wording and make the policy fit its needs. Vice-mayor Dick was concerned that the annual Christmas gift to employees would be illegal so the Council deferred this ordinance until the town attorney could word it differently to include the gift.
The second ordinance amends the town code to increase the town gym rental fees and set fees for non-resident use of the gym. The town manager noted that the fees have not been increased since 1993 and currently the $12/hour does not cover the cost. Discussion followed on who and what type of organization would be exempt and so a line was added that town functions and recreation leagues would not be charged. Then it was pointed out by Lisa Crowder, director of the Newcomers, who was present at the meeting, that Newcomers rents the gym every Monday for three hours during the winter months, and at $20/hour this would prohibit them from using the gym. Realizing that Newcomers is a community organization, the Council agreed to add community organizations to the no-pay list.
The third ordinance presented revises the fee for permit applications for peddlers. The town manager reported that the town must do a background check on each applicant and the current charge of $25 is not enough. The new fee is $75. Mr. Noblett then added that each person peddling door to door must have a permit. Another section of this chapter in the town code will be addressed at another meeting to include times and policies related to peddling.
The final ordinance was one needed to allow the SM town manager to round property taxes, interests and penalties. Seems the software used by the town automatically does this and to do so legally, the town needs an ordinance giving them permission.
The last three ordinances were all approved on the first reading.
Lou Oliphant gave an overview of the last Planning Commission meeting, which included thanking Lizetta Paturalski for serving and welcoming Mayor Hendricks and Councilmember Allen to the commission. There was discussion at the meeting on the proposed plan of services for annexation of Fox Run and Windtree subdivisions, a review of ordinances and street reviews concerning sidewalk regulations and the disparity in these requirements, and concern from residents along Ault Road who asked the Planning Commission to not rezone that section of land between Hampton Road and Ault Road from residential to highway commercial. This will be addressed at the January 4th meeting.
Under Citizen’s opportunity to address the Council, Lisa Crowder spoke first. As the current director of the Newcomers she thanked the Council and asked them for their support. She told of the theme for this year being “community” and spoke of events that have already successfully brought about a spirit of community. The first being a welcome basket filled with goodies from local businesses. The second event being a welcome tea that kicked off the year, and finally the fall festival for families. The Newcomers is partnering with MBA, MACC, Bachman, and the Signal Mountain Community Guild to accomplish their goals.
Mayor Hendricks thanked Lisa and said that when he and his wife Snoda moved to Signal Mountain fourteen years ago with a small baby, it was the Newcomers that welcomed them and made them feel that they had a home on the mountain. His wife went on to serve as the president and so he knew first-hand the good this organization does throughout the community.
Next up was Mary Seay who said she had read in the newspaper somewhere that the new town council was going to reverse the Shackleford Ridge Over-lay Zoning Ordinance and she wanted to know when that meeting was going to be. Mayor Hendricks responded that no such meeting was scheduled and that the Council must first revisit the Growth Plan. Councilmember Allen added that reversing the ordinance would happen but there was not a date set yet and outside consultants needed to be brought in to help with the decisions.
Susan Robertson spoke in support of using the blue dots on mailboxes, which was the creation of Wendy Casavant, years ago and suggested people begin using them again to keep away peddlers, to which the Mayor asked the town manager if the town still had the blue dots. The town manager said they did and so the mayor asked her to put together a pamphlet explaining them and give a blue dot with the pamphlet to the Newcomers for each welcome basket.
Lisa Shander and Stephen Monroe co-chairs of the Founders’ Fund (FF) introduced themselves. Dr. Monroe gave a brief history of the FF and updated the Council on the status of this organization as it stands today. He told all that, “We’re about excellence in education.” Although the public is aware of the two elementary schools performance scores, few know that the Signal Mountain Middle School scores in the top 1% of the State of TN. The public is going to hear a lot more about the FF including a new web site www.foundersfund.org, which will up and running in a matter of weeks.
Joe Dumas then addressed the Council asking them to change the town charter by asking the state legislature’s permission so that the term of a Councilmember would be two years. Councilmember Lusk responded that it might be something worth looking into and Mayor Hendricks said it was too soon for him to consider, but thanked Mr. Dumas.
Jerry Robertson thanked the Council for providing copies of the resolutions and ordinances prior to the meeting.
The new vicar for St. Andrew’s Church addressed the Council asking for permission to rent the old log cabin on Timberlinks. His church has been using the Marr Chapel at SM Presbyterian and they would like to apply for some grants and bring the log cabin up to standards and use it as their place of worship.
Another resident, who did not identify himself, addressed the Council repeating the question Mary Seay had earlier about when they were going to reverse the Shackleford Ridge Overlay Zoning Ordinance. Before waiting for an answer he reminded them to not avoid answering and putting him off because, “This is why we had a recall in the first place because they wouldn’t listen to us.” Mayor Hendricks responded to the threat by repeating his answer from earlier that they intended to look at the ordinance and intended to make some adjustments but they were going to do it right and not rush into it.
Under motions, reports, and discussion items the issue of the log cabin on Timerlinks Road was discussed. The town manager reported that the building is really two, one a cabin without heat, air, or bathroom facilities while the other, a cinder block building, which is being used by the town to store things. In addition the SM Fire Department has expressed the desire to use the buildings for training. The mayor told the Vicar that they would consider his request but that it seemed the answer was more likely no.
Mayor Hendricks then suggested that $228,864.92 accrued from sales tax not yet designated for the high school be turned over to the Founders’ Fund. A discussion followed as to the legality of that with attorney Rob Philyaw, a member of the FF steering committee and town attorney Phil Noblett agreeing to continue discussing this option and coming back at the next meeting with a resolution for the council to approve.
Mayor Hendricks then added that he would like to designate future sales taxes to go towards the MACC to replace its heating and air-conditioning system.
Final discussion was on the official closing of Woodcliff Road at the request of Susan Jenkins. When asked how the town closes a street, Mr. Noblett told the council that the ones requesting the closure needed to come before the Planning Commission with the request.
Councilmember Lusk thanked the council for appointing him and giving him an opportunity to serve the community.
Mayor Hendricks closed the meeting with a Christmas Carol sung by his tie. Students remained to get signatures from the Town Council and many members of the Founders’ Fund Steering committee were present to answer questions from the community.
The next meeting is Monday, January 8, 2007.