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Bud Crosswhite joins City Council

After being postponed because of Election Day, Mountain City’s regular city council meeting was held on Thursday, with the invocation led by pastor Ray Branch, and the pledge conducted by US Army veteran Jack Warren. This month’s meeting was the first for newly appointed Alderman Bud Crosswhite, who was chosen to fill in for the late Alderman Willis Walker.
County Mayor Larry Potter came before the board to officially introduce himself and to give the city government an update on how
things are going. Potter stated that he is looking forward to working with city officials because “It’s all about the citizens of Johnson County.”
Linda Moon, with the Johnson County Republican Party, came before the council to request a resolution to honor retiring state representative Jason Mumpower. After some discussion, a decision was made to get in touch with county officials to make the resolution a joint town and county effort.
Economic coordinator Carla Prudhomme announced to the council that the city has received a $50,000 downtown revitalization grant from the state. The grant is fully funded, requiring only volunteer labor with no cost to the city to accept.
City resident David Snyder came before the council requesting reimbursement for the replacement of sewage lines on his property. Due to a blockage at the city’s tap, the line became backed up and the lines had to be raised. Snyder stated that he spent over $14,000 for repairs and requested $9000 from the city to cover the cost of the backhoe work. After discussing the subject, it was decided that the council would look into the situation to determine if the city was at fault. The topic will be placed on the agenda for next month.
During his report, Mayor Parsons announced that the city sewage treatment plant had seen a marked increase in grease during the last month. Businesses and schools are required to use grease traps and have them cleaned regularly, and an investigation is being conducted to determine where the grease is coming from.
Parsons also commented on the current bridge construction project on Highway 67 over Goose Creek. Because of the bridge’s location at a busy intersection, traffic has been a problem, and Parsons stated that city officials were trying to help fix the mess. A longer green light has been established for eastbound traffic, but the mayor stated that motorists should consider alternative routes such as Pleasant Valley Road.
Picking up from Mayor Parsons report, Alderman Bob Morrison expressed his interest in allowing this year’s Pumpkin Festival organizer, Casey Doranbusch, to also take the reins for next year’s festival if he is interested. Although simpler in some ways, this year’s festival was a resounding success, with a good turnout aided by excellent weather.
Morrison was also very pleased to announce that 911’s radio equipment is now digitally compatible and that the city’s equipment is all up-to-date and in good shape.
Alderman Lawrence Keeble began his address by welcoming Bud Crosswhite to the board, and continued by asking for an update concerning one of the city’s John Deere backhoes, which has been having mechanical trouble. City attorney George Wright informed Keeble that the company had stated that the problem was with the operator and requested to send someone out to check on the situation. The board agreed to let the equipment company send someone but felt that the
problem was still mechanical in nature.
Vice Mayor Kenny Icenhour stated his disapproval of the city’s lack of a professional uniform for its employees, and detailed a plan to provide the city workers with a standard uniform. At a cost of $225 per person, the city would provide three short sleeve shirts, three long-sleeve shirts, three pairs of Dickies brand jeans, and a work coat, all embroidered with the city emblem. As one of the only municipalities in the region to not require a uniform, Icenhour felt strongly about the proposed policy change. Employees were initially asked to accept the uniforms on a volunteer basis, but after several concerns from other members of the council, it was decided that if one employee wears the uniform, all should. A motion was made to buy the uniforms as needed and to front the initial $8,500 cost. The vote carried unanimously.
Public works director Bob Eller informed the council that the bridge to Village Apartments would have to be repaired or replaced. Eller is currently determining whether or not the city is responsible for the bridge. Additionally, a faulty heater at the city shop must be replaced with an estimated cost of $1,300. A budget amendment passed for the amount.
The last item of business for the night was the opening of bids for a mini excavator for use in cleaning the screens at the city wastewater plant. This job had formerly been done by hand, but poses danger issues for city employees, which has resulted in injuries. Due to the nature of the screens the machinery cannot be more than 2000 pounds. Of five bids, only two replied. Of the two, only one met weight requirements. The council accepted the bid from Power Equipment Company of Kingsport for a sum of $22,475.