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City Council discusses business at May meeting

Mountain City Mayor Lawrence Keeble had a grocery list of issues to discuss at last week’s city council meeting, starting with a reminder that there will be a Memorial Day Service held at Ralph Stout Park on May 27th. Other topics were a little more in depth, including a discussion concerning recent emergency action taken by the mayor to repair damaged sewer lines on South Church Street.
Forcing the closure of a section of the road near Main Street, the repair work garnered a lot of attention, but with a major component of the city’s system affected, Keeble was forced to take action and approve the repairs as quickly as possible. Fortunately the majority of the work was done in just a few days. Although Keeble does have the authority to make emergency decisions without the full consent of the board, he still sought their blessing at the meeting. Agreeing fully, Alderman Bob Morrison made the motion to give the mayor the city’s support, which was seconded by Alderman Kenny Icenhour.
Mayor Keeble also discussed a proposed Geographic Information System (GIS) project in the county, being put together by Professor Tina Delahunty, a local resident that also works at Texas Tech University. With several county offices needing significant GIS work, including the property assessor, Delahunty has been working with various agencies, including the Johnson County 911 and Mountain Electric, to identify if GIS costs could be cut by pooling information.
Mayor Keeble acknowledged that the city does have some GIS work that needs to be done, especially in the water department, and commended Delahunty on her efforts. However, the mayor also pointed out that the city has had a strong and ongoing relationship with the First Tennessee Development District, who provides Mountain City with a variety of services including planning. Because the district also handles GIS and has had a strong track record, Keeble requested that the city go officially on record, saying that Mountain City’s GIS work would continue to be done solely by the district. Alderman Jerry Jordan made a motion to that effect, which passed with unanimous consent.
Working with the Chamber of Commerce, Keeble also gave a couple updates from that organization. The first announcement was that the Chamber will hold its annual awards dinner at 6:00 on June 7th at the Redtail Mountain Golf Course. The other issue involved setting a date for the city’s 4th of July festivities which will actually be held on Saturday, June 29th this year. The change in date was a direct result of the Chamber’s ability to secure a fireworks show, which will be held at Ralph Stout Park. The mayor also confirmed that other Independence Day activities, such as the parade, will be held on the 29th as well.
There were also several park issues discussed during the meeting, beginning with the reappointment of several members of the city’s parks and recreation advisory board. Currently the board has seven members, with three having terms ending this year. Feeling that the group has been working well, Mayor Keeble made the motion to re-approve Richard Grubb, Howard Moon, and Flo Bellamy for two year terms. Alderman Morrison made the motion to confirm the appointments, which passed without comment.
Alderman Morrison brought up a park issue of his own in discussing the purchase of 10 new surveillance cameras at Ralph Stout Park. Unlike the current cameras in place, the new devices would be wireless, high resolution, and have an ability to view long range. Additionally, placing 10 would give the city the ability to observe the park from just about any location, something they cannot do currently. With vandalism and other illegal activities becoming an issue in the park, the council has been very active in trying to get a handle on the situation. New rules have already been adopted and patrols of the park increased, but the new cameras would greatly increase the city’s ability to keep an eye on any potential problems. Working with a local company, Morrison informed the board that the new system would cost just over $9,000 but that the older cameras already in place could be moved to the Community Center to boost security there.
Because of the many benefits the new technology would provide, Morrison went ahead and motion to approve the project, which was seconded by Alderman Kenny Icenhour and approved with full support. Mayor Keeble made a special point to explain that he had many complaints about issues in the park, and that the city would continue to do what it could.

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