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City Council looks for ways to end wastewater system moratorium

Brian Frederick, the town of Mountain City’s consulting engineer spoke before the city council Tuesday night concerning a plan of action to help the city eventually be cleared of a current moratorium by the state against the wastewater system. According to Frederick the system contains 25 million in infrastructure and was originally put installed in 1966. Over five miles of this infrastructure has never been touched and recent years have seen the sewer system receive various state fines, including one for $8000, which came with the current moratorium.
Frederick, who resides in Knoxville, has been a great asset to the city, often charging nothing for his services. Reviewing a budget for the repair of the system, Frederick suggested issuing $56,000 for system toxicity analysis. The big problem that the current wastewater department faces is the presence of toxins that are killing the bugs which are used to dissolve the solid waste. The toxins could be coming from a single or multiple sources, but that question can only be answered from analysis.
If the problem is not solved, the city faces further fines and less opportunity to get out of the moratorium. Mayor Keeble stated that he felt “this is one of the most important issues we face.” City recorder Terry Reece also suggested creating a long-term plan over the next few years for the system so that grant money could be applied for in time. The council voted unanimously to support Frederick and also to create a longer plan of action.
Also presenting before the council was Jacob Sprague and Joey Porter, students representing the Johnson County skateboard club. The two boys presented the goals of the club to the city in the hopes of establishing a larger, better-equipped skate park at Ralph Stout Park. The club has already been conducting fundraisers and has also been looking into grants, including one for $10,000. Sprague and Porter asked the council for their permission to pursue the grants in the city’s name.
Mayor Keeble along with the rest of the board stated their support as long as it did not detract from the park overall and requested that the club meets with public works director Bob Eller to look at the current facilities to see what could be done.
Casey Dorenbush, with Mountain Citi Marketing, requested that his company could sponsor the Pumpkin Festival and Scarecrows On Main again this year. The board approved unanimously.
Mayor Keeble announced that Representative Scotty Campbell had been in touch with him and would be hosting a meeting Friday at the Crewette Building in Mountain City at 3:00 concerning the recent storm damage to the city and county. Keeble also announced that there would be a vacancy on the city planning commission as Gene Hackney has announced his resignation.

City recorder Terry Reece informed the council that public works director Bob Eller has selected a candidate to fill the city mechanic position. Under his suggestion, the council unanimously hired Scott J. Hamilton for the job. There was also an issue with a job vacancy created when Sheila Shaw was promoted to city recorder. The council voted that her city hall clerk position would be advertised.
One of the last issues of the night was the purchase of a new garbage truck for the city. After opening the bids, the council decided to go with a freightliner truck that meets all specs for a price of $111,019. There was also an additional $800 to purchase a required double liner.
The meeting was ended in recess so that board of equalization could meet to help with setting the tax rates and also for the first reading of the year’s budget. The meeting will resume on the 17th at 5:00.