By:  Marlana Ward

Freelance Writer

 

The Mountain City Council met in a regular session meeting on the evening of May 3, 2016.  All members of the council were present.

The first person to approach the podium for the meeting was State Representative Tony Shipley. Shipley spoke to the council about his upcoming bid to replace Ron Ramsey who will not be pursuing re-election to the Tennessee State Senate.  Shipley expressed his gratitude for past opportunities to work with Johnson County and Mountain City and his dedication to staying closely connected to local governments if elected.

Next to the podium was Wayne Gay from Watauga Lake Winery.  Gay first spoke about the winery pursuing American Viticultural Area (AVA) certification to establish Johnson County as a nationally recognized wine-grape growing region.  He explained how the Yadkin area in North Carolina had benefited from the designation and how it could help boost tourism in Johnson County if they were successful.  Gay asked for the town to write a letter in support for the AVA certification as the process was now in the public opinion phase.

The second topic Gay brought before the council was the need for signage within town limits to help visitors find the winery.  He requested that a sign be placed at the intersection of Highway 91 and Highway 421 as well as Highway 421 and Highway 167.  He explained that the signs would be the official state distributed signs simply pointing people toward the winery.  Gay also assured the council that the winery would cover any costs of obtaining and placing the signs.  Mayor Keeble responded with concern because of an ordinance against any off-premises alcohol advertisements within town limits.  It was decided to table the matter until next month to give all members of the council opportunity to review the ordinance and the information given by the winery to determine what may or may not be done.

With no further public comments for the floor, the consent calendar and budget amendment ordinances that had reached final reading were approved unanimously.  These ordinances included insurance payments, oil spill cleanup, safety equipment, and vaccine costs.

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