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Key absences make for short city council meeting

It was an abbreviated meeting for the city council this month as both alderman Kenny Icenhour and Vice Mayor Jerry Jordan were absent. Icenhour was hospitalized with an ongoing medical issue that will require surgery. Likewise Jordan was also absent due to a medical emergency with his wife. However, with three council members present the meeting could still be held with the exception that no direct action could be taken.
One of the most notable discussions of the night involved information from wastewater manager, Danny Sims, who informed the mayor earlier in the week that a recent load of waste sludge bound for the dump station had not been accepted by the facility due to the presence of radiation.
A TDEC official from Knoxville was called in, who confirmed the presence of low level irradiated iodine. The radiation was at low enough levels that the material could be processed after being held by the facility for several days. TDEC officials advised that this was probably an isolated case that could have come from any number of sources including improperly disposed of chemotherapy materials, but also cautioned that the city should hold the next load to allow time for the materials to break down. Mayor Keeble suggested giving Sims the authority to pursue the source of the radiation to prevent any future problems.
Alderman Bob Morrison announced that at a recent 911 board meeting a budget had been approved that saw no cost increase to the town or county. Morrison went on to report that 911 is working well within its budget constraints. Thanking city employees, Morrison also recognized the success of the recent Sunflower Festival, which saw a wide variety of vendors. Unfortunately plans for a Soapbox Derby did not go through, but Mayor Keeble did suggest that derby organizer, Casey Dorenbusch, might look at alternative locations in the city next year and could possibly work with Sunflower Festival organizers to make the soapbox derby a success.
The council also discussed a change of plans for the upcoming Joe Barlow/Kim Sutton Car and Bike Show to be held downtown on August 19th from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Originally the cruise-in was to be held along the lower end of Main Street up to Johnson County Bank. However organizers felt there might be an issue with parking for businesses such as the Tributary Restaurant and will now hold the car show from the intersection of 421 and Main Street down to the Hux-Lipford Funeral Home.
The bike and car show will feature prizes, food vendors, a 50/50 drawing, music, dunking booth, and children’s activities. Admission is free but there is a $10 charge for vehicle registration. A memorial ride will be held on the 20th, also downtown, and will leave at 11 a.m. All money generated from the events will go to benefit the Joe Barlow/Kim Sutton Scholarship fund.
City recorder Sheila Shaw announced that a new director of planning had been hired for the First Tennessee Development District and that two new planners had also been hired. Recent cuts in the state budget saw the end of state planning advisors for the city planning commission, but a new contract with the First Tennessee Development District will serve to fill the position. The new contract does not change the cost of the planning advisor for the city.
Water plant manager, Andy Garland, informed the council that the Lowe Springs clear well was now back to running after being cleaned and sandblasted. Garland also brought up the subject of the Rambo tank in Mountain City which is beginning to deteriorate after years of service. Garland stated that he felt the tank was reaching the end of its usable life and advised that the council should begin looking a replacement options.
The last business of the night was the purchase of a 1993 Ford van for the use of prison crews working in the city. Mayor Keeble stated that public works director, Bob Eller, had suggested purchasing the van after several occasions that the regular prison van was unavailable, preventing the crews from working. Keeble made the motion to accept the purchase of the new van for $3000, Alderman Crosswhite seconded. The motion passed unanimously. With no further business the meeting adjourned.