By Marlana Ward
Two new police officer candidates were approved and discussion continued about the Farmer’s Market park location as the Mountain City Board of Mayor and Aldermen met on December 5, 2017.
Police Chief Denver Church presented the board with police officer candidates Zachary Reece and Richard Norris. The willingness of the two men to join the town’s police force was verbally appreciated and the board expressed their confidence in Chief Church’s choices. The men’s employment was approved unanimously. The men will travel to the police academy to begin their training in January.
Jana Jones, representative for the Johnson County Farmer’s Market, approached the podium to update the board about the progress concerning the proposed new location for the local market. Jones reminded the group that the park property would need to be officially re-zoned to allow the farmer’s market to be legally placed within the park boundaries.
When asked if she had spoken with other municipalities, Jones replied that she had spoken with neighboring towns and that they had each mentioned renting the structure out during non-market hours to help the town with any maintenance costs. She explained that every town she had talked to did offer their park buildings for reservation with a fee and questioned if this might be something Mountain City would be interested in. The Mayor and aldermen all voiced their opposition to requesting funds for public use of the property stating that when they had presented the idea of the market’s shelter to the citizens of the town, they had said that there would be no charge to the citizens for use of the building but rather it would be first come, first served. Alderman Bud Crosswhite added that he was stongly against a reservation for fee system as it could lead to disagreements over the location.
Jones also had to inform the board of an increase in the estimate for building the pavilion previously discussed which would match the parks existing pavilion. Due to the restrictions of the grant that the market is hopeful of earning, graded lumber would need to be used in the structure’s construction. Jones explained that this restriction meant that the previous figure which was calculated using lumber from Shoun Lumber was no longer valid because the lumber yard’s boards are not graded. The increase in cost placed the construction costs over $200,000 to complete as sketched and planned for a functional shelter for the craftsmen and growers which would match the existing park structures. The board immediately began to figure ways to lower the expense while still maintaining the aesthetics that the town strives for. It was decided that the town would look into other types of buildings and whether it would be wise to put up a lesser building to save on costs with the intent to expand and improve the location as funds became available.
During the time in which the aldermen presented any concerns for discussion, Alderman Kenny Icenhour stated that he had been approached by a town police officer about the need for CPR and first aid training to be made available for the department. Icenhour shared how the town’s officers may be the first to respond to a situation and need to have the proper training to help in medical emergencies. Parks & Recreation Director Flo Bellamy stated that her department had received training from the Johnson County Rescue Squad. The idea of seeking the medical emergency training was supported and the availability of training would be looked into.
Alderman Bob Morrison brought before the board an offer that a local businessman had approached him with for the town. Morrison explained that the gentleman manufactured marine paint and had been developing a paint for use on public properties which were high traffic and exposed to the elements. Morrison stated that man was offering to paint all the benches in Ralph Stout Park at no expense to the town so he could study the paint’s performance over time. Mayor Parsons asked if perhaps the manhole covers along the Goose Creek Trail could be painted as well or even the paint provided with the town’s employees providing the labor for the covers and Morrison agreed to ask. It was decided that the proposal would be very beneficial for the town and approved.
Mayor Kevin Parsons presented the board with an update on the requested basement rental of the town’s future skating rink. Mayor Parsons said that the rent of $800 per month was agreed upon and that the man renting the building intended to do improvements to the building as in kind payment for a portion of the rent. Suggested improvements included the leveling of the floor and acquisition of more secure doors for the building. The rental lease for the property is currently scheduled through April 2019.
The next item for discussion was brought up by City Attorney George Wright. Wright informed the board that the easement acquisition for the water line placement near Pedro Shoun Road was progressing but with some obstacles. Two of the property owners had come to city hall to sign the paperwork for the easements, two were still not responsive, and a final property owner was insisting upon compensation for his cooperation with the project. Wright expressed his reluctance to pay the $2,000 requested by the property owner and the board also stated that they did not see that as a feasible request. It was asked what the next step would be if the owner continued to insist upon compensation and would not sign the easement request and Wright stated that legal action would be needed to obtain the easement. A motion was made which gave permission for the mayor and Wright to review costs and make a decision to help the project continue forward.
In other business, the public hearing and final reading of Ordinance #1572 which included the adoption of the 2012 International Building Code, the International Residential Code, the International Plumbing Code, the International Fuel Gas Code,the International Mechanical Code, and the International Energy Conservation Code was made and approved unanimously. The previously requested $8,100 for the police department’s updated software was approved. Funds were moved among line items in the town drug fund to accommodate payments made. Funds were also approved to pay the town’s expenditures after revenue for the Scarecrows on Main event. The first readings for budget amendments concerning building code books and police vehicle equipment were made and approved.
The next meeting of the Mountain City Board of Mayor and Aldermen will take place at City Hall on January 2, 2018 at 6:30 pm. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.