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Mountain City Council welcomes new employees as well as senator-hopeful John Lundberg

By Bonnie Davis Guy

The September 6th City Council meeting came to order with Mayor Lawrence Keeble, Vice Mayor Bud Crosswhite and all aldermen in attendance. Before moving forward with the night’s presentations and agenda, the council was addressed by State Senator John Lundberg. Lundberg wanted to express his support for Johnson County and assure the council members that he is available to assist them as needed.
Prior to hearing the public presentations, Mayor Keeble asked the council if he could deviate from the agenda to introduce candidates for approval for city jobs. Tammy Pierce had been selected for the drive thru clerk position at the water department. Matt Mullins was selected for the city patrolman position at the police department. Unanimous approval was given and the committee welcomed the newest employees.
Moving forward with the agenda, two public presentations were scheduled. First, was Robert Franklin of the Laurel Bloomery community requesting a water line be placed on Hawkins Road. Springs along Hawkins Rd have become dry, leaving some 15 families without an adequate water source. According to Chris Hook, the closest city waterline is at the fork of the road at Gentry Creek. The council asked Hook to look into all the particulars involved in adding a water line extension to service this area and to report back. The council assured Franklin that if it was feasible, they would install the line.
Next up was Denise Woods representing the Action Coalition. Woods asked the council members to sign a proclamation recognizing September as National Recovery Month. Woods went on to say that regardless of the form the recovery took, the coalition wants to use this recognition to open a dialog about recovery with the hopes of reducing the stigmatism that can surround the issue. Alderman Morrison made a motion to support the proclamation with Alderman Jordan seconding the motion. An all yes vote was taken and the proclamation was signed.
The second and final reading of Ordinance Number 1512 to rezone property known as Johnson County Community Hospital from a B-3, Arterial Business to a M-R Medical Residential District was voted on an unanimously passed. A public hearing had taken place but no questions or comments arose.
The consent calendar was next and was quickly approved with an all yes roll call vote. The calendar included approval of August’s minutes and the second and final reading of Budget Amendments #1513-1515.
At this time the mayor, vice mayor, and alderman were given the opportunity to address any comments or concerns they had. Alderman Jordan was first up and wanted to make sure the parking area owned by the First Baptist Church currently being occupied for construction purposes on the Goose Creek Trail would be cleaned once the project was completed. Mayor Keeble stated he would be sure to bring that up at the next progress meeting. Jordan also informed the council members that the Sheriff’s Department and other offices had been assigned a new 911 address. The new address will go into effect soon and is 216 Honeysuckle Street.
Next Alderman Kenny Icenhour read the council a thank you note to the city from both the Johnson County Imagination Library Board and the Friends of the Library for the help and work performed to make the Johnson County Imagination Library Carnival a success.  Bob Morrison also expressed his thanks to the city workers for their hard work.
Mayor Keeble had several issues to address. First of all, he wanted to mention what a success the Long Journey Home event was and to thank everyone who made it happen. He feels the newest mural located on the old Corner Pocket building will be a point of interest to both locals and tourists alike.  He also reported that the mobile home belonging to Larry Eggers had been removed from the property that was not zoned for mobile homes. Keeble reported that the Village Square bridge project was on track and moving toward the October deadline. In light of the negative recommendation from the city’s insurance carrier regarding the liability involved when volunteers ride on emergency equipment in events such as parades, Mayor Keeble asked that a committee be formed and they attend the next chamber of commerce meeting so the issue can be discussed and recommendations made. Keeble asked to be updated on the cost of installing gates over the entrances of the tunnel leading under the highway to Ralph Stout Park as well as motion lights and cameras. An estimate had been received with the gates costing between $1,200 to $1,500. A unanimous vote gave permission to move forward with installing the gates.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.