By Dewain E. Peek,
Livingston Board of Mayor and Aldermen covered a lot of ground in an unusually lengthy regular monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 4.
Among the items covered was a request by Livingston Police Chief Greg Etheredge that a part-time dispatcher position be changed to full-time, because the plan to use more part-time dispatchers has not shown the benefit that it was hoped to show.
“The overall budget will not be affected,” Chief Etheredge said.
The request was approved, but Alderman Kelly Coleman questioned the need for the city to do its own dispatching instead of allowing Overton County E911 to perform those duties.
“With all due respect, you know how I feel about this,” Alderman Coleman said to Chief Etheredge. “I do think it’s important, perhaps sometime in the next quarter, to come before this body and explain your rationale for maintaining dispatch in house, because everybody that lives in Overton County pays $1.80 a month for existing 911 dispatch.”
Chelsea Malcolm was approved to be hired in that full-time dispatcher position.
This brings the number of full-time dispatchers at LPD to five, with one of those being a certified officer, according to Chief Etheredge.
An SRO grant in the amount of $87,500 with a 5% match was approved. The grant was obtained through Overton County Schools.
LPD provides SROs at Livingston Academy and Livingston Middle School, this will add an SRO at A.H. Roberts Elementary School and also add an SRO at REACH Academy.
Approximately $25,000 of the grant was awarded for equipment, according to Chief Etheredge.
Changes were approved to the rules and regulations of the Property Maintenance Advisory Board.
The original wording stated: “Established for the purpose of providing an ‘open to the public’ forum for which all Property Maintenance (reported and unreported) concerns or violations shall be reviewed and discussed. The public should have the opportunity to be aware of all activities associated with PM code matters including violations, remedy efforts and final conclusions. This open forum is not established for the purpose of providing an alternate to the hearing process as defined by the codes. This open review of property maintenance matters will promote greater public awareness and likely improvements to the overall effectiveness of the City of Livingston efforts to maintain a clean, safe and livable community.”
That opening statement would be changed to state: “The purpose of the Property Maintenance Advisory Board (PMAB) is to publicly review complaints and findings of the Livingston Codes Inspector regarding possible property maintenance violations. Each potential violation shall be presented by the Codes Inspector with details of his investigative findings and accompanying photos. The members of the board have full authority to question him about his findings and discuss the ordinance in reference to each complaint. As stated in each Property Maintenance Ordinance of Title 13, it is only if the PMAB concurs that the property is in violation with the cited ordinance, that additional steps as outlined in the ordinance, will be pursued.”
Also, the “Responsibilities” section added: “If the Codes Insector is unable to attend a scheduled meeting, the meeting will be rescheduled.”
Alderman Coleman said, “One of the main things that they felt like they needed to change was that if in fact our codes administrator, Kristian (Mansell), wasn’t able to be in the meeting that they needed to reschedule.”
He also pointed out, “In number 6, they asked to add to be able to have the authority to ask additional detail questions.”
Alderman Chris Speck made a motion to make the changes, and Vice Mayor Dodson, who serves on the Property Maintenance Advisory Board, seconded. On the vote, Aldermen Speck, Coleman, Rex Dale, and Vice Mayor Dodson voted yes, and Aldermen David Langford and Ronald Dishman voted no.
Second reading approval was given for Ordinance 2019-10-1 to rezone Randall Norris property at the corner of Preston Street and Bradford Hick Drive from C-1 (local commercial) to I-2 (heavy industrial).
An amendment to bring a city ordinance into compliance with state regulations was added to the night’s agenda.
City Attorney John Meadows explained that updates to the city ordinance that were made to allow for package liquor sales contained erroneous language where the ordinance should have prohibited the sale of beer between the hours of 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday and between the hours of 3 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday.
“The ordinance that was passed had the hours 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. when it should be 3 a.m. to 8 a.m.,” Meadows said.
Amending the ordinance to bring it into compliance with state regulations was approved, with Alderman Dishman dissenting.
Alderman Langford asked if directional striping can be repainted at the intersection of Bilbrey Street and Main Street when striping is repainted on First Street and Oak Street.
Mayor Curtis Hayes said that the recent repaving project came in under budget, so money may be available to replace the striping in both areas.
“We’ll take a look at it,” Mayor Hayes said.
Charlie Smith of Barge Design Solutions was added to the agenda to comment further about the flood mitigation study that was recently conducted.
In a recent work session, changing the standpipe at the sink hole was considered as a possible way of regulating the level of Dillon Pond, but Smith said that it has been found that water intrudes underneath a concrete collar around the pipe.
“It does not appear that that existing standpipe is having any impact one way or another on the level of the pond, because of the infiltration that’s happening outside of the actual pipe itself and the secondary sink hole that’s behind it,” Smith said.
After Smith suggested that removing sandbags that are in place in front of the secondary sink hole at Dillon Pond may allow nature to take its course and alleviate some potential flooding, Alderman Coleman made a motion to remove the sandbags. Vice Mayor Dodson seconded, and all aldermen voted yes.
Smith also suggested creating a stormwater ordinance to help avoid future flooding problems from development.
Alderman Dishman made a motion to hire Barge to create such an ordinance for the City Council to consider, and Alderman Dale seconded. All aldermen voted aye.
Smith had mentioned property buyouts, but Mayor Hayes pointed out that the county must have its Hazard Mitigation Plan approved by FEMA before any request for that kind of funding can be made. Mayor Hayes added that a meeting has been set and that the approval is hoped to be granted by December 12.
Ray Evans gave a Downtown Revitalization update. He said that being a Tennessee Main Street Community would increase Livingston’s ability to receive grant money.
Chamber of Commerce Director Greg McDonald informed the City Council that the Main Street program does require a dedicated director.
The Downtown Revitalization budget was approved with some changes made from the proposed budget presented last month.
One item was adding fencing to further secure Central Park during events. Left over fencing from the Central Park project had been stored and new fencing will not have to be purchased, according to Evans.
“It appears that we have enough material to do whatever we want to from an additional security standpoint,” Evans said. “There may be a post or two that we don’t have, but we certainly have enough fencing.”
Another item was a new Christmas tree for the courthouse square.
“The Chamber has stepped up and made that purchase,” Evans said.
He said the money no longer needed for those items was then moved to contingencies in the budget.
Vice Mayor Dodson made a motion to pass the Downtown Revitalization budget, and Alderman Speck seconded. The budget was unanimously approved.
Property owner Julia Bishop and business owner Jennifer Officer were added to the Downtown Revitalization Committee to fill positions added last month.
Bill Fletcher was appointed to the Beer Board to replace Roger Ruble, who decided to step down.
Ben Winningham of Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (UCEMC) gave an update on the LED street light upgrades.
“Phases 1, 2, and 3 are complete, which is the majority of town,” Winningham said. “Right now we are working on Phase 4, which is Highway 85 and West Main Street. Phase 5 will be the bypass.”
Sherry Jackson with the Census Bureau spoke to the City Council on the importance of having an accurate Census in 2020.
“This is the very first time that you can respond online or by phone or paper questionnaire,” she said, “you get your choice.”
Jackson also wanted to clarify what is done with the information.
“It’s safe to respond to the Census,” she said. “We do not share Census data with any other government agency. We don’t share with law enforcement. We don’t use it to determine government benefits. It’s all recorded in statistical format only.
“And that’s protected for 72 years. After 72 years, my Census data from 2020 will be available, and I probably won’t be here, but it will be available, and that’s for genealogy purposes that we have the 72-year limit.”
She summed up that the Census wants to work with the city and local agencies to get the word out about the count.
“We want everyone to know how important the Census is, because that will determine the funding for 10 years for the City of Livingston and Overton County,” Jackson said.
Before the meeting adjourned, Mayor Hayes announced that the Veterans Day program will be held on the Livingston Square at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11.