By Dewain E. Peek,

OCN Editor

Livingston Board of Mayor and Aldermen held the regular monthly meeting Monday, Sept. 9, and approved a land sale that may bring jobs into the city.

Resolution 2019-9-2 was adopted to sell 10.03 acres in Livingston Industrial Park for $10,030.

Overton County Economic Development Consultant Ray Evans brought the proposal before the City Council that an automotive parts manufacturer plans to build a 100,000 square-foot facility in Livingston Industrial Park, located on Tennessee Drive.

The particular property to be purchased is near Best Bumper off of Tennessee Drive

Alderman David Langford made a motion to make the sale, and Alderman Dishman seconded. On the vote, Alderman Kelly Coleman, Dishman, Langford, Chris Speck, and Vice Mayor Ken Dodson all voted yes. Alderman Rex Dale was absent.

Mayor Curtis Hayes said, “The only negative, if there is a negative, is we’re out of land, folks. And that’s something that we need to take a look at in the future is, once this acreage is gone, then we have no more industrial sites in the city limits of Livingston. So, for future growth, we will have to expand and buy some property.”

Mayor Hayes also assured that the land sale would not affect the city’s certified burn site in the industrial park, where brush is taken to be burned.

“This will still give us room to continue to pick up brush in the city and to be able to take it there, haul it and burn it right there on the certified site,” Mayor Hayes said.

Street paving projects got a green light, but not without compromise.

Mayor Hayes said the low bid was from Rogers Group at $689,000.

Livingston took out a loan for $500,000 for the street projects and has spent $60,000 on preparing the Carr Subdivision streets, leaving $440,000 for paving projects, much less than the low bid.

Mayor Hayes said they then began negotiating a way for the paving projects to be done within the $440,000 still available for use, and part of that was changing the pavement.

“We will put a binder down in the Carr Subdivision,” Mayor Hayes said.

The binder is expected to last at least 10 years.

“If we come up with a way to have more funds to put a finish coat on it, then we will do so,” Mayor Hayes said. “But this is what our budget allows us to do.

In later discussion, Alderman Coleman clarified, “My understanding is that this means we’ll get a two-inch mix without the one-inch topping layer.”

“That’s correct,” Mayor Hayes confirmed.

Another change was removing a street from the project.

“Oak Terrace got postponed at this time,” Mayor Hayes said.

Also, water department funds will be used to repair and pay for paving on portions of Bilbrey Street and Woodland Street that have been damaged from water leaks.

Mayor Hayes gave the list of streets to be paved as follows: Bilbrey Street (water funds), Buena Vista, Long Street, Carr Avenue, Evans Street, Spring Street, Hale Avenue, Jack Street, Kennedy Street, Long Street, Lowell Stephens Avenue, McHenry to Miller Street, Short Street, Spring Street to West Main Street, West 7th Street to College Street, and Woodland Street (water funds).

Mayor Hayes assured, “We had a leak detection crew come in, so they’ve been on all these streets here to make sure there’s no water leaks.”

Alderman Kelly Coleman asked when the paving would begin.

“They could start paving as early as September the 16th,” Mayor Hayes said.

He said it is a 60-day contract, and that all paving should be complete by November 9.

City Council members unanimously voted to approve the low bid of Rogers Group with the negotiated changes and the amount not to exceed $440,000.

Mayor Hayes said, “We will sign the contract tomorrow.”

Resolution 2019-9-1 was adopted to apply for a Tennessee Department of Transportation TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) Grant in the amount of $475,000, which requires 20% matching funds.

Ray Evans, speaking for the Downtown Revitalization Committee, informed the Board that after other items are taken into consideration, the grant is closer to a 75/25 split.

The city’s part would be approximately $86,000, subject to Overton County contributing an equal amount of the approximately $86,000.

Alderman Langford asked, “Where’re you going to get the $86,000?”

Mayor Hayes said the options would be to use Downtown Revitalization funds or to put it into the 2021 budget.

Police Chief Greg Etheredge asked for two hires for his department.

“We had two of our officers that have left for other agencies,” Chief Etheredge said.

He recommended Jennie Phillips and Joanne Clouse, saying, “They come to us from another jurisdiction that I’ve had the pleasure of serving with them in the past, and they are highly qualified certified officers.”

Hiring both Phillips and Clouse was approved.

Mayor Hayes brought a request from Livingston Regional Hospital before the Board of Aldermen. LRH CEO Tim McGill had asked that striping be restored on 1st Street now that Volunteer State Community College has a cooperative training facility in one of the hospital’s buildings off of 1st Street near Oak Street.

Alderman Langford asked Street Department Supervisor Wayne Peek, “Do we have the ability to do the striping ourselves?”

“No,” Peek answered.

Mayor Hayes told the Board that some money may be left over from the $440,000 paving funds to allow for the striping of 1st Street.

Striping the 1st Street was approved.

The Board of Aldermen voted to turn the 2020 Livingston Municipal Election over to Overton County Election Commission.

Alan Lingerfelt of Centerpoint Energy gave an update on natural gas, and informed the City Council that the pipeline is currently at 80% capacity.

Before the meeting adjourned, Mayor Hayes announced that Livingston Municipal Airport will have a fly-in from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.

He also informed the Board that a work session with Barge Designs on flood mitigation will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19.