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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Crossville council approves $40,000 to chamber for Horizon funding--appoints 2 to oversight committee

Crossville city council selected 2 representatives for the oversight of the Horizon funding program funded by private donations along with funds by the city and county totaling $200,000 towards economic development.

During discussion of the item, the chamber's Brad Allamong reported to the council that the chamber had collected more then the full amount of $120,000 in the bank, one of the requirements to receive the city $40,000 funding match. The other requirement approved at a previous council meeting was the appointment of one or two representatives to the oversight committee.

Council members L-R Danny Wyatt, Mayor James Mayberry, Pamala Harris, Jesse Kerley 

While the funds have gone to the chamber of commerce, the funds are reserved only for use on the Horizon Initiative funding program spelled out in fund raising efforts. According to Allamong, the funds will not be used for general chamber operation.

The funding will be used for a target market analysis costing between $100,000 and $150,000 to study the area and determine industries that would be likely to find Cumberland County a good match for their business.

Workforce development strategies would be studied at an estimated cost of $15,000 to address the many issues revealed by the visioning meetings held. Some expected projects include supervisor training, study of daycare needs, work ethics and mentoring and support for a community wide anti-drug coalition.

Up to $48,000 will be used to fund a basic economic development office. Up to $30,000 would be spent on a study looking at the feasibility of further fund raising for Horizon programs.

A number of names were placed into nomination to represent the city on the oversight committee of the funding and with the votes of the four council members present, Anne Looney and Ray Evans were selected.    

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A different kind of city political sign

A church sign spotted along 127-N near I-40 offers prayer for Crossville mayor James Mayberry and the city.  This sign is a far cry from some of the political opinion signs that have been directed at the city elected officials recently.   

Friday, July 29, 2016

Drug raid on public housing unit near daycare recovers drugs and cash

July 29, 2016

On July 27, 2016 a joint narcotics operation led to the service of a Search Warrant at 153 Obed Street, in Crossville, TN.   Crossville Police Department Narcotics Detectives were working together with the 13th Judicial Drug Task Force, the HIDTA / TBI Drug Task Force, the Office of the District Attorney General, Crossville Housing Authority and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office in the execution of a search warrant at an illegal narcotics distribution operation, located in government housing, within 680 feet of a daycare.

This search warrant comes after in-depth undercover investigations and drug purchases led to the discovery of the illegal narcotics operation. This illegal activity occurred at 153 Obed Street, near Home Away From Home Head Start and Day Care. Following the search of the property; Cash, illegal narcotics and an additional wanted person were discovered.

Following the operation, criminal indictments will be sought on the resident Henry Wilson - 45 years old, at an upcoming session of the Cumberland County Grand Jury.

A neighbor, Ashley England - 20 years old, was found in the residence and had an active Failure to Appear arrest warrant, with a 10 day hold, on file in Cumberland County. England was arrested and transported to the Cumberland County Justice Center, where she is awaiting a court appearance.


153 Obed Street                                                                                                              Henry Wilson                    

                                                                          Ashley England

The above information was provided by the Crossville police department.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Council gives DCI notice on Snodgrass building lease--future on August council agneda

One of the oldest buildings in the downtown area has been used for the past several years as the headquarters of Downtown Crossville, Inc (DCI) but action by the Crossville city council may change that.

Known as the Snodgrass building, the structure behind the courthouse was once the law office of Charles E. Snodgrass who, in addition to being a lawyer served as a state representative and as US congressman from the Fourth District of Tennessee. The building predates the 1905 courthouse and was built about circa 1890. It served as a law office until 1970, was purchased by the county in 1989 and used as the veterans service office until purchased by the city when the county considered tearing it down.

Snodgrass building (right)

During the council's called meeting on July 22, the topic of the DCI lease on the building was on the agenda. Councilman Danny Wyatt said that DCI had used the building for three years and that if notice on the lease wasn't given to DCI 90 days before October 31 it would automatically renew for another three years. DCI pays a monthly rent of $75 and the city pays for utilities.

Wyatt said he had just discovered the renewal and thought the council needed a calendar of such contracts and renewals for future decisions. Said Wyatt, “I feel like we ought to go ahead and give notice, and I don't have a problem with DCI and we get back to the issue of the office upstairs.” Council discussion on non-profit office space.

Wyatt continued, “I'd like to make a motion that we terminate the lease and then put it back on the agenda in August and let the council decide if they want to renegotiate it or sell the building or give another agency a chance to be in there for three years.” Councilwoman Pam Harris supported Wyatt's motion.

Mayor James Mayberry pointed out the funds DCI has invested into the building as part of the contractual agreement of $17,000 over and above the rent paid. “I think they are doing a great job,” added Mayberry.

Further discussion on the issue of the lease will come up on the August council agenda. The motion passed with yes votes from council members Wyatt, Harris, Jesse Kerley and a no vote from Mayor Mayberry.

City of Crossville seeking employees in water resources and street department

The city of Crossville is advertising for three positions including 1 position in the water resources department and two in the street department. The following information from the city's website.

City of Crossville
Water Resources Department
Operations Technician
The City of Crossville is now accepting applications through the Department of Labor Tennessee Career Center located at 60 Ridley Street, Crossville, TN. This is a full time position, with benefit package. Starting annual salary is $22,065.97 without Water Treatment License. Salary is negotiable for qualified applicants with Water Treatment License. This employee is responsible for maintaining the water treatment plant by keeping watch on the plant computer, filtration systems, collecting samples and conducting tests. A complete job description is available with application request. High school diploma, or equivalent, is required and applicant must be able to pass the Grade III Water Certification test within three (3) years of the date of hire. Applicants will need proof of identity, eligibility for employment, automobile liability insurance, a valid TN driver’s license and able to pass a drug screening and physical. Deadline for accepting applications will be close of business on August 11, 2016. The City of Crossville is an EEO/Affirmative action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, color, disability or national origin.

City of Crossville
Street Department
Utility Worker
 The City of Crossville is now accepting applications through the Department of Labor Tennessee Career Center located at 60 Ridley Street, Crossville, TN. This is a full time position, with benefit package. Starting annual salary is $22,065.97. This employee will work as part of a crew to install, repair and maintain all aspects of city streets, sidewalks, storm drains, catch basins and right of ways. A complete job description is available with application request. High school diploma, or equivalent, is required. Experience in similar field preferable. Applicants will need proof of identity, eligibility for employment, automobile liability insurance, a valid TN driver’s license and able to pass a drug screening and physical. Deadline for accepting applications will be close of business on August 12, 2016. The City of Crossville is an EEO/Affirmative action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, color, disability or national origin.

Heavy Rains causing water on roads--Watch for hydroplaning

Heavy rain showers in Cumberland County are creating hazardous conditions on the roads.  Use your headlights and drive carefully.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A word from our sponsor... VORP Vintage Resale and Thrift Store!

For fun Thrift Store shopping try the VORP Vintage Resale and Thrift Store today!

Located around the back at 2625 North Main Street, between Crossville Memorial Funeral Home and the Nazarene Church--right across from Walmart.  

Try a quick tour and the start of the video shows you how to find our secret entrance!

Cumberland Co. Mayor Kenneth Carey speaks to city council on shooting sports park & dispatch salary increases

Cumberland County mayor Kenneth Carey addressed to topic with the Crossville city council during their called meeting on July 22 including a proposed shooting sports park and the status if dispatcher salaries in the emergency communications operation.

Cumberland Co. Mayor Kenneth Carey

Mayor Carey told the council that the shooting sports park was moving forward slowly. (The project was originally approved just over a year ago would include funding from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency TWRA.) He said the plan had gotten through most of the environmental process including a check for endangered bats. Carey said no bats were found.

The next step is working with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology to get some drawings and plans. Carey said if they can get those items completed by next month, the project will be submitted to the TWRA board for a funding decision.

Story on Shooting Sports Park from 2015

Mayor Carey also addressed the issue of dispatch salaries explaining to the council that the county had done “a fairly extensive salary wage scale” adding that the city and county share the costs of the operation. Carey added, “The dispatch pay has been so low that literally, we've had a revolving door with training folks and then they go somewhere else to work for quite a bit more money. They wanted me to pass that along to you folks.”

According to Carey, the new wage scale was adopted by the county commission budget committee. He added it still had to go through the full county budget adoption. He said the ball park numbers would add about $20,000 more each year for the city and county to fund the additional salary.

“Our emergency services are only as good as the information they get before they go to a call,” stressed Mayor Carey. Carey said he would get a copy of the study to the city for their review.

Co. Mayor Carey addresses Crossville city council on shooting sports park 
and dispatch salary increase.

Council concerned over non-profit use of city office space. City manager to oversee.

During their recent called meeting, the Crossville city council discussed the use of city hall office space by the Cumberland Rising drug alliance that came out of the Visioning Horizon project.

Council Member Pamala Harris asked that the itme be put on the agenda and started the discussion saying she was not so concerned about the entity using the space as she was about the fact that council was not notified about the use or given the opportunity to have input on the use of the office space. Another concern Harris mentioned was if the city had any liability from the use of the office by non-city employees.
City Attorney Will Ridley

Even though no motion was made, the discussion continued on the matter.

City attorney Will Ridley said that the city was covered for the liability under their insurance policy now. Ridley said currently community groups use the building for meeting now and there is coverage. Ridley said he was unable to find a city policy on use of the building and he felt it should be a council decision on use of rooms and offices. Ridley added there was no lease and the group was not paying any rent.

Mayor James Mayberry said agencies use the Palace Theatre green room to meet and other spaces in city hall to hold small meetings. The space had been used by other entities without it coming to the council and he felt that unless the council wanted to make a policy it should be at the discretion of the city manager.

Councilman Jesse Kerley asked interim manager Steve Hill if he knew about the use of the office and Hill responded that he knew after the fact and thought the previous city manager David Rutherford and given the permission. Kerley said he thought the drug colaition was formed after Rutherford left and was unsure how he could give authority for that use after he left.

City clerk Sally Oglesby said that the coalition had started last summer over a year ago but only recently received their charter and 501c3 status.

Ms. Harris said she was not concerned about meetings but the coalition had a name on the door, something Mayor Mayberry said he was unaware of.

Councilman Danny Wyatt moved that the city manager should regulate the use of offices. Wyatt added that he didn't feel outside agencies should set up permanent office space.

The motion was approved with all four council members present voting in favor of the motion.   

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New potential city council candidates continue to take out petitions. No change in those qualified yet.

Two city council seats are up for election on the November 8 ballot and the deadline for candidates to qualify is August 18 at noon. 

Candidates who have qualified as of July 26, 2016 include:

1) J. H. Graham, former mayor and councilman
2) Robert E. "Rob" Harrison, 
3) Terri L. Manning
4) Jeanette W. Parsons
5) Scot Shanks

Additional potential candidates who have taken out petitions but not turned them in yet include:

1) Jerry T. "JJ" Brownstead
2) Barry Field (Field actually lives outside of the city limits and appears to be ineligible to run.)  
3) Jesse Kerley, currently holding one of the council seats up for election
4) Jack E. Miller, former Crossville city manager
5) David E. Warner, former city councilman who served from Jan 1985-Dec 1992
6) Ronnie D. Wyatt, owner of Wyatt Construction

Candidates who qualify do have one week after the August deadline to remove their name form consideration if they choose to do so.

Photos of Crossville sidewalks and a faded crosswalk taken 7-26-16

Here are several examples of some of the problems facing citizens, visitors and businesses owners on Main Street with long neglected sidewalks downtown.  For more on what plans are to work on these problems, see this article on action by the council last week.

Along North side of Main Street between 4th and 5th Streets

In front of the Triangle Building (currently a private residence)

In front of French's Boots

At the corner in front of French's Boots

Crosswalk that needs repainted.  There are several in this condition.

Crossville police officers Sgt. Lester and Ptl. Coleman Officers of the month

2 City of Crossville Police Department officers have received recognition with the issuance of “Officer of the Month” awards for June, 2016.

Story and photos provided by Crossville Police Dept.

On June 13, 2016 Sgt. Dustin Lester and Ptl. Daniel Coleman responded to a suspicious vehicle at the Peavine Road McDonalds. Upon their arrival they made contact with an individual in a stolen vehicle. This individual was entered into NCIC as a wanted felon from the state of Virginia and as a “Suicidal person”. Both officers noticed the individual had several cuts on his bgt.ody and had lost a large amount of blood. These officers secured the scene and applied first aid to the individual, until EMS arrived. Their actions stopped the mam’s bleeding saved him from further harm. They also removed a dangerous individual from the public and recovered a stolen vehicle. These officer’s dedication and professionalism has been rewarded with officer of the month recognition for the month of June, 2016.

K9 SGT. LESTER, MAYOR MAYBERRY                                                                  PTL. COLEMAN, MAYOR MAYBERRY

Monday, July 25, 2016

Downtown Crossville sidewalk project changed again.

The majority of the Crossville city council agreed to downsize work on the downtown sidewalks project one more time moving to a plan that will repair much of the area and replace about 30 to 35 percent.

The outcome might have been different if all the council members had been present. The called meeting was set earlier in the week and councilman Pete Souza had informed the other council members that he was not available for a called meeting during the week. The meeting was held anyway.

The matter was put on the agenda by councilman Danny Wyatt and the council had been waiting for a report on the costs of some alternatives to hiring a contractor to come in and replace all the sidewalks over a time frame of about 6 months.

Said Wyatt, “This has been talked about a long time and I feel like it is time to make a decision and stick with it.” Wyatt said he really didn't care what the decision was and he didn't have much fight left in him, but he didn't see spending millions of dollars when it can be repaired for $450,000.

Wyatt moved that the sidewalks be repaired where needed and hire an engineering firm to tell the city what is needed to bring the sidewalks up to ADA standards. The motion would also add a two man crew to the city staff and implement a 10 year sidewalk plan when Main Street is finished. Wyatt added that the city should turn Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) loose to pave Main Street right away. Councilman Jesse Kerley supported Wyatt's motion.

Council member Pamala Harris spoke saying that she had spent the last week walking Main Street, looking at the sidewalks and talking to people as well. Ms. Harris said she had talked to 19 people and 4 were in favor of the full project to replace all the sidewalks, 4 were non-committal and 11 were in favor of the repair process proposed by Mr. Wyatt.

Mayor James Mayberry said the project had been under consideration for many years and millions had been spent on the project plus $3.5 million in grants and funding that was returned. Mr. Mayberry reminded the council that economic development consultants had said how important a vibrant downtown is to a community. “I think this patching up is totally different then what the plan is,” said Mayberry.

A question on how to proceed with the motion was asked to the city attorney Will Ridley. The last motion on the project was made in May of 2015 to move forward with the full project using contractors and install new light poles with the current metal downtown poles to be used at Centennial Park. The following month a contract was approved with engineers to designe the project for bidding at a cost of some $100,000.

Ridely said, “This motion would be essentially amending that one and so it would need a three fourths vote of the members present so with this council today it would take three votes.”

Had all five council members been present the vote would have required 4 votes to pass.

Mr. Wyatt had some questions for city engineer Tim Begley about the alternative plan to repair the sidewalk corners to ADA compliance and replace sidewalks that need replaced. Mr Begley said that he estimated that some 35 percent of the sidewalks would need to be replaced but he stressed that that was only an estimate. Begley added that the time line for the repair project would be between 6 and 12 months. Because the changes proposed will require TDOT approval and Begley estimated it could be up to a year before the city could start on such a project.
Crossville city engineer Tim Begley

One complication is the intersection of Main Street at Lantana Road because of problems with the placement of the poles holding the street lights. According to Begley, the staff has been waiting for direction from the council on how to deal with the situation. The funds could be pulled from planned work on the West Avenue and Fourth Street intersection work or left out of the plans. It was also mentioned that the city needed to provide a decision to TDOT on the intersection by the end of September. Mr. Wyatt called that intersection one of the worst and it would be difficult to convert to ADA accessible corners.

The repair project as proposed would not include replacement of street light poles and according to Begley's memo, the repair project would only make the corners ADA and it would not make entrances to some of the businesses ADA accessible and he added during the discussion that some of the sidewalks were so slanted left to right that they were not ADA acceptable. In addition, there are trip hazards where the sections are not quite the same height. Begley wrote in his memo that the incomplete work to upgrade to full ADA compliance could cause problems for the city down the road.

Ms. Harris commented that several people had mentioned to her the need to repaint crosswalks and curbs since those had been left alone while waiting for the project to get underway.

Mayor James Mayberry said he was in favor of biting the bullet and doing the sidewalk project as previously agreed to.

Ms. Harris asked of the project was equivalent to about a 4 cent tax increase to pay for the more expensive work? Mr. Mayberry responded, “Actually you've got money in the bank. You could just cut a check and pay for it.” Mayberry said the city had $7.5 million in the rainy day fund and another $4.5 million in other funds adding the city could get pretty good interest rates to borrow the funds.

Clarification of the motion included the hiring of two full time employees at a cost of $90,000 a year, two part time employees at $35,000 a year along with necessary equipment and a truck at a cost of some $80,000 and $40,000 for concrete and rock.

The vote included yes votes from council members Wyatt, Harris and Kerley. Mayor Mayberry voted no and the motion was approved.

Link to sidewalk damage photos.  

City council full discussion on changing downtown sidewalk project. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Crossville city council votes to move forward on hiring a new city manager.

A majority of the Crossville city council approved with moving forward to hire a new city manager without waiting until after the November council election as previously approved.

The agenda item on the special called meeting Friday July 22 was proposed by mayor pro-tem Pamala Harris and she said she had a comment to make at the start of the agenda item.

Council members Danny Wyatt, Mayor James Mayberry, Pamala Harris and Jesse Kerley

Said Harris, “It has come to my attention that there are rumors floating around regarding this agenda item. I will caution you not to listen to rumors. There are some people who thrive on rumors and conspiracy theories and who frankly have harmed our city by spreading misinformation and making accusations against this council and other citizens that are unfounded. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm tired of this nonsense. So I'm going to ask everyone to join me in rejecting the rumors and gossip. Let's get on with the business of this city and make Crossville an even better place than we know it is today.”

Harris did not specify who and what the rumor was she was discussing, but in one email that circulated prior to the meeting, councilman Pete Souza wrote in an email Monday July 18 that there was a rumor that J. H. Graham was going to apply. Wrote Souza, “That would truly be a coincidence. I look forward to see how this is going to play out, especially the reaction from our constituents.

While Mr. Souza advised the council that he would be unable to attend a called meeting scheduled for the week, the meeting was scheduled and Mr. Souza was absent.

Ms. Harris moved on with her item saying, “The hiring of a city manger is incredibly important. I personally would like to take my time when reviewing resumes and vetting candidates to ensure that who ever we hire is qualified, is a leader, and desires to work well with the full council, and I stress full council, and wants to become a part of our community.”

Harris moved to rescind the previous action of April 14, 2016 to wait until after the election to recruit and hire a new city manager. Harris' motion received a second from councilman Jesse Kerley.

Mayor James Mayberry asked city attorney Will Ridely on the necessary vote count to rescind a previous motion and Ridley told him because the item was properly listed on the agenda only a simple majority was necessary but under Robert's rules, if it was not listed on the agenda it would require a 2/3 majority.

Ms. Harris said that she did not know if the city could hire a manager before the election, but she wanted to start the process. Councilman Wyatt said that at least three members of the current council would still be on the council after November so he didn't see it as an issue.

Mr. Kerley said the only reason he supported a delay in looking for a manager was to see where the recall effort went. Said Kerley, “Since it failed miserably, I think it's time to move on.”

The motion passed with all members present voting in favor.

Harris then moved to move forward with contacting the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) for assistance with recruiting a city manager, and accepting resumes over the next 60 days, and to direct the city attorney to review and edit the current job description, and the council is to be given copies of the resumes as they are received.

Councilman Danny Wyatt gave the second on the motion and asked about using MTAS and Mayor Mayberry read from information provided by MTAS about the services they provide. Those services are listed below.

Motion was approved with all four council members present voting in favor.   

Video of the city manager discussion during the called meeting held July 22, 2016

  • Offering suggestions on where to advertise 
  • Placing notices on the MTAS website 
  • Requesting other state’s city management associations to post job notices 
  • Using MTAS consultants to help recruit former colleagues and current and past clients for positions 

  • Accepting applications 
  • Handling application correspondence 
  • Ranking applications 
  • Supplying a ranking system of applications for the elected officials to use based on the advertisement and/or qualities the board desires to have in an administrator 

  • Facilitating discussions with the governing body on narrowing the list of applicants to invite for an interview 
  • Scheduling interviews with candidates 
  • Writing interview questions specifically tailored for the town that address current issues, criteria specified in the advertisement, and core competencies 
  • Supplying a ranking system for interviews 
  • Conducting and ranking interviews with a senior staff member to assist the governing body in making its decision on who to bring back for a second interview 
  • Supplying a list of generic interview questions for the governing body to select from 
  • Proctoring interviews 
  • Providing cost estimates of hosting interviews 
  • Developing and proctoring assessment centers 

  • Providing sample employment contracts for the governing body to consider 
  • Providing comparable salary and benefit information

Hot day! Cool Cars! Cruise in Saturday Downtown...

While the temperature tries to find a record, you can find some great old cars along Main Street today.  The cars are cool, but maybe that will help.  Here are a few examples of what you'll find.

New and old muscle cars are included.

When's the last time we had a Rolls Royce on Main Street?

1957 Oldsmobile

This might be your father's Oldsmobile!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blast from the past... Photo of the Crossville City Council from 1986

This was the Crossville city council when I first started covering city politics back in 1985.
Pictured are, front row, left to right: John Dooley, Mayor Willis Cox, and Elmo Lewis.
Back Row Dave Warner left and Jim Turner right. 

This council was elected in December 1984 and again in December 1986 and served from January 1985 to December 1988.  In these days, the term was 2 years on the council and all candidates ran on a single ballot with the candidate receiving the most votes being elected mayor and the next four serving on the council.  

Photo from Crossville Then and Now Facebook page. 

One arrested and two sought for drug distribution charges from the Grand Jury

Crossville Police Department Press Release
On Thursday July 21, 2016, Officers with the City of Crossville Police Department arrested another Cumberland County resident, following the actions of The Cumberland County Grand Jury, in which indictments were handed down for various charges.  Crossville Narcotics Detective’s efforts led to the charges being presented to the June 27, 2016 session of the grand jury.  
With this most recent effort:
PAM NEAL - DL imageWANTED - Pamela Kay Neal – 44 years old, Charges: Sale and Delivery of Oxymorphone and Oxycodone (2 counts ea.), Sale and delivery of counterfeit substance and possession of over ½ oz. of marijuana with the intent to sell and deliver. Neal is currently WANTED and will have a $40,000.00 bond.

VANMETER - DL imageKurt William Vanmeter – 22 years old, Charges: Sale and delivery of a counterfeit substance and possession of over ½ oz. of marijuana with the intent to sell and deliver. Vanmeter is currently being held on $15,000.00 bond.

WALTER SIMONS - DL imageWANTED – Walter Duane Simons – 63 years old, Charges: Employing a firearm during the commission of a felony,Sale and Delivery of Oxycodone (3 counts) and possession of Oxycodone and Oxymorphone with the intent to sell and deliver (1 count ea.). Simons is currently WANTED and is believed to have absconded to Michigan. Simons will have a $40,000.00 bond.

Vanmeter was arrested and taken to the Cumberland County Jail for processing. Neal and Simons remain at large. These latest actions by the Crossville Police Department’s Narcotics Detectives and Police Officers demonstrate the Department’s resolve to eradicate illicit narcotics in our community. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Community leaders attend economic development and incentive training.

A number of community leaders attended a training session Wednesday evening July 20 on the topic of economic development incentive programs.

Nashville attorney Thomas Trent explains about economic development 
incentives to community leaders.

The program was put on by Nashville attorney J. Thomas Trent, partner with the Bradley law firm where he serves as the chairman of the firms economic development practice group. Trent talked about payment in lieu of tax or PILOT programs and tax increment financing or TIF programs.

Trent stressed that incentives do not get the company to come, they help you win when you make it to the short list of locations. He explained that the most important thing was to have sites ready to go and that when a prospect made a decision, they wanted to get buildings built and opened as soon as possible as the company wants to speed into the market.

He added that it was important to find the flattest property and have it tied up so when a company is ready so is the property they need.

The next most important thing according to Trent is having a workforce with the right training. He said that the states Drive to 55 program is currently the most impressive education program in the county. He said it was important to sell to prospects and to local residents.

He also talked about some other incentives that can save small companies money on state franchise and excise taxes based on hiring 25 or more employees and investing at least $500,000. He said all these programs are important especially those that help companies that are already located in a community.
Thomas Trent makes a point during the training. 

The meeting was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and held at Crossville city hall. 

Humanaires tonight for Thursday at the AMP--Free show in Crossville

Tonight's Thursday at the Amp show at the Spirit Broadband Amphitheater will feature the local group the Humanaires.  The group, based out of Grassy Cove plays a mix of original and Americana/Rock music and are a talented group.

The show starts at 6:30 PM central time and is sponsored by Downtown Crossville, Inc..  The venue is located behind the Cumberland County Courthouse and in front of the Art Circle Public Library.

For more about the group, check out their FACEBOOK PAGE!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Very busy called meeting agenda set for noon Friday July 22 includes city manager, sidewalks, shooting sports park

The meeting started out to be about moving up the process of hiring a new city manager rather then wait until after the council election in November but the agenda has grown.

The meeting will be held without councilman Pete Souza who previously advised he was unavailable to meet. 

In order to move up the city manager hiring time line the council will have to rescind a previous action agreeing to put it off until the city election is held.  No reason for the change in plans has been released.  Emails this week from one council member sought to keep the applicants secret though city attorney Will Ridley advised that was not allowed under the open records law.

Also on the agenda is appointment of two members of an oversight committee for the economic development funds to the Chamber of Commerce and two appointments to the health and education facilities board.

A discussion of the use of city office space by the non-profit group Cumberland Rising, the drug alliance that came from the Horizon Initiative has been requested by council member Pamala Harris.  The partnership group has a temporary space on the fourth floor used by its director.

Cumberland County mayor Ken Carey will be at the meeting to discuss topics to include the shooting sports park that was discussed just over a year ago.  Carey will update the council on the project.
2015 story on the Shooting Sports Park

Carey will also talk to the council about the pay for 911 dispatchers.  The county's recent salary study showed that the dispatchers are below the average pay for the classification.  The city and county share the costs of the communications operation.

The long expected council discussion of the downtown sidewalk project and how to handle it will also be part of the called meeting.  The project has been looked at for bidding by a contractor and a study done by city staff to see what the cost and time frame would be to do the project with a dedicated city crew.  City engineer Tim Begley and street supervisor Kevin Music are expeted to report to the council as they try to decide the best way to proceed. 

Council will also discuss the lease between the city and Downtown Crossville, Inc on the building known as the Snodgrass building.  The initial term of the lease expires October this year and DCI is requesting a three year extension.  The city and DCI worked on repairs and upgrades to the building and all those have been completed according to the letter from DCI president Bob Schwartz 

An item on a project to convert old council audio tapes to CDs

Shooting Sports Park story from June of 2015--Project to be discussed during 7-22-16 called meeting

Council in favor of Shooting Sports Park partnership with County
(Originally from June 2015)

The Crossville city council appears to like the idea of a shooting sports park as proposed by Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey that would be built on part of the city's old Dorton Landfill property with funding from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
The proposal was first presented by Mayor Carey to the council at a work session held on June 4 with discussion and possible action set for the the regular June council meeting agenda.
City manager David Rutherford reminded the council about the previous discussion and the partnership with the TWRA and that the park would be utilized by folks in middle Tennessee, possibly from across the state and maybe other states. Rutherford explained, “The county mayor has been working with TWRA and hopefully we'll be able to know something for funding, but one of the requests is they have to have a piece of property.”
Rutherford pointed out the map of the property that identified about 116 acres of property referred to as the landfill site off of Chestnut Hill Rd. The 116 acres does not include the part of the property previously used as a landfill, another 34 acres that could possible be used as a competition range depending on how everything is permitted by the state concerning the use of the actual landfill property.
“The request from mayor Carey is that we consider making that property available,” said Rutherford and added, “This is by no means turning everything over. There's still lots of agreements and contract work we'd have to do with the county and TWRA as we move forward, but right now knowing the property is available will allow mayor Carey to move forward with TWRA if we can get more traction on this project.”
Mayor pro-tem Pam Harris commented saying, “I have no issues with letting the TWRA work on the project, but I would like to say that I want the language of any agreements to ensure that the city does not end up having to maintain the facility going down the road.”
Councilman Pete Souza commented saying that he had talked to the operators of Dave's Pawn Shop, that operates an indoor shooting range, and said the owners did not have any problems with the project and thought it would even help their business. Souza continued saying he saw in the project the potential to attract more people from outside the area to come a visit.
“I see a lot of potential,” said Souza, “and I'm going to support this but I also believe that a committee needs to be organized between the county and the city to develop this thing and a business plan be made up.”
Souza then made a motion that the land specified be designated for the use as a shooting range subject to an acceptable contract. His motion was supported by councilman Jesse Kerley and the motion was approved unanimously.
A training center building would be part of the project and law enforcement could use the facilities for training. It could also host hunter education and safety classes, handgun carry permit classes and more for the general public. In addition, the facility could also host local, regional and state events and competitions that would boost the local economy.
Mayor Carey was also at the meeting for the councils decision on the transition plan for building permits and inspections to be transferred from the city to the county. The city has provided the building inspections for the county for several years and had come to the point they would have to either add additional personnel or turn the work over to the county.
The county has opted to take over the inspections but does not plan to do this until October this year. Councilman Souza has pushed for the county to act faster to free up the city codes enforcement personnel to be able to work on problems inside the city including derelict houses that need to be condemned.
Manager Rutherford had met with Mayor Carey and worked out a transition plan that would pass any building permits and fees along to the county if work has not started by October first. Construction that was underway by the transition date would stay with the city through the completion of the building.
After numerous discussions with other council members stating their willingness to work with the county until they are ready to take over the work, Mr. Souza stated, “I've worn out my position this. It's time for me to move on so I'll make that motion.”

The motion was supported by Mr. Kerley and passed unanimously.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Council standing rules change, but not as Mr. Souza sought.

For several months, councilman Pete Souza has put an item on the agenda to try and reverse changes to the standing rules that would reinstate regular monthly work session and public comments during discussion of an agenda item.  

It did not go as planned.Wyatt moved to change the standing rules so as not to allow an item to be on the council's agenda for 90 days after an item fails to pass.  Before receiving a second, the motion was cleared with city attorney Will Ridley who said it would be legal for the council to put on itself.  

Councilman Jesse Kerley seconded the motion.  

Mr. Souza said, "I want to bring to the council's attention that this has far reaching effects, not just for what I've brought here today,  If this motion is just to censor Pete Souza, it has far reaching effects on every member of this council."

Mayor Mayberry said he recalled the first motion to come back to the council during his term was on the sponsorship of a golf tournament.  

The motion passed with council members Wyatt, Kerley and Pam Harris voting in favor.  Mr. Souza and Mayor Mayberry were opposed.  

One recent example of bringing an item back to council after being voted down was the Community Development Block Grant for $500,000 that the council voted down on a Thursday and called a special meeting the next Monday to reconsider and approve after reconsidering the action.  

Discussion and vote on city council rule change.

Uncertain future--Co. commission looks to surplus Youth Center property.

Cumberland County Commission voted to begin the process of cancelling the lease with the Youth Center and declaring the property surplus to sell.

While the Youth Center has long served the community, the organization has all but shut down though recent efforts to restart the operation included a proposal seeking funding from the city of Crossville.

There is a loan against the property with Highland Federal Savings and Loan that will have to be handled in the sale.  It is unclear how long the process will take to sell the property. 

Cumberland County Youth Center property off of Dayton Avenue and Hayes St. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Windfarm opposition group angry over action of County Commission-withVideos

We will have video of the discussion to add to this post a bit later, but the county commission soundly defeated a resolution that some called zoning that would have given the county the right "to regulate the use of property where such is found to be detrimental to the health, morals, comfort, safety, convenience or welfare of the residents.

This resolution was put forth by 9th district commissioner Sandra Dutcher.  After some heated public comment at the start of the meeting and discussion about the resolution it was soundly defeated with only three commissioners voting in favor.  Those included Dutcher and 9th district commissioner Woody Geisler and 3rd district commissioner Rebecca Stone.

Video of resolution on proposed land use regulation.

A second resolution also failed that was a non-binding resolution that had been previously passed by the Farifield Glade Community Club and the Crossville city council.  It failed in a vote of 6 commissioners in favor and 10 opposed.  Commissioners voting for the resolution included Rebecca Stone, Allen Foster, Terry Carter, Tim Claflin, Sandra Dutcher and Woody Geisler.  Sonya Rimmer and Elbery Farley were absent.  Other members voted against the resolution.

 As the group opposed to the windfarm left the meeting following the second vote a shouting match broke out and required Cumberland County Sheriff Casey Cox to go into the audience to try and calm things down.

Video of resolution opposing windfarm and aftermath.

Opponents of the Crab Orchard Windfarm filled the courtroom as the county commission met to consider two resolutions on the windfarm.  Both resolutions failed
Wearing "Stop the Turbines" shirts, some of those who attended the meeting discussed what they could do next after the meeting.  

Co. Commission turns down county wide referendum-with video

In a 12 to 4 vote, the Cumberland Co. Commission turned down the agreement with the city of Crossville to put a bond referendum on the Nov election ballot.  Commissioner Harry Sabine moved to turn down the deal that would let county voters approve or not the referendum that would increase the county tax rate by about 9 cents.
There were a few questions from the commission on the deal and what the county and city were responsible for.  Sabine commented that the county should have been consultTheed before the last minute.

The vote by the commission was:
Voted to oppose rec center referendum
Wilson (School funding first)

Voted to support the referendum


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Council approves $40,000 funding match to chamber of commerce with stipulations.

The Crossville city council approved the funding of the $40,000 that they promised the Chamber of Commerce last year with some caveats and oversight.

The chamber had brought the proposal to both the city and the county seeking $40,000 each from both governments contingent upon the raising of $120,000 of donations by the chamber as match funds to create a $200,000 fund for economic development following the release of the Horizon Initiative plan.

City council discusses and takes action on funding deal

Crossville mayor James Mayberry moved to release the economic development funds following a report by chamber president and CEO Brad Allamong that they had cash receipts and commitments totaling $132,000. Councilman Pete Souza seconded the motion.

Councilman Danny Wyatt commented that he felt there should be an oversight committee appointed by private donors and the city and county and he would not support it without such a committee. Brad Allamong told the council that the chamber's finance committee was made up of representatives including city finance director Fred Houston as well as county finance director Nathan Brock. In addition, Allamong explained that the donors would be involved in selecting the consultants used for the studies proposed as well.

Councilman Jesse Kerley added that while the chamber says they have commitments for the full amount of funds adding, “in my mind if this money's not in the bank, it's not been raised yet.”

Councilwoman Pam Harris asked Allamong when he thought the funds would be collected? Allamong said the chamber had received $12,000 in checks that day and another large contribution of $10,000 they are expecting as well as a few smaller checks. “We've had 100 percent collections,” added Allamong.

Ms. Harris suggested that the motion be amended to add an oversight committee and collection of the full $120,000 to the original motion.

Mr. Souza said the council could make the adjustments to the motion but said he felt it came down to, “Do we want to support this program or do we not want to support it? I think that what it boils down to.

Ms. Harris stressed, “I want to support this program. My motion would be a compromise that might be more agreeable to the full council. After some discussion, Ms. Harris moved to amend the motion with the addition of the contingencies of collecting the required $120,000 in the bank and formation of an oversight committee. The motion to amend was seconded by Mr. Souza.

The amendment was approved with 4 yes votes. Mr Wyatt voted no saying “because it wasn't stipulated who would appoint the oversight committee.” The vote to approve the motion as amended was the same with 4 ayes and Mr. Wyatt opposed.

Brad Allamong of the Chamber reports to the council prior to the funding discussion.

Just before the action on the funding release request, Mr. Allamong talked to the council about where the Horizon Initiative stands and what the total $200,000 plus will be used for. The plan includes a targeted industry analysis and workforce strategies totaling $120,000, workforce development programs at a cost of $10,000, funding for a basic economic development office that includes a support person and and necessary resources at $48,000 and a feasibility study for a multi-year campaign at a cost of $25,000.

Allamong continued, “The campaign was for some very specific things. We wanted a targeted industry analysis that will give us a professional consultant's look at the resources of Cumberland County, the land, the utilities, the workforce, etc. What are those companies that are in the expansion mode that we could attract and it's in their best interest to be here.”

“Workforce development strategy was another thing we want to do,” said Allamong. “Before we go out and do a bunch of programs, which may well cure some of our workforce ills. Tell us what the strategy is and then the programs follow. The targeted industry with the workforce strategy will tell you that you need to work on bringing these companies here.

In the morning before the council met, the chamber held a media announcement to talk about the Horizon program and funding as well as what they hoped to accomplish.  

Chamber's full press conference on the Horizon fundraising program and 
what the funds will be used for.