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Monday, July 11, 2016

July Regular city council meeting to consider indoor recreation facility and hiring city manager

The Crossville city council meets for their regular July meeting Thursday evening and the schedule includes the audit committee at 5:30 and the regular meeting at 6 PM.

Crossville city council members, left to right, Pete Souza, Danny Wyatt, Mayor James Mayberry, Pamala Harris & Jesse Kerley. 

Council will discuss the indoor recreation center as they attempt to interest the county in sponsoring the funding for the project in a county wide bond referendum. The referendum would likely eventually lead to a 10 cent property tax increase and if the referendum was only voted on by city voters, the city tax rate could rise as much as 35 cents to cover the bond costs and possibly more for operations.

City representatives attended the recent building and grounds committee meeting but at least one member, while he said he supported the city doing the project, felt that there was inadequate information for the county to approve the referendum.

The city is working to put together a joint agreement between the city and county concerning the ownership and operation of the recreation center. The basic framework would be contained in the resolution adopted by both the City and Council so that, if the referendum is approved by the voters, both the City and County know how to proceed.  Language in the draft agreement

Without these basic questions agreed on in advance, an adopted county-wide referendum would make it totally a County facility and responsibility, with no involvement by the City. The County Commission meets on July 18. Their next meeting would be August 15, which leaves little time to get the proposed referendum question to the State Election Commission for approval to submit to the Cumberland County Election Commission by August 25.

Council will consider the request for the $40,000 from the Chamber of Commerce as part of the fund raising that includes $120,000 raised by the chamber and another $40,000 from each of the city and county that would total $200,000 to be used for a target industry analysis, workforce development strategy, feasibility study for a multi-year fund raising campaign and operations of a basic economic development office.

The letter from the chamber requesting the release of the funds indicates that the industry target analysis would be a companion study to go along with the property evaluation program awarded to the community by the state late last year that looked at potential industrial sites.

Councilman Jesse Kerley has requested that an item concerning the hiring of a full time city manager be placed on the agenda. Council had previously voted in April to put off hiring a regular manager until after the November election and to use the help of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) in seeking candidates for the position.

Kerley's request for the city manger action came out of series of emails in which Kerley accused Mayor James Mayberry of violating the city charter over asking council members to share their thoughts on hiring now former interim police chief as the regular police chief. Story on emails between council members over Shoap hiring 

Once again, an item to discuss rescinding the last changes to the council's standing rules has been requested to be placed on the agenda by councilman Pete Souza. This itme has been on the agenda for the last several months and councilman Souza has stated he will out in on every month until the rules are changed or he is no longer on the council.

Council will also consider authorizing repairs to Crossville fire engine # 18 that was damaged in a wreck while responding to a fire recently. The repairs are estimated at $29,367.37 and insurance will cover all but the $5,000 deductible.

Under the council's consent agenda, items to be considered include approval of payment for the sponsorship of the Tennessee Women's Open golf tournament, approval of $1.2 million in capital outlay notes for the radio system upgrades along with several upcoming road closures for downtown area events.

It appears that discussion on the downtown sidewalk project may be put off until a future work session on the costs of having a contractor do the work versus hiring additional city employees for a dedicated sidewalk construction/repair crew. 

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