A WWTA update was given at the Lookout Mountain, Tn. commission meeting Tuesday afternoon. Ansley Moses, the town’s liaison with the organization, said the original deadline for Tennessee American Water to bill sewer services has now been extended from Oct. 31 until Jan.1, 2013 in order for all the municipalities affected to establish accurate third-party billing. It will be set up so that Tennessee American will confirm water usage figures to the billing service, which will then be supplied to the town. The city will be responsible for notifying the water company to turn off service if a sewer bill is not paid.
He also reported on the federal mandate to reduce infiltration of water into the sewer system during periods of heavy rain. Because the town opted to join the WWTA in 2006, it is the WWTA's responsibility to make any needed repairs such as replacing old broken clay pipes. This will be paid for by federal funds and the $8 paid by WWTA customers each month. These inspections will, however, require easements to be given to the company by every property owner. It is expected that work will be started on Lookout Mountain next fall, when overflow valves will be installed and cameras will be used to inspect from inside the pipes. It has not yet been resolved how to handle repairs if work impacts the roads. Lookout Mountain, Tn. has never charged utilities before.
Mr. Moses emphasized that if a home develops a blockage between now and when the inspections occur, WWTA will use a certified plumber and the repairs will be done with no cost to the homeowner. He added that it was a wonderful decision to join that organization because it is all their problem now.
Another issue facing the WWTA concerns about 18 homes on West Brow Oval. Those houses have gravity lines that go 250 feet down the mountain where sewage accumulates and is then pumped back up to join the main system on that road. It will be entirely their decision, said Mr. Moses, whether to repair or replace the lines or to put in grinder pumps. Easements will be required for the old lines to be removed if that is the option chosen.
Dwight Montague told the commissioners that the financial report is right on target. Tax bills were sent out last Friday, and he said the town had received payment on some by Saturday. The city has purchased two new heavy duty trucks which have been paid for. The town is still waiting for the bid on one of them to be completed. He also reported that a payment of $11,600 has been made for the audit. Once it has been completed, the report will be explained at the following commission meeting he said. There is $6,300 in the beautification fund, and that would be available for use in replacing some of the trash cans near Point Park, he told the public works commissioner.
Commissioner of Parks and Playgrounds Joe Hailey said he had received exciting news that the state grant for $100,000 to repair the tennis courts has been approved. A ceremonial presentation of the check will be given to the town next Monday. Commissioner Hailey gave credit for this to Will Moses, past commissioner of parks. A matching amount will be required from the town, but is already in the budget.
In his report, Don Stinnett, commissioner of schools, said that he had attended his first PTA meeting in 25 years, and said “it is a beehive of activity”. After talking with several mothers there and hearing the praises for the class sizes, the teachers, staff and Principal Ruth White, he said there should be no doubt as to the value of the school to the community, “you can’t do it any better” said Mr. Stinnett.
A mailer has gone out, created by Mr. Montague, to notify residents of “dumpster days” said Walker Jones, commissioner of public works. Included on it are the dates it will be here and what items can and cannot be taken. Chief Randy Bowden will also post a sign somewhere near the top of Scenic and Ochs Highways to announce when the dumpster will be available. The next date is Nov. 3.
The leaves are starting to fall, and Mr. Jones said the leaf machine is starting to move. Public Works Director Corey Evans wanted to remind everyone to separate brush from leaves to make pickup efficient.
Commissioner of Fire and Police Ernie Minges gave the police statistics for the month of September. There were 110 police calls, 5,021 miles patrolled, 19 false burglar alarms, six assist citizen calls, and no 911 calls. There were 45 traffic stops and two auto accidents - one with injuries - during the month. Two arrests involving domestic violence / aggravated assault were made. There were no thefts, 10 medical calls and three fire alarms - all false. Chief Bowden commented that this is the first month without any 911 calls, but said that was because the calls had come in through other agencies or over the regular phone lines.
Commissioner Minges wanted to encourage everyone to drive more slowly and come to a complete stop at stop signs. These infractions will be enforced, he said. He also urged pedestrians not to walk three and four abreast in order to give traffic some space.
A variance request was made by Chris and Gail Jenkins who are replacing a garage at their home at 117 Highland St. Free standing garages are no longer allowed to be built unless they are grandfathered in, which is the case for this one. All of their contiguous neighbors had signed a document of approval. The variance of making the building six feet wider than the old one was granted.
Another variance was given to Hugh O. and Nancy Maclellan to combine two lots into one property on West Fleetwood joining the lot where their home is located and a vacant lot next door that they also own. This is being done to add restrictions in order to guarantee no building permit can be issued for that lot in the future.
The town commissioners issued a resolution to honor the Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club for the publication of their new cookbook to celebrate their 100-year history. In addition to recipes, the book shows the history of the garden club and of Lookout Mountain, and how both have developed, It shows what members have done for the town. One interesting piece of history that was discovered is that in 1917, the Lookout Mountain, Tn. town charter was amended to give women the right to vote in municipal elections and Mrs. Newell Sanders, a founding member of the garden club, was the first female to cast a ballot in the South.
Amy Aiken was responsible for researching the history and putting the book together, which has around 500 favorite recipes gathered from members and several mountain businesses such as the Café on the Corner, the Lookout Mountain Golf Club, the Fairyland Club and Covenant College, with contributions from Helen Exum. The printed books should arrive this Thursday and will be sold at the Octoberfest on Lookout Mountain. It will also be available at Rock City, Ruby Falls, Fischer Evans and Dayle May Jewelry stores, the Mountain Market, Twiggs and Fairyland Pharmacy at a cost of $20.
Mayor Carol Mutter in her report discussed the Octoberfest street fair planned for Oct. 27 from noon to 5 p.m. and the requirements for a special events permit. The actual sponsors will have to make the application and will need to have insurance, including the city in the policy. They must also provide for security and measures to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors. Last year the police department provided those services and had no problems, said Chief Bowden. The council/beer board issued a beer license for the event.
Mayor Mutter and Mr. Montague have been getting bids for medical insurance for town employees, and reported that they have benefited from the competition. The current insurer is United Health Care River Valley. The premium last year was $315,000. Their bid this year was an increase of four percent. After analyzing all proposals, the best is from Cigna which keeps the same co-payments and deductibles as the year before while also keeping the same participating doctors and hospitals. It also provides for free medical screenings to encourage healthy lifestyles. The cost from this company will be $319,500 for the 29 employees that participate in the plan. This is an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. However, an added benefit is that $209,000 will be put into medical claims, and at the end of the year, if any money is left, the company will keep half and the other 50 percent will be put toward next year’s premium.
The mayor was also happy to report that it appears that space will be available for Dr. Bill Moore Smith at the proposed Lookout Mountain, Ga. Village Center.