Three new commissioners for the town of Lookout Mountain, Tn. were sworn in for a term of two years at the town commission meeting Tuesday afternoon. Don Stinnett, Ernie Minges and Joe Hailey replace two commissioners and the mayor who are retiring from public service and will join two commissioners who will be returning.
The first order of business was for the new commission to designate a mayor from the newly elected officials.
Carol Mutter, who is returning from her previous tenure as commissioner, was unanimously chosen as mayor. Her first duty was to appoint each commissioner to head a specific governmental department. Walker Jones, also returning, was appointed commissioner of public works and was designated the position of vice mayor.
Mr. Stinnett is the newly chosen commissioner of education and will also assume the position of treasurer. Mr. Minges was assigned the post of commissioner of fire and police, and Mr. Hailey will head up the department of parks and playgrounds.
Susan Probasco will join incumbent members of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. School Board - James Haley and Sherry Pollock.
Mayor Mutter told those present that the retiring commissioners were leaving the town in a much better place than it was when they each began serving in their respective positions. Will Moses, commissioner of parks and playgrounds from 2006-2012, oversaw the complete restoration of the Mountain Maze playground as well as the baseball field. He was presented with an inscribed plaque attached to a baseball bat.
Dan Crates, commissioner of public works from August 2004-2012, initiated projects for the betterment of the community and served the town with sound financial principles and fiscal restraint, said the mayor. He was honored with an inscription on a snow shovel.
Greg Brown, mayor from August 2006-2012 is leaving a legacy that will be enjoyed by residents of the town for many years to come. He undertook the complete restoration and improvement to Natural Bridge Park, and development of the pedestrian walkway that now follows alongside Scenic Highway to the Georgia state line, including the installation of “Bobby’s Bridge”. He served in his position with abiding love for the town, said Mayor Mutter. The commissioners approved a resolution that names the new walkway “Greg Brown Scenic Path”. A walking stick with an engraved plaque of thanks was also presented to the outgoing mayor.
In regular business, Town Consultant Dwight Montague told the new commissioners in his financial report that the budget is right on target. He gave the final total of $609,473 that the town received from the Hall Income Tax for the year ending June 30. For the month of July, he said, there were no capital expenditures.
The statistics compiled by Police Chief Randy Bowden showed 102 police calls, 5,171 miles patrolled, 18 burglar alarms, all false, six assist citizen calls, three “911” calls and 44 traffic stops. There was one arrest of an illegal immigrant with no license, and two auto accidents with no injuries, one theft, seven medical calls and seven fire alarms, all false.
The parks and playgrounds department has applied for a grant to replace one tennis court and to repair another, along with maintenance for Navarre Pavilion. It is now in the hands of the state to consider. Soccer is in the process of beginning and football will start Sept. 4.
Lookout Mountain Elementary School has many new faces this year with several new teachers and staff members. The first day of school was Monday.
Regarding the Public Works Department, Dwight Montague told the commissioners that he had an exciting announcement. The town has initiated “Single Stream Recycling”. Beginning immediately, residents will be able to take all recyclables to the bin at the maintenance barn which is no longer only for newspaper. There is no need to separate the materials - RockTenn will do the sorting. The exception is that cardboard will still need to go in the designated area. The bin will be available from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Residents can call the public works department at 821-2417 with any questions relating to this new service.
Ruth Oehmig came to the meeting to announce that the merchants of Lookout Mountain, Tn. have started planning the second annual holiday festival on the mountain. It is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 27 and will be much the same as the event last year, with booths for local vendors and crafts people from the mountain. The suggestion has also been made to highlight outdoor activity that is available on Lookout Mountain, including representatives from the Lula Lake Land Trust and possibly to have a hang glider on display from the flight park. The street fair will be called Oktoberfest with beer being served from the patio at the café.
Another proposition was made to the commissioners by realtor David Devaney representing Dr. Bill Moore Smith who now has a medical office on McFarland Avenue. He is hoping to build a larger office on the mountain and is proposing to buy land from the town that is behind the Baptist Church where Bobby’s Bridge is located. He would like to develop a full service medical facility, possibly with an adjacent physical therapy office next door. The doctor office alone would be around 3,000 square feet and 5,000 if the physical therapy feature is added. Mr. Devaney said the design plan could be architecturally pleasing with the entrance being on Watauga Avenue.
Town Attorney Brian Smith advised the commissioners that the plan should first go through the Hamilton County Planning Commission for review, but that the Lookout Mountain commissioners had the final say-so. It was agreed that in order to consider the plan, the town will have two appraisals done for the property. The commission also authorized the filing of a rezoning request to change the current zoning which currently is Single Family 1, to Commercial zoning.
Dr. Smith initially had been discussing locating his office at the planned new town center at Lookout Mountain, Ga.
The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. Commission will be Sept. 11 at 5 p.m.