Collegedale Receives High Praise From Auditor; Zoning Appeals Board Abolished

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - by Gail Perry

“You’ve got one of the best run cities in this county,” Paul Johnson told the Collegedale Commissioners on Monday night. He was referring to the audit conducted by his firm, Johnson, Murphy & Wright, from June 2012- June 2013. He said from working with the city employees, he recognized they are “good and dedicated people that care about what’s going on.”

The audit report shows the ratio of asserts to liabilities is five-to-one, with assets up significantly this year over last. An increase was made in the general fund as well as in the sewer and airport fund. The airport fund is finally showing a profit this year, he said, and the city is paying down the debt. Revenues also saw an increase and the city is showing a profit. Times are good now, said Mr. Johnson, which has allowed the reserve fund to build.  He termed the audit “an excellent report.”  

The monthly financial report from City Manager Ted Rogers, at 41 percent through the year, shows revenues and expenditures as expected. “Nothing is remarkable” he said and that is how it should be.

Accepting the low bid for a new tractor was recommended by Rodney Keeton, director of public works. It was approved by the commissioners. The winning bid was $49,750 for the vehicle that will be equipped with a side mower, which the city purchased previously. Mr. Keeton said it would be about 60 days before the new equipment will go into service.

On second reading, property along Ooltewah-Ringgold Road was rezoned from I-1 industrial to C-2 convenience district. The owner of the property plans to subdivide the one -acre lot and sell it for commercial use. The new zoning designation provides more utility for the property, the commissioners were told, since one acre would be difficult to market to any industry.

The commission also voted to abolish the Collegedale Board of Zoning Appeals, which had the authority to make exceptions to the zoning rules established by the planning commission. The responsibilities of the BZA will now be given to the planning commission. Previously, Mayor John Turner told the commissioners that the BZA was out of touch with what the commissioners were attempting to do by continually over-riding ordinances.

Commissioner Katie Lamb congratulated department heads in the city government concerning the strong audit report. She also praised the police department for its handling of the recent armed stand-off that occurred on Prospect Church Road, which she said was handled professionally and with a safe ending.

Commissioner Larry Hanson reported that the recycling center is in need of five new volunteers. New hours will be from 4-6 p.m. on Sundays. Each volunteer will need to be available only once every eight weeks for two hours. He asked for the names of any potential workers to be sent to him.

A resident came before the board to discuss a problem of visibility on city roadways. The problem is especially bad in rainy weather when bright headlights shining on the wet roads make the markings hard to see. Lines on the roads as well as dark intersections were of concern. The citizen requested reflectors be installed along the stripes as well as the addition of illuminating certain intersections.

The director of public works said that new paint being used by the city for striping is more reflective than old street markings, which should help. Some streets that were discussed are state roads or maintained by Chattanooga and not the responsibility of Collegedale. However, Mr. Keeton said he could suggest the changes to the appropriate department.  

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