Soddy Daisy Police Get New Cars, Radios

Friday, February 8, 2013 - by Gail Perry

City Manager Hardie Stulce asked the Soddy Daisy Commissioners on Thursday night to approve several items needed by the Police and Fire Departments - some budgeted and some not. He asked for voucher approval of $19,000 to replace 10-12 year-old police radios with an 800 megahertz transmitter. This item is in the budget and got unanimous approval from the board.

The Fire Department has 30 self-contained breathing apparatus that each hold one tank, and there is a spare tank for all 30 of them.

These have a 15-year lifespan and, since they were bought 15 years ago, need to be replaced. The commissioners approved the purchase of 60 tanks which were included in the capital improvements budget.

Soddy Daisy will bid out for the purchase of seven new police cars. The lowest offer came from a Ford dealership in Dayton. The police fleet “is in shambles,” said Mr. Stulce, with most cars being in the range of seven-eight years old. When money was tight, the city went several years without buying any new cars, and when some were bought, it was two, not four. He recommended that the city buy six more cars this year in addition to the seven already ordered. Once they are caught up with the original plan, money can be designated each year for vehicle purchases on a rotating basis. The auto dealer will continue to honor the three-month-old bid price of $23,253 and an additional $3,000 for customizing each with police equipment. The purchase of six additional cars was approved for a total of $157,518, which will come from the reserve fund since this expense was not budgeted.

The licenses are expiring for all copies of Microsoft Office the city uses. City Recorder Burt Johnson told the commissioners that each license could be bought for $264, with a total of all for $11,880. Commissioners approved the renewal costs which will come from the technology fund since it was not a budgeted item.

The city has been working on a plan to improve to improve Holly Park which is on land leased from TVA. Work being done in phases includes improvement of walking trails and parking and adding picnic tables. After the city had applied for and won a grant, officials were notified that in order to receive the matching $185,000 grant, the lease on the land would have to be for 25 years. There are nine years remaining on the current lease, and TVA would charge $5,000 to apply for a new one with additional expense to process it. The timeline for processing the request for a new lease would not accommodate the two-year deadline to use the grant money. Mr. Stulce recommended not to pursue the grant, but to continue developing the park as planned for the remainder of the nine-year lease, and the commissioners agreed.

For projects to follow the completion of Poe’s Tavern, suggestions were parking in the North Park, the Kids Club, improvements to Veteran’s Park and to both walking trails and lighting for them. The city manager also informed the commission that he wanted to develop a long-range transportation plan for Soddy Daisy. He plans to have Weiser, a traffic planning company from Murphreesboro, address the commissioners. It was decided that would be done at 5 p.m. prior to the workshop and regularly scheduled commission meeting on Feb. 21. City attorney Sam Elliott advised that the meeting must be advertised.

Engineers on the Durham Street project will tentatively start Friday, Feb. 15. The contract specifies the work being complete 120 working days from the day the project starts, said Mr. Stulce.

Vice Mayor Rick Nunley said it is a priority to have a meeting of the Parks and Recreation department to establish rules and regulations for Poe’s Tavern since they need to be in place for the upcoming spring. He also relayed a citizen's concern about SUVs and campers parking at the corner of Carr Road and Dayton Pike, which obstructs vision.

Commissioner Gene Shipley asked for and got a four-way stop sign at Old Dayton Pike and Ducktown that has a history of problems after asking the police chief if he thought that would slow cars down or if he thought that it would be dangerous. It was decided that the sign would go up along with rumble stripes to warn of a traffic change, along with a 30-day warning before making the change.

Commissioner Shipley also announced that the next “Pumpkin Fest” would be accompanied by a 5K run with proceeds going to St. Jude’s Hospital. Attorney Elliott recommended that the organization get in touch with the city’s insurance agent to make certain that it would be covered in the case of a mishap.

Commissioner Shipley brought up the subject of how to prepare citizens in case of a tornado. He suggested that perhaps TVA could use their existing sirens by changing the tone or sounds of the sirens to indicate a tornado as opposed to a meltdown warning. The city has been lucky for the last several years, but you never know when it will be your turn, said Mr. Shipley. “This is something that TVA could do for the people,” he said.

Bill Newberry, representing the Holly Circle neighborhood, said residents did not know what the city's plans are for that neighborhood and he wanted to express their concern. They have seen many trees removed and what was once a quiet, isolated area, is now a thoroughfare. Mayor Janice Cagle told him that the city could arrange for the neighborhood to see the plans and have them explained.

City resident Margaret Chastain told the board that she is bothered with all the advertising signs being put up along the roadways. There are so many in certain areas that you cannot even read them, she said. The city picks them up every week, Mr. Stulce told her. Mayor Cagle said that all that can be done at this time is to enforce the ordinance that is in place.

On second and final reading the commissioners agreed to establish zoning for the land newly annexed by the city. These areas are identified as Old Dayton Pike North, the Penobscot Drive Area, Dallas Hollow Road, and Old Dayton Pike South at Highway 153.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.

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