Lookout Mountain Residents Urged To Sign WWTA Easement Requests; Ochs Highway Stone Wall To Be Repaired

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - by Gail Perry

Residents of Lookout Mountain, Tn. have started receiving letters from WWTA (Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority) requesting easements for all service lines from the exterior of a residence into the sewer lines. At the commission meeting Tuesday night, Ansley Moses, the town’s representative to the WWTA, said eventually every property will get one. He asked the mayor and commissioners to encourage residents to grant these easements.

He said the WWTA is under federal and state mandates to reduce rainwater infiltration into the sewer lines, and starting next year will inspect and test all exterior lines with pressure tests and cameras.

If it is determined that repairs or replacement is needed, it will be the responsibility of the WWTA. Once the easement has been given, the landowner has no financial responsibility for sewer lines outside the structure of the house, said Mr. Moses. Homeowners are not giving up anything but will be passing the liability to the WWTA, he stated. Commissioners voted to give Mayor Carol Mutter authority to sign the 14 easement requests for city-owned properties.

Every easement grant must be notarized. A notary is available at the Town Hall each weekday from 8 a.m.-noon. Free notary service is also available at the Lookout Mountain Branch of SunTrust Bank whether you are a customer or not.

If a blockage or problem occurs with the sewer lines, the homeowner should phone WWTA at 423 209-7842. A list of plumbers approved by the Authority will be provided along with instructions about how to proceed.

In the financial report, Town Consultant Dwight Montague said 93 percent of property taxes have been paid as of the end of February. He also said the town received around $5,000 from the Governor’s Safety grant. Health insurance costs were extremely high for this period because there were several months that Cigna, the new insurance provider, did not bill the town. “On a sad note”, said Mr. Montague, a CD that was paying four percent just matured, and it will be hard to find another with that rate of return.

A request to replace the water fountain at Jane’s Park came from Jimmy Stewart who helps maintain the parks along with the garden clubs. He estimated the cost to be $400-$500 to replace the fountain that was damaged by a freeze and cannot be repaired. The new one will have an overflow dog bowl. Mr. Montague suggested that the money be used from $6,359 remaining in the beautification fund.

“We’re turning the corner on winter and it has been pretty easy on the public works department,” said Walker Jones, commissioner of public works, in his report. The department is busy now picking up brush and planning for above roadway trimming that will be done this summer. For this work, Mr. Jones is looking for a used bucket truck, he told commissioners. He also asked for citizens to notify the town if any problem areas with kudzu are known. Spraying needs to be done by the first of May in order to kill the vine before it re-seeds, he said.

It is unknown if the responsibility of repairing a stone wall near the top of Ochs Highway belongs to Lookout Mountain, Tn. or Chattanooga. Instead of waiting for the determination, the town’s public works department will do the repairs. This will require the road to be closed for the day that work will be done. The next date a dumpster will be on the mountain is May 4, it was noted. Judge John Higgason commended Corey Evans and the public works department for the great job they did in cleaning up the park between Laurel Lane and Park Road.

Monthly statistics from the police and fire departments were given by Commissioner Ernie Minges. During February, police received 73 calls and patrolled 2,624 miles. There were 14 false burglar alarms, nine assist citizen calls, four “911” calls, one auto accident with no injuries and 23 traffic stops. One burglary and two thefts were recorded during the month with no arrests having been made to date. During February eight medical calls were answered and eight fire alarms. Seven of the fire calls were false. At the February meeting, commissioners approved spending up to $2,000 for a body shield for police protection. Commissioner Minges told the board that a shield has been ordered for $1,246. “Hopefully it will gather dust” he said, but will be very valuable to have if it is ever needed.

Assistant chief David McGuffee attended the meeting Tuesday night in place of Chief Randy Bowden who is recovering from recent surgery and is doing well, said Mr. Minges.

Senter Field has a new scoreboard, thanks to the generosity of the Coca-Cola Company, said Commissioner of Parks and Playgrounds Joe Hailey. He told the board that the Baseball Parade will be on April 13, starting at 8:45 a.m. This year it will begin in the parking lot of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church and go all the way to the Fairyland ball fields, escorted along the way by police from both Lookout Mountain, Tn. and Ga.

Mr. Hailey also reported that sometime last weekend; signs at the playground were taken down and stacked in a blatant show of vandalism. This has happened before, he said of the plastic signs that hang along the fence so more permanent ones are being considered. The grant for repairs to the tennis courts is still on hold, waiting for information from the state. Work on the courts will most likely be done after summer camp, he told the commissioners.

Allied Waste Services has presented the town a proposal for trash and curbside recycling. After reviewing the options offered, Commissioner Hailey said the only way it might make financial sense to use the services would be if the company picked up recycling every other week at the cost of around $48,000 yearly. If this successfully reduced the amount of trash enough, garbage pick-up done by the town, may only be needed once a week. Mr. Hailey plans on checking to see how it is working out for other municipalities that use Allied Waste.

Don Stinnett, commissioner of schools, reported the success of events March 1 involving Lookout Mountain Elementary school. “The fabric of the community was on display with everybody interacting and supporting the school,” he said. Grandparent’s day that morning and the fundraiser “Night-Out for Lookout” that evening were both well attended. The money raised at the event is still unknown. Spring break for the school will be the week before Easter beginning Monday, March 25.

Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham announced that he had met recently with principal Ruth White. During the meeting he asked her to make a “wish list” for the school. He gave commissioners the good news that representing the county he will be able to do some things for the school this year.

Mayor Mutter reported on her attendance at the Tennessee Municipal League conference in February. While there she met with Rep. Richard Floyd to see how he will be able to help the town. She also informed the commission that Talus, the new restaurant coming to the mountain, will open Tuesday, March 19.

The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. commission will be April 9 at 5 p.m.

gailaperry@comcast.net


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