Arnold Stulce, representing the Red Bank and Soddy Daisy Charitable Foundation, presented the city of Soddy Daisy with a gift of $28,000 at the commission meeting Thursday night. It was given with the stipulation that it be used for the sole purpose of replacing Fire Hall #3. A required condition will be that the city keep the money in a segregated, interest-bearing account.
Commissioner Jim Adams said an account has already been set up with those provisions for investing grants that the foundation made in 2010 and 2012 for the same objective. Including the new donation, that account will have around $116,000 for the start of a new facility.
Former state legislator Stulce said he had a few remarks to make and hoped that he was not stepping out of bounds. One of the first acts of the 1969 commission after Soddy Daisy was incorporated was to buy a fire truck, he said. That service has allowed the city to provide a volunteer department which has resulted in the city having a class three insurance rating and saves every homeowner a considerable amount in insurance costs every year, he said. The foundation he represents has, in the past, bought a new fire truck and provided funds that built the #2 fire hall, he continued. But he said there is not enough for the #3 fire hall now.
Growth of the city is to the south, and the present fire hall #3 is completely inadequate,” said Mr. Stulce. He added, "We would be derelict in our duty if we don’t do something about that.” He encouraged the commission to recognize the need. The city also should make sure that the fire halls are manned at all times, he said.
Mayor Janice Cagle replied that no one on the board would be opposed to those proposals. It is just a matter of finding the funds without tax increases, she said. Because the new budget will soon be worked on, Commissioner Gene Shipley asked City Manager Hardie Stulce for the cost to build the proposed structure. He answered that the price several years ago was around $570,000-$600,000.
“We’re not far from having to staff a fire department,” commented Mr. Shipley, adding, “It’s a financial thing.” He told the commissioners that Hardie Stulce has been working for some time to get a grant for more help in the fire department. The city manager then told them he had applied for a grant three times, and two of those had received a form letter of denial. The last application met all the requirements, yet was still rejected.
Congressman Chuck Fleishmann will be in Soddy Daisy next Wednesday at the city hall for a short time and will then be taken around the town by the city manager to show him some of the needs. At that time, Mr. Stulce hopes to hear an offer of encouragement from the representative, for the next round of grants concerning the fire department.
At the commission meeting March 7, Fire Chief Mike Guffey was given approval to spend up to $69,000 for a new fire truck. He was happy to report to the commissioners that he had been able to negotiate the price of $65,000 for the purchase, which included the radio. He added that the new truck would fit into the old fire hall #3, but just barely.
Police Chief Phillip Hamrick told the board that some new police vehicles are needed and the lowest bids had come from the state contracts. For the purchase of two Ford Fusions and one Ford F-150 pickup truck, the best price was around $60,000. Plans are to use $20,000 from the drug fund toward the cost as well as any proceeds that are derived from the sale of six patrol cars that the department has available to sell immediately, and 7-10 more as they are replaced by new ones. He asked and received approval from the commission for funding of no more than $40,969 for the three new vehicles.
Vice Mayor Rick Nunley sought authorization to use $400 from the parks and recreation fund to pay for a split rail fence which will be erected around Poe’s Tavern. He was given approval on the condition that the city manager and public works director are involved in the placement of the fence. And, Commissioner Jim Adams reported on the success of a recent meeting where eight people came to hear AARP representatives talk about personal protection.
In old business, commissioners approved, on second and final reading, to update the city’s building, mechanical, plumbing and gas codes.
Resident of the city W.B. Robinson came to the meeting asking for permission to erect signs near both ends of the town. These large structures would have spaces available for any non-profit organization to be listed. He plans on charging the groups that wish to participate for the cost to build it. He also asked for authorization to put up crosses with attached flags for deceased veterans from Soddy Daisy. He plans the display for Veterans Day and will leave them up for several weeks. The commissioners approved both projects.