Lookout Mountain, Tn., Commissioners, Staff Hoping For Spring

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - by Gail Perry

“Hopefully, spring will come soon,” said Commissioner of Public Works, Walker Jones. At the Lookout Mountain, Tn., commission meeting Tuesday night, he reported on the efforts that the Public Works department has been making to keep the roads clear of snow and ice. The town purchased another load of salt in January to add to the other two already bought this winter. This is in addition to what remained unused from last year.

Corey Evans, director of public works, arranges to keep some employees from the department overnight when icy conditions are expected.

Mr. Jones asked the commissioners to approve funding the purchase of cots to keep at the maintenance barn for this purpose. He added that it would be appreciated for residents to bring food or cookies during these times.

Town Consultant, Dwight Montague told the commissioners that the public works payroll was higher for the month of January due to the overtime caused by weather and the cost of salt. He also told them in June when the new budget is being created, they would probably need to up the amount for public works, due to the extreme winter weather the town has experienced.

The public works department works hand-in-hand with the police department, responding to any areas reported to be a problem. They follow a system to determine the order of clearing roads. The state of Tennessee takes care of Scenic Highway, but the town re-checks the bridge on Scenic Highway to make sure it has not iced over.

The most-used traffic arteries are the first to be taken care of, starting with North Bragg leading to the school. Because Watauga Lane is flat, it is cleared to provide a southward route from the north end of the mountain. West Brow and East Brow Roads are also considered major arteries and are salted and plowed in the first rounds. The order of working on smaller streets depends on which other roads that they connect and the traffic volume and number of homes located on them.

Six auto accidents happened within 10 minutes Jan. 28, when school was dismissed early because of snow. In the future, the school has agreed to notify the town in advance of closings so it can get a head start clearing North Bragg. Mr. Jones said the capital expenditures for new trucks and salt spreaders have paid off this year.

Mr. Jones reported that most of the leaves have now been cleared and he wanted to remind residents that landscapers and contractors are required to remove the large piles of debris that they create. If a homeowner themselves, take brush to the street, they are asked to limit each pile to four by four by eight feet so they are easier to handle.

Paving the loop around Point Park, Lincoln Street and the alley between Hermitage and East Brow Road will begin soon Mr. Jones told the commissioners The first step will be milling which roughs up the old streets. The actual paving will begin in the spring when it is warmer.

Lookout Mountain suffered a great loss in January when Police Sergeant Tim Guinn, who had worked at the town 12 years, lost a courageous battle with cancer. Law enforcement agencies from all across Hamilton County assisted in the funeral and in staffing the Lookout Mountain police and fire departments so all employees could attend the service. “It was a very fitting send-off for a very honorable human being,” said Commissioner of Fire and Police, Ernie Minges.

Mr. Minges read the department’s statistics for January that had been compiled by Chief Randy Bowden. Police answered 103 calls, patrolled 3,886 miles, and responded to 34 burglar alarms that were all false. There were 13 assist citizen calls, 14 “911” calls, six auto accidents, 15 traffic stops, two thefts and no burglaries during the month. Paramedics responded to 10 calls in Tennessee and two in Georgia. The fire department answered four alarms, one a car fire, two responding to the smell of smoke and one mutual aid to Georgia for a shorted-out wire.

The police department has hired a new officer/paramedic, who was introduced at the commission meeting. Dale Taylor comes to Lookout Mountain from the Chattanooga Police Department.

Joe Hailey, commissioner of parks and playgrounds, announced that Dixie Youth Baseball sign-ups will be held Saturday, Feb. 15 and 22, at the LMS gym from 9 a.m. until 12 noon. He also updated the commission on the progress being made to replace the tennis courts. The town is in talks with the engineering firm to modify plans, hoping to reduce costs. There is no way the project will be finished before Commons Camp, so the town’s job will be to make sure everyone is safe during the construction.

It has not yet been finalized, but the preferred location for a new cell phone tower would be behind the maintenance barn and would be another construction project to impact the area around the commons. A public hearing originally scheduled for Feb. 13 at LMS has been postponed.

 It is recognized that the town needs to have to have a way to accommodate cell phone companies, said Mayor Carol Mutter, but it has been determined that the proposal should first go through the Regional Planning Agency at its March 11 meeting. A new ordinance will need to be voted on twice in additional to holding a public hearing, so building will probably not be started until late spring or early summer and would take about three months to complete.

Mayor Mutter also gave an update on the security project. Hampered by the weather, the cameras are now being installed. The next step will be testing the system before being put in use, which should happen around the end of February.

The donation of an AED defibrillator has been made to Lookout Mountain School, said Don Stinnett, education commissioner. This will be a supplement to the more sophisticated equipment that the police department uses. The spring musical “LMS Grammy Awards” will take place March 20 for grades K, two and four and on March 21 for first, third and fifth grades. “Jump rope for Heart” that will benefit the Chattanooga Heart Association is scheduled for March 3-10. A major fundraiser for LMS, Night Out for Lookout, will be held Feb. 28, with all proceeds from the dinner / auction going to the school.

Town Consultant Montague told the commissioners that revenue from property taxes is now coming in. There was a $10,966 expenditure for workers compensation insurance in January, but the town is still $13,000 under the amount budgeted for insurance. Another expense was $6,243 for an additional load of salt.

The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. commission will be March 11, at 5 p.m.





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