Lookout Mountain, Ga. Planning Projects With $175,000 In SPLOST Funds; $4 Monthly Fee Proposed To Be Added To Sewer Bills

Friday, April 18, 2014 - by Gail Perry
Krue Brock with his flora and fauna class
Krue Brock with his flora and fauna class
- photo by Gail Perry

Lookout Mountain, Ga., is slated to receive $175,000 in SPLOST funds from Walker County. Mayor Sandy Gothard told the council members at a meeting Thursday night that the money has been prioritized for six projects needed by the town. In order they are: to replace the main sewer line which will increase flow, to purchase a small tractor for cutting grass, to replace deteriorating street signs, to complete the sidewalk to the Tennessee state line, and to buy a new patrol car and a leaf machine.

The sidewalk will be designed to be consistent with the portion that has already been built in Georgia.

The schedule of city fees is currently covered by multiple ordinances which make individual fees difficult to find. The council decided to consolidate all fees into one new ordinance. Of special concern are building permits for interior renovations. Larry Reed, in charge of code enforcement, said if an interior project exceeds 30 percent of the value of the house, it should be permitted and inspected. This will require more effort on the part of the city, but is needed for inspecting the quality of electrical work. Electrical needs are greater now than when many of the houses in the neighborhood were built in the 1950s and putting increased loads onto those existing systems is a fire hazard, he said. Chief Todd Gann told the council that two of the last three fires in the city have been because of wiring.

 The council was told that despite this being in the building codes some people are not aware when permits are needed and are not familiar with the building regulations. City Manager Brad Haven suggested notifying the realtors, builders and remodelers that are known to work in the town of this requirement. The police and public works employees will also be on the lookout for construction that is being done.

 In creating the sewer budget for the coming fiscal year, Jimmy Campbell, head of the sewer board, made two recommendations. A charge for repairs to the grinder pumps due to negligence on the part of the homeowner is the first way he hopes to recover unnecessary maintenance costs for the city. This is already allowed under the city’s ordinances but has not always been enforced. He also proposed adding a monthly fee of $4 to each sewer bill. Mr. Campbell is targeting delinquent sewer bills as well. These have been difficult to enforce since the water company discontinued billing for the service. He said that letters will be sent to the offenders which will give them 15 days to settle up or discuss it with the city manager or himself.

 Draining water from swimming pools was discussed in relation to sewer charges. The city will notify all homeowners with pools that they should be filled with water from regular water meters not those intended for irrigation. This is because water used for filling a pool is subject to sewer charges. In turn, if it is emptied, the water should be drained into the sewer system. This will be monitored by city officials who will identify houses that have a pool. If sewer fees are not paid on that water, the volume of the pool will be determined and sewer fees will be assessed on that amount.

 The new security cameras are working, said Chief Gann. The department received a burglary report for a car that was broken into at Rock City. The police were able to get a detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle because of the new surveillance system. He also agreed to station a vehicle at the intersection of Red Riding Hood Trail at the entrance to Rock City in order to slow down cars.

 Councilwoman Taylor Watson said that the town wanted to express gratitude to the Laurelwood and Lookout Mountain Beautiful garden clubs for landscaping in front of city hall. The council joined in thanking them for donating their time and expertise as well as providing the plants and mulch.

 Krue Brock came to the meeting with members of his flora and fauna class. These middle school students told the council members that they had been studying the way plants and animals are inter-related in order to become better stewards of the earth. They have learned about the relationship between natural spaces to home and to public areas. The group has formulated ideas of ways to do their share, suggesting that they could raise money to put up bird houses and plant fruit trees. Other projects they have visualized could only be accomplished with help. Some of the ideas are building a basketball and shuffleboard court, a playground or a lake at Carter Field.

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