Collegedale Shifting Retirement Funds To State Program; Building Inspector Urged To Be Less Threatening

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - by Gail Perry

Collegedale Commissioners on Monday night gave City Manager Ted Rogers the final approval for transferring 401K and 457 retirement plans of city employees to a program run by the state of Tennessee treasury association. All investment options in the plans have been state approved and have federal liability versus the old plan that was run by the city manager and commissioners. The new plans will pay 47 percent of the average of the five highest payment years of the employee. Mr. Rogers said that the transfer will take at least three or four months.

On second reading an ordinance was approved that creates a special exemptions permit which will allow commercial buildings to be divided into smaller “fee simple” lots. Strategic Planner Kelly Martin told the commissioners this will allow “a higher and more complete form of ownership” which had been requested by developers. With this new permit the space and land underneath it will be sold and certain rights and responsibilities will be conveyed with it. The permit will stipulate maintenance responsibilities for all parties.

A public meeting and vote were held to set the compensation for Collegedale’s city judge. Judge Kevin Wilson addressed the commissioners saying that he had held the position for the past 24 years. He must win the upcoming election to serve eight more. He said the commissioners had been fair in his compensation in the past and that he would be in favor of whatever was decided. A vote was unanimous to continue with the same formula that has been used in the past which will add five percent yearly to the compensation.  

Work to replace two bridges with culverts along Prospect Church Road will begin soon. Plans are to entirely close the road at the location of the construction until each is finished. It is expected to take 30 days or less at each site

A 40 year resident of Collegedale spoke to the commission suggesting that the city be less “heavy handed” when dealing with citizens. Don Glass, resident of Crestmont Drive, has been in the process of scraping his house in preparation for painting it. He said that he feels this is the reason that the codes enforcer noticed the house needed paint. A “sharply worded” red tag was left at his home. The notice gave him two weeks to complete the work and threatened a $500 fine for each offense. Mr. Glass made a call to Codes and Building Inspector Andrew Morkert who promised a call back but the call was never made before Mr. Glass received a second letter with even stronger language.

Mr. Glass told the commissioners that after he did speak to Mr. Morkert, the codes enforcer had extended the deadline for the work to be finished but still did not give him enough time to complete the job.  

The homeowner is doing the work himself and said it would not be finished by the date he had been given. City Attorney Sam Elliott told him that Mr. Morkert was acting upon the international property maintenance code that the city has adopted. Under those rules the codes enforcement officer makes a determination but it can be appealed before the city manager.

Mayor John Turner told Mr. Morkert he would like to modify the procedure for requesting work on a residence by first sending a letter. Commissioner Katie Lamb suggested that Mr. Morkert look at the notifications that are being sent and soften the wording. Commissioner Larry Hanson proposed that a phone call be made initially and then resolving a problem with the homeowner without using a threat.

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