Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff told the Cleveland City Council on Monday afternoon that by making several alterations, the Cleveland School Board had cut the cost of the new Cleveland High gym from $12 million to $11 million.
Dr. Ringstaff said because part of that budget was contingency cost, the total price could also potentially go down even more.
Councilman David May asked what made this project so expensive, saying entire schools had been built for the same price.
However, Dr. Ringstaff pointed out that a gymnasium was typically the most expensive part of a school because of its high beam structure. He said other gymnasiums recently built had a similar price.
Cleveland resident Stacy Hayes told the council that developing the Haven Hill Children's Home would begin if the council will allow him to attach the property to city sewer lines. However, the house that Mr. Hayes plans to buy is 800 feet outside of the city limits.
He said his organization had finally been approved as a 501(c)3 by the state and asked the council to create an ordinance allowing such tax exempt organizations access to the city sewer.
However, City Manager Janice Casteel said that if they created a blanket ordinance, developers would be able to use a small tax exempt organization as a front and then receive free access to city utilities without paying any city taxes.
She said the proper way for Mr. Hayes to accomplish his goal would be to file a request for annexation. If it were to be accepted, the city could then decide to charge him or not for the sewer.
However, the owner of the property must be the one to file the request and Mr. Hayes said he did not want to purchase the property until the sewer situation is resolved. Currently, the property is still owned by the bank, which has no reason to want the city to annex the property.
Mr. Hayes said, "We're really standing idle right now just waiting on that."
Councilman Bill Estes said, "If you purchase the property and you ask for annexation, you will get sewer."
Councilman May agreed, saying, "Annexation is still the quickest way to make it happen."
Mr. Hayes said, "There's not anybody that's going to buy that house. I'm trying to do something with it and help some kids."
During the meeting, it was also announced that Ms. Casteel had been elected president of the Tennessee City Managers Association.
The council also passed a resolution to jointly fund the repair of a monument damaged over the weekend, with the help of the county.