The Fourth of July celebration in Collegedale will be the largest they city has ever had. The 2014 budget has twice the amount designated for fireworks than what was spent last year. The commissioners voted Monday night to accept the bid of $20,000 for the show. Public works director Rodney Keeton said in the past, 840 shells were used and 240 of those were small and used mostly for sound. This year the display will have 1351 shots using none of the small shells.
Two areas along Apison Pike are planned for widening.
Two lanes will be added to make it a five lane road by the library and near the Veteran’s Park. Sidewalks will also be added. For this to happen, the commissioners approved the sale of right-of-way property to TDOT for $32,425 near the library and $52,675 near the park. This will cause the sidewalk to be three feet from the library which created some concern by several commissioners as to safety. One suggestion was to put up a barrier.
Developers interested in building stores and malls want to be able to buy actual land. The buyer of a typical condominium is typically a shareholder. In order to satisfy those interested in investing in the city, a plan to create a special exemptions permit was devised that will allow fee simple lots to be created within commercial buildings. This in effect will form very small lots inside a building. The large building will have to meet all the requirements that are necessary. This will only be applicable in C-1 and C-2 zones.
Commissoners voted to levy an occupancy tax on any hotel, motel or any place in which rooms, lodgings or accommodations are furnished to transients for a price. Hamilton County collects a four percent tax and Collegedale can charge up to an additional five percent. It was noted that the ordinance would also pertain to rooms that are rented to Southern Adventist students.
The rehabilitation of manholes will soon begin in Collegedale and will be done in three stages over three years. Bids were approved for this work at the commission meeting for $36,500 for the first phase, $32,000 for the second and $31,000 for phase three. When asked if they wear out, City Manager Ted Rogers said sewer gas is destructive, and that it eats concrete from the inside. The manholes will be cleaned and covered with a pink rubber coating. He also told the commissioners that one fourth of the way through sewer inspections throughout the city, no large gaping holes have yet been found.
Approval was given for an ordinance that will extend group medical insurance benefits to the board of commissioners. It will be available on May first. A vote was also in favor of authorizing mileage reimbursement of 56 cents per mile for the city manager.
Upon recommendation from Commissioner Larry Hanson, Rob Howell was appointed to the parks and recreation advisory board.
A technology update concerning police equipment was given to the commissioners by Police Chief Brian Hickman. The police department will be switching from old record management to giving “citations by hand-held’s.” He told them that the change would take about three months to be completed. Each hand-held device costs around $5,000. The printers that will be built inside headrests may take longer because the new headrests that incorporate printers will also have to match the specs from the original headrests.
City Manager Rogers said that he has analyzed the city’s retirement benefits program and that he does not recommend any benefit changes at this time. He does, however recommend changing the provider to a program run by the state of Tennessee where all investment opinions have been approved and have federal liability. Mr. Rogers said in the current plan that is being replaced approval of the investment options falls on him and that they then go to the commissioners for approval. The new plan will pay 47 percent of the average of the five largest payment years of the employee. The new plan was given approval by the commissioners.
The city’s new website is considered user friendly and successful. City Manager Rogers said that in 2013 it had 29,652 new hits, and 12,000 return visits. The monthly average is around 3,500 hits per month.