Lookout Mountain, Ga., officials said, because of a gift from former resident Frances Gardenhire, there is enough money to complete the sidewalk to Lookout Mountain, Tn.
The gift was made to the Lookout Mountain community from Ms. Gardenhire, who died in 2012, through Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. The gift was viewed as something that would please Frances who was regularly seen walking around the mountain. Pastor Frank Hitchings said that $15,000 has been split between Lookout Mountain, Ga.
,and Lookout Mountain, Tn. Another $5,000 was given to the Fairyland School Foundation in her memory.
Mayor Sandy Gothard asked for and received permission to spend up to $30,000 to complete the sidewalks. He said that because of this gift the whole amount would not have to come from SPLOST funds as had been planned.
Caroline Williams, vice president of the Fairyland School PTO this year and president next year, gave the council an update on the school. She expressed gratitude to the parents and community for their generosity which will enable the funding of an additional teacher so there will be two teachers in each grade next year. The Pre-K program has had 42 children sign up for the upcoming year. A lottery for placement will be held May 16 and will leave 20 on a waiting list. Plans are to ask Bright Star to fund a second class for those 20. The state of Georgia owes over $1 billion in education funds. One third will be paid this year. That means Walker County will receive $1.5 million.
Ms. Williams said that for the first time ever, 100 percent of fifth grade students passed the fifth grade writing test. CRST testing was done at the end of April and results will soon be received. It is anticipated that the school will continue being #1 in Northwest Georgia for the third year in a row.
A new fundraising event for the school will take place Aug. 16. “Music on the Mountain” held at the golf club will be a barbeque and bluegrass party and auction featuring the Dismembered Tennesseans.
The council voted to adopt a fee schedule for services that should have been charged in the past. Councilwoman Beth Soloff said it was important to know that the city is not making money from this. The charges will only reimburse the town for its costs. Examples of the type charges that will be implemented are fees and charges for the planning committee for reviewing plans before a building permit is issued and for the permits themselves. Another example is a fee charged for new construction to tie into the sewer system. City Attorney Bill Pickering told the council that many of these fees are currently governed by ordinances and will just need to be revised.
Culvert replacement and road repair was also discussed Thursday night. A big problem on Fort Trace was caused by a large metal pipe used by the developer of the neighborhood. Erosion under the culvert has caused the pipe to drop and collapse of the road followed. Repairs will soon be made after the town gets two quotes. Also discussed was establishing a schedule for road repairs such as patching potholes and painting stripes. Asking Walker County for help doing some maintenance was also suggested.
Jimmy Campbell, who is in charge of the sewer board, announced a new procedure for collecting delinquent sewer bills. The city will now send a letter to those with unpaid bills. Letters were sent to 11 people May 14 that will give them until May 25 to pay. If not taken care of, the matter will go before the city judge.
Caselle Software that the city uses for bookkeeping and accounting needs to be upgraded. It was decided to update the current software that is in use by paying for support until another quote is received.
The mayor said that meetings will be held next week about the upcoming budget and that he will get numbers to the council by June 1 for review. The first public budget meeting will be June 19.
Another issue involved vacant property and yards that are not being maintained. Attorney Pickering advised that a city ordinance allows the city to do the work and charge the owner. He suggested sending a letter to the owner of the property to make them aware of the problem. Many of these issues involve rental property, it was said.
Concerned citizens Jerry and Jill Burger, joined by Lee Franks who lives in Tennessee, told the council they were disturbed about litter that has accumulated on some of the mountain roads. Of special concern are Scenic and Ochs Highways which are the responsibility of Chattanooga, and Sanders Road that is overseen by the National Park Service. They asked the council to urge people to complain by calling 311 or 423-425-6311 saying that the volume of calls should affect the response.