Red Bank is in the process of revising two policies that will affect the city. The city's planning commission is creating a new land use plan that among other things will make recommendations concerning zoning issues. The city is also clarifying the code with respect to animal control. The commission is waiting for the results of these policy changes before making certain decisions that have come before the board. Discussion of a new animal control ordinance was tabled for 60 days and a moratorium was extended on building any new multi-family dwellings for six months.
Another reason for delaying decisions is because past Commissioner Kenneth Welch moved away from Red Bank creating a vacancy on the board of commissioners. With four board members, votes on some important matters have been evenly split.
In March a developer requested a zoning change for some property in order to create a large entrance to an apartment complex he has proposed. That rezoning request in the middle of a quiet neighborhood was met with opposition by those living nearby and was eventually turned down by the commission. Meanwhile, the commissioners are waiting for zoning recommendations that are being determined by the planning commission’s new land use plan. The developer subsequently has a lawsuit pending against Red Bank.
The commission will ultimately consider the new land use plan and must give approval of the recommendations. After the commission meeting Tuesday night, Commissioner Rick Causer said he voted against candidates to fill an empty seat on the commission because the three had all been active in the resistance to re-zoning the property that is involved in the lawsuit. which might appear as a conflict of interest if one of them was on the commission.
The next meeting of the planning commission is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. at the community center. Mayor Roberts said it is important for Red Bank residents to have input into the land use plan.
In the past two weeks, City Attorney Arnold Stulce discovered a mistake in the city charter that he had written in 2002. The charter says in the event of a vacancy, other commissioners "shall" appoint a replacement. However, there is no time limit specified for doing so. He told the commissioners that there is nothing that says a called election must be held. Unless an agreement for a replacement occurs, there will be no commissioner from District 3 until the election when citizens of the city will make the decision.
Another important vote that was evenly split at the June 3 meeting was the approval of the 2014-2015 budget on first reading. After more workshops, commissioners were in agreement and voted Tuesday night to accept the new budget on first reading. Mayor Roberts said this is a $6,585,869 budget and includes no property tax increases. The tax rate remains at $1.35 per $100 of appraised value of a property. He said the budget includes a number of one-time purchases. The largest expenditure is the million dollar designation for paving 30 secondary roads in order to improve the city’s infrastructure.
Appropriations were made to the 2013-2014 budget to accommodate overages that occurred during the fiscal year, in order to balance the budget. This is a “housekeeping” matter, said City Manager Randall Smith.
The second reading of the budget will take place Wednesday at noon for final approval.
In other business, the commissioners approved a construction contract to repair slope damage where Stringer’s Branch is eroding Dayton Boulevard. Also discussed were wine sales in grocery stores that will soon be allowed by Tennessee law. Mayor Roberts said there is a petition in circulation that needs roughly 300 signatures. This will give the city the opportunity to put it on the ballot.
The mayor also presented a donation for $1,000 to Mike Mathis for Crime Stoppers. This business helps the community by helping to locate criminals in the city. He has been performing this job for the past 30 years. Congratulations were also given to Police Chief Tim Christol who accepted a trophy on behalf of the police department for being triumphant over the Fire Department in an annual baseball game.