Lookout Mountain, Ga., Considering Whether To Allow Goats, Chickens, Small Tax Increase Approved

Friday, October 20, 2017 - by Gail Perry

At the September meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Ga., city council, a proposal was made that would allow goats in the city limits for the control of kudzu without using herbicides. City Attorney Bill Pickering said the large animal ordinance would need to be revised to allow the goats. At the October meeting, attorney Pickering read the ordinance which prohibits keeping animals in excess of 50 pounds except dog or cats, unless the property is at least five square miles.


Also at the October meeting, the council room was filled with people who would like to keep chickens. Mayor David Bennett said he has seen enough interest in recent years to take another look at the ordinance that controls barnyard animals. A public hearing on chickens has been scheduled for 5 p.m. prior to the next council meeting. This should give the board time to research the issue. Mayor Bennett would like citizens to email their opinions to him before the next council meeting at mayor@lookoutmtnga.com.


Costs continue to rise causing the need to increase rates in the city. The new property tax rate for 2017 was established on final reading Thursday evening at 9.35, which is slightly above the rate of 9.05 rate last year. This small increase will bring an additional $15,983 to the city.


Sanitation fees will also be raised by $100 in 2018. The approved fee will now be $400 per container for both residential and commercial properties. The increase was necessitated by an increase in the amount the city pays to the landfill and other solid waste expenses including the city’s participation with the monthly dumpster program with Lookout Mountain, Tn. and the need for a new garbage truck, which will cost between $220,000 and $300,000.


Billing to the city from WWTA has also increased this year by $19,000 because of a consent decree to clean up water that enters the Tennessee River. This will mean an additional $2.50 per household per month that will need to be paid, said Sewer Board representative Wes Hasden. He expects that rates will continue to rise so he recommended for the town to implement incremental tax increases to cover the cost. Last month the sewer board installed a new air valve on Fleetwood Drive which has improved capacity and flow rate, he said. 


A problem was discovered with heavy rain which flooded Chickamauga Trail. A sump pump from one home was pumping water through the grinder pump at the house, which increased the volume of water in the sewer system. Suggestions were made for inspections to determine if other sump pumps were connected to the system. Inspections could be required at the time of a property sale or when plumbers pull permits to work on a house.


Council member Caroline Williams said that two big upcoming events at Fairyland School include the Great Pumpkin Chase which will take place at the school track at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 27. This event will be used to teach the students about fundraising. Grandparent/Grand Pal day will be held before Thanksgiving break, she said.


Council member Arch Willingham said that revisions to the PUD ordinance have been sent back to the planning commission. This ordinance will represent the best way to have a high density area in the city, which could possibly be used in the new town center development. A public meeting will be scheduled once the ordinance is written and approved by the council.


Mayor Bennett said that the county election will be held on Nov. 7. He urged support for the TSPLOST item on the ballot. This would add one cent to the sales tax in Walker County. The money raised by the tax increase would be distributed between the cities in Walker County and the county itself. If passed, Lookout Mountain, Ga., would receive an additional $86,000 that would be designated for road improvements, trails or paths.


Because Oct. 31 falls on a Tuesday, Mayor Bennett made the decision that trick-or-treating would take place on the actual day of Halloween, Oct. 31, versus the weekend.


Plans for the new town center will be unveiled at a meeting in January.


Citizens who live at the corner of Rock City Trail and Cinderella Road expressed concerns to the council about cars failing to stop at stop signs. The police have started watching those streets and in one day stopped 6-8 cars. Several concerned residents said stopping autos would do no good if police do not issue tickets instead of giving warnings. Illuminating the signs and painting stripes to call attention to them were both suggested as possibilities to get drivers to notice the signs.


At the August council meeting, approval was given for putting stop signs at all intersections on Hardy Road and to drop the speed limit from 25 to 15 MPH in the attempt to slow down cars. Instead of slowing them, the traffic has just shifted to two other roads, Princess Trail and Robin Hood Trail, which have both been experiencing problems with speeding. The mayor said this issue will be revisited at the next council meeting.


Another citizen asked the city to start a recycling program.


The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Ga., town council will be Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m.


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