Soddy Daisy Council Members Unhappy With Judge Lasley; Hire Administrative Hearing Officer

Friday, February 17, 2017 - by Gail Perry

For the last several years, officials in Soddy Daisy have been trying to clean up the city. That has involved issuing citations to properties that are not in compliance with the city codes, and in some cases buildings have been condemned or demolished. At last count, said City Manager Janice Cagle, 42 properties have been brought back up to code with repairs, remodeling or cleaning them up.

 

About the same number remain on the list whose owners have made no attempt to correct the problems.

The city’s codes enforcement officer can give fines of $50 per day, maximum. The commissioners voted unanimously on Thursday night to establish the office of administrative hearing officer. This will allow the city manager to hire a person who will have the authority to issue more substantial fines - up to $500 for violations. If the fine is not paid, the enforcement effort can be taken to Chancery Court.

 

Each commissioner also expressed displeasure with the city court’s record of enforcement and the collection of fines and court costs. The city is owed $500,000 in fines and fees that have accumulated over the past seven years. City Judge Marty Lasley is in his second year of an eight-year term. Council members claimed it is his responsibility to collect fines and fees but it has failed to be done. City Recorder Burt Johnson said the court has been losing between $75,000 -$80,000 each year above what it brings in. That leaves the city taxpayers supporting the court, said Commissioner Gene Shipley.

 

Commissioner Shipley said he voted to hire an administrative hearing officer because the city is paying a codes enforcement person, automobile expenses and overtime for the court and is still losing money on enforcement. He said that he hopes the person in the new position can make a difference. “I regret our judge didn’t do it,” he said. "I want to do all I can to collect the half million dollars that are the result of all types of violations in addition to the building codes." He said some of the same people who are cited to court repeatedly do not have respect for the judge or the court, referencing as an example, communication from a citizen earlier in the meeting.

 

The citizen asked the commission for help to stop a neighbor from constantly bringing items to his property and burning them causing a fire hazard and thick smoke and ash enveloping the neighborhood. This has constantly taken place even during times when outdoor burning was banned, he said. The police and fire departments have responded repeatedly to the complaints and the man has been in court twice about the burning issues and for hitting golf balls into neighboring yards threatening cars and windows, yet he continues to do those things, it was stated. Fire Chief Mike Guffey told the commissioners that for the violations the man only gets his hand spanked by the judge. The next time it happens, the neighbor was told to call the Air Pollution Control Bureau which can write a ticket and he will be bound to court in Chattanooga.

 

“I’m tired of people getting just a slap on the wrist with no repercussions,” said Commissioner Rick Nunley.

 

“I’d like to echo what they’re saying,” said Mayor Robert Cothran.

 

At the commission meeting on Feb. 2, the commission voted to rezone multiple properties in the oldest part of the city in an attempt to clean up spot zoning. Several properties on Wall and Clayton streets were overlooked at that time, so were rezoned from C-3 general business to R-2A rural residential district at the meeting Thursday night.

 

The mayor was authorized to sign an Interlocal agreement with Hamilton County so the city will not be responsible for paying half of the cost for property reappraisals that will be done in 2017.

 

Bids were approved for a salt shed at $7,000, the purchase of a lawn tractor for $25,000, and lighting and accessories for two new police vehicles for $9,582. All were budgeted items.

 

The additional cost of $40,956 was approved for a change order made to the current road project. The project was stopped because of the proximity to gas lines, which have now been relocated. Additional work will still be required, causing the extra expense. It will come from the city’s State Street Aid Fund. 


22 County Mayors Across East Tennessee Endorse Randy Boyd For Governor

Randy Boyd announced Wednesday that nearly two dozen county mayors from across East Tennessee have endorsed and are already working in support of his Republican campaign for governor.   Mr. Boyd is the only gubernatorial candidate from East Tennessee. More than 40 percent of the projected 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary vote is expected to come from East Tennessee.  ... (click for more)

Former Corrections Officer Arrested, Charged In TBI Misconduct Case

Special agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for a former Clay County corrections officer accused of inappropriately touching an inmate. At the request of 19 th  District Attorney General John Carney, TBI agents began investigating Spencer Mason, on March 9. During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that, ... (click for more)

Life For Our Ancestors In 1890

May 26-27 is the 1890’s Day Jamboree in Ringgold. I encourage any reader to attend and enjoy that wonderful community. I love having grown up in Northwest Georgia and celebrating our veterans, including both of my grandfathers who served in WWII.  But I also want to describe how the 1890’s were for my ancestors, living here in a singularly turbulent time. Based on, among ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Life With 007

I was 13 when the first of 24 James Bond movies came out and, at a time when my sap was just beginning to rise, I will never forget Ursula Andress stepping out of the sea wearing that white bikini. Our hero walks over to the dripping Honey Ryder – that was her name in “Dr. No” – and she says in the Swiss accent, “Are you looking for shells too?” And the first classic reply of thousands ... (click for more)

Baylor Gets Offensive In Softball Win Over St. Benedict

MURFREESBORO – The two-time Division II defending state softball champion Baylor looks ready to challenge for another title. The Lady Red Raiders spotted St. Benedict an unearned run in the first inning, but came back strong to prevail by a 12-1 final in six innings. Wednesday’s win, Baylor’s 25 th against three losses, sets up a winners bracket final with arch-rival GPS, ... (click for more)

GPS Erupts To Blast Briarcrest, 10-0, In D-II Softball

MURFREESBORO – The GPS softball team seemed to be in some kind of lethargic funk at the start of their game with the Briarcrest Lady Saints, but they finally got their act together in time for a 10-0 six-inning win in the opening round of the Division II state softball tournament at Starplex Field No. 3 Tuesday evening. The Bruisers had cruised to a doubleheader sweep of Harpeth ... (click for more)