Lookout Mountain, Ga., Has 2% Tax Rise; Franklin Architects To Design Town Center; Council Members Have No Election Challengers

Friday, September 22, 2017 - by Gail Perry

A public hearing regarding setting the millage rate for 2017 was held Thursday evening before the start of the monthly Lookout Mountain, Ga., Town Council meeting. Each year the council and mayor estimate the revenue needed to operate the city to determine the amount of tax that will be needed, said City Attorney Bill Pickering. The recommendation, which was approved by the council, was to set the millage rate this year at 9.35 mills. That is a two percent increase for homeowners and will provide the city with $15,983 above what was collected in 2016.

Mayor David Bennett gave an update on the Town Center project. He announced that the architectural firm Franklin Architects has been selected to design the master plan. Several preliminary meetings have already been held. It is hoped that renderings of the design will be ready to show the public in February. The ground breaking is expected before summer 2018.

The mayor also said that all current council members have qualified for re-election and there are no challengers. The city, therefore, can cancel the November election. The county election will still take place with a proposed one cent increase to the special local option sales (SPLOST) tax on the ballot.

Council member Caroline Williams in the school report said the fundraiser “Music on the Mountain” had a record attendance of about 300 people this year and raised a lot of money for Fairyland School. She encouraged participation at the LMS fall carnival on Oct. 3, and at the Great Pumpkin Chase, another fundraiser for Fairyland School, on Oct. 27 that is meant as a way for children to learn about fundraising and what the money will support. The after school program is being run by teachers, she said, and help with school work is available as well as other entertaining enrichment programs. She gave a reminder that the speed limit in mornings and afternoons is 15 mph.

Statistics from the police and fire departments were given for the month of August by Chief Todd Gann. During the month, police patrolled 2,998 miles, made 18 traffic stops, gave 10 citations and 18 warnings. It was noted that the town is cracking down on speeding. There were four accidents. Seven suspicious vehicles and six suspicious persons were investigated, and 11 alarms were answered. During the month there were six medical calls, one fire call, six assist citizen calls and five to help motorists. There were no thefts or burglaries during August. Mayor Bennett praised the police department for handling the recent Ironman competition that went off without a hitch.

Municipal Judge Buddy Presley requested changes to enable the court to issue the maximum amount, not tied to a dollar amount, for contempt of court charges. He also suggested adopting the state of Georgia’s table of fines for violations. The council approved both changes.

A mutual aid agreement with Lookout Mountain, Tn., was approved. The Tennessee town’s insurance carrier requested documentation of the arrangement between the two municipalities that share costs associated with security cameras that monitor the entrances to both towns

Councilman Arch Willingham reported that the planning commission is in discussions about the best way to look at a high density area in the city and is considering a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that may be relevant to the new town center. A special meeting is planned for October for more deliberation before bringing it to the Town Council. Any change to density in the town will require public meetings and an amendment to the zoning ordinance, said attorney Pickering.

An ordinance was passed on first reading at the August council meeting that approved and established the rules and regulations for a new home sharing ordinance. The new ordinance passed on second and final reading Thursday night with only Councilmember Taylor Watson opposed.

Wes Hasden representing the sewer board said the town is now keeping records about the sewer system that are available to public scrutiny. He said that Soddy Daisy will be doing sewer collections for Lookout Mountain, Ga. A new air release valve on Fleetwood should solve a lot of problems, he said. A low bid for the work was accepted contingent upon Attorney Pickering’s review.

Ann Brown made a proposal to the council for the city to be the fourth in Georgia to become a Bee City U.S.A. The mission of the group is to sustain pollinators including bees, butterflies, bats, ants, hummingbirds and moths by increasing habitat with flowering native plants, using fewer chemicals, and increasing awareness of their plight, through education.  The council voted to join the program and will partner with the Town of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee which also has become a supporter of Bee City. program. Members of the council suggested various ways to participate, such as having Fairyland students plant a bee garden at the new Joe Wilson Park.

Rock City president Bill Chapin told the council of his concern about the spread of kudzu on both private and public property. He made the suggestion to secure goats inside fenced areas and allow them to graze on the vine. For their protection another animal such as a donkey or Great Pyrenees would be fenced in with the goats. The council has agreed to investigate this possibility and recognized it as a way to manage the problem without using herbicides, another way to help pollinators. If the city tests this method on city owned property, the large animal ordinance will need to be amended, said Mr. Pickering.

In his report, Mayor Bennett said the city is trying to communicate better with its residents through email. He encourages all citizens of the town to get on the city’s distribution list at citymanager@lookoutmtnga.com.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AUTRY, JERMEKA RENEE  5141 WOODLIN VIEW CIR CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BATY, JASON BRENT  1071 RAVEN CLIFF RD GRAYSVILLE, 37338  Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Clark D. Nolan, Accused Of Imprisoning And Assaulting Wife, Found Competent To Stand Trial

A Graysville, Tn., man who allegedly strangled, assaulted and threatened to kill his wife while holding her prisoner in their home is competent to stand trial, according to two forensic evaluators. Psychologist Robert W. Brown Jr. and forensic coordinator Todd Wiggins reported to Sequatchie County General Sessions Court that they evaluated Clark Dean Nolan on charges of aggravated ... (click for more)

Why Are Pictures Of Our President And Vice President Not Hanging At Our Federal Courthouse?

I would like to know why the pictures of our President and Vice President have not been hung in our Federal Courthouse. They have been approved by the White House. Every time I call they tell me they are on order. Tommy Fryar (click for more)

Roy Exum: Battling The Beggars

The revelation that Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy wants to crack down on the city’s panhandlers is every bit as refreshing as the beautiful jonquils now bursting forth across our city. In a recent poll on Chattanoogan.com, over 80 percent of those who live here indicated they are scared to go downtown and that is inexcusable. This is no way for anyone to live. But I can ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Wins Wildcat Classic Again

Early season prep baseball tournaments are meant for a few things; primarily competition, repetition, and learning a few things about your team over the course of a few games.   The Ooltewah Owl baseball nine apparently has learned it likes collecting championship trophies in them as well.   For the second year in a row, the Owls won the longstanding ... (click for more)

UTC's Carr Run at NCAAs Ends in the Blood Round

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Bryce Carr's run at the NCAA Championships ended tonight in the blood round at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  Carr fell to Cornell's Max Dean in the final match of his career. Carr was the aggressor early, with two takedowns in the first period.  He opened up a 4-2 lead after the first period, but could not put ... (click for more)