Chuck Wells is the new Chief of Fire and Police for the Town of Lookout Mountain, Tn. He is replacing Chief Randy Bowden who retired at the end of 2017 after working at the town for 32 years. Chief Wells was sworn in by Town Judge Flossie Weill at the February commission meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Commissioner of Fire and Police Jim Bentley presented statistics from the department for the month of January that were compiled by Chief Wells.
Police received 234 calls during the month, patrolled 5,548 miles, answered 18 burglar alarms, all false, responded on 13 assist citizen calls and handled 30 calls to 911. In January, police made 128 traffic stops, significantly higher than in the past, in an attempt to stop speeding. There were four auto accidents, one with reported injuries. Police issued 21 parking citations and made two arrests. One was a warrant arrest and the other for narcotics charges. Response was made to 10 medical calls in Tennessee and three in Georgia and to one fire alarm that was false.
The town of Lookout Mountain contracts with building inspectors when they are needed. When contractors make multiple calls to inspectors, the town is charged for each trip they make. Commissioner Bentley and Chief Wells have implemented a plan to reduce these charges by requiring that a job plan is associated with a building permit and will be displayed during the construction. The intention of the plan is to reduce trips that an inspector makes to each site. Valet parking services will also now require getting a permit so police will know when and where to expect cars. The new permit regulations will be posted on the town’s website.
A request from Chief Wells was approved for the purchase of official hats for each officer that will be part of their uniform. A budget amendment in the amount of $3,500 will be needed to pay for 15 hats. The town provides each officer both a police and a fire department uniform. A hat embellished with a crest will become part of their uniforms to be worn on special occasions.
Chief Wells announced that North Forrest Avenue between Watson Street and Scenic Highway will become a one way road going north, in order to prevent cars from exiting onto Scenic Highway at the blind intersection. Do Not Enter Signs have already been installed.
The leak in a main line running from the meter, to the pavilion at The Commons has been found and repaired. During that work, three other small lines behind the pavilion that provide water to the restrooms froze and burst. Those too, have been fixed, and running water should be available soon. Commissioner of Parks and Playgrounds Brooke Pippenger said that basketball season is up and running with 180 children participating. Baseball, softball and lacrosse registration is underway.
The baseball parade will be Saturday, April 14, the same day as the dedication ceremony for Dockery Field. The parade will begin at Fairyland School and end at the Commons. Parks and Recreation Director Scott Shell is creating an event page on Facebook to get the word out. With Rick Dockery retiring from Lookout Mountain Elementary in addition to retiring from his position as Parks and Recreation director for the town for 35-plus years, a scrapbook is being compiled for him by Susan Taylor and Gwen Tugman. Citizens are being asked to contribute photos, notes and memories. They can be mailed or emailed to Susan Taylor or items can be brought to the town hall no later than March 24.
Night Out for Lookout, the fundraiser for Lookout Mountain School, is scheduled for March 2, and a new event this year will be Ladies Night Out at the home of Natalie Huffaker on Tuesday, Feb. 20, said Commissioner of Schools Don Stinnett. Principal Ruth White told the commissioners that the fifth grade participated in a spelling bee, and a few made it to round three. Students from the school will participate in a Bee City Celebration at The Commons on March 30. The school is in need of making upgrades and repairs to the playground and is in the process of trying to raise funds for the improvements. Ms. White thanked Chief Wells for sending different officers daily to do walk-throughs at the school so they will all be familiar with the building.
Walker Jones, commissioner of public works, reported that large leaf piles and ditches have been cleared of leaves and the leaf machines will soon be put away. The department is continuing to clear brush and waiting for warmer weather to repair pot holes. A new load of salt has been delivered and is ready in case of icy road conditions.
The financial report for January shows that $712,000 in property taxes were paid during the month. Samantha VanAlstyne, town recorder and tax collector, reminded all homeowners that the last day to pay property taxes before a late penalty is Feb. 28. The monthly report also shows a larger than normal administrative expense in January. Most of this was related to Chief Bowden’s retirement. A check presented to him came from donated funds, she said.
Town Attorney Brian Smith said state law requires that building codes be current. In order to comply, the commissioners voted to adopt 2012 International building codes on second and final reading.
Frank Schriner, a 25-year resident of Lookout Mountain, Tn., who is retired from First Tennessee Bank, came to the meeting Tuesday afternoon to introduce himself and announce that he will run for a commission position in the next election. Mayor Carol Mutter reminds anyone who might be interested in running for a position on the commission that petitions are available from the Election Commission and must be turned in by April 5.
Mayor Mutter announced that a committee is working to put together a foundation for the town of Lookout Mountain, Tn. to which contributions could be made. With income from the Hall Tax gradually becoming less, she said a foundation could be a way to help meet financial needs versus continually raising property taxes.
The mayor would like to remind all drivers on the mountain to use caution and turn on headlights, especially in wet and foggy conditions. She also urges everyone to patronize the town businesses to ensure they will stay.