Dale Taylor has served the town of Lookout Mountain, Tn., since 2014 as a police officer, firefighter and paramedic. At the March commission meeting, he was officially promoted to assistant chief of the Lookout Mountain Police and Fire Department. He was in the U.S. Marine Corps nine years after which he began his career in law enforcement with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, then moving to the Chattanooga Police Department in 1999.
“Kudos to the police department,” said Jim Bentley, commissioner of fire and police.
In comparing statistics from January to February, he said that it appears that police are getting the message across that cars need to slow down and that stop signs mean stop. In January, 91 traffic stops were made. In February, that number dropped to 71. Parking citations were also down in February. Police presence has been noticed with the high number of miles that the police patrol each month, and it seems that people are paying attention, the commissioner said.
Chief Chuck Wells compiled statistics from the department from February which were presented by Commissioner Bentley. Police had 156 calls, patrolled 4,880 miles, answered 17 burglar alarms that were all false, responded to six assist citizen calls and to 23 calls to 911. There were two auto accidents and six parking citations were given. Five arrests were made, including two warrant arrests, one criminal impersonation, one domestic assault and one traffic violation leading to a narcotics charge. There were four medical calls in Tennessee and five in Georgia, and three fire alarms, all false.
In response to recent sightings of coyotes on the mountain, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) conducted an in-service day in the town. Commissioner Bentley said that coyotes are protected by the TWRA unless they are aggressive. They cannot be trapped or handled, he said.
The cost of building permits has been increased because contractors are charging the town more for their services. Rules relating to permits have also been changed. It is now required that permits be posted at a construction site. Roofers and valet parking now need to get permits, but will not be charged for them. Information about changes in the procedures will be put on the town’s new website which should be available in the next few weeks.
New car stickers are now available at the town hall for the cost of $10 each until June 1. After then the price will increase to $15. A newsletter with an order form will be mailed to all residents soon.
The opening day of baseball season will coincide with the annual parade from Fairyland School to The Commons. A special ceremony will take place naming the T-ball fields in honor of long time recreation director Rick Dockery, who is retiring this year.
The Bee City USA Pollinator Festival will take place Sunday, May 20, from 1-4 p.m. at Lookout Mountain School. It will be free and open to all. There will be an emphasis on teaching gardening that will benefit pollinators. Reflection Riding representatives will be at the festival selling native plants and displaying animals that they care for. Experts from the Tennessee Aquarium and Tennessee Wild Ones will also be there to give advice for creating a pollinator garden. A beekeeper will have a demonstration hive in glass, and honey will be for sale. Wildlife artist Betsy Rice will be demonstrating the encaustic technique of creating art, using beeswax and resin. There will be something of interest for all ages, said Ann Brown, who organized the event.
Commissioner of Schools Don Stinnett said that Night out for Lookout, the fundraiser for Lookout Mountain School, was a great success and that some of the money raised would go toward improvements being made to the primary playground. Spring break is from March 30-April 6. Important dates relating to the school are April 11 for Kindergarten pre-registration and April 12 for a welcome breakfast for incoming parents. TCAP testing will be done on April 16 and from April 23-27. Teacher Appreciation week is May 7-11, Fifth grade graduation will be May 23, the last day of school is May 24 and report cards can be picked up May 25.
Next school year some teachers will change positions. Ali Roedder, currently the literary lab leader, will transition to Cindy Jayne’s fourth grade position, and Darcy Hughes, who is retiring, will be replaced by Mary Avans in the science lab.
Commissioner Stinnett thanked Chief Wells for his and the officers’ presence at the school and for the daily walk-through. He also asks parents to pick up students at the school or in the LMPC parking lot, not on East Brow Road at the other end of the Cow Path, which is dangerous.
Property taxes were due on or before Feb. 28, said Town Consultant Dwight Montague in the financial report. Late charges will apply to taxes paid after the deadline. Since March 1 the town has received $45,000 in property taxes. The end of February is the high point of the year, he said because of property tax payments. In February the public works department’s expenditures were high because $6,000 was spent to replenish the supply of road salt. The town will be ready for next year, said Mr. Montague. The unplanned for expense to repair a broken water line from Scenic Highway to Navarre Pavilion came from the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget.
Court Clerk Samantha Van Alstyne, having heard concerns about the town’s court costs being too low, verified it with research and recommended that Lookout Mountain, Tn.’s be raised to the same level as the surrounding municipalities in Hamilton County. The commissioners approved setting court costs to $120 for moving violations and $140 for non moving violations. If settled out of court, the costs would be $105 for moving and $125 for non-moving violations. The amount of $15 from each court case will be designated as a technology fee for purchasing software used by the court and the police department. Fines for the offenses are on top of the court costs.