Tax Increase Approved For Lookout Mountain, Ga.; 80 Quad-Plexes Planned Near Brow Wood

Friday, September 14, 2018
Homeowners in Lookout Mountain, Georgia will see a slight increase to property taxes in 2018. Because there was a small decrease overall when property assessments were done, the city council has voted to increase the rate by .22 percent which is almost revenue neutral to make up the difference. On first reading the new millage rate was set at 9.54 mills, after a public hearing was held with no citizens speaking for or against. The second and final vote will take place at the October council meeting.


CPA Paul Johnson told the council that the city received a clean audit and the 2017 report is outstanding. Mayor David Bennett said that the city has finished the third year in a row of operating in the black. The city is in good financial shape and is prepared to invest in the community with projects such as developing the Town Center and a new system of trails.

A final meeting of the committee that has been working to create the new comprehensive plan for the town will be Tuesday, Sept. 18.  The committee will get a look at how Covenant College students have put the survey into a digital format. A quick “test run” will be sent to the planning commission and to the council members before it is sent to the public. The final survey is expected to be sent to residents by Oct. 1. "This will be a huge way for our community to have a voice," said the mayor.

At the September meeting the council approved allowing a new development of quad-plexes to tie into the Lookout Mountain, Ga. sewer system. A maximum of 80 units are planned. Each building will have grinder pumps like the ones used at Brow Wood, and each of the four units within the building will pay the service fee, said community volunteer Jimmy Campbell. Before accepting the plan, the board is waiting for developer Duane Horton to send a site plan, to know the layout of the buildings.

Wes Hasden, chairman of the sewer board, also told the council that engineers have given two options for building a new pumping station. The council approved a plan that will keep the system running long term. By spending one and a half times the amount of the alternate plan, the system should last 20 years as opposed to working for only four or five years. The plan is now ready to move forward with bid discussions in process.

The planning commission update was given by Council Member Arch Willingham. Approval has been given to Our Lady of the Mount Catholic Church for a parish hall and classroom space that will be added onto the main sanctuary. Rock City is asking to build an eight-foot fence around the lot beside Starbucks, which will require getting a variance before the planning commission will be able to approve the request.

Attendance at Music on the Mountain was lower this year than previous years, but the revenue was higher, said Council Member Caroline Williams. It was a good way to start fundraising for the year and mobile bidding raised a lot of money, she said. The “safe roads to school” project, which has been worked on for four years, may become a part of the overall trail system that the city is in the process of planning.

Council Member Taylor Watson said it is with regret that Assistant Chief Eric Robertson will be moving out of state. Officer Aaron Dean will become the assistant chief and interviews are now taking place to fill his patrolman job.

Police Chief Todd Gann told the council that inspections which will determine ISO ratings will take place in October and the department has been working to get ready.  He reported statistics from the department in the month of August that show police patrolled 3,255 miles, made 36 traffic stops, gave 15 citations, 36 warnings and no auto accidents. They responded to 15 assist citizen calls and gave assistance to the Tennessee police on five occasions. During the month 12 motorists were assisted. Police responded to nine burglar alarms, four fire calls, three medical calls, five calls about suspicious persons and six about suspicious vehicles. There were no thefts, burglaries or arrests in August.  

The town is getting a new garbage truck. It will be leased at the annual cost of $28,000, and after 10 years will be owned by the city. The old truck will be kept as a back-up. Some of the old garbage cans will not work with the new truck, said Mayor Bennett so new ones have been ordered. The city is aware of which addresses need the new cans and will replace them.

Council Member Jim Sabourin said that town residents who own or want to keep chickens must apply for a permit by the end of this month. Applications will be reviewed by the council at the October council meeting. The cost of a permit is $150 the first year and $100 each year for renewals. Citations will be issued for those who fail to get a permit.

Kudzu has become a big problem on the mountain, and the garden clubs and conservation groups are joining to create a kudzu coalition to attempt to eradicate the invasive vine. Council member Taylor Watson said that residents are responsible for getting rid of it on their property. To totally eliminate the weed, will take three to five years, she said.

The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Ga. City Council will be Oct. 11.

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