Lookout Mountain, Ga., Tightening Safety Around Stop Sign; Company Interested In Buying Sewer System

Friday, January 11, 2019 - by Gail Perry
A traffic incident that occurred at the intersection of Rock City Trail and Cinderella Road in December has caused officials in Lookout Mountain to take precautionary actions. One afternoon, a mother with children in her car ran a stop sign and just barely missed hitting a child. At the city council meeting Thursday night, Councilwoman Taylor Watson and Chief Todd Gann discussed blocking off that intersection when school lets out. Many children, after leaving Fairyland Elementary, walk down Rock City Trail to meet their parents on Cinderella.
Ms. Watson, fearing that other drivers who ignore the stop signs and speed limits might hit a child, also asked for a second officer after school and suggested that additional parents or adults be stationed along that section of the road to monitor traffic. Officer Gann has also agreed to do a street safety class for the students.

The police activity report for December 2018 shows that 3,301 miles were patrolled during the month, 34 traffic stops were made, 12 citations were issued, 23 warnings were given and five auto accidents occurred. There were no burglaries, but six false alarms were checked during the month and there were four thefts and one arrest was made. Police investigated two suspicious persons and five suspicious vehicles. Assistance was provided to 23 citizens, six motorists and to the Lookout Mountain, Tn. Police Department three times in December. There were 11 false fire calls and six medical calls during the month. Because of recent thefts, Chief Gann asks all residents to lock doors and cars.

It is also important that people dial 911 in the event of an emergency, not to city hall, he said. Dialing 911 will go directly to the emergency line at the dispatch center in LaFayette. If the emergency call is made to city hall there is a chance that response may be delayed.

Councilwoman Caroline Williams said that the aquaponics structure is almost complete with only several minor construction details remaining to be done. The PTO is paying for one part time teacher that will be dedicated for the aquaponics program to ensure that the facility will really be used. The cafeteria has had a big turnover in employees, she told the council. Currently, the kitchen is not fully functional because only one of three people working there returned after the Christmas break.

Community Volunteer Jimmy Campbell gave an update on the town’s Comprehensive Plan. He said that consultant Phil Walker’s report is now ready. The town has a new email system and, when it is functional, the council and residents will receive a copy of the report. He also has compiled the results of an online survey to determine how citizens of the town would like to see it grow and develop in the future. He said that 560 responses were received. There will be public meetings in the spring relating to the comprehensive plan.

Mayor David Bennett told the council that the recent and persistent rain has presented a challenge for cleaning out stormwater ditches and drains, but that the public works department is actively working on the blockages and problem areas and picking up brush.  

With thanks to Jimmy Campbell for his help, all of the city’s codes have been organized and compiled into a single document that will make them easy to access. This city code report was adopted by the council. It will be available to the public at the town hall.

In a county wide referendum in November 2018, approval was given for by-the-drink alcohol sales to be allowed in restaurants on Sundays beginning at 11 a.m. through midnight. City Attorney Bill Pickering amended the town’s alcoholic beverage ordinance to match the state and county law. The council gave a vote of approval to the amended ordinance. There was no change to package sales.

A second vote gave final approval for adopting the state minimum standard building codes. They were last updated in 2012 so as each section of the code is amended for 2018; the town’s code will change to match that of the state.

Mayor Bennett told the council that he was called by a company that is interested in buying the town’s sewer system, which is currently self-owned and operated. He said that the council has a fiduciary responsibility to consider the offer, and that a study can be done with no obligation. The first step, he said, is to do due diligence by creating a request-for-proposals. When bids are received, a conversation about the disposition of the sewer system could start. He said that the council would need to look out for the best interest of customers both inside and outside of the city limits.

The mayor said that because 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Lookout Mountain, Ga., he has realized the monumental task that previous city officials did to create and establish the city that has evolved to where it is today. He said it is humbling to serve in a position that will set the stage for the next 50 years. Significant events this year include construction of the new Town Center, which should begin near the end of the summer, and the creation of a trail system throughout the town. “It’s an exciting time to be part of the city’s government,” he said.

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