December was a strong month for property taxes received, said Samantha VanAlstyne, assistant treasurer for Lookout Mountain, Tn. During the month, the town received $947,000 in property tax payments and $430,000 in back taxes. The annual contribution from the PTA in the amount of $97,850 was also paid. Expenses included the purchase of five sets of thermal imaging equipment for the fire department in the amount of $2,635. Mayor Walker Jones said that now the paving fund is building up enough to get some paving done this year.
Streets that are in the worst condition will be prioritized.
In the absence of Commissioner of the Public Works Frank Schriner, Mayor Jones gave the department report for the month. “It’s business as usual,” he said. The town has a supply of salt if needed for icy streets this winter. He thanked Director of Public Works Corey Evans for going the extra mile. He said that Mr. Evans takes pride in taking care of the town. By Christmas, the roads had been cleared of most leaves, said the mayor.
It is great to see families out walking together, even in the cold weather, said Mayor Jones. But in the foggy dark days and nights during winter, the visibility is bad and it is difficult to see people on the street. A lot of people wear dark clothes and are just not visible. He asks for walkers to carry flashlights, and wear light-colored clothing and reflective vests which are available to buy at city hall.
Commissioner of Parks and Playgrounds David Paschall said that basketball has just started. Practice and games will all be held at Fairyland School this year since the gym at LMS remains closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. All adults must wear masks and games and practices are spaced 15 minutes apart for the building to be cleared. Evaluations that will determine the make ups of the teams, are currently taking place. Commissioner Paschall said that the number of players this year from fourth and fifth grades and second and third grades are similar to the number of participants last year. However, there are just 10 first grade players which is way down from last year, he said, and second and third grade girls are lower than past years. Basketball season will end on March 13 if there are no setbacks caused by the virus, he said. Baseball registration will begin on Feb. 1.
All Hamilton County schools returned to virtual classes after Christmas break due to the county’s COVID-19 numbers. As numbers improve students at LMS will move into different phases, but all grades at the school will be learning the same way. Phase 1 learning, is where Kindergarten through fifth grade will follow the hybrid A/B schedule. Phase 2 learning will follow, with students learning in person four days a week with Wednesdays being remote classes for all students while the building is being cleaned.
Brooke Pippenger, commissioner of schools, said a lot is going on at the school even though students are learning from home. She said that all students use an online program that is age appropriate to help them view assignments and the schedule for Zoom classes. The teachers sort out worksheets and put together packets for parents to pick up and take home for their child for the week ahead. There is also a “related arts choice board" where students can choose different activities for the related arts. The teachers are being creative, said the commissioner, with examples such as a Science Lab Newsletter with activities for each grade level. There have been videos added to the YouTube channel for art and a Winter Tech Fun with categories for coding and break-out games coming from the library teacher. The choice board is constantly changing with new activities to keep the children engaged.
The end of the year was impressive for the police, fire department and medical staff, said Jim Bentley, commissioner of fire and police. During the year they prevented some crimes before they happened, and that takes a lot of work, he said. For example, there was only one residential burglary during the year.
Commissioner Bentley reminds residents to lock up their cars and never leave keys in them. He also would like people to know that they cannot put out their own signs on telephone poles or posts in the rights-of-way without permission from the town. This includes no parking or directional signs. And, he said that people need to trim bushes on their property that obstruct vision on the streets.
The commissioners approved declaring two vehicles as surplus property. A 2014 Ford Explorer will have police equipment removed and it will be put on gov.deals to sell. There is also a 2007 Chevy pickup truck that needs extensive repairs. This truck will be advertised and a date set for bids to be submitted. Full disclosure about the condition of the vehicles will be made.
The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. Commission will be Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 5:30 p.m.