A contract was awarded on Monday night to J&J Contractors for building an addition to the main level of the Signal Mountain Library including an improved patio area under the addition. There will also be an elevator added to connect the main and lower levels. This work will be paid for by donations that were made to the Signal Mountain Library Foundation. The town will enter into a memorandum of agreement with the foundation that insures it will donate the funds to the town and that the town of Signal Mountain will use the funds for this project.
If there is money left over, it will be retained to use for the library.
The council also authorized a contract with EPB for installing underground electric service at Marion and Driver Fields, which is being paid for with a Local Parks and Recreation Funds Grant (LPRF) from the state of Tennessee. The town will pay $17,221 to have this work done. As part of the whole LPRF grant contract to improve these fields, the cost will be reimbursable.
Fire Chief Eric Mitchell was authorized to apply for two grants. The first, an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for $47,460, has a split of 95 percent coming from the grant and five percent coming from the town. This will buy 20 sets of pants and jackets for the firefighters - two sets for each. The second, the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant, if received, will be used to purchase training materials and equipment used for public education for fire safety and prevention. This grant also is a 95/5 percent split.
An amendment to the ordinance regarding the role of council members who are liaisons with various city boards has been discussed extensively during the last two council meetings. On Monday night, the final version passed on second reading. The liaison can participate in discussions of the board as a private citizen, not as a representative of the town council, because they might have undue influence. They are not voting members of the board on which they serve. The liaison will facilitate the boards working with the council.
Discussion took place about how to reopen town facilities safely. Town Manger Boyd Veal said the recycling center is in a position now that with the requirement of masks, it can resume operations back to the original before the shutdown caused by the COVID pandemic. The transfer station has never shut down, he said. The fire and police buildings are open but are limiting numbers in the work areas. The town hall remains closed but safety equipment is being bought to make it safe and to ensure social distancing so it can be reopened. The library board will make decisions for that building, he said. There are still concerns about reopening the gym. He said he will be advertising for lifeguards and, for the time being, is proceeding to plan that the pool can be opened.
Planning is also being done to alleviate parking problems that were experienced last summer on the streets around Rainbow Lake. The council discussed various ideas for reducing the number of cars that will be allowed to park on the streets, requiring parking passes or city stickers for residents and allowing residents only to park in this area. No parking signage, paid parking or marking the curbs and streets as no parking zones, giving citations and towing offending vehicles were other possibilities. Another option would be to hire a person who could monitor the number of people allowed in the park at any one time so people who were turned away would result in the need for fewer parking spaces. Police Chief Mike Williams and Public Works Director Loretta Hopper will create a plan and bring it back to the council at the next meeting for more discussion.
The municipal landscape ordinance involving the town’s tree board was also discussed. The council felt that some of the proposed changes to the existing ordinance that had been made by the tree board needed further changes. These include the extent of the board’s involvement in private developments, and how much authority it would have in making decisions. There was also a question about limiting the amount of say-so the town manager would have making decisions about taking down trees without consulting with the tree board or an arborist. How to prevent trees and shrubs from obstructing access to fire hydrants and mailboxes or blocking vision on street corners are also topics that need to be modified in the ordinance. The tree board meets on Thursday and will reconsider several concerns that the council had with the ordinance as presented Monday.
The makeup of the Rec Board membership was also considered after deliberation at the last meeting. The town manager brought the recommendation that would allow some rec league input in decisions that would not benefit one sport league over another. He proposed allowing one rec board position be filled with a representative chosen by all the leagues among themselves. That person would serve as the representative for a term of one year. The other six appointed representatives have three-year terms.