Lookout Mountain, Tn., Commissioners Approve 10-Cent Property Tax Increase

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - by Gail Perry

Commissioners in the town of Lookout Mountain, Tn. voted to raise property taxes by 10 cents for 2021-2022. The recent certified tax rate from the state was 1.78 which would have kept the amount of taxes received by the town revenue neutral. However, commissioners said the increase was needed because in the past the town has depended on the Hall state income tax for funding. That tax has now been phased out. The new rate approved on Tuesday will be $1.88 for every $100 of assessed value of the property.

 

The financial report for the month of July, was presented by Certified Municipal Officer in Training and Town Recorder Terrie Payne. The last payment that will be received from the Hall Tax came in the amount of $160,000 last month, she said. During the month, the town also received donations of $300 for the Beautification Fund and $1,000 in honor of medical personnel and the police department.

 

The new school year begins Thursday and Lookout Mountain Elementary School is ready and hoping that this will be a normal year, said Commissioner of Schools Brooke Pippenger. Events at LMS include a welcome back breakfast for the teachers that was given by the PTA last Thursday and registration that was last Friday. The first day for students in the classrooms will be next Thursday. This year the numbers of children attending the school is up. The commissioner said that a lot of new families with small children have moved to both sides of the mountain, which helped boost the number of students.

 

A meeting for new parents at the school will be held at 6:30 on Thursday, Aug. 19, and the first PTA meeting is at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 25, followed by parent rotation through the classrooms from 6-7 p.m. Plans are also being made for the LMS Carnival, an outdoor event for Oct. 5. This fundraiser could not be held last year because of COVID. "Everybody wants to be together and are hoping everyone stays healthy," said Commissioner Pippenger. With school starting, people driving around the mountain are being cautioned to be alert and watch for children walking and biking, especially during the times they will be going and coming from school.

 

Commissioner of Parks and Playgrounds David Paschall said there are two outdoor sports coming up and there is much participation in both of them. Soccer started in mid-August with 450 children playing. There are more players this year than in the last two years. There were 300 participating in the soccer program in 2020 and 400 in 2019. Registration for flag football will start this weekend. At this time, said the commissioner, there is no mask mandate or social distancing because both games are played outdoors.

 

The public works department is busy trimming vegetation away from signs and out of the roadways. During one call last year, the firefighters were unable to find the hydrant because it was obscured with bushes. Commissioner of Fire and Police Jim Bentley said that low limbs hanging over the roads have  caused two sets of lights on the ladder truck to be broken off with a $3,600 cost to replace four lights. Commissioner Bentley said the town will start trimming trees and shrubs that are in the right-of-way and suggested that the homeowner may want to do it themselves before, because "if the town does it, it might not be to your liking.”  Frank Schriner, commissioner of Public Works, said that “we are trimming high and trimming wide.” So far, said the commissioner, people doing the trimming have been complimented. 

 

Public Works has also started filling potholes now that the weather is hotter and drier, said Commissioner Schriner.

 

In July a car was stolen in Tennessee and another in Georgia. Keys had been left inside both. Now, both have  been recovered by the Chattanooga Police Department, he said. The way it is done is for a person to be dropped off who walks down a street and tries to open car doors. If it is locked, they move on without breaking into the vehicle. If a door is open, they take what has been left inside and, if the keys are there, they take the car. Police on the mountain are advising residents to be sure to lock their car doors.

 

The commissioners adopted a revised Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) ordinance to comply with changes that have been made. Chief Chuck Wells, the town marshal, has been named as safety director for the OSHA program.

 

Town-owned property on North Forest next to the school is also adjacent to property owned by Marsha McArthur where a house is under construction. By request, the commissioners declared the lot as surplus so it can be sold to Ms. McArthur, which she plans to use for a driveway. The next step will be to have an appraisal done on the property.

 

Mayor Walker Jones thanked Carrington Montague for the work he is heading to find information about a small cemetery that is on Scenic Highway near and across the road from the post office. The one intact and visible headstone is dated 1899 - before any known black church was on the mountain. Mr. Montague is researching the history of the area around the cemetery and interviewing people in hopes of getting a lead about who is buried there. He has hired the anthropology department from Vanderbilt to scan the ground to map out the burial sites and create a report on their findings.


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