Signal Mountain Considering Best Way To Spend $1.2 Million In Stimulus Funds, $998,000 TDEC Grant

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - by Gail Perry
The town of Signal Mountain has received $1.2 million from the American Rescue Plan and will get a second installment next year from the federal government. It also has gotten $998,000 from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Discussion about how to spend these grants took place at the town council meeting Monday night.

Interim Town Manager Mitchell Moore recommended that the council start spending the TDEC money on water interconnectivity. That would connect the Signal Mountain water pipes to pipes from another community so in emergency situations or periods of high demand, water could go from one utility to the other and help to ensure a water source.

The town also is in need of a new water pump, which would cause a bigger problem if it failed than the interconnections could fix, said Councilman Andrew Gardner.
He believes that should be the first project to get started.


There also are stormwater problems throughout in the town that need to be remediated. Several of those have already been engineered and are ready to be advertised for bids, said Mr. Mitchell. Those repairs were originally in the five-year capital projects plan. Those projects could be sped up by using the TDEC money, he told the council. The many water and stormwater projects needed in the town qualify for use of the TDEC money, but Signal Mountain will have to contribute 40 percent of the total cost of the project when this money is used.

Vice Mayor Susannah Murdock said the council needs to see all water and wastewater work that is needed and estimates of the costs for each before moving forward. Mayor Charles Poss asked the town manager to arrange for an engineer to speak to the council and give recommendations of the projects which are needed the most to help the council decide which way to go.

The selection of a new town manager is progressing. From the original ZOOM interviews on Jan. 3, three candidates were asked to come for in-person interviews which will take place Jan. 31. An assessment of the interviews will  be given to the council by MTAS, followed by a special called meeting on Feb. 7 to decide on the city manager.

Before a new town manager is chosen, the consensus of the council is to create a process to review the job performance of whoever fills the position. At the next meeting the council will discuss the criteria and objectives of the job which will serve as a basis for the yearly review of the town manager.

Mr. Moore asked for understanding for delays in responses from the town’s staff. He said the staff is extremely short handed at this time and will be until the employees can be built back up again.

An update is being done of the Signal Mountain municipal code. It should be ready in February or March, he said.

Signal Mountain’s personnel policies are under review by Human Resources specialists at Municipal Technical Advisory Service, the agency that assists municipalities in  Tennessee. A new personnel policy is under development and Mr. Moore said that every two years that should be reviewed by someone outside of the organization.

The vice mayor announced that a Mountaintop Growth Plan will get started on Thursday at 2 p.m. at County Commissioner Chip Baker’s office. A group including Mayor Poss, Karen Rennick from the Regional Planning Agency and Lee Davis will meet.

On Monday the council approved appointments to its working boards.

It also recognized and honored the Signal Mountain marching band which was both state champions and third in the nation in competitions this season for music and performance. This marked the first time that the Signal Mountain High School band has won in the Tennessee division 2 state marching band championship. They placed in the top three in division 1-A for performance band of the American Grand National Competition in Indianapolis.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be on Feb. 14.

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