Signal Mountain Council Passes Budget On 1st Reading

  • Tuesday, June 11, 2024
  • Gail Perry

The Signal Mountain Council on Monday night passed the 2024-2025 budget on the first reading, with no discussion. The tax rate is unchanged and was set at $1.7012 for every $100 of assessed property value.

The general fund is based on a total revenue of $9,707,491. Capital projects include building a retaining wall at the pool, replacing siding and the HVAC system at town hall, making ADA improvements and buying shop heaters. There is money planned for the upkeep and replacements that are needed in the playgrounds, and the installation of metal light poles at the tennis courts and lights at the ballfield.

There is also debt of $1,736,000 from 2015 and $2,266,000 from 2017 and the planned principal and interest payments that are required.

A budget amendment was passed that will adjust appropriations for expenditures that changed during the 2023-2024 budget year. Both the budget and budget amendment will require a second reading and final approval before they are in effect.

An ordinance relating to public work fees was amended and passed on the final reading after a public hearing where no resident spoke for or against. Mayor Charles Poss said the changes were mostly to make corrections to typo errors.

A PILOT, (payment in lieu of tax) was passed for the Signal Mountain Water Utility. This will allow the town of Signal Mountain to make payments of $32,000 to the town’s General Fund, in lieu of paying the ad valorem tax. The amount is equivalent to what property taxes would be on the water company’s property. 

 A 2025 SUV had been approved and ordered for the police department, with the delivery date unknown because of the on-going lack of availability of vehicles. Police Chief Mike Williams became aware that a 2024 Ford Explorer is available now and the council took advantage of the opportunity. Approval was given to purchase the vehicle for an amount not to exceed $46,241 That will be used as an administration vehicle for the Signal Mountain Police Department. Discussions continue about  the town’s vehicle replacement policy and  whether leasing or buying is the most advantageous. The town manager will review the pros and cons of each in order to find he most cost-effective way to  manage the town’s fleet of vehicles.

The Fire Department will be receiving four new ventilating fans. The council approved paying up to $22,000. The fans will be bought with American Rescue Plan money that the town received during the COVID pandemic.

Approval was also given for some organizational chart updates recommended by Town Manager Matt Trollinger. He said that the skill sets applicable to the positions will be a better match with the reorganization. The change will combine the finance and the human resources department in order to improve efficiencies for the services provided to the residents, stated Mr. Trollinger.

Matthew Justice, who just finished serving as the town’s interim town manager, was designated to be the acting town manager. He will step into the job in the absence of Town Manager Trollinger. The list of people who are authorized to sign the town’s bank cards was updated to the five council members, Mr. Trollinger and Mr. Justice. Jennifer Broomfield, previously the town’s financial director, was removed from the list.

Appointments were made to fill vacancies in several town boards. Teresa Graves will join the Construction Board of Appeals. Monica Baker and Jacob Levy will join the nine-member Signal Mountain Municipal Planning Commission.

In his manager’s report, Mr. Trollinger told the council that the MG Group CPAs will help with the town’s finances until a new finance director is hired, and he said an executive assistant position is being advertised.

Repairs to the pool will begin this week so it can be open on Father’s Day weekend. The chlorine system that has been leaking and has been requiring manual testing of the water every two hours will be repaired on Thursday and will require the pool to be closed that day. Next, the public works department will begin work on the filtration system which has been causing the pool to lose a lot of water due to leaks in multiple pipes.

Mayor Poss has been asked about the presence of PFAS chemicals in Signal Mountain’s water. He will ask Signal Mountain’s Water Utility Director Matt Justice to look into if the water is being tested, what has been found, and what is being done. Mr. Justice will  give a report at the next council work session where the public is invited.

The mayor also reported that the tree board has been discussing doing something about clear-cutting trees at new developments. He said that the absence of regulations is being addressed by the Tree Board in conjunction with the Planning Commission and that they are working together to create subdivision regulations that will put the burden on the builders of the subdivision.

 

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