Norris City Council

Minutes

Monday, June 13th, 2016

 

 

BE IT REMEMBERED THAT THE CITY OF NORRIS CITY COUNCIL MET IN REGULAR SESSION ON MONDAY, JUNE 13TH, 2016, AT 7:00 P.M. WITH THE FOLLOWING COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT:  JACK BLACK, BILL GRIEVE, YORK HAVERKAMP, 

CHRIS MITCHELL, AND LORETTA PAINTER.  

 

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Mitchell. 

 

HEAR THE PUBLIC

Ed McEleney, 123 Reservoir Rd., stated the newly paved East Norris Road looks nice.  He stated he was one of the few that felt we should move forward with the property tax rate increase and would like to see the reserve increase.

Jamie Nelson, 99 Dairy Pond Rd., stated the minutes from the April 11th, 2016 meeting  states the City is in a healthy financial position.  She said one of the problems she has with the property tax increase is the method it was proposed and that it is not needed and has not been  justified.    She said she was told the money would go into an account and the method of expenditure would be determined sometime down the road. 

 

Larry Beeman, 56 Dogwood Rd., stated he feels everyone can see there are some financial needs coming down the road.  He stated that some people have said the tax increase would soften the blow in the future, but there is a problem with that.  When a government organization does that , there are things that happen throughout the year that makes it tempting when you have the extra money.  When you have the extra money it takes the discipline away from the Council and how you do make your decisions. 

Robert Hubbs, 81 Dale Rd., stated he thought the property tax increase would pass tonight and he did not mind paying the extra property taxes.   He is concerned about street lights and wandered if some of the 10 traffic lights on Highway 61 could be spread out to include the intersection into Norris.  If property taxes are raised he would like to see more street lights be installed at the 61 intersection.  

 

Joann Fehr, 75 Hickory Trail, reminded Council over the last 7 years the family income in the United States  has decreased $1,200-1,400 per family.  She stated that the City Manager said it would be hard to trim much more from the budget, but we need to find places where money can be trimmed.  She stated she did not feel at this time we need a property tax increase.  

Todd Nelson, 99 Dairy Pond Rd., stated raising taxes for the sake of raising taxes is the easy way out.  He stated raise them when we have too.

Roger Bolinger, 42 W. Circle Rd., would like to see ceiling fans installed at the Pavilion.   He stated six fans would be needed and the fans would run approximately $200 each.  He pledged to pay for one fan.  He also stated that he agreed with Mayor Mitchell that a property tax increase was not needed at this time.   He said they need to be very careful with setting aside funds for future capital projects because  future councils could use the money for other projects not the one that it was originally set aside for.

 

Phyllis Corgiat, 67 Reservoir Rd., asked if the City had a bond rating.   City Manager Hester said no as the City has very little debt.  She also stated with the City having a healthy financial position she does not see a need for a property tax increase at this time.  

 

Larry Sadler, 78 Dairy Pond Rd., asked for a status of the "Sidewalk to No Where" and when would construction begin.  Mayor Mitchell stated the next decision point is an environmental review and that has yet to be discussed fully.  He feels that will be discussed at the next council meeting in detail.  Mayor Mitchell stated concerning the naming of the project to please reserve opinion until you are better informed.  Mr. Sadler stated he lives on Dairy Pond Rd. and everyone there calls it the Interstate to Red Hill Rd.  He asked when the City was going to stop giving verbal warnings.    He stated of the morning it sounds like Daytona 500 and in the evening it's the return crowd of the Daytona 500.  He stated it is not safe to walk on the sidewalks because speeding cars are running up on the sidewalk.   He also asked about when the grate/sidewalks will be repaired at the Norris Middle School.  Council Member Painter asked if the repair of the grate was not a part of the Safe Route to School Grant which is 100% funded by the State and City Manager Hester said it was. 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

1.    The minutes of the May 9th, 2016 Council Meeting were presented for approval.   Motion was made by Council Member Grieve to approve the minutes.   Motion was seconded by Council Member Black.  Motion carried by voice vote.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

1.    Board and Commission Vacancies - A motion was made by Mayor Mitchell to reappoint 

Lester Murphy to the Norris Animal Commission.   Motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Haverkamp.  Motion carried by voice vote.

 

2.    Ridgeway Park Additions - City Manager Hester reported installation of the playground equipment and water fountain would start next week. 

 

 

3.    2016-2017 Budget Ordinance No. 594 - An Ordinance of the City of Norris, Tennessee adopting the Annual Budget and Tax Rate for the Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2016 and Ending June 30, 2017 was presented for second reading.   City Manager Hester reported the Public Hearing on the 2016-2017 Budget Ordinance was held on June 6, 2016. Comments were received from 18 residents with 15 comments against the property tax increase, 2 in favor of the property tax increase, and one request for the City to install ceiling fans in the Pavilion.    He also reported the recently completed East Norris Road Paving project came in under budget -approximately $15,000.  Mayor Mitchell made a motion to remove the property tax increase from the 2016-2017 Budget Ordinance.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter.  Mayor Mitchell asked for discussion.   Council Member Painter stated she did not think there was a need to raise taxes until we have to deep into our reserve.   Voting in favor of removing the property tax increase from the 2016-2017 Budget:  Black, Grieve, Mitchell and Painter.  Voting against:  Haverkamp.     Motion was made by Vice Mayor Haverkamp to approve the 2016-2017 Budget Ordinance No. 594 on second reading.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve.  Motion carried by voice vote.

 

4.    Mayor Mitchell made a motion to remove the $35,000 sidewalk improvement at the Commons from the 2016-2017 Capital Plan.    Mayor Mitchell stated we should use the money in the 2016-2017 budget for sidewalk repair to repair spots that have root damage and he also noted the Safe Route to School grant would fix the grate.   If the repairs are more than budgeted funds, City Manager Hester can come to the Council for additional funds.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Black.  Motion carried by voice vote.        

 

CITY MANAGER REPORT

City Manager Hester reported on the following:

 

1)    2015 - 2016 Year to Date Budget - Overall expenditures are on target to budget with revenues slightly above estimates.  100% of the 2015 property taxes have been collected, which is on pace with previous years.  Overall the City's financial health continues to be very strong, and the City is in good position for meeting upcoming capital needs such as equipment and road paving.  However, long term projections indicate that additional revenues and/or change in city services may be necessary in the next 1-3 years.

 

2)    2015-2016 Water Commission Budget - Overall NWC operations budget is very tight.  It is estimated that the operations budget for the current fiscal year will have a shortfall of approximately $10k due to the unexpected lift station repairs discussed at the last meeting.   However, an operations budget shortfall will not have a negative impact on current or future operations of NWC.  New rates go into effect July 1 and overall reserves for NWC are strong.  

 

 

 

3)    Grant Updates

a.    T-21 Grant Opportunity - TDOT has authorized us to proceed with the Environmental Phase of the project.   The site survey is being modified and are proceeding with easement acquisition in the upcoming weeks.

b.    Safe Routes to Schools Grant - We have received the signed contract from the State and TDOT will perform the environment assessment which has to be completed before any work can commence.

c.    Oil Recycling Grant - A supplier has been selected and the plans are underway to for installation to begin this summer.  The grant will be completed by Oct. 2016.

d.    Local Parks and Recreation Grant Application - City Manager Hester reported the application for the $50,000 grant had been submitted and awards are expected in October 2016. The grant requires a 50% match.

 

4)    TOSHA Inspection - Received notification on June 2, 2016 that the response to the final report was satisfactory and the inspection was closed.

 

5)    Government Financial Officers Association Award - The City and Janet Parks have been recognized for excellence in financial reporting.  The City has accomplished this recognition for 12 consecutive years.

 

6)    City Council Election - City Council 2 year terms end this year.  The next General Election is November 8, 2016 and candidates may pick up qualifying petitions from the Anderson County Election Commission.  Petitions are due to the Election Commission by noon on August 18, 2016.

 

7)    Update of Watershed Resource Management Plan

A draft of the plan in now on the City's website for public review prior to its adoption.    The public is encouraged to attend future Watershed Board meetings and provide input.

 

8)    See attached City Manager Report. 

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

9)     Budget Amendments  - none

 

10) Ordinance 595 -  An Ordinance to Amend Title 14, Planning and Zoning, section 14-309, Addition of Educational Facilities as a Permitted Use - was presented for first reading.  City Manager Hester state that this change was recommended by the Norris Planning Commission.   The vocation school would be located in the Hensley store building.   Only the portion of the property that would come off of the property tax roll would be the portion occupied by the school.  City Manager Hester also noted a Public Hearing would be required on this Ordinance.   Motion was made by Council Member Black to approve Ordinance 595 on the first reading.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve.  Motion carried by voice vote.

 

11) City Manager Hester stated a Public Hearing was required on Ordinance 595.  Motion was made by Council Member Black to hold the Public Hearing on Monday, July 11th, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter.  Motion carried by voice vote.

 

12) Accounts Payable, Minutes, and Reports

11.  Mayor Mitchell asked Council for questions or comments concerning accounts payable, minutes, and reports.  There were no questions or comments from Council. 

Motion was made by Council Member Grieve to adjourn.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter.   Motion carried by voice vote at 9:20 p.m.

 


 

TO:                 Norris City Council                           FROM:            Tim Hester    

RE:                  City Manager's Report                     DATE:            June 13, 2016

 

1.   2015-16 Year to Date (Estimated through May) CITY Budget.   Overall, YTD Expenditures are on target to budget, and revenues are slightly above estimates.  100% of property tax has been collected.   Other key revenue categories (State Sales Tax, Local Option Sales Tax, Liquor & Beer Wholesale Tax) are on budget. 

Estimated 2014-15 Year End Undesignated CASH reserves finished at:

  1.  
    1. General Fund             $210,000
    2. Watershed Fund         $177,717 ($26,762 of this is earmarked for future Rifle Range improvements)

Overall, the City's financial health continues to be very strong, and the City is good position for meeting current capital needs such as equipment and road paving. However, long term projections indicate that additional revenues and/or change in city services may be necessary in the next 1-3 years.

  1.  2015-16 Year to Date (Estimated through May) Water Commission Budget.  Overall, NWC operations budget is very tight.   It is estimated that the operations budget for the current fiscal year will have a shortfall of approximately $10k (~1.5% of total budget) due to the unexpected lift station repairs discussed at the last meeting.

 

However, an operations budget shortfall will not have a negative impact on current or future operation of NWC, as new rates go into effect July 1 and overall reserves for NWC are strong. NWC has designated reserves for escrowed customer deposits of $17k, and $361k available for future grant matches and/or future capital projects.  Current total reserve is $378,000.  

  1. Grant Updates.   
    1. New T-21 Grant Opportunity - grant was awarded for $347,000 to extend the City sidewalk system to Highway 61.  This will require the City to provide match funds of approximately $120,000.  TDOT reports that these types of projects typically take 2-3 years of prep work prior the project breaking ground.  TDOT has authorized us to proceed with the Environmental Phase of the project.   The site survey is being modified, and are proceeding with easement acquisition in the upcoming weeks.
    2. Safe Routes to Schools Grant.  Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federally funded program focusing on the benefits of children walking and biking to school. Its primary purpose is to encourage elementary and middle school children to safely walk and bicycle to school through infrastructure improvements, educational initiatives and promotional activities.  Projects and activities are 100% federally funded for the 2015 year; no match is permitted.   Our award of this grant was received and we have begun the planning process for implementation.   We have received our signed contract from the State and TDOT will perform the environmental assessment; this has to be completed before any work can commence.
    3. Oil Recycling Grant.   An award has been made by TDEC for an oil recycling grant in the amount of $21,500.   Grant request had been for $27,500.   We will evaluate if we can still upgrade both used oil furnaces at Public Works and NWC operations buildings with the lower funded amount.   This grant is funded 100% and requires no local match.    A supplier has been selected and plans are underway for installations to begin this summer.   This grant will be completed by October 2016.
    4. Local Parks & Recreation Fund Application.  Grant application has been submitted and awards are expected in October. Focus of this grant would be re-surfacing the tennis courts and updating the adjoining restrooms.   This grant requires a 50% match, and if awarded we can expect the project to be completed in the 2017-18 Fiscal Year.  Project budget is estimated at $50,000, meaning the City's responsibility would be $25,000. 

 

  1. TOSHA Inspection.   TOSHA inspector visited the City on April 25th.  Pertinent records were reviewed and site inspections conducted at the Community Building and at Public Works.  The final report was received and 2 violations were noted (we were led to believe at the time of inspection that these would be recorded as observations).  First, required monthly reports were not being filled out correctly; TOSHA inspector trained us during his visit and violation was noted that correction was complete.   Second violation was that Public Works procedure for Lock Out/Tag Out was incomplete and did not include all pertinent equipment.   Lock Out/Tag Out procedures have been expanded and were submitted to TOSHA for review.  TOSHA notified us on June 2 that our response was satisfactory and the inspection was closed.

 

  1. Government Financial Officers Association Award - We received notice that once again the City and Janet Parks have been recognized for excellence in financial reporting.   We have accomplished this recognition for 12 consecutive years.  Congratulations to Janet and staff for the continued commitment to excellence! 

 

  1. City Council Election.   City Council 2 year terms end this year.   The next General Election is slated for November 8, 2016, and candidates may pick up qualifying petitions from the Anderson County Election Commission.   Petitions are due to the Election Commission by noon on August 18, 2016.

 

  1. Update of Watershed Resource Management Plan.   The Norris Watershed Board is working to update and revise the Resource Management Plan.   This plan addresses 3 major categories of activities in the Watershed: forest management, recreation, and water quality.   Public workshops were held in January, February, April, and May.   The plan will continue to be worked on and discussed at future meetings.  A draft of the plan is now on the City's website for public review.  The public is encouraged to attend future Watershed Board meetings and provide input to the Watershed Board regarding one of Norris' most important resources.