Norris City Council Minutes
Monday, December 12th, 2016


BE IT REMEMBERED THAT THE CITY OF NORRIS CITY COUNCIL MET IN REGULAR SESSION ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 12TH, 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

None

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

1. The minutes of the November 14th, 2016 Council Meeting were presented for approval. Motion was made by Vice Mayor Haverkamp to approve the minutes with correction in item 11 - Council Member Painter was removed and replaced with Council Member Grieve making the second. Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve. Motion carried by voice vote.

2. Swearing in of New Council - City Manager Hester reported the city election had been certified by the Anderson County Election Commission. Jack Black, Bill Grieve, York Haverkamp, Chris Mitchell, and Loretta Painter were sworn in by City Recorder Janet Parks.

3. Election of Mayor - A motion was made by Council Member Haverkamp to nominate Chris Mitchell as Mayor. Motion was seconded by Council Member Black. Motion carried by voice vote.

4. Election of Vice Mayor - A motion was made by Council Member Painter to nominate York Haverkamp as Vice Mayor. Motion was seconded by Council Member Black. Motion carried by voice vote.

5. Council Appointment to Boards and Commissions - Mayor Mitchell asked if there needed to be any changes in the Council Board and Commission members. Council Member Painter requested to be removed from the Recycle Commission as the Council representative and be placed on the Planning Commission. Motion was made by Mayor Mitchell for Vice Mayor Haverkamp to be the Council representative on the Recycle Commission and Council Member Painter to serve as the out-large member on the Planning Commission. Motion was seconded by Council Member Black. Motion carried at voice vote.

6. Appointment of City Judges - Manager Hester recommended Brad Hodge and Eric Rauch be approved for another two year term. Motion was made by Council Member Black to approve the appointment of Brad Hodge and Eric Rauch to another two year term as City Judges. Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve. Motion carried by voice vote.

OLD BUSINESS

7. Board and Commission Vacancies - Mayor Mitchell made a motion to appoint Jenny Harshbarger to the Norris Library Commission. Motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Haverkamp. Motion carried by voice vote.

Mayor Mitchell made a motion to accept the resignation of Matt Zorvan from the Norris Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. Motion was seconded by Council Member Black. Motion carried by voice vote.

Mayor Mitchell made a motion to appoint James Peacock to the Anderson County Tourism Committee. Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve. Motion carried by voice vote.

8. Eric Harold Park Play Structure - City Manager Hester reported combo units are no longer available and the playground equipment would be separate. He stated he would have prices by the end of year.

9. Fundraiser: Ceiling Fans for Lions Pavilion - City Manager Hester reported $1,600 had been donated as of December 9th, 2016.

10. Management of Funds for Norris Boards and Commissions - City Manager Hester asked Margaret Norris, MTAS Consultant, for an update concerning the management of funds for the Norris Boards and Commissions. Ms. Norris stated donations can always be accepted but fundraising is a little different. She stated as an example a photo shoot to raise money would be inappropriate as you are competing with a private business. Ms. Norris also stated you can designate what the donations are to be used for but the purchase has to be for a lawful municipal purpose. Mayor Mitchell asked if the Norris Little Theatre productions, which include purchasing costumes and other items for the production, would be ok. Ms. Norris stated yes because this is a Parks, Leisure, Recreation type of service. City Manager Hester mentioned the purchase of toys for the Fire Santa was not ok. Ms. Norris stated she would have a hard time justifying the purchase of toys for children as a lawful municipal purchase. Mayor Mitchell asked about spending City funds for an Employee Christmas dinner. Ms. Norris said that is one she struggles with. She said she has never seen this as an audit finding, but it could be. Ms. Norris stated as long as you can justify the lawful municipal purchase you are ok.


11. CITY MANAGER REPORT

  City Manager Hester reported on the following:

  1) 2015 - 2016 Year to Date City Budget - Overall expenditures are on target to budget with 95% of 2016 property taxes collected, which is ahead of normal pace of collections. Annual audit work has begun, and final financial reports will be available later this year. Overall the City's financial health continues to be strong and the City is in good position for meeting current capital needs. 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 Year to Date Water Budget - Overall, NWC operations budget is very tight, with no changes to report from previous months. Water sales project to be on target for the year but it is apparent the sewer sales will miss the budget as we have now been below projected sewer revenue for five consecutive months. NWC has agreed to delay hiring until the budget detail was clearer. Council Member Painter asked how the sewer revenue was missed by $30,000. City Manager Hester stated it was a missed revenue calculation.

  3) Grant Updates

      a) 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. Engineer is proceeding with the Environmental Phase of the project. The site survey has been modified, and we will be proceeding with easement acquisition in the upcoming weeks.
     
     
b) Safe Routes to Schools Grant - SRTS is a federally funded program and 100% federally funded; no match is permitted. We have begun the planning process for implementation. We have received our signed contract from the State and TDOT is working on the environmental assessment.


      c) Oil Recycling Grant - An award has been made by TDEC for an oil recycling grant in the amount of $21,500. This grant is 100% and requires no local match. Heaters have been installed and a new roof over the collection tank will be installed this week.


  4) Capital Purchase Update - The new Chevrolet 2500 pickup truck for Public Works has been delivered and is in operation. City Manager Hester reported in order to have a second plow available, we would need to purchase a new frame for the existing snow plow or purchase a new plow. The purchase of the frame would be around $1,800 compared to $4,500 for a new plow. After council discussion, a motion was made by Council Member Black to approve the purchase of a new frame in the amount up to $1,800 from fund balance. Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter. Motion carried by voice vote. 

  5) Update of Watershed Resource Management Plan
A draft of the plan is 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. Plan should be presented to Council very soon.

  6) See attached City Manager Report.

NEW BUSINESS

12. Budget Amendments - none

13. Council Member Black made a motion to keep the grievance procedures per the Personnel Policy as is except step 3. Section 8. J., Step 3 would be changed to read instead of the employee filing a grievance with City Council, the grievance would be filed with the State's Human Rights Commission. Council Member Black stated he did not think the City Council should be holding public hearings on employee grievances. City Manager Hester stated it would require two readings and a public hearing. Vice Mayor Haverkamp stated since this change would not affect the current grievance, he would like to wait another month to do more research into this change. Motion failed for a lack of a second.

14. Employee Grievance - Mayor Mitchell reported the grievance pertaining to the Public Safety Officer that was dismissed in November 2016 would not be heard at this meeting. The attorney representing the Officer requested the grievance be postponed until the January 9th, 2017 Council Meeting. Motion was made by Mayor Mitchell to approve the continuance of the grievance until the January Council Meeting. Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve. Motion carried by voice vote.

15. Council Goals for 2017 - Mayor Mitchell asked Council for their goals for 2017. Council Member Black's goals are to establish a city electronic communication plan approved by the state that residents could sign up for. He would also like to see if residents would be interested in developing a broader recreation area encompassing the tennis courts, restrooms, on City property next to the community building which would include a splash park, and if the electronic communication plan was in place, we could poll the residents to see if they are interested in this plan. Council Member Black also wants to Council to get with folks on the state highway. He feels we need to sit down to talk with residents and business owners and come up with ideas that are good for all of us. Council Member Black also wants Council to have a Public Retreat to discuss current and future items. Mayor Mitchell said he would like to have a formal review with department heads and have them share with Council their struggles and ideas. Mayor Mitchell would like to utilize MTAS consultants to help with the different departments. He would like to do this in conjunction with the budget cycle this spring. Vice Mayor Haverkamp stated he agreed with Mayor Mitchell that this formal review was needed. He also stated he felt a closer review of the budget was needed to make changes and improvements as needed. Mayor Mitchell said the review would also include a complete update of job duties and responsibilities for all positions.

16. City Manager Contract Review - Mayor Mitchell stated the City Manager's contract allows on the back page in the fourth paragraph as the City's charter dictates, if you accept this offer, you will serve at the will and pleasure of the council. Mayor Mitchell stated in his mind it was time for a change. Mayor Mitchell made a motion to enact the section of the contract to dismiss City Manager Hester for no cause and per the contract would pay the equivalent of three month's salary plus any accrued vacation leave time. Council Member Black stated he disagreed vehemently. Vice Mayor Haverkamp stated the past year has been tough personally and he has concerns. Council Member Black read a statement of support for City Manager Hester. After reading the statement, Council Member Black said he did not know what you are unhappy with, but yet you are going to fire City Manager Hester - if you do then I resign. Mayor Mitchell asked and heard comments from the audience. Vice Mayor Haverkamp stated that City Manager Hester has done a lot for the City. He stated the City Council does not have a lot of authority and only meet once a month and his concern is as a city are we able to move forward where he feels he can trust what is happening. Vice Mayor Haverkamp asked City Manager Hester if he would like to stay. City Manager Hester said yes he would like to stay, but there has been a lot of angst within the City ranks for several months now with discontented employees, Volunteer Departments, and he said he was responsible for a portion of this, but at the same time he believes he was having some help with the discontent and the situations. He said the Mayor has made it perfectly clear for months he felt it was time for a change. City Manager Hester stated he told the Mayor in a private meeting a short time ago that he felt he had eroded the chain of command. He stated he did not think he had did it intentionally, but he was not sure how easily it would be for him to re-establish the chain of command as what he perceives as interference. Council Member Grieve stated he was surprised this had come up in the meeting and we are lucky to have City Manager Hester and what he has done in the past is great. Mayor Mitchell stated he did not think this was a surprise to City Manager Hester. The motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Haverkamp. Vice Mayor Haverkamp stated he does not see how we can move forward in a healthy way and he does not see how we can fix it. Council Member Painter said if we vote not to make a change how are we going to be able to work together. City Manager Hester said let me make it easy for you; I don't see a scenario where I can work with Mayor Mitchell again. Mayor Mitchell asked City Manager Hester if he wanted to say anything and he said no. Voting by show of hands in favor of dismissal for no cause: Mitchell, Haverkamp, and Painter. Voting against: Black and Grieve. After the vote Council Member Black said you have another empty seat here and left the meeting.

17. A motion was made by Mayor Mitchell to hold a Special Called Meeting on Monday, December 19th, 2016 at 7 p.m. to appoint a City Manager Pro Tempore. Motion was seconded by Vice Member Haverkamp. Voting for: Mitchell, Haverkamp and Painter. Not present to vote: Grieve and Black.


18. Accounts Payable, Minutes, and Reports

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

19. Motion was made by Council Member Painter to adjourn. Motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Haverkamp. Motion carried by voice vote at 9:55 p.m.

_____________________________________ _____________________________________
Janet Parks, City Recorder

 

 

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