Norris City Council Minutes

Monday, June 10, 2019








The meeting was called to order by Mayor Mitchell.




  1. The minutes of the May 13, 2019 Council Meeting were presented for approval.  Motion was made by Council Member Hill to approve the minutes.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter.  Motion carried by voice vote.




2.   Board and Commission Vacancies – Mayor Mitchell stated there are two.  Caroline Spurling for Animal Shelter Commission.  I will nominate Caroline.  The second one is Kathie Murphy for Tree Commission.  Her term is up and I would like to re-nominate her.  Council Member Painter provided a second for both nominees.  Additional discussion was offered with no response.  The motion carried by voice vote.


Council Member Painter requested discussion on her coming off of Planning Commission because there are currently four council members on the commission.  That makes 4 of the 7 members council members.  I am currently the city council representative so someone else would have to fill that position.  That opens a vacancy and causes a move of one of the other council members to the Planning Commission Council Member Position.  Mayor Mitchell indicated the Council Member position term is based on Council term (2 years)  not Planning  Commission term (3 years).  Ron Hill offered to be the Council Member on Planning Commission.  This was completed as a change without a formal vote.  This new creates a vacancy that can be advertised.


Council Member Painter noted that Jessica Ogburn was on the Animal Shelter Commission as the Council Member.  Here resignation left that position open.  Council Member Painter felt that this needed to be filled.  There were no volunteers at this meeting.  City Manager Scott Hackler was tasked to discuss with each Council Member to see if a volunteer is found.  Until that time the position will be left open.



  1. East Norris Sidewalk Grant Status – City Manager Scott Hackler provided information regarding documents that were required to be submitted to TDOT for approval to get to the next phase which begins July 1.  All of the documents have been submitted that were requested by TDOT.  We are waiting on review and approval.  The next phase will be bidding and construction.  The bid price will be an unknown.  Our 20% is estimated and budgeted to be $88,000.


  1. Safe Routes to Schools Grant Status - This grant schedule is not the same as the East Norris Sidewalk.  The current project plan does not account for property lines and assumes all of the ROW will be on city property.  The engineering firm was contacted and indicated no survey had been done to confirm property lines.  A surveyor will be contracted to confirm the property lines.  There is more time with the current October deadline.


  2. Sawmill Road Extension Project - We have participated in a walkdown with TDOT.  TDOT representatives believe the project is a viable opportunity and recommends submitting an application.  The data collection has been completed for the application.  The early estimate is that the city will be obligated to approximately $70,000 for half of the ROW and Utility cost.  The Anderson County Mayor, Terry Frank, has requested the count budget committee to approve one half of the city cost or $35,000.  This has been approved by the county budget committee.  This is not a grant this is a project that requires economic development options and we do have some good numbers.  This project is very promising right now.  Vice Mayor Beeman noted this has not been approved but we have a lot of momentum.  George Miceli 98 Butternut, is that $35,000 from the county regardless or towards our expenses such as $10,000 we only get $10,000 from the county?  City Manager Hackler, - it is written as $70,000 as the estimate and we get 50% from the county up to $35,000.  Mayor Mitchell – I suspect we will have more workshops when more information is available.

Kathy Shubert 18 Hilltop Place, regarding the sidewalk I heard at the last budget meeting that $120,000 had already been paid from the City of Norris and approximately $88,000 more is required and you are asking for a property tax increase.  I don’t understand why that amount go so exploded all of a sudden.  Mayor Mitchell – this is a multi-year topic and there has been some scope increase from the first.  This has been five years.  City Manager Hackler – I believe the original estimate was done in 2015.  Kathy Shubert – was this a 50 percent grant?  City Manager Hackler – this was an 80/20 percent.





1.   Ordinance 613 – Second Reading - An Ordinance of the City of Norris, Tennessee Adopting the Annual Budget and Tax Rate for the Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2019 and Ending June 30, 2020 City Manager Hackler reviewed Ordinance 613.    Hackler stated are no changes from the previous reading which was approved in the first reading.  There is essentially a $45,000 increase which is $.11 to cover the Hall Tax to cover the loss of the Hall Tax revenue which was over a period of years.  It peaked at about $42,000 and we are at $5,000 and will be at $0.00 next year.  This was a permanent loss of revenue determined by the State of Tennessee.  We also included a 1.5% COLA increase for all city employees.  Mayor Mitchell stated that we are funding the employee insurance that they currently have which includes a cost increase with no impact to the employee.  This total close to a 3% total compensation amount.   George Miceli, how much does the tax increase bring in to the city.  Council Member Painter, $44,650.  George Miceli, now $44,000 will come in annually.  The payoff for the sidewalk is a short term and the tax increase will address the needs of the city beyond that sidewalk issue.  City Manager Hackler – the tax increase does not affect the 20% of the sidewalk grant it will be pulled from the reserve funds as a onetime cost.  George Miceli- I have heard several times that if we did not have the sidewalk cost, we would not need the tax increase.  The tax increase is really for the long-term city needs as a permanent replacement to the Hall Tax.  Council Member Painter - when you look at the 5-year capitol plan there is more money for public works vehicles and police vehicles, building renovation and eventually a fire truck.

Mayor Mitchell – I will highlight process; the process is that this is on second reading.  I will call for a vote in a few minutes.  When approved the budget will go into place and tax bills will go out in a matter of weeks.  Norris tax collection go out in the beginning of the fiscal year.  That is why we have to do this and complete it by the time the fiscal year is over.

Mayor Mitchell – I will call for a vote.  Council Member Painter – I will make a motion to accept Ordinance 613 for the budget.  Council Member Beeman – Second.  Mayor Mitchell – any discussion? (none) Mayor Mitchell – I call for a vote, all in favor say aye.  All members responded Aye.  Opposed (none).  Motion Passes.


Mayor Mitchell – requested City Manager Hackler to discuss the water plant electric damage.  Mother’s Day weekend a tree fell on the right of way from Reservoir Hill to the Water Plant.  That caused the powerlines and telephone lines that communicate tank levels and alarms to the Police Dispatch to be taken down.  The 7,200-volt power line connected with a telephone line and damaged sensors and SCADA on both ends.  It also somehow cross phased and damaged the 2,300-volt electrical system for the clear water pumps that pump water from the water plant to the reservoir tanks.  The two pumps ran for another two weeks then one of the two pumps failed dramatically and was unable to be repaired.  We have been operating on one pump in manual mode since that time.  That has caused someone from the water department to check tank levels and manually operate pumps every three hours around the clock.  Mayor Mitchell – Has the current situation impacted water quality?  City Manager Hackler – the water quality is still clear.  This has only impacted operation of one of two pumps.  The one pump operating has the same damage potential as the one that failed because they were both exposed to the same electrical surge.  If the other pump quits, we have no water except to receive water from the Anderson County Utility.  Based on their tank elevations there are some homes at higher elevations in Norris that would not have water.  The second risk is that we are operating a 2,300-volt system with unshielded components.  A component failed during the event.  The technician indicated had this happened when someone was in the room it could have resulted in serious injury or a fatality.  The solution is to replace the 2,300-volt system with a 480-volt system with enclosed explosion proof cabinets.  This is also using off the shelf components such that during a failure we could now get replacement parts within hours or days.  Right now, we are looking at six weeks to six months to replace some of the older components.  We are still operating and maintaining tank levels today.  The new components were purchased under an emergency order within our purchasing requirements which allowed us to expedite the approvals.  The components have been delivered and installation has begun.  We hope to have one of the new motors running as early as next week.   Spencer Boardman – was there/is there an in-line breaker system in case another tree comes down?  City Manager Hackler – the old load control system single phased (of the three-phase system).  The new system will be more responsive to the single-phase condition and protect the equipment.  The same condition will not exist with the new equipment.  The telemetry piece involves a meeting with one of the cellular companies to look at other telemetry options.  Cynthia Edrington – If all the pumps went down what was the backup plan?  City Manager Hackler – We would connect to the Anderson County Utility to buy water from them for a temporary period of time.  Butternut Road and Norris Dam State Park are the elevated areas that may not have water if fed from the Anderson County Utility.  We are looking at a booster pump option to use if fed from Anderson County to pull from the grid and fill our tanks and keep all of our customers up at a lower flow rate.  Cynthia Edrington – how cost effective is it to buy water from Anderson County?  Water Superintendent Wilkerson – we currently sell to them 30,000 to 40,000 gallons a day.  If we buy from them, we pay a rate and also loose revenue.  Mayor Mitchell – it is a significant cost impact and so are the repairs we are talking about.  We are currently not requesting conservation, there is no impact to water quality.  We have water in the tank and we have time.  We would contact impacted customers if needed.  We are being professional and prepared.  Water Superintendent Wilkerson we have 750,000 gallons in the tank and are pumping about 250,000 per day.  We have three days’ supply without conservation actions.  City Manager Hackler – Tony was asked to meeting the the Watershed Board to discuss options of tree clearaing.  We are starting a series of workshops to determine options.  This includes options of filter plant locations..The filter plant today is designed for spring water.  Pulling water from another location would require a different water plant design.  Mayor Mitchell – I encourage participation in the upcoming workshop.




City Manager Hackler reported on the following:


  1. 2018-2019 Year to Date (Estimated through April) City Budget – We are at 96% of the budget year and are doing closeout of the accounts. We will not know the final costs until July.


  2. The part time position continues to be filled with temp services.  That is working out really well right now.


  3. Grant Updates


I already covered the grant updates and county budget committee.


4)    Brush Dump – The brush dump is still closed for public use.  Due to the end of the FY funds were not available for a small excavator to restack the material for either burning or chipping to reduce the mass that is there now.  Kerry is picking up the brush that normally would be haulded by individuals.  I am asking Kerry to track that volume.  The advantage to doing it this way is that we believe a percentage is being hauled in that is not from Norris.  Some is commercial.  We are working on a method to verify the source.


6)    Watershed Trail Crew is staffed with four and is working well together.  The Summer Recreation Staff has also been filled with the same workers from last year.  That is also going well.


7)    The Number 6 Police Officer Position was advertised.  We have received up to four applications.  Sam will be working on interviews at the next opportunity.


8)    We met with US Cellular to discuss options for communications which includes business phones and internet.  We will not just meet with US Cellular.  We will meet with other providers.  Each department head will create a list of needs, including Tony with his telemetry.


9)     I hav a meeting scheduled with Mitch Loomis who is the East Tennessee Development District representative for grants.  All of the department heads will be briefed by Mitch on what grant opportunities are out there, what is needed, what the schedules are, and how we can be competitive when applying for grants.  Mitch suggested keeping a spot in our budget for our matching portion.


10)   The Lions Club continues.  There is a new flag up in front of the Library for the 19th amendment.  The Lions Club also donated money for the purchase of books on the 19th amendment.  They are also working on the left side of the Public Safety Building by removing debris and painting.  Will Grinder also donated concrete for the pad.  They will also be working to help finish painting the fire bay.


11)   I met with Will Grinder about standing up a non-profit organization “The Citizens in Support of the Norris Police.  This will eventually be a 501(C) 3.



12.   Accounts Payable, Minutes, and Reports - Mayor Mitchell asked Council for questions or   comments concerning accounts payable, minutes, and/or reports.   No questions or comments were made.  City Manager Hackler – I am going through each budget area looking at the overruns and underruns.  We will start preparing transfers to balance each of those areas.  I am still looking at an overall underrun to finish the year.  The exception will be the Water Department which has experienced a significant challenge in the last four weeks.


          Police Department Report – The department had 9 documented complaints, 196 service calls, 1,000 phone calls which averages about 32 calls per day.


          Fire Department Report – Jeremy did not get to pull a report together.  He has been attending EMR training two nights a week for the month.  Three attended Smoky Mountain Weekend in which Jeremy got his two-day 16-hour fire chief orientation.  The most significant fire event was on Agape Lane that Norris FD responded to along with 6 other fire departments.


          George Miceli – is there a projected timeline for the homes in the city that do not meet the fire code because of the clutter around them?  City Manager Hackler – The clutter ordinance is written with the assumption that I will knock on the door and make contact with the owner.  It is not written for the owner who does not answer the door or the mail.  I have to make contact with the owner to follow the ordinance.  It may mean an ordinance change.


          Public Works Report - 52 Hours for brush pickup hauling ten loads of brush and two loads of chips.  Other items were normal for the month.


          Water Department – The staff has been working 20 to 30 hours of overtime a week to maintain operations.  The police have been extremely helpful with monitoring of the tank levels and equipment.  It is a community effort to maintain the system.


          Recreation – Overall the summer program has been fantastic.  Oak Road Pool now fills in 1 ½ hours.  35 people served per day.  About 100 tee shirts were tie-dyed.  Many asking for more programs.


13.   Motion was made by Council Member Beeman to adjourn.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter.   Motion carried by voice vote at 8:00 p.m.



          ___________________________________               __________________________________

          Scott Hackler, City Manager                                            Janet Parks, City Recorder                                         

This is a 1-column page.

Enter subhead content here

Enter main content here

Enter supporting content here