Norris City Council Minutes
 Friday, November 15, 2019 

BE IT REMEMBERED THAT THE CITY OF NORRIS CITY COUNCIL MET IN REGULAR SESSION ON FRIDAY, 
NOVEMBER 15TH, 2019, AT 5:30 P.M. WITH THE FOLLOWING COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT:  
LARRY BEEMAN, BILL GRIEVE, RON HILL, CHRIS MITCHELL, AND LORETTA PAINTER.    

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Mitchell. 

HEAR THE PUBLIC  

No comments. 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES 

1.      The minutes of the October 14th, 2019 Council Meeting were presented for approval.  Motion was made by Vice Mayor Beeman to approve the minutes.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve.  Motion carried by voice vote. 

OLD BUSINESS 

2.   East Norris Sidewalk Grant Status – City Manager Hackler reported the construction plans had been  submitted to the State. 

3.   Safe Routes to School Grant Status – City Manager Hackler reported a construction easement was not needed.  Waiting on approval/funding from the State. 

4.   TDOT SIA Application – City Manager Hackler stated there was nothing new to report.   Waiting on response from the State.  

5.   Board and Commission Vacancies – Two letters of interest were received concerning the one open Watershed position – Dave Easter and Allen Hendry.  Council Members contacted both interested parties before the Council Meeting.   Motion was made by Vice Mayor Beeman to appoint Allen Hendry to the Watershed Board.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Hill.  Motion carried by voice vote.  

Motion was made by Mayor Mitchell to re-appoint Susan Miceli to the Anderson County Library Board as the representative for Norris.   Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter.  Motion carried by voice vote.  

Motion was made by Mayor Mitchell to appoint Ron Hill to the Norris Animal Shelter Commission as the Council representative. Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter.  The motion carried by voice vote. 

NEW BUSINESS 

6.   Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Anderson Co. Family Justice Center – The agreement between the State of TN administering the Anderson Co. Family Justice Center and the City of Norris was presented for approval.   This agreement documents the basic terms by which the Parties will provide services to and participate in the ACFJC.   The Family Justice Center will provide resources for the local police departments and will provide a full-time facility for walk-in intakes and appointment-based services for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and exploitation, and elder abuse.    Motion was made by Council Member Grieve to approve the Memorandum of Understanding.   Motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Beeman.  The motion carried by voice vote.  

7.  Ordinance 616 – An Ordinance to Adopt a Fee Schedule for the Norris Municipal Code, Title 18, Utilities and Services, Schedule of Charges for Water and Sewer Services – 1st Reading -   

Norris Water Commission Chairman, Dean Harshbarger, reviewed the rate changes in Ordinance 616.   Chairman Harshbarger stated after holding numerous planning meetings, NWC had determined the need for a rate increase to implement the following NWC needs:   $20,000 for a contingency fund, $5,000 for chemical hazard training, $11,000 for part-time employee, and $57,000 for a new full- time employee. The increase would raise the monthly minimum water bill by $5.14 and would also raise the water above the minimum per $1,000 gallons to $8.46.   The proposed rate increases would be effective 01/01/2020.  Mayor Mitchell opened the floor for comments from the public.  Norris Water Commission members Richard Dyer, Sue Hill, and Margueritte Wilson addressed Council in support of the rate increase.  Mayor Mitchell stated he appreciated the work done by the Norris Water Commission and supports the increase.  Mayor Mitchell stated he is supportive of looking at different rate structures such as lowering the minimum usage.   Motion was made by Council Member Painter to approve Ordinance 616 on first reading.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve.  Motion carried by voice vote. 

City Manager Hackler stated a Public Hearing would need to be scheduled for Ordinance 616.  Motion was made by Council Member Painter to hold the Public Hearing on December 9th, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. immediately before the City Council Meeting.  Motion was seconded by Council Member Grieve.   Motion carried by voice vote. 

8.  TDOT Property Option - City Manager Hackler stated the City had received a letter from State of Tennessee TDOT dated October 11, 2019 concerning a request from Covenant Life International, Inc. to purchase the property located in front of the church property on SR 61.   The letter stated as an adjacent property owner the City may have the right to submit a bid for the purchase of the property in accordance with TN Code Annotated, Section & 12-1-112 (8)(A).   City Manager stated a response to the State was needed by November 1, 2019, but due to the date of the November 2019 Council Meeting, he had requested and received an extension.   City Manager Hackler stated a response was needed as to whether the City desired to buy the property for its fair market value or not.   The letter required a yes or no response.    City Manager Hackler stated after the response is submitted, the State would have the property surveyed and appraised and the next step would be a sealed bid process.   City Manager Hackler stated the next TDOT Meeting that would approve this process to continue forward would be in January 2020.   Council Member Painter stated she would like to see an arboretum on this property since we are a Tree City.    Mayor Mitchell opened the meeting for comments from the public.   George Miceli asked about the location of the property.   City Manager Hackler stated it was between Sycamore and 441.  Ray Tackett, 135 Sawmill and a member of Covenant Life Church stated the City had previously not wanted to purchase the property and now they are interested.   Mr. Tackett said it was upsetting and the property is virtually useless and he stated it is hard to understand why we are having a conversation about this.   Mayor Mitchell said it was brought up previously and Council did say no, but the City of Norris did not issue this process we are in today.  A letter was received from the State and this issue was placed on the agenda because a response was needed because Covenant Life had applied to purchase the property.   City Manager Hackler stated the City received a letter from the State that required a yes or no response and the process we are going through right now is just to say what it means if we say yes or no.   City Manager Hackler stated the City is looking at their options because the decision will be permanent.  Jack Mitchell, 119 Orchard Road, stated it does not cost anything to stay in the process and the City should not give up their options.   Mr. Mitchell stated that it is an important piece of land for the future of what happens on the highway and if the City does not stay in the bidding process the City loses any say as to what is developed.   George Miceli asked if we had an estimate of the value of the property.  City Manager Hackler stated $90,000 to a $100,000.   Mr. Miceli said his question is do we want this property enough to go $90,000 to a $100,000.    City Manager Hackler stated the process would be if we go down that path – the City would submit a sealed bid and say the fair market value comes back at $90,000 and we decide we only want to bid $50,000 than we would submit our bid at $50,000.  City Manager Hackler stated that may or may not win the purchase, but that is what we would submit.  Mayor Mitchell said his problem was walking away tonight and not staying a participant in the process that was created.   Jack Mitchell said if the Council says no, then the City is walking away from potential property tax revenue; granted if the City owns it there would be no tax revenue, but if it was converted to some type of commercial use there would be revenue.  He stated if it ends up as a church then you know you have no tax revenue.   Pastor McAfee with Covenant Life Church said the only reason the church was interested was to keep the property looking nice and to keep the church visible.  Pastor McAfee stated in response to the property not being taxable that simply is not true because the church currently pays property taxes on property they own that is not used for church use.   Mayor Mitchell said he accepted his statement about the church currently paying property tax on some property and if the church acquired this piece of property the church might pay taxes but it depends on how the property is used.   Pastor McAfee stated the church does not mind the road going through, but their struggle is the lack of communication going on.  Mayor Mitchell stated he thanks him and his supporters for being at the meeting and would like to build on that.    Pastor McAfee thanked Council on the decision for promoting Mike Poole to Police Chief.  Pastor McAfee stated the Church did have a survey done on the property because the Vice Mayor told them the City was not interested in the property.  Pastor McAfee stated he has been working 9 months on the process to acquire the property and this week the State told him that the City is now interested in the property.  Mayor Mitchell stated the church went through an official process in the proper way and you had every right to do what you did and he has no problem with that.   Motion was made by Council Member Hill to continue the process and reply yes that the City desires to buy the property for its fair market value and cost as provided in TCA & 12-2-112(8)(A).    Motion was seconded by Council Member Painter.  Motion carried by voice vote.  

9.  CITY MANAGER REPORT 

City Manager Hackler reported on the following:

 

1)   City Budget – as of 10-31-19 property tax collection is on track at 90%.  Total expense is 27.48%.  

 

2)   Water Budget – as of 10-31-19 total expense is 23.20%.   

3)   The part-time administrative assistant position has been filled.  Dominique Smith has accepted the job as of November 2019.

 

4)   The Police Chief position has been filled by Mike Poole who was serving as Interim.   

 

5)   The 2014 Land Use Plan will be the focus of future public workshops sponsored by the Planning Commission and facilitated by the City Manager.   

 

6)   Continue to attend most board and commission meetings due to the value in information shared and coordination between programs. 

 

7)   Grant Updates were already discussed. 

 

       a.  East Norris Sidewalk Grant – the design has been signed by the Mayor and City Manager.  Still waiting on TDOT review results. 

 

       b.  Safe Routes to Schools Grant – A construction easement is not required.   The next activity is the utility release of which Tony Wilkerson is assisting in locating utility infrastructure. 

       8)   System needs and specifications for a communication technology package continues.  Hope to have specifications written in an RPF form by December 2019 for a rate change on the water side. 

       9)    See attached City Manager Report. 

8.   BUDGET AMENDMENTS 

       The following Budget Amendment Transfers were presented for approval: 

 

Increase

Description

Amount

General Fund - 110

 

 

110-41000-253

Legal

     1,000.00

 

 

 

 

Decrease Code:

Description

Amount

General Fund - 110

 

 

110-42000-110

Police Personnel

    1,000.00

 

 

 

 

Motion was made by Vice Mayor Beeman to approve the budget amendment transfers.  Motion was Seconded by Council Member Painter.  Motion carried by voice vote. 

 

13 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.

 

14.   Motion was made by Council Member Grieve to adjourn.  Motion was seconded by Council  Member Painter.   Motion carried by voice vote at 7:20 p.m.

 

 

          ___________________________________               __________________________________  

          Scott Hackler, City Manager                                            Janet Parks, City Recorder