Liveblogging the New Council

Mosby moves the election of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem to the beginning of the meeting; it was seconded, and passed.

Paper ballots were filled out and collected; Golden votes for Golden; Smith for Beehan; Miller for Beehan; Mosby for Golden; Hayes for Beehan; Hensley for Beehan. Tom Beehan was elected mayor with four votes.

Ballots were collected for the election of Vice-Mayor: Golden votes for Mosby, Smith for Mosby, Miller for Miller, Mosby for Mosby, Hayes for Miller, Hensley for Miller. Following the 3-3 tie, a second round of ballots were collected.

On the second ballot, Golden marked his own name, then asks to correct it voting for Mosby. The second round of ballots ended up exactly the same; Mosby says they’ll vote one more time, then if the tie is not resolved, the election of Vice-Mayor will be put off until the next meeting when the presence of seven members (Beehan is absent) will break the tie. On the third round, the votes remain at a tie.

Upon clarification by City Clerk Jackie Bernard, Mosby suggests that perhaps they should elect a Mayor Pro Tem just until the next meeting. Tom Hayes moves to cast two more ballots, then to elect a temporary Mayor Pro Tem until the next meeting.

A fourth round of ballots is collected, resulting in exactly the same tie. The fifth ballot is exactly the same tie. A motion to delay the election of Mayor Pro Tem until the next meeting passes unanimously. Mosby entertains a motion by Smith to elect Willie Golden temporary Mayor Pro Tem until the next Council meeting, which passed unanimously on a voice vote. A brief break was called to change seats.

Willis is sworn in as the Mayor Pro Tem until the July Council meeting, and takes the center chair.

Moving back to the agenda from the beginning, Councilman Mosby notes that there are several items to be added: one repealing ordinance #13-06, a resolution on bids and contracts (awarding a $42k contract to a landscape service, and a third that I didn’t get.

Dan Barnett of Blue Ridge Development appears to speak to the rezoning of a parcel in Commerce Park. Their intention is to develop the parcels, or sell them for development similar to the existing businesses in the area. He proposes to rezone a parcel at the corner of Bethel Valley Road and Scarboro Road to provide a convenience store, bank, or other retail and service operations. Charlie Hensley notes that the Planning Commission recommended UB-2 rather than B-2, and asks why the change. Barnett replies that UB-2 is "use on review," which would require extensive review for each individual business. B-2 is a more business-friendly zoning. O’Connor notes that this site does not have access back to the rest of the industrial park.

Tery Mullins, owner of the adjoining property, says that they moved to Commerce Park so that they would be separated from commercial and residential development. He would like to see the adjoining properties remain Ind-1 or Ind-2. Mullins owns all adjoining property. There seems to be a bit of disagreement over whether either party refused to meet with the other. Barnett lists the other developments they’ve done including some along Northshore Drive, Pellissippi Parkway, and others.

Hayes asks if it’s acceptable to mix retail and industrial, but O’Connor replies that Commerce Park is really mixed use — it’s more office than industrial, and it has been rezoned to include one church. Because of the traffic volume and the location of the parcel, O’Connor says they feel that it would not have an adverse impact on Commerce Park.

[It seems to me like a decent opportunity to capture some sales tax revenue… let’s do it!]

Item E, adoption of a resolution authorizing the City’s continuing participation in ETEDA, is removed from the consent agenda by Ellen Smith.

The first reading of the ordinance discussed by Barnett and Mullins comes up for first reading. Ellen asks if the access needs of business use are different from the access needs of industrial use. O’Connor says that the City must provide access from the public road, but also has the right to designate certain limitations, such as right-turn in and right-turn out. The motion passes with only Mosby in opposition.

Hensley moves to move the Youth Advisory Board meeting up, so that the young people present may learn their fates. There are six candidates for five positions. Jasmine McKamey and Ethel Bonner (?) are present, running for the Freshman and Junior representatives, respectively. A tie was reached for the fifth position, between Robinson and Shire, with Hayes, Hensley, adn Mosby voting for Robinson, and Smith, Miller and Golden voting for Shire. A second round of ballots were collected, yielding another tie. Smith moves to postpone the election of this position until the next meeting. Hensley asks if this would pose any hardship. Matt Reedy, YAB representative, notes that they do plan to meet twice before than the next Council meeting. He points out that Ms. Shire has taken the initiative to attend a couple of YAB meetings to familiarize herself with the process, while he has not met Ms. Robinson. Business can continue with a quorum. Golden asks that they vote twice more, and calls the question (to postpone),and the vote tied, meaning that the motion fails. Two more ballots will be taken (if not resolved by one). On the third ballot, they tied again on the same lines. They only have one more piece of paper, and it tied again. Mosby moves to move this election back to the regular place in the agenda, given that neither candidate is present. The motion passed, so it will be moved to later on tonight’s agenda.

An ordinance to amend Title 15, Chapter 5, to allow for speed limits lower than 25 miles per hour based on design speeds and roadway plans. This is intended for some of the new high-density neighborhoods. Streets in Rarity Ridge may be affected. The ordinance passed on first reading.

After approving a grant resolution, Council next takes up adopting a new salary schedule for City employees, designed to keep employees from topping out, and to remain competitive with surrounding market labor rates. Essentially, it just moves the entire salary schedule up 1%, and it passed.

A resolution to purchase the National Guard Armory for not more than $40,000 is next; Girls Inc. and the Kennel Club have expressed interest, but it is the City’s jurisdiction to dispose of the property as they see fit. O’Connor’s plan is to transfer the property with full restitution (so one or both entities would purchase it from the City). If sold to a nonprofit, the City could build in a restriction saying that if the nonprofit(s) ever decided to sell the property, the City would have right of first refusal, for the same price as sold to the nonprofit. The resolution passed.

The next resolution would appoint a seven-member Charter Review Committee (per the Charter) on July 16, provided that sufficient candidates are available at that time. Rick Chinn, who served as Vice-Chair of the Charter Commission which put this item in place, spoke to the reasoning for putting that provision in place. They put this provision in to allow for housekeeping items, so that future Charter Commissions will not have to spend so much time on aligning the Council with State law. The resolution was approved.

The next resolution authorizes the City to submit a grant application for operating assistance for public transportation (operated by ETHRA). About 5,300 trips per year are taken in the ETHRA van. They don’t have the numbers available on the taxi coupons.

Lastly, the ETEDA resolution (pulled from Consent by Ellen Smith) was reviewed: to pay ETEDA dues in the amount of $26,116 annually — half of which is paid by TVA. Smith asks what relationship ETEDA has to the other economic development organizations — like ETEDA, the Chamber, and others. O’Connor clarifies that some are more Oak-Ridge focused than others. The Oak Ridge Economic Parnership is primarily involved in industrial development; the Chamber on business and retail. We work with adjoining economic development entities (Roane Alliance, for example) for joint efforts like tenants for Horizon Center. ETEDA is a sixteen-county effort. JobsNOW! is another arm of the 16-county region — sort of a marketing/branding entity. After much discussion, the motion passed unanimously.

A contract for tree-trimming was approved for $856,543.03 to Seelbach & Company, the lowest & best bid. Their price is 69% of the next lowest bid, probably because they already have the people and equipment in place. Smith notes that EQAB has fielded a lot of complaints about the tree-trimming, and that Seelbach is less interested in "retail" customer service — making the homeowners happy, rather than the electric department. Nonetheless, it was approved unanimously.

Diversified Service Industries was awarded a mowing contract for $115,837.60 for Parks & Recreation. They were the sole bidders. Since the work is seasonal, it’s hard to hire (and train) the personnel to perform the service. They’ve done the work for 22 years, which may be why there was only one bidder.

A second contract to Diversified Landscape Industries (part of the same company) was awarded for litter pick-up. A 10-minute break was called. I’m going home.


6 Responses to “Liveblogging the New Council”

  1. on 18 Jun 2007 at 7:37 pm daco

    Poor fellow doesn’t want to give up.

  2. on 18 Jun 2007 at 7:47 pm voter person

    Hopefully Willie Golden won’t try to slip in.

  3. on 18 Jun 2007 at 7:58 pm who's who

    Listening to him conduct this meeting, thank God it is just for one meeting.

  4. on 18 Jun 2007 at 9:16 pm daco

    As always. Great job Netmom.

  5. on 18 Jun 2007 at 10:18 pm daco

    Mission adjourned?

  6. on 18 Jun 2007 at 10:28 pm Netmom

    I was getting hungry, and one doesn’t leave pizza unattended too long around my house (or I’d be going to bed still hungry). As it is, Dog is panting at my knee just waiting for a moment’s inattention on my part.

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