January 15, 2004
Citizens Take Center Stage At January City Council Meeting
Citizen participation was the key component of the January meeting of the Memphis City Council. The Board of Aldermen heard from a number of local interests at the January 8 meeting at City Hall.
Representatives of the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce were present at the meeting to seek city input on a proposed arts festival that is tentatively being scheduled for the Memorial Day holiday in Memphis. The special weekend would feature area artists, musicians, and performers as well as local food and beverages. The MACC indicated the preliminary plans are for the group to host a wine and cheese tasting tent. Tickets for the event would be sold to help raise money to promote the community through future chamber events.
The MACC members stressed that the event is only in the planning stages. The council agreed to take the issue under advisement and offer a ruling by the February meeting in February on the use of the city square and other necessary municipal services.
Fire Chief Roger Gosney attended the council meeting in a new ride. Gosney brought the department’s new Rescue Unit to City Hall for the council to view. The new rescue truck was brought on line earlier this month and is a joint venture between the city and the rural fire corporation.
Gosney told the council that the old rescue truck will be sold by sealed bids to be opened at the fire department’s February meeting. The proceeds from the sale will be split between the two fire protection entities.
The second new fire truck is expected to arrive in Memphis in eight or nine months the chief told the council. Unlike the rescue unit, which was bought with local funds, the new pumper truck is being funded in large part by a federal grant.
The city agreed to purchase additional hose for the new truck as well as a special “butterfly” adapter that will help protect the city’s fire hydrants when the truck is used to pump water from the outlets.
The citizen participation continued when Lorna and Ron Robinson asked the council to consider adjusting the building permit policy. The couple has been engaged in a drawn out conflict with a neighbor regarding property lines and new construction. The Robinsons asked the council to make the public aware that property lines are not official without a paid survey. They also requested the council change the building permit process to require approval by the entire council.
Currently one alderman sets on the permit committee with various residents appointed by the council. Permits are reviewed by the committee at monthly meetings for approval of construction projects performed within city limits.
December proved to be a normal month for most city crews. Street Superintendent Roy Monroe requested city approval to seek bids for a new mower for the parks as well as a one-ton truck for the street crew.
In addition to the street department purchase requests, the council also agreed to seek bids for maintenance on the city cemetery. The council then voted to seek bids for hay service at Lake ShowMe.
Alderman Lucas Remley suggested the city maintain a larger surplus of rock salt to be used on city streets in icy conditions.
Monroe stated that salt is not effective when conditions fall below 20 degrees as they did during the recent winter storm that hit Memphis. He also noted that currently the city only has sufficient storage space for one truck load of salt.
Monroe discussed alternative methods for street cleaning and protection from winter weather with the council. He will review the subject and report back at the February meeting with his findings.
Mayor Ron Alexander presented a request from the Memphis Housing Authority to re-appoint Boyd Croley to the organization’s governing board. Alexander supported the appointment and the council voted 4-0 to reappoint Croley.