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City Council muddles through short July agenda

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
A short agenda for the regularly-scheduled July Elizabethton City Council meeting soon turned into a lengthy two-hour session on Thursday at the Elizabethton City Hall.
 
After approval of the minutes from the prior meeting, Elizabethton resident Evan Carter was presented a proclamation by Mayor Curt Alexander for being drafted in the second round of the 2020 Major League Baseball draft as Alexander declared Friday, July 10, 2020, as Evan Carter Day in Elizabethton.
 
City Manager Daniel Estes then deferred his scheduled slot for communications to Elizabethton Chief of Police Jason Shaw who presented Captain Lincoln Orellana and Captain Patrick White with the Medal of Distinguished Service and White with the Silver Cross due to injuries sustained during a call both responded to in December of 2019.
 
Shaw also awarded Mark Henry a citizenship commendation for his assistance in the apprehension of a suspect helping out Corporal Joe Holsclaw.
 
Councilman Jeff Treadway announced that this year’s BBQ, Blues, and Brews Festival has been canceled due to the recent spike in COVID-19 and the fact that only 50 people could be present which would make the event more costly to host than what could be brought in.
 
Estes also announced that the Roan Groan Bike Race has been rescheduled as well due to the pandemic. The race has been moved to August 15, 2020.
 
Upon review of the monthly reports from each department, several questions for different departments by Treadway extended the address of the New Business portion of the agenda for several minutes as each department responded to the correlating questions from the reports.
 
Once into the new business portion, the Council unanimously approved the release of funds to the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency.
 
Also, the Council approved unanimously the disbursement of allocated funds to non-profit charitable and civic organizations in the amount of $113,500. 
 
Those scheduled to receive the disbursement include the Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center ($45,000), Dawn of Hope ($1,500), The Shepherd’s Inn ($12,000), Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club, Inc. ($30,000), Second Harvest Food Bank ($2,000), Friends of Sycamore Shoals ($2,500), ARM Food Pantry ($2,500), Children’s Advocacy Center ($5,000), Kids Like Us ($10,000), and Alzheimer’s Tennessee ($3,000).
 
The Council approved an agreement with the Elizabethton City Schools for school resource officers for fiscal year 2020/21 at a cost of $102,108 which includes a 25 percent match for the three elementary officers and the remaining portion covered by a grant.
 
Questions were raised by Treadway and Councilman Wes Frazier about what happens when the grant expires if the city would be responsible for the full cost.
 
With the grant in place until the 2023 budgeting process, Estes advised that unless the grant was extended the city would incur the full cost. Both asked if having officers at the elementary was a necessity.
 
Elizabethton Police Chief Shaw then responded that he felt the presence of the officers was needed because in the event of a shooter at the schools, even with the near proximity of the police station that those very few minutes could be critical in stopping a larger scale event.
 
Also, Shaw shared how the presence of policeman help young children understand that policeman are not the bad guys and it helps to build confidence that the children have in the police when they see them.
 
The board approved the pricing agreement with Transunion TLOxp for the Elizabethton Police Department and approved a bid and contract with Tri-City Locating for Utility Service Location requests.
 
An ordinance to amend Municipal Code, 2015, in regard to prohibiting camping on public property was approved on first reading.
 
The board also approved extending appointments to the Bonnie Kate Theater Building Board for two years to Jeff Treadway, Amanda Honeycutt, John Huber, Cynthia Bernshausen, and Benny Johnson.