A busy August agenda… City Council will be meeting on Thursday via Zoom
BY IVAN SANDERS
The Elizabethton City Council is preparing to go back to a Zoom teleconference meeting for their regularly-scheduled August meeting due to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases in the county.
With an agenda that contains 14 items of new business and one item of old business that they will be tackling, the Council will have a busy meeting.
The one item that will be addressed first is a piece of old business that addresses an ordinance that prohibits camping on public property.
This ordinance came about as a result of the Elizabethton Police Department finding an increasing number of homeless individuals pitching tents and developing improvised campsites on public and private property.
Currently, the officers can contact the owners of private land to see if those camping are trespassing and ask them to move but that cannot be done on public land.
Johnson City passed a similar ordinance in May of 2018 and Police Chief Jason Shaw believes that has led to an increase in the number of those homeless folks to move to the Elizabethton area.
With the passage of this ordinance, officers would have authority under law to act to resolve and prevent these situations from occurring.
In new business, the Council will be considering and taking action on a resolution to approve the purchase of the real property at 218 Spring Street in Hampton.
The reasoning behind the purchase is the security and safety of Hampton Spring from which the city pumps 60 percent of the city’s water from the spring therefore it can be argued that the spring is one of the most valuable public assets of the community.
By purchasing the property, the City of Elizabethton will be enabled to clean up and restore sanitary conditions, provide an additional security buffer zone, and will provide expansion space should TDEC mandate additional treatment processing such as filtering in the future.
The purchase price of the property is $35,000 while closing costs, building demolition, and disposal costs along with other costs total $12,000. The item is not funded in the present fiscal year budget.
Council will also have to spend a little time cleaning up an ordinance that they approved on June 11, 2020, in regard to regulating temporary storage containers within the City of Elizabethton.
Due to a clerical error in the first resolution, the portion of the ordinance missing contains regulations related to downtown/residential zoning districts.
Without the approval of the amendment of the ordinance, the staff currently only has the authority to enforce the regulations in commercial/industrial zoning districts.
Also on the docket, $159,504.40 in purchases, expenses, and bids will be reviewed including an emergency purchase of a Crane Truck for Water Resources in the amount of $98,686, an annual TDEC water maintenance annual fee for water resources in the amount of $18,015.40, and a bid on a service truck for Elizabethton Electric for $42,803.
In other business, the Council will look at approving the Fat Tire Criterium for Sunday, August 16, in downtown Elizabethton from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event normally held in Johnson City is applying to run the Omnium Race in Elizabethton.
This would close all traffic from Hattie Avenue, Sycamore Street to East E Street, East E Street to N. Riverside Drive, N. Riverside Drive to Hattie Avenue, and Hattie to Sycamore Street. It would also include having Elk closed from Sycamore to Riverside Drive.
The event would bring more than 800 bike riders and support staff to the area.
Two resolutions will be presented as the Council will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women to vote and the second resolution will be to recognize the homeless problem within Carter County and the local region as well as the creation of the Homelessness Task Force.
Citizens can still make comments by joining the Zoom meeting and at the appropriate time use a raised hand on the program to address the Council.
Once again, the meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 13, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The link for the meeting is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89670378681 or by calling 1-646-558-8656 and entering the meeting ID: 896 7037 8681#.
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