Alexander, Carter return to lead City Council

Published 10:29 pm Friday, December 11, 2020

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In their first meeting since the November elections, the Elizabethton City Council met in session via Zoom on Thursday with the first order of business being the nomination for Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.

After City Attorney Roger Day opened the floor for nominations for City Mayor, Councilman Kim Birchfield nominated Curt Alexander to retain his seat. In a 7-0 unanimous decision, Alexander will lead the Council for the next two years.

Current Mayor Pro Tem Bill Carter was nominated by Councilman Michael Simerly to fill that seat once again for the next two years as Carter was unanimously appointed in another 7-0 vote.

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The Council moved on to approve the minutes of the previous two meetings and followed by opening the meeting to comments from citizens.

During that portion of the meeting, Charlie Adams requested to address the Council in regards to the renaming of Rogosin Drive to Dave Rider Drive.

“I work with Elizabethton Chiropractic and changing the name of Rogosin Drive is a little concerning,” said Adams. “I appreciate the thought of honoring Dave Rider but I feel like there is something better to do for him.

“The name change would require changing our billing and paperwork for our office. It would be better for anyone on the street if the name was just left as Rogosin Drive.”

Daniel Estes shared with the board about the presentation of a plaque to Elizabethton Electric’s Rob Toney who is retiring just shy of spending 40 years with the city. The Council offered congratulations to Toney.

In the appointment of boards, commissions, and committees, the Council deferred the naming of an appointee to the Bonnie Kate Theater Board on request by Councilman Jeff Treadway.

Appointments made included Pam Eggler to the Library Board, Mayor Alexander replacing Kim Birchfield on the Main Street Board, and Kailey Peters as Student Representative to the Parks and Rec Board.

Also, Councilman Wes Frazier and Bill Taylor will remain on the Planning Commission & Zoning Appeals Board, Michael Simerly will represent the Council on the School Board and Mayor Alexander will remain on the Watauga River Water Authority Board.

Most of the new business on the agenda was approved unanimously, but once again there was discussion surrounding the request to rename Rogosin Drive to Dave Rider Street.

Councilman Richard Simerly asked Council if they should send it back to planning to discuss further or vote on the change.

Other Councilmen including Richard Barker and Treadway said they had received calls from some other residents in regard to the renaming.

Barker said the street had been named after E.I. Rogosin in 1957 or 1959 for donating land to the hospital. At that time, the Council wanted to honor him for donating the land.

Councilman Barker suggested two ideas with one being to name Hudson Drive to Dave Rider Drive or naming the intersection at Elizabethton High School and Bemberg Road the Dave Rider Plaza.

Treadway asked if there had been a community petition to change the name and was informed that a request had been made by an organization involved with football at Elizabethton High School.

Treadway further asked Planning Director Logan Ingle if there was anything in regulations about the renaming of a street to which Ingle replied there wasn’t as long as another street didn’t have the same name in use.

The Councilman then suggested tightening up regulations in regards to street name changes and asked that the item to be addressed by or before the March 2021 meeting after more work is done on it.

In that vote, the Council voted 5-2 in favor of tabling the item with Councilmen Birchfield and Frazier being the two no votes.

The final action of the meeting was the approval of bids in the amount of $309, 822 for
police utility vehicles in the amount of $100,593 and a Kenworth T370 (Knuckle Boom) and Loader for the Sanitation Department in the amount of $209,229.

With all business concluded, the Council wished everyone a Merry Christmas and adjourned.