City Council tackles busy agenda, garbage pickup rates increase

Published 2:11 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

BY ROBERT SORRELL
Star Correspondent
Elizabethton residents and businesses will soon pay a few extra dollars a month to have their garbage picked up by the city.
City Council on Thursday passed an ordinance on second reading to increase the fee from $13 to $15 a month for residential customers and from $25 to $30 a month for commercial customers.
The increase is expected to offset a pay raise for sanitation workers.
Street and Sanitation Manager Danny Hilbert informed council members that the county will no longer operate former recycling centers within the city, such as the one at the corner of Mill Street and Lynn Avenue. He said the county will instead continue operating its recycling center on Cherokee Park Drive. He said the facility will operate Monday to Friday, as well as half-a-day on Saturday.
The county recently approved new positions at the landfill to help operate the recycling center on Saturday.
Hilbert also told council that the cardboard bins that have been placed around the city, such as at Lions Field and in downtown, are serviced by the county. He said the county has agreements with property owners.
Hilbert confirmed the city is “not in the recycling business,” when asked by Mayor Pro Tem Bill Carter.
Council members apprehensively approved a motion to provide additional funding to the Elizabethton Municipal Golf Course to meet operating expenses this budget cycle.
On first reading, five of seven council members passed an ordinance to transfer money from the city’s general fund to the golf course. The city-owned golf course is managed by Hampton Golf.
Council members learned from the golf pro that the course has suffered damage from heavy rains last summer, this winter’s brutal Christmas freeze and strong winds on Thursday that toppled trees on the property. The golf pro also noted that about 80 stumps have been removed from the course.
The golf pro said there has also been a decrease in membership.
Councilman Richard Barker said the amount of money requested by the golf course is too high and he said he would like to learn more about the problems at the golf course.
Barker and Carter voted against the ordinance, which will be voted upon again in February.
The council also approved several resolutions regarding employment requirements at the police and fire departments. Council approved one resolution that will lower the required age for new firefighters from 21 to 18.
At the police department, as a response to state law, council voted to allow the city can hire people who are not permanent U.S. residents, but the new officer must obtain citizenship within six years of employment.
Council also discussed various issues with traffic signalization at intersections in the city. The council approved a motion to modernize the traffic signals at West Elk Avenue and Hudson Drive. Members also discussed aging traffic signals along Sycamore Street in downtown.

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