Elizabethton City Council approves new drone, funding amendment for downtown grant

Published 2:49 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

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By Robert Sorrell

Star Correspondent

The Elizabethton City Council approved several matters on Thursday, including the purchase of a new drone for the police department, a funding amendment for the Downtown Improvement Grant and events.

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In old business, council members unanimously approved an ordinance to consider on second reading regarding Tennessee’s Downtown Improvement Grant. According to the city’s public information officer, city staff was notified of the award in November of 2023. As a result, the award was not a budgeted project at the start of the fiscal year.

The officer said a budget amendment was needed to account for the revenue for the grant, along with the corresponding expenditures. The result of the amendment will increase grant revenue to a new total of $300,000 and grant expenditures to $318,750, with the match amount of $18,750 to be funded from fund balance, the officer said.

In new business, council members unanimously approved a resolution on first reading to purchase a drone for the Elizabethton Police Department. The drone costs almost $27,000, and it will be used for crime scene investigations and other matters related to law enforcement, Police Chief Jason Shaw said.

The drone is being purchased through a Tennessee Violent Crime Intervention Fund Grant. Shaw said a police department member will need to be certified to use the drone.

The council approved a motion to purchase new AMI meters for the Elizabethton Electric Department. With the equipment, the department can remotely monitor electric service in the system.

Council members unanimously approved two events, including Elizabethton’s First Friday Celebration and the Carter County Omnium, or the Roan Groan.

Main Street Elizabethton requested to host First Fridays once again this year in downtown Elizabethton with the addition of a road closure, which will add a family-friendly fun zone feature to the overall event, according to the city of Elizabethton. Activities will include inflatables, a chalk-walk and other free attractions.

The bicycle races will be held on June 1 and June 2, according to Race Director Reneau Dubberly.

The 40th annual Roan Groan will be held on June 1, and typically attracts visitors and bicyclists from around the United States, as well as other countries, Dubberly said. The race often prepares bicyclists for larger races in Europe, he said.

Also, the Fat Tire Criterium will be hosted again in downtown Elizabethton on June 2 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the city. Both races will require road closures at various intersections over the two-day period.

Councilmembers also approved purchases, expenses and bids for March of 2024. Purchases include a Peerless Vertical Turbine Pump for the Water Resources Department in the amount of $33,750. The expenses included a state contract bid on a John Deere rough mower for the Elizabethton Golf Course totaling $57,000, council members discussed.

During the meeting, the council also unanimously approved various changes to job descriptions at the golf course. Councilmen said that since the city took over operations at the golf course, the property has seen great improvements.