Signal Mountain Town
The Municipal Technical Advisory Service will assist the town in interviewing employees and department heads, as well as Mr. Veal, to develop an updated job description and advertise the position. It will also grade the resumes received to help narrow the number of applicants. City manager professionals at an assessment center will look for qualities that cannot be put on a resume and will give recommendations. The council will interview the narrowed field both as a group and individually. An online test can also show qualities that do not show up in a standard interview. The council asked Ms. Rogers to move forward with the interviews of city employees and the job description. She will also put together a timeline for the process.
Ms. Rogers, who was the Signal Mountain town manager for five years, said, “I am so appreciative of Mr. Veal and for all he has done for the town. He taught me more about leadership than most people in my life. He’s done a great job as police chief and as town manager.” Mayor Charles Poss said, “Boyd has been an amazing servant to the town for most of his adult life, including as the town’s police chief. He has done so much for this town and added stability.”
Ms. Rogers also gave advice about streamlining government operations so property tax increases will not be needed in the future. Discussion about everything will be on the table, such as which services residents of the town value and which are dispensable. At no charge to the town, MTAS will conduct departmental reviews, and consultants in each specialty will look for efficiencies. It will take three to five months to review each department.
Stormwater manager Cliff Fite updated the council on stormwater projects, saying there is a five-year capital improvement plan that will be continually changing to focus on the most pressing needs. Currently, rusted corrugated drainage pipes are causing road failures from sinkholes. Both the pipes and roads will have to be replaced. Only five of these pipes can be replaced each year, and some of them will be really big projects; if the pipes are long and set deep, they are expensive to replace.
The stormwater department also wants to purchase a street sweeper with a special arm that will assist in cleaning catch basins and piles of leaves that the leaf machines cannot reach. Stream restoration is necessary on the mountain, and the department needs a camera system that would be used to evaluate pipes. For just the initial assessment of the restoration of Bee Branch, the cost will be $90,000. Grants may be available after the studies and design are done, he said, but none cover 100 percent of the cost. Some roads need hydrology studies for drainage issues, and some utilities must be relocated before roads can be repaved. The recently approved stormwater fees will help move us forward, Mr. Fite told the council, adding that some issues will have to wait until money is available.
The council discussed the Mountain Arts Community Center board that now is empty. All the former members resigned to join the Signal Mountain Elementary Preservation Fund, which now is in charge of operations. The council members decided to leave the board vacant for now and revisit it again in May.
The current mask policy at the public town meetings will remain in effect for the time being. If COVID-19 infections drop, the issue will be reviewed at the next council meeting, and staff members will be consulted about their individual offices and departments before making any changes.
In regular business, the council approved the purchase of a Bobcat tractor for the water company at the price not to exceed $27,334.
The next meeting will be on November 8 at 6:00 p.m.
Bill Ford with the Walden Rescue and Emergency Services gave the monthly report for October. WRES responded to 32 home alarms and 35 emergency calls. The dedication for the new station is set for November 14 at 2 p.m., and the station will host tours until 5 p.m.
Eastern hemlocks at McCoy Farm and Gardens are benefiting from several volunteers who are treating the trees for woolly adelgid infestation. Mary Claire Nimon recently led a group of GPS and Baylor students in treating over 20 trees, and Dan Reynolds, Mickey Robbins, and Wesley Nimon are continuing the effort. In all, over 70 trees have been treated so far, and MFG is very appreciative of this conservation effort.
Kevin Calhoon, from the Tennessee Aquarium, and Baylor student Luke Thompson led a bird walk in September. The event was well attended, and the group identified 49 species of birds and at least 13 different species of warblers. eBird, an online bird observation database created by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, lists MFG as a hotspot for bird activity, with more species observed there than anywhere else on Walden’s Ridge.
McCoy Farm and Gardens recently hosted events for the Mountain Education Foundation, the Chattanooga Civitan Club, and the Little Brown Church, as well as several weddings. Several dates are still available for rental between now and the end of the year. Anyone interested in scheduling holiday celebrations may contact Cynthia Pennington at email@example.com.
Bachman Community Center is partnering with the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. During November, BCC will be a collection site for donations of critical supplies needed by the CCK to support the homeless population, including razors/shaving cream, brushes/combs, hair ties/clips, lip balm, reading glasses, windbreakers, ponchos, rain/snow boots, sleeping bags, umbrellas, towels/washcloths and rope/twine. These items can be dropped off anytime at Bachman, either just inside the back door or in the covered bin on the front porch.
The Mountain Fellowship Church, a longtime tenant of BCC, plans to make improvements in the auditorium, including new paint and stage curtains. Bachman Bargains continues to exceed its goals with its organized and welcoming second-hand shop. Open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 until 2, Bachman Bargains will host a holiday open house on Friday, November 12, and The Give Shop (a holiday shopping experience for kids) will take place Saturday, Dec 4.
Karen Stone, president of The Walden’s Ridge Civic League, announced A Very Opry Christmas will be held on Saturday, December 11. Volunteers Angela Cassidy, Margha Davis, and Michele McNeill will decorate the grounds with Roxie Thornton, committee chair. Mayor Lee Davis will light the Christmas tree at sundown, and Santa will be there for pictures with the children. Musicians from different genres will play in the auditorium, and folks can roast hot dogs and melt s’mores at the fire pit or warm themselves at the bonfire.
In support of Mayor Lee Davis’s request that civic organizations and citizens send in pictures of their front doors decorated for fall, WRCL board members enthusiastically dressed the WRCL front porch for the season, as well as asked Walden residents to send pictures of their decorated homes to the Town Hall for the website. Stone urges folks to sign up for the Family Holiday Photo, which will take place by the handsome fireplace in the McCoy home or on the beautiful grounds. Schedule your session November 6 or December 4-5. Reservations are necessary for this WRCL fundraiser. There is no limit on the number or people or pets in a 15-minute session. Cost is only $150 for a set of five digital photos. Contact Amy Slovak at (757) 645-5337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pumpkin Patch recently launched a new website, www.pumpkinpatchplayground.org, where the community can register for upcoming events, volunteer to help maintain and improve the playground and also hosted a pumpkin painting party! Consider the Pumpkin Patch for holiday gifts such as naming rights for pickets, picnic tables and benches with naming rights. Your tax-deductible donation both preserves and improves the Pumpkin Patch and leaves a lasting legacy for your family.
The next town meeting will be on 12 November at the Walden Town Hall at 6:30 p.m.