By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The Carter County Public Library’s Mattie Newton was back at Grayson City Council last Thursday, to ask about the availability of funding to support additional staff at the library, but council tabled the issue pending further review of their budget.
Grayson council had said they would consider contributing toward the hiring of an additional person for the Grayson branch of the library – a move that would have triggered a promised match from fiscal court for any funding amount offered, up to $10,000 per branch.
Grayson had considered additional funding at the $7,500 level in their September meeting, which would have meant $15,000 total for the Grayson branch to add additional staff. But they then considered rescinding that offer last month, before moving to table the issue. While a private contribution of $5,000 from Larry Doucet and his partners in Route 5 Village, Dustin Burchett and Phillip Green, has allowed the library to hire someone in the short term, they are still hopeful for funds that can help them sustain that position for longer than a few months.
Mayor George Steele reiterated his support for the library, and his call for the county to fund it fully – either from their general fund or by passing a library tax – instead of placing what he sees as an undue burden on the cities.
In other action at the meeting, scheduled to take the place of their regular Tuesday meeting, which conflicted with election night, council heard from Max Hammond with an update on the Warrior’s Path Project. Hammond discussed preliminary bike routes planned for the trail, which passes through the Carter Caves and Greenbo Lake state resort parks.
Council also discussed street department plans to decorate for the holidays, heard updates on the Hometown Holidays parade and events, and heard an update on the long running plans to improve sidewalks along Robert & Mary.
“It’s been a long project, from the time the grant was first approved about three and a half years ago,” emergency management director Roger Dunfee told the council. He explained that they have final plans from the engineering firm, and state approval, but they are still awaiting approval from the federal highway administration.
“We have to wait until they give us permission to move,” Dunfee said.
He said one issue is that the utility department is planning a water project on the opposite side from the sidewalk. Despite being on opposite sides, he said, the federal government isn’t keen on both projects going on at the same time, so they may not receive federal approval until after the water project – which doesn’t require FHA approval – is completed.
In other department reports they discussed the sale, purchase, and maintenance of trucks and equipment, and fire department plans for the holiday season. They also discussed billing for events the fire department responds to on business property within the city – such as a recent chemical spill at Love’s – and recouping costs for calls outside of city limits.
In other street department discussion, the city discussed the possible purchase of a new skid steer, noting the department had looked at prices from three different sellers to get an idea of cost before advertising for bids.
After further discussion councilman Terry Stamper made a motion to purchase the skid steer loader from an approved state equipment vendor at $43,458.00.
Councilman and mayor elect Troy Combs asked about any additional costs, noting that purchases almost inevitably include additional unlisted costs for attachments or amenities.
City clerk Duane Suttles explained that while a number of attachments – everything from a jackhammer to a snow plow to a sweeper broom – were available for this type of skid steer, making it a good investment, none of those were being purchased at present. The current skid steer would come with a standard bucket, Suttles said, but the city could add those other attachments in the future as funds and need arose. After much discussion the mayor called for a vote, and the motion to approve the purchase was passed unanimously.
In the police report, Chief Steele informed council he was approached by Grant Harper with the Sports Park about contracting with the police for closing and locking the park after closing hours.
Council closed the meeting with a discussion of future budgeting for fire department truck and equipment maintenance and repairs, and considered requests to allow the movement of money within the budget to cover those variable maintenance costs.
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