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Council debates new holiday

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By Natasha Colbaugh

An otherwise smooth meeting hit a few bumps when councilmen debated a request to honor Columbus Day.

Interim City Administrator Cade Sexton said he disagreed with the city being off for another holiday.

“The county doesn’t give Columbus Day off. It’s going to cost you some money if you do this,” said Sexton.

Police and fire services will remain open on the holiday and would normally receive holiday pay, said Sexton.

“You’ve hired me to give you the best advice I can give, and your starting a trend if you do this,” said Sexton.

LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield questioned whether a new holiday would be a significant financial burden. While Sexton said he was against the holiday, Stanfield said he wanted the item on the agenda.

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker suggested city employees take a floating holiday. But the police and fire chiefs said the employees are not compensated extra on holidays.

 “We are going to have to go back and change the personnel policy,” said Sexton.

The item will appear on the upcoming agenda.

In other business, LaFollette citizens will get their property taxes in the mail soon. But it may be too late for the two-percent tax break.

With the county commission’s delay in passing the budget, the city of LaFollette is concerned many citizens won’t have a chance to get the discount on property taxes.

The city council is attempting to extend the deadline through Nov. 30. The new deadline would give ample opportunity for people to receive a tax break.

At the regular scheduled meeting the council may vote on extending the deadline. The original deadline for the tax break is Nov. 1.

During the workshop, Sexton gave a brief discussion on the library.

“We really wanted to do a library,” said Sexton.

He explained the stipulations attached to the $200,000 USDA grant. One stipulation was the city would be required to take a $1 million loan at a high interest rate.

“I don’t think ya’ll are at a point to make a decision,” said Sexton to the council.

Councilman Hansford Hatmaker compared the grant to prior city projects that became problematic. Financing the approximate amount at a low interest rate could complete the project, said Hatmaker. The council did not respond to his suggestion.

Another proposition by Sexton was to take a small amount of money and add on to the existing library. The council also did not respond to his suggestion.

“We were getting a Cadillac we may have to go with a Chevrolet,” said Sexton.

In addition to news on the library, Sexton said the money for paving would be available this fall, but would not begin until spring.

The council will meet in regular session on Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. Elected officials will take office in December.