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Jellico accepts Douglas’ resignation, answers questions from pastor

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By Beth Braden

Jellico’s board of mayor and alderman formally accepted Linda Douglas’s resignation as town recorder at their Dec. 20 meeting.

“There was a question why we didn’t address this on Dec. 4 and we couldn’t add anything to the agenda, so we have to go ahead and accept the resignation of Ms. Douglas,” said Jellico Mayor Les Stiers.

The move to accept the resignation passed with only vice mayor Venita “Cissco” Johnson dissenting.

Alderpersons Pam Carbaugh and Darrell Byrge were absent.

Douglas resigned the position just before a special called board meeting on Dec. 4.

The open position will be advertised after MTAS and the state comptroller finish defining the position, Stiers said.

Sanitation clarification

Pastor Jerry Lambdin from the Jellico Church of God addressed the board about sanitation fees at his church.

“We’re paying for services that we don’t use, particularly the garbage pick up,” he said, referring to a vacant building owned by the church.

During the Dec. 4 special call meeting, Jellico Electric and Water Services employee Mary Jarboe shared a list of Jellico residents and businesses not paying their sanitation fees. According to Jarboe, Douglas is who sent notice to stop service. The Jellico Church of God was one of those entities.

“The ordinance on the book reads if you have a utility at your residence or business, you’ll have to pay,” Stiers said.

“I was just curious because it’s new to me. It’s never been done at our church before because we’ve never used the service, but now we’re paying for it,” Lambdin said.

Anyone who receives utility services must also pay sanitation fees whether or not they use the garbage pick-up, according to Stiers. The only way to avoid sanitation fees is to terminate utility service or for the board to change the ordinance.

Employee bonuses

While it’s not possible to give the town employees bonuses, they will receive a paid half-day off on New Year’s Eve. Christmas Eve was also a paid half-day off.

Johnson first suggested the bonuses.

“What are we gonna do for our side? The city, the sanitation, the city workers and things like that such as bonuses?” she asked. “We need to do something for them, and not just ‘Oh, you’re dong a good job’.”

Bonuses just aren’t feasible, according to the mayor.

“We’ve been working with Ms. Sondra Denton (part-time certified municipal finance officer) and we’re working feverishly just to keep payroll going,” Stiers said. “I say that with sadness in my heart. Hopefully at a later date, we can give a bonus.”

The comptroller would not be pleased with giving bonuses in light of Jellico’s financial troubles, according to town attorney Terry Basista.

“Right now is probably the worst time to do it,” Basista said.

Storage container

Police Chief Chris Anderson was given permission to purchase a 40-foot storage container to put in the alley by the police department. Money will come from the drug fund.

The department had the option of renting a storage container, but after an $85 delivery fee, an $85 pick up fee, and $95 per month to rent it for 18 months, it was more cost effective to buy it.

“If you’re gonna keep it a year and a half, you might as well buy it,” Anderson said.

The board unanimously approved the purchase.

Other Business

 • Town court recorder Jackie Richardson was unanimously approved to write checks on behalf of the town. Other than Richardson, Stiers and Alderman Tommy Bowlin are the only officials able to sign checks.

• Paving on Tennessee Avenue is finished.

• The board unanimously approved to apply for a grant for water systems improvement.