Jellico Mayor Les Stiers has big plans for Jellico.
Last Thursday, Stiers suggested the purchase of a 16,000 square foot building and more ordinances to move the town forward.
Stiers addressed the board about the need for a community center. A rural community development grant would be used to construct a facility or acquire a building, he said.
“It’s sad when our kids have to go to Williamsburg to have their dances,” said Stiers. “We are trying to change that.”
Stiers proposed the purchase of the Church of God building across from town hall. The church is three stories with over 16,000 square feet. The building is listed for $196,000, according to Stiers.
The town is in a pre-application process to acquire the building. Stiers believes grant money could pay for the entire purchase. The concept behind purchasing such a large facility is it could be used for town hall offices and a community center.
The electric system would take over the current town hall.
“They (the utility company) need room to expand,” said Stiers. “They are busting out of the seems.”
The utility company already pays rent for the space it occupies and would continue to do so, said Stiers. No action was taken on the item.
Another expansion project for Jellico Public Library is also moving forward. Stiers said one bid was received from Danny Elliot for $800 to tear down two walls. The board approved the $800 bid. The tourism offices will be moved to town hall upon completion of the renovations.
Several new ordinances were proposed for their first reading. The board discussed an ordinance for abandoned and inoperable vehicles.
“This allows the city and private individuals with the assistance of the city to eliminate derelict and abandoned automobiles from city property and private property,” said town attorney Terry Basista about the detailed ordinance. “It meets the requirements of law.”
Stiers said the ordinance is needed because in several locations inoperable cars are unsafe and unsightly for citizens.
“We are going about cleaning up our town,” said Stiers. “If you got parked vehicles up on blocks we’re going to come get ‘em.”
The ordinance is almost identical to the one in Knoxville, according to Basista. Provisions in the ordinance allow time for citizens to make arrangements, added Basista.
The board was unsure about the ordinance as it reviewed the paperwork. Alderwoman Pamela Jo Carbaugh asked for a discussion on the ordinance with the audience but Stiers denied her request. After a short pause the board approved the ordinance unanimously.
Another new ordinance on the agenda was to prohibit pain clinics for opening in Jellico. According to Stiers, Jellico doesn’t need any more drugs in the town. Legal ramifications of prohibiting pain clinics from opening were still being researched. The board took no action on the ordinance, but the audience applauded the idea.
Revisions for the personnel policy will be discussed in a workshop. A new policy was drafted by Carbaugh last month but was suspended until the details of the policy could be reviewed in a workshop. Carbaugh said the policy dates back to 1968. The date for the meeting was not announced.
Two bills received for air conditioning maintenance for a total of $1,700, sparked concern for town hall and library maintenance. Stiers was able to coordinate the work for no money by using in-house labor and trading services, he said.
“In lieu of paying out $1,700 we are going to get the job done for nothing,” said Stiers.
In other business the Jellico Police Department is trying to establish a K-9 unit.
The manager of the Jellico Housing authority has contacted the police department about obtaining a police dog, said Jellico Police Chief Chris Anderson.
“I think it would be a great asset to the department,” said Anderson.
Two officers in the department are interested in being a canine officer.
“We are going into the dog business,” said Stiers.
There was no discussion about the cost to create a canine unit. Later, Stiers said the housing authority is willing to contribute about half the cost to buy a drug detection dog. The average cost for the trained canine is about $18,000. Stiers is still researching ways to establish a K-9 unit.
Stiers gave the board updates on several outstanding items. Stiers said Montclair Industries is still working on its financial backing to purchase the Taylor Machine building and property. Currently the CEO of the company has agreed to pay back taxes of $50,000. Additionally the company has paid $5,000 to extend the purchase contact until May, according to Stiers.
An energy grant applied for by the town will go toward purchasing energy efficient windows and doors.
An ordinance to change the amount of Jellico committees from six to eight was approved in the second and final reading.