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Local Pastor donates money for homeless grants

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By PETER SAWYER

A local pastor showed generosity at Tuesday’s LaFollette City Council meeting. Phyllis Clinger of Community Health of East Tennessee asked the city council for $2,624. This money would help pay for the matching portion of  $184,281 Department of Housing and Urban Development grant.
This grant will assist the chronically homeless in LaFollette, Clinger said. CHET is prioritizing victims of domestic violence, disabled veterans and people coming out of drug court.
“The goal is to serve nine families,” Clinger said.
CHET is partnering with the Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness and hopes to provide five two-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom apartments for these families, Clinger said. The families receiving help have to be in the city of LaFollette. This isn’t an emergency housing grant, but the intention is to help these families become independent. The families will be provided with caseworkers.
Pastor Anthony Gibson offered to pay half of the money Clinger had requested from the city council. He would have to do it on a monthly basis. Gibson is pastor of Word of Life church. The LaFollette City council approved paying the rest of the matching portion.
Roofs
The council voted to advertise for bids to repair the roof over the police department.
“I recommend you declare this an emergency,” interim city administrator Cade Sexton said.
A Municipal Technical Advisory Service lawyer told LaFollette Finance Director Terry Sweat the situation didn’t fall under an emergency procedure, he said. However, the council can declare it an emergency procedure if it documents it.
Sexton referred to the roof leaking and the damage it could cause.
“This thing takes on more water than the Titanic,” Mayor Mike Stanfield said.
The city spent $40,000 on a phone system, and the leaks threaten the equipment, council member Joe Bolinger said. The council could call it an emergency to protect the equipment, Bolinger said.
“But it’s been going on for more than 30 days,” council member Bob Fannon said.
The council discussed hiring Carl Blankenship and five employees for $6,875 to fix the roof. The city would purchase materials for $19,503 from two separate vendors, which would require getting three quotes, Sweat said.
“I’m for fixing it,” council member Hansford Hatmaker said. “If you’ve got a building, take care of it. I’m not for waiting on it.”
The council needed to go through the bidding process, Fannon said. Getting three quotes would take almost as much time as advertising bids, he said.
“We all want it fixed,” Fannon said. “And we want it fixed quick. I still think sealed bids is the only way to go.”
The council members would be better stewards of the city’s money if they bid the project out, council member Stephanie Grimm said.
Fannon made a motion to advertise bids to repair the roof. Grimm seconded his motion, which passed. Hatmaker was the only no vote. The council adjourned in session and will reconvene on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. to open bids.
Temporary structures
The council passed on final reading an ordinance that will restrict temporary structures in the business districts. Temporary structures are buildings that aren’t on permanent foundations, LaFollette Codes Enforcement Officer Stan Foust said. These structures don’t meet the guidelines for the commercial district, he said.
Under the new ordinance, businesses operating out of temporary structures have to get permission from the board of zoning appeals. They also have to operate under a temporary timeline, such as 90 days.
The new restrictions don’t affect businesses that are currently operating out of temporary structures, such as Poho’s and the Snowball Shack. There are currently about four in the city, Foust said. These will be grandfathered in. However, new regulations apply to new businesses.
Beer ordinance
The council passed the first reading of an ordinance that will amend a 1972 ordinance that restricted beer sales in the city of LaFollette. This ordinance allows beer sales within the corporate limits of the city of LaFollette.