New water feature to adorn Freeman Park

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At Tuesday night’s meeting, the LaFollette City Council approved installing a concrete water feature at Freeman Park.
“I think it would make it a show place,” interim city administrator Cade Sexton said. “I think it would be something that would give downtown (an amicable) appearance.”
In September, the city removed a fountain. At the workshop on Sept. 24, Bill Bibler from Paradigm Concrete Artisans presented the council with the idea of installing a concrete water feature.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Sexton told the council Bibler agreed to install the water feature for $9,800. The city will have to remove a tree and pay for about $3,000 worth of pallets, rebar and concrete.
Council member Stephanie Grimm asked Bibbler when he would complete the project.
“I’d like to see it finished by Nov. 1” Bibler said.
Council member Joe Bolinger questioned the process.
“I’m for the fountain,” Bolinger said. “I think with our charter, you almost have to bid out a project of this magnitude.”
Bolinger asked Sexton if he was comfortable with the project.
“I’ve not talked to MTAS,” Sexton said. “I’ve studied in detail our purchasing. I feel comfortable with it.”
Council member Hansford Hatmaker asked Mayor Mike Stanfield if he felt comfortable with the project.
“I really do,” Stanfield said.
The council unanimously approved a motion to have Bibler install the water feature.
Fifth Street
The council approved paying a resident on South Fifth Street $5,500.
A portion of South Fifth Street is on the resident’s property, and the city intends to move it in order to straighten the curve. Before the curve can be straightened, the city had to settle business with the resident. To determine how much money the city owes him, the city had a survey and appraisal.
“They said it’s worth $3,800,” Sexton said at workshop on Sept. 24. “He (the property owner) said it’s worth more than that.”
The owner wanted $5,500 for the property, and at Tuesday’s meeting Hatmaker made a motion to pay him that much.
“We’d been back two or three times with him,” Hatmaker said. “He said he wouldn’t take any less than $5,500.”
“I’d think we allow our city administrator to go back and negotiate,” Bolinger said.
Bolinger suggested Sexton offer the property owner $4,800, which is $1,000 more than the city’s appraisal said it was worth.
“I still stand on my motion that we give the man his $5,500,” Hatmaker said.
Grimm seconded Hatmaker’s motion. It passed with only Bolinger voting no.
Roofing Bids
At 2 p.m. Tuesday, bids were opened for projects involving repairs to roofs of three city buildings: fire hall three, the West LaFollette Community Center and the East LaFollette Community Center.
The council adjourned in session Tuesday night and will reconvene to accept bids on Oct. 9 at 5 p.m.
At the meeting Sept. 4, the city council decided to rebid the roofing project because the bids that were opened on Aug. 23 didn’t conform to the minutes of the Aug. 7 meeting. While on Aug. 7, the council decided to bid the three projects separately, the bids were advertised as a package.
The council gave Public Works Department Head Jim Mullins approval to seek an energy grant to finance an equipment purchase. The equipment will be used to collect recycling. Recycling is currently collected in a half-ton pickup truck.
The new equipment will involve two purchases: a truck that costs $25,000, and a trash compactor that costs about $27,350, Mullins said. The energy grant will help finance 80 percent of the cost of the trash compactor.
“We need your approval to apply for the grant,” Mullins said.
But the council needs to be committed to follow through if it applies for the grant, Mullins said. The equipment will cost the city about $31,000 with the grant, Mullins said.
Hatmaker made a motion to approve the grant, which passed.
Recycling containers are still available at the public works department, Mullins said. LaFollette residents can find out more about them by calling 562-3548.
The council approved spending $3,735 from the community service funds to purchase new radios for the Police department. The LPD is being mandated by the state to move to a narrow band frequency, and needed to purchase new radios in order to accomplish this.
Fall Festival
The council approved giving $250 to the Fall Festival, which will run in conjunction with Trunk or Treat this year.
The council approved hiring Donna Weaver full-time with a salary of $20,800 starting Oct. 6.
The council also approved hiring Benjamin Lake Evans full-time to the police department with an effective salary of $26,520 beginning Oct. 6.
Used motor oil
The council approved another grant for the public works department.
“We have a furnace in our shop that burns used motor oil,” Mullins said.
The grant would finance 100 percent of the cost for providing a storage tank for used motor oil, and a shed to cover it.
“This would be a tank; outside storage,” Mullins said.
City Parks
The council passed the final reading of an ordinance that established codes for city parks.
Highway business district
The council passed the final reading of an ordinance that amends the highway business district.