City Council meets for regularly-scheduled October meeting

The Elizabethton City Council met on Thursday in its regularly-scheduled October meeting with a short list of business items to address.
Jerry Agan with Lynn Valley Baptist Church opened the meeting with the invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag led by Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Carter.
After approval of the September 14. 2023 meeting minutes, the Council heard a request prepared by Kelly Kitchens, Programming & Special Events Coordinator in regard to Elizabethton High School's request to host the Elizabethton Classic Band Contest on Saturday, October 28 from 10:30 am until 11 pm.
The school held its first contest in 2022 and proved to be a great fundraiser as at least 20 bands from the region competed at Citizens Bank Stadium. The request was approved by the Council and will result in Jason Witten Way being closed from 7 am to 11 pm on the day of the competition to accomodate visiting school buses to park and unload students and equipment and to utilize surrounding fields to warm up for the competition.
Also, Council approved the short closing of Armed Forces Drive for a Veteran's Day Ceremony which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11 from 10:30 am to 11:45 am at the Veterans War Memorial. Traffic on Elk Avenue may be stopped momentarily to allow those attending the event to cross over to the Veteran's Walk of Honor for a special unveiling as well.
Three positions were up for appointment or re-appointment to two different boards as Council accepted the appointment of Robert E. "Bobby" Lyons to the unexpired term of Stan Bailey who stepped down due to health issues to the Housing Authority Board until October 11, 2027 as well as the re-appointment of Forrest Holt and Bonnie Peters to the Parks and Recreation Board for a three-year term each.
Moving to old business, the Council approved the rezoning for property located at 731 Dugger Road, being Carter County Property Tax Map 049A, Group A, Parcel 021.00. The applicant is requesting a zoning change to R-2 (Medium Density Residential). The rezoning is being requested as a result of a desire potentially rent an existing downstairs apartment or alternatively build a small "in laws quarters" behind the current home.
This use is only allowed in the R-2 zone. Since the house is split down the middle by the two existing zones, this leaves the property in limbo as to what can be done with it in the future. The Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission considered the request at its September 7 meeting and recommended that the property be rezoned.
Also in old business, the Council approved an ordinance on second reading and public hearing amendment #4 for FY 2023-2024 regarding an improvement project at the Elizabethton Police Department's firing range.
During the August 10, 2023 regular session meeting, the City Council approved a resolution for the police department to enter into an agreement with the Army Reserve Engineering Unit to plan and design improvements at the firing range on Sugar Hollow Rd. In the resolution, the city would fund the cost of the materials while the Engineering Battalion would perform the work with their personnel, equipment, and fuel.
The total estimated amount of the project is $500,000. The materials currently required is valued at $76,000. While this project has been on city staff's list, the communication with the engineering unit wasn't reestablished until after the approval of the FY2023-2024 budget. With Council's approval of the ordinance, an Increase to the police department's Other Materials and Supplies in the amount of $76,000 will be taken from the Unassigned Fund Balance.
In new business, the Council gave its approval for the following agenda items:
  • Resolution to Approve Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) Service Contract for SCADA Equipment with Elizabethton Electric. This is a yearly maintenance contract for SEL to provide 40 hours of remote support and 40 hours of field support in which SEL will check, update, and correct and abnormalities with SCADA, substations, and line protection relaying. The contract is in the amount of $24,210 and is a budgeted item in the FY 23/24 budget.
  • Resolution to approve Elizabethton Electric's Acceptance of the Public Entity Partners Safety Partners Matching Grant. The grant in the amount of $3,000 together with matching funds already budgeted for safety will help cover $6,000 spent on safety equipment by the EES.
  • Resolution to approve the Police Departments Communication Site Lease on Holston Mountain. The EPD has maintained a communication site since 1995 consisting of a building, communications tower, and a backup propane generator with the site surrounded by a fence. With communication sites on Holston Mountain difficult to obtain, Chief Jason Shaw recommended to Council to keep the lease on the site with no additional  budget impact as the site insurance, annual generator maintenance, propane, and electricity already in the budget.
  • Resolution to Ratify the Mayor·s Signature on an Arts Build Communities (ABC) Grant Contract through the Tennessee Arts Commission. In 2021 the Elizabethton Water Resources Department purchased and demolished the former Floyd Storie Roofing building adjacent to the City's storage building, located at 518 Hattie Ave.
This left the eastern side of the storage building exposed and in need of cleanup, facing a newly created greenspace in the downtown area near City Hall. As staff began plans for building improvements, there was discussion with Main Street staff regarding the possibility of installing a mural depicting the changing history of the city using    six former window spaces to focus on different periods of time.
 Following the grant application in June, City staff were awarded $4,500 through the Tennessee Arts Commission ABC Grant program to develop the community mural project. Funding will be used to hire an artist to lead a group of 18-24 community Elizabethton Regular Session Agenda Item Summary volunteers, including students and  youth. Elizabethton Water Resources will facilitate necessary prep work, including cleaning the existing brick and removing the existing steel window frames and remaining glass panels. The City was awarded $4,500 through the grant, with an estimated total project cost of $12,700, including in-house labor.
  • Resolution to approve an agreement with Graykey and Axiom for the purchase of forensic tools for the police department. Mobile devices are a major source of evidence, and it can be challenging, if not impossible, to collect evidence from them without the appropriate equipment and software. GrayKey is a forensic access tool that extracts encrypted or inaccessible data from mobile devices that will assist officers with these difficult investigations. Magnet Axiom is software that will provide the Intelligence Analyst with the tools needed to extract the necessary data and conduct examinations to further the department’s investigative efforts in mobile devices as well as computers. Currently, the Elizabethton Police Department must rely on outside agencies such as the Carter County Sheriff's Department to assist with these types of investigations. The financial impact for the purchase are: Magnet system $5,825.00 and the GrayKey system $11,920.00, total annual recurring cost $17,475.00. The funds are available for this in the Police Equipment Technology Fund.
In a final piece of business, Council approved purchases, expenses, and bids for the month of September 2023 in the amount of $183,956. This amount included a state contract purchase of three vehicles for the police department in the amount of $136,116 and a state contract purchase of one vehicle for the Parks and Recreation Department totaling $47,840.
The November City Council meeting will take place on Thursday, November 9 at 6 pm in Council Chambers at Elizabethton City Hall.