City Council gives amended approval for car show, passes first reading of amended Title 8 of municipal code

The Elizabethton City Council met for their regularly-scheduled March meeting on Thursday, March 14 in Council Chambers at Elizabethton City Hall.
Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Carter opened the meeting with the invocation followed by Mayor Curt Alexander leading the Pledge of Allegiance for those in attendance.
All members of the Council were present for the meeting. Minutes of the February 2024 Council meeting were approved.
Five special events were on the agenda including the request by the Carter County Car Club for their annual fundraising car show drive-ins in downtown Elizabethton.
Mr. James Bass, the new president of the car club, was present and presented the request. Council members asked questions of Mr. Bass and proceeded to deliberate the request.
Mayor Alexander stated that it was time for everyone to move past the events that surrounded the annual approval and to move forward for the best of City of Elizabethton.
Alexander made a proposal for consideration by the council in an amendment that if anyone wanted to use the downtown area for an event on a Saturday night that they follow the special event protocol and appear before council 45 days before the event for approval.
If approval was granted, then the car show could be notified in ample time so they could move to E Street for that Saturday night the approval was granted for.
The mayor shared that he hoped that people would take advantage of the opportunity to have an event as the downtown area was for everyone.
In a 6-1 vote with Councilman Wes Frazier voting no, the request passed with the amendment presented by Alexander.
With the approval, Council also requested that the car show end at the intersection of Sycamore and East Elk Avenue to allow traffic to turn onto the 600 block of East Elk that was previously barricaded.
Other events that were approved included:
  • Milligan University Cycling Classic -  Milligan University has hosted their annual South Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (SECCC) in Downtown Elizabethton for a number of years. This course venue has been very popular and the Cycling Classic a success with rider and team numbers growing each year. Downtown Elizabethton continues to be a very popular venue for this race and once again the SECCC has asked Milligan to host again for 2024.
  • Jiggy Rays Downtown Pizzeria's Jiggy Palooza - New owners of Jiggy Ray's, Savannah Markham and Benjamin Markham would like to resurrect a previous event in Jiggy Ray's history, JiggyPalooza. This outdoor festival hosts an outdoor stage and live music in the Bicentennial Breezeway by regional talent throughout the afternoon and evening as well as other outdoor attractions. The purpose of this event is to continue to make the City of Elizabethton a destination place for patrons to spend their time and money.
  • A.R.M. Double DQ Quest - For the past several years one of A.R.M.'s successful fundraisers has been the Double DQ Quest, a fun walk/run from Dairy Queen in Johnson City to Dairy Queen in Elizabethton via the Tweetsie Trail. A.R.M. requested to host their third annual Double DQ Quest on Saturday, April 13, 2024 from 9 A.M. until 2 P.M. Participants may walk, run, or bike from the Tweetsie Trail in Johnson City located across the street from Johnson City's Dairy Queen to the Dairy Queen in Elizabethton located on the Tweetsie Trail. This is a quest for ice cream, not a race.
  • A Step Ahead Tri-Cities 5K - A Step Ahead Tri-Cities requested to host their fundraising timed Fun Run/Walk followed by a family concert at Lions Field. The start/end of the 5K will be set up near the restrooms/concessions area at Lions Field, with the route entering the Tweetsie Trail there. There will be a turnaround at the 2.5 mile mark of the trail and will include a water and firstaid station. Immediately following the race, a family concert will take place on the baseball field. A stage will be placed on the dirt facing the outfield where guests will be invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy local musicians. Inflatables, tables and tents will also be set up within the event area.
Councilman Kim Birchfield was appointed to the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation board during the appointment of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
During old business, on second reading and public hearing of Elizabethton 2023/2024 Budget Ordinance  Amendment #10 for the General Fund regarding the TN Violent Crime Intervention Fund Grant for Police infrastructure improvements, the Council voted 7-0 to approve the ordinance.
While the Police Department has been developing the grant application for several months, a budget amendment (particularly one of this size) was unnecessary until the city was officially awarded, and has subsequently accepted, the grant.
With approval granted by Council, a budget amendment was needed to account for the revenue and the related expenditures for this project.
Note: This budget amendment and the required ordinance was changed between first and second reading. The grant contract indicates the City is only granted an award amount of $136,198 for Fiscal Year 2024.
While this grant requires no match, the City has no operational need to budget the entire amount of the grant in FY 2024. The new amount ($150,000) should cover the amount expended in FY 2024.
One of the most significant pieces of new business was an ordinance to amend Title 8 of the Municipal Code regarding the sale, permitting, and regulation of alcoholic beverages within the City of Elizabethton, specifically special event beer permitting.
On first reading, the Council voted 7-0 to accept the ordinance. A second reading will come during the April 2024 meeting.
Over the past several years, the City of Elizabethton has experienced an increase in special events within the city limits. Some such events have requested the sale of beer that requires the approval of the Elizabethton Beverage Board.
When an event organizer requests a permit to sell or provide beer, the Elizabethton Beverage Board has been granting "temporary permits" on a case-by-case basis.
However, the Elizabethton Municipal Code currently doesn't specifically address special event permitting. With requests increasing in frequency, City staff reviewed Title 8 of the Elizabethton Municipal Code and are requesting the following revisions:
  • Language added in 8-101 to reference the legal definition of "beer" Updates language in 8-201 regarding the legal definition of "beer".
  • Amends 8-203(12) by removing Elizabethton Police Department.
  • Amends 8-208(5) to address relocations and issuance of temporary permits.Removes, in its entirety, 8-208(6).
  • Removes, in its entirety, 8-224 and replaces it with "Special Event Beer Permit"
The key provisions for Special Event Beer Permits are as follows:
  • Each event is limited to a maximum of two (2) days
  • Limits the annual amount of special event permits to six (6) times per year, per applicant.
  • Sets the special event beer permit fee to $100 per application.
  • Exempts special events from the requirements set out in section 8-208.
  • Requires a special event beer permit applicant to be a bona fide charitable, non-profit, or political organization, or a company with a valid on-premise permit.
Council also voted unanimously on the following new business items:
  • A resolution to approve the Mayor's signature on 36-month contract with Vector Solutions Fire Training management software. The Fire Department has historically maintained large amounts of paper files as far back as five years for each employee. State and Federal agencies as well as insurance companies who request this information do so electronically. Maintaining and sharing this information manually puts the Fire Department at a major disadvantage in modern times. This software package tracks and stores all pertinent information for each individual training record throughout the employees career. Financial Impact: $3,999.00 annually, to be funded with the Fire Department's operations
  • A resolution to accept a bid award and contract between the City of Elizabethton Electric Department and Richard Campbell dba the Lawn Ranger. The Lawn Ranger has provided service for Elizabethton Electric for over the past ten years. This is a one-year contract that will expire in March of 2025. The contract allows for annual extensions of up to five years as long as both parties are in agreement. Financial Impact: $31,150.00 annually. $2,595.83 monthly, accounted for in the Electric Fund's operational budget.
  • A resolution to accept a bid award and contract on the Elizabethton Electric warehouse roof replacement. On December 8, 2023, Thomas Weems Architect issued the bidding documents to potential contactors. The bid opening was conducted on February 7, 2024. There was one response to the bid. Burleson Construction Company, Inc. was the only response to the bid received and they have done excellent work for the City of Elizabethton in the past. The substantial completion date is two hundred and eighty calendar days from written notice to proceed. The low base Elizabethton Regular Session Agenda Item Summary bid was $773,600.00 with an alternate add on for exterior painting at a cost of $65,100.00. The total financial impact for this project is $838,700.00. Elizabethton Electric has the funding available in the current fiscal budget.
  • A resolution to approval the renewal of a solid waste disposal agreement with the Carter County Landfill. The City of Elizabethton is currently in an agreement with the Carter County Landfill for disposal of solid waste. The current agreement is due to expire on July 31, 2024. The City has the option for an additional 5 years as set forth in the original agreement at the rates specified. After gathering information on the current tipping fee at Iris Glenn Landfill (Johnson City, TN), the city has determined that by taking the additional 5-year option at Carter County Landfill the City of Elizabethton will have a savings of approximately $104,000 in the FY 24/25 alone.
  • A resolution to approve the Linear Path State Route 400 license agreement.
  • A resolution to approve an application for an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Grant related to a planned sewer interceptor rehabilitation project along the Watauga River.
  • A resolution to approve an application for an Economic Development Administration (EDA) Grant related to a planned sewer interceptor rehabilitation project along the Watauga River.
  • Renewal of the Master Services Agreement (MSA) with McGIll Associates for continued miscellaneous engineering services.
  • A ordinance to consider on first reading the City of Elizabethton 2023/2024 Budget Ordinance Amendment #11 for the General Fund regarding the TNECD's Downtown Improvement Grant (DIG).
The Council voted 7-0 to approve purchases, expenses, and bids in the amount of $29,140 for a Tyler Technologies - Meter Reader Interface for Master Meter and Mass Meter Swap.