Clifton Commission Votes to Rename Park in Honor of Fallen Veteran

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   The Clifton City Commission met in regular session on Monday, February 24th, 2020 at City Hall in Clifton. All commissioners were in attendance, including Mayor Randy Burns, Vice Mayor Layton Packwood, Commissioner Mark Staggs, Commissioner Bill Willoughby, and Commissioner Eva Ruth Warren. City Manager Doug Kibbey and City Recorder Barbara Culp were in attendance as well.

   Mayor Burns called the meeting to order. Following the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, Commissioner Staggs made a motion to approve the minutes from the January meeting. Vice Mayor Packwood seconded the motion, and the minutes were approved.

   First under new business from the audience, Wayne County Commissioner Tom Mathis welcomed members from the Waynesboro and Collinwood American Legion Posts to the meeting. Legion members were in attendance to show their support for the renaming of the Clifton City Park in honor of fallen veteran David Brown. Collinwood Post 254 Adjutant Randy Chambers read a brief biography of Brown, a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps who was killed in action in the Vietnam War.

   David Harold Brown was born on September 5, 1946 in Clifton, Tennessee. He was said to have begun his life in a tent where the new City Park entertainment stage now stands. His family eventually moved to Savannah, Tennessee, where Brown attended school. He joined the USMC in September of 1963, and arrived in Vietnam in September of 1966 where he served as a Platoon Sergeant. Before he was killed in action in 1967, Brown was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he received in battle. Sgt. Brown was mortally wounded during a fierce battle in September of 1967, after saving many other Marines’ lives. He had actually been eligible to leave Vietnam and return home to Tennessee on the day he was killed, but had refused the opportunity and volunteered to stay and fight with his platoon.

   Ms. Sunny Barnhart addressed the commission regarding her dedication to seeing that Sgt. David Brown is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. She explained that he had been recommended for the Medal shortly after his death, but the Navy Cross was posthumously awarded to him instead. The commission asked Ms. Barnhart if there was anything they could do to help get the Congressional Medal of Honor for Sgt. Brown. She requested that the city draft a letter to send to our U.S. Representatives, and City Manager Kibbey said that he would get that done.

   Vice Mayor Packwood made a motion to rename the Clifton City Park on the riverfront in honor of the late Sgt. David Harold Brown, USMC. Commissioner Warren seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously. Sgt. Brown’s sisters, who were in attendance, extended their sincere thanks to the commission and the American Legion for honoring their late brother in this way.

   Next, Bonnie Walker with South Central Tennessee Development District (SCTDD) gave a presentation to the commission regarding assistance with programs and benefits for the elderly. SCTDD offers assistance for seniors with programs such as emergency home repairs, nutrition services, homemaker services, transportation, and SNAP benefits. Ms. Walker stressed the fact that many seniors are missing out on public and private assistance programs they may be eligible for, and said that any older or disabled adults who are interested in any of the programs may call her at 931-379-2955.

   John Poole, CPA, next gave a brief review of the city’s FY 2019-2020 audit. He said that it is his company’s job to make sure the city is collecting all the monies they are owed, and to make sure the revenue is being spent properly on city business and within state guidelines and budgeted amounts. He said that the City of Clifton is doing a great job at all those things, and there are no concerns with the recent audit.

   Under old business was the second reading of the FY 2019-2020 Budget Amendment. Commissioner Warren made a motion to approve. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Willoughby, and was unanimously approved.

   Retiree health care was next on the agenda. City Manager Kibbey explained that the commission would soon have to make a decision regarding whether to continue to offer health coverage for city employees who retire before the age of 65. The city is currently “opted in” to the program, which will remain in effect until July 1, 2020. Mayor Burns recommended that a study session be scheduled to review all options, and a session was scheduled for Monday, March 2nd at 6:00 p.m.

   Next on the agenda was the bid award for the Lapa Loop/Lapa Lane road improvement project. Commissioner Staggs made a motion to accept the bid from Tinin Contracting. Mayor Burns seconded the motion, and the bid was awarded on a roll call vote. Vice Mayor Packwood passed on the vote due to a conflict of interest.

   The bid award for stage lighting at the new City Park entertainment stage was next. City Manager Kibbey presented the low bid from Emerald City Production, Iuka, MS, for $29,760.00. Commissioner Staggs made a motion to accept the bid, and Commissioner Warren seconded the motion. The bid was awarded unanimously on roll call vote.

   City Manager Kibbey then said that a citizen had requested that a handicapped parking space be designated in the parking lot behind City Hall. Vice Mayor Packwood made a motion to designate one of the parking spaces near the back door of the conference/courtroom as handicapped. Commissioner Willoughby seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved.

   Under departmental reports, Public Works Director Austin Clark told the commission that the water plant is still struggling due to the recent flooding. He went on to say that he has a meeting scheduled with the company Heathcoat and Davis to discuss underground utility mapping.

   Parks and Recreation Director Eddie Simmons informed the commission that the riverfront park is still full of debris from the flooding, but crews are working on cleanup as weather permits. He said that the fields at the ballpark were still very wet, but the new batting cage is getting lots of use right now.

   Police Chief Jerroll Henderson said that the Police Department is now back up to full staff, and everything has been going well.

   Fire Chief Lindsay Roberts told the commission that he has been working on a federal grant for new equipment. The grant is a 95/5 match grant, but if the grant is awarded, the state will pay the 5% match amount rather that the city being responsible for it.

   Commissioner Staggs said that he had recently heard complaints about some properties in town that need to be cleaned up. City Manager Kibbey said that certified letters had been sent to the property owners in question.

   Mayor Burns told the commission that someone had mentioned that there is not enough lighting at the new batting cage, and Parks Director Simmons agreed that more lighting is needed.

   With no further business to come before the commission, the meeting was adjourned.