Clifton City Commission Passes Second Reading of 2020-2021 Budget

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   The Clifton City Commission met in regular session on Monday, June 22nd, 2020. All commissioners were in attendance, including Mayor Randy Burns, Vice Mayor Layton Packwood, Eva Ruth Warren, Mark Staggs, and Bill Willoughby. Also in attendance were City Manager Doug Kibbey and City Recorder Barbara Culp.

   The meeting was called to order by Mayor Burns. The invocation was offered by Austin Clark, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. A motion was made by Commissioner Warren to approve the minutes of the previous meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Willoughby, and the minutes were unanimously approved.

   New business from the audience was first on the agenda. County Commissioner Tom Mathis addressed the commission, stating that a date needs to be set for the David Brown Dedication Ceremony. He went on to say that Congressman Mark Green needs to be contacted so he can attend the ceremony, as he has been working diligently to have the Congressional Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to David Brown.

   Old business was next on the agenda. City Manager Kibbey gave brief updates on several items, including the Road Improvements Grant. He said that this money will now be sent out in checks directly from the state rather than a grant process. The checks are supposed to be mailed out by July 31st.

   Next was the second reading of the ordinance for Budget Amendment #4. Vice Mayor Packwood made a motion to approve, and Commissioner Staggs seconded. The ordinance was unanimously approved on roll call vote.

    A motion was then made by Commissioner Warren to approve the second reading of an ordinance adopting the annual budget and tax rate for fiscal year 2020-2021. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Staggs, and passed unanimously on roll call vote.

   The first item under new business was a resolution to suspend the noise ordinance at the Clifton Marina from 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays during the months of June through October. The Marina has live music at those times during the summer months. Vice Mayor Packwood made a motion to approve the resolution, and Commissioner Staggs seconded. The motion was unanimously passed.

   Next on the agenda was a resolution to approve the land exchange between the city and Mr. Fred Gillham. The exchange would be a swap of the property that Mr. Gillham owns across from the city park for the city’s interest in the property located next to the Clifton Marina. In the May commission meeting, the land exchange was voted down by the commission. A study session was held later, with a more in-depth discussion of the proposal. After a brief discussion of the land exchange, Vice Mayor Packwood made a motion to approve. Commissioner Staggs seconded the motion, and the land exchange was approved.

   The final item of new business on the agenda was the Tourism Enhancement Grant. City Manager Kibbey confirmed that the $75,000.00 grant would be used to create a circular drive at the end of Main Street, and grant applications will close out on July 15th. The city is responsible for a 5% match amount of $3,750.00. Commissioner Warren made a motion to approve the grant, and Commissioner Willoughby seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

   Department reports were next. Public Works Director Austin Clark said that the inmate work crews were back on a limited basis, with five at a time working now. They bring their own supplies, and are not close to others.

   Clark went on to say that there had been an issue with overflow at the West Water Street lift station. The pump went out, and the department got a permit to discharge into the river, which is saving money. It does have to be tested on a weekly basis.

   Police Chief Jerroll Henderson told the commission that everything had been going as well as could be expected in the Police Department. He said that there had been a lot of issues with one Clifton resident in particular, but he is in police custody at this time for pulling weapons on other residents.

   Chief Henderson went on to mention some other items, including:

-The taser recertification was just completed, and all did well;

-When school starts back this fall, the department will have more time to get more inservice training;

-The Governor’s Highway Safety Grant provided funds that were used to purchase dash cams for the police vehicles;

-The department received the judge’s order that permits the sale of guns that have been held in evidence, some for as long as 25-30 years. Money from the gun sales will be used to purchase body cams.

   Fire Chief Lindsay Roberts told the commission that he had done research on the purchase of a fire truck to replace the one that is currently not in use. He said that he had found one for sale near Dallas, Texas for $65,000.00. It is a 2006 model with a 1,250 gallon pump, a 1,000 gallon tank, and a 350hp Cummins diesel engine. Vice Mayor Packwood asked how much it would cost to repair the old fire truck, and Chief Roberts said that it would be almost $10,000.00. The old truck is a 2000 model, and has a 600 gallon tank. After a lengthy discussion about the options, Commissioner Willoughby made a motion to repair the old truck. Vice Mayor Packwood seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. City Manager Kibbey added that in a few years, it might be possible to apply for a CDBG grant that would pay for a new fire truck.

   Commissioner Warren inquired about the status of the new Riverfront Stage, and City Manager Kibbey said that there is no sound system installed yet, but the stage is technically ready for use.

   Commissioner Staggs asked about the possibility of a farmer’s market in Clifton, and City Manager Kibbey said that there is just too much legal liability involved.

   Vice Mayor Packwood said that there are several properties that need to be cleaned up, but there needs to be mowing done around town before notices are sent out.

   Commissioner Willoughby asked Public Works Director Clark to speak with Mark Russell as soon as he can. Mr. Russell is not satisfied with the repairs at his property.

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