Waynesboro City Commission Hears Plans for “Christmas on the Square”

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   The Waynesboro City Commission met in regular session on Monday, November 9th, 2020 at City Hall in Waynesboro. All commissioners were present, including Mayor Chris Bevis, Vice Mayor Jeff Davis, Commissioner Jeff Howell, Commissioner Lynn Warren, and Commissioner Tony Creasy. Also in attendance were City Manager John Hickman, City Attorney Josh Polk, and City Recorder Paige Jackson.

   Mayor Bevis called the meeting to order, and Commissioner Howell offered the invocation.

   Commissioner Warren made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Creasy, and the minutes were unanimously approved.

   City Manager Hickman then distributed the monthly cash collateral statements and investment reports for the commissioners’ review. He briefly addressed a few more items, including:

-Information on the online utility training that the newest commissioners will need to complete was distributed.

-A letter was received from the State Comptroller saying that the city’s 2020/2021 budget has been approved.

-A letter was received from the State Comptroller approving the 2018/2019 city audit, with a recommendation that the audit results for 2019/2020 be submitted earlier next time.

-The paving project has been finished, with approximately 1¼ miles of city streets being re-paved, including portions of Helton Street, Castleman Drive, Wisdom Street, Luna Street, Water Street, and Highway 99 to Mink Branch Acres. The project required approximately 1,308 tons of asphalt at a cost of $95 per ton, which is within the amount set aside in the budget for the project. All that remains to be done is the striping.

-The city-sponsored Trunk or Treat at the Sportsplex on Halloween was a huge success. Even though there were initially some problems with a long wait due to the flow of traffic, the issue was quickly resolved and approximately 500 vehicles drove through. Thirty vendors were set up to distribute candy and treats to all the children.

   The first item of new business on the agenda was city employee Christmas dinner alternatives. In the last meeting, Mayor Bevis presented the concerns related to having a large gathering for a Christmas dinner during the current pandemic circumstances. City Manager Hickman said that as an alternative to having a dinner, each full-time employee could be given a $100 bonus, and each part-time employee could be given a $50 bonus. This would come as a total cost to the city of $4,100, which is only slightly higher than the cost of previous Christmas dinners. Commissioner Howell made a motion to approve the Christmas bonuses in place of the annual Christmas dinner. Commissioner Warren seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.

   The other item of new business on the agenda was the soccer field naming proclamation. Commissioner Howell made a motion to table this until the next meeting, and it was unanimously tabled.

   Under “Citizens to Address the Commission” on the agenda, Ms. Janelle Bevis and Mrs. Karen Beckham, local ladies who have a catering business, addressed the commission regarding the condition of the clubhouse at the Waynesboro Municipal Golf Course. The ladies explained to the commission that they had catered a wedding reception at the clubhouse the previous weekend, and they were appalled at the condition of the clubhouse and outdoor area behind it. They said that the kitchen was terribly dirty and the appliances are old and in poor condition, and the bathrooms are constantly experiencing problems with overflowing toilets. The outdoor area behind the clubhouse, where the wedding party had tables and chairs set up, is badly in need of new concrete or asphalt to correct the tripping and falling hazard that is currently there.

   Ms. Bevis told the commission that she has catered many events in both Tennessee and Alabama, and in her opinion, this clubhouse is in the poorest condition of all the venues she is familiar with. The commissioners verbally agreed with Ms. Bevis’ opinion that there is the potential for the clubhouse to serve somewhat in the capacity of a local community center, and if repairs and updates are made, there is potential for much more revenue to come in as people begin booking it for more events. No action was taken by the commission at this time, but the commission agreed to discuss the issue further.

   Next, Ms. Martha Kelly, Chairman of the Waynesboro Downtown Committee, addressed the commission regarding the plans that are being made for December 5th, the day of the Rotary Christmas Parade. As a way to boost community involvement, the Downtown Committee is planning to have a “Christmas on the Square” event on December 5th, beginning at 2:00 p.m. Several of the businesses on the square will be open, and 17 vendors have already committed to set up booths with various arts & crafts, jewelry, etc. There will also be food trucks and vendors, and singing groups performing Christmas music from 4:00-6:00 p.m. There is even going to be a “Grinch Party” in the Emeralds courtyard area. A “Snowman Scavenger Hunt” will be held in the days leading up to the parade (readers can see the story on the scavenger hunt in The News for more details).

   Ms. Kelly explained that the Rotary Club has been struggling to get floats for the parade, and she asked for the city’s help in promoting both the event and the parade.

   Ms. Kelly went on to explain that due to the pandemic circumstances, there will sadly be no Festival of Trees this year. Small Business Saturday will still be held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and more plans for that will be announced soon.

   Under open items on the agenda, Commissioner Howell inquired about the repairs to the Tennessee Container building. City Manager Hickman said that the roof has been repaired, and G&G Construction is going to get measurements for the new wood-framed awning. The commission agreed for Hickman to get an estimate on flooring for the office in the building.

   Commissioner Davis said that he had received a complaint about range balls not getting picked up at the golf course. He then asked when the pavement patching project would begin, and City Manager Hickman said that Pavement Restorations has committed to being done by Thanksgiving.

  Commissioner Davis went on to say that he had received complaints about the ditch in front of Momma’s Kitchen, and City Manager Hickman said that it is set to be fixed soon.

   A lengthy discussion then followed about the Angel Tree project. Commissioner Davis said that someone from Angel Tree told him that they were refused when they asked City Hall about having a roadblock fundraiser. City Manager Hickman reminded the commission of the city ordinance that was put in place several years ago stating that only national non-profit organizations will be allowed to hold roadblock fundraisers in the city. He explained that the national non-profit organizations may give the money they collect to any other organization(s) if they choose to do so. He said that he had recommended to the Angel Tree group that they reach out to a local non-profit organization that is affiliated nationally to hold the roadblock for them.

   With no further business to come before the commission, Commissioner Davis made a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Creasy seconded the motion, and the meeting was adjourned.