The Clifton City Commission met in regular session on Monday, January 25th, 2021. Commissioners in attendance were Mayor Mark Staggs, Vice Mayor Eva Ruth Warren, and Commissioner Randy Burns. Also in attendance were City Manager Doug Kibbey and City Recorder Barbara Culp. Commissioners Layton Packwood and Bill Willoughby were absent.
Mayor Staggs called the meeting to order. The invocation was offered by Austin Clark, and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.
A motion was made by Commissioner Burns to approve the minutes of the previous meeting. The motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Warren, and the minutes were unanimously approved.
Mr. John Poole, Auditor for the city, gave the commission a debriefing on the audit he conducted. He explained that his job is to check to make sure the city is getting the revenues they should be receiving. He said that city employees do a good job of tracking the funds, and he had no concerns with the City of Clifton’s procedures. He also looks at money that is spent to make sure it is spent on city business, and stated that he did not find anything concerning in that area. All city funds took in more than what was spent with the exception of the water/sewer fund. The state requires a surplus of funds every other year, and although the city did not have a surplus in 2020, there will be a surplus in 2021. Mr. Poole said that his phone number was readily available to commissioners, and he would be happy to answer any more questions they may have.
Next, Mayor Staggs read a letter from Commissioner Bill Willoughby which stated that he was resigning from the Clifton City Commission. A motion was made by Commissioner Burns to accept the resignation, seconded by Vice Mayor Warren. The motion carried unanimously. City Manager Kibbey then asked if anyone was interested in filling the vacant commissioner’s seat, and Mr. Mark Hacker and Ms. Stacy Huntingford both stated that they were interested. After each gave their reasons for wanting to be on the commission, followed by a discussion among the commissioners, Vice Mayor Warren made a motion to appoint Stacy Huntingford to fill the unexpired term of Bill Willoughby. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Burns, and carried unanimously on roll call vote. The Oath of Office was then administered to Commissioner Huntingford by City Recorder Culp.
Next on the agenda was a resolution showing the City of Clifton’s support in approving the acquisition of Martin Methodist College into the University of Tennessee System. Vice Mayor Warren made a motion to approve the resolution. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Huntingford and carried unanimously.
Commissioner Burns then made a motion to approve a resolution authorizing the transfer of a payment in lieu of tax between the City of Clifton’s natural gas fund (in the amount of $11,213.00) and the water/wastewater fund (in the amount of $25,728.00) to the city’s general fund. The motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Warren, and carried unanimously on roll call vote.
Under department reports on the agenda, Public Works Director Austin Clark reported that there had been a gas inspection the previous week and only one violation was found. He said that the department is slowly working their way down from the violations of 2015, but are in a much better situation now. Commissioner Burns inquired about the rehabilitation of the gas border station, and Clark said it would be ready to install around March. He reported that about 400 feet of sidewalk had been repaired at the ballfield. Also, employee Shawn Teague received his wastewater license, and is now the operator in charge of the city’s wastewater system.
Fire Chief Lindsay Roberts reported that the Fire Department had 58 runs last year, and most were to the airport.
Parks Director Eddie Simmons stated that one section of the fence at the ballpark needs to be replaced. Vice Mayor Warren asked if inmate workers were available, and Austin Clark said that the inmate line crew currently in use is from the county. He said that he had talked with the state, and they could not tell him when Boot Camp inmate workers would be allowed to come back out. Vice Mayor Warren asked why the city is not getting lunches from the Senior Citizens Center for the inmate workers, and Clark explained that a hot meal is required for county inmate workers, and sometimes the Senior Center serves sandwiches.
Police Chief Jerroll Henderson said that things had been running smoothly with the Police Department. He commended his officers on the job they did on working with the county recently on a chase that ended in Clifton. He went on to commend the work done by Sgt. Timmy Harris and Inv. Steve Wilson.
City Manager Kibbey informed the commission that JECDB Director Rena Purdy needed to know the city’s exact definition of Main Street. This must be defined for the Tennessee Downtown Program that the city recently committed to. Director Purdy said that the city can choose to only include the Main Street area, or could add other blocks. Commissioner Burns recommended that the official Main Street should be from Water Street to Columbia State Community College, and the other commissioners agreed. Director Purdy said that the city could add more area in the future if they choose to do so.
City Manager Kibbey said that the Local Parks & Recreation Grant Plan will be finalized within the next sixty days. He also said that the procurement has been finished on the splash pad, but the process is moving slowly.
Mayor Staggs then told the commission that he feels as if the Police Department is under-gunned, and would like for the commission to consider purchasing rifles for the department. He also said that he would like for the Parks and Recreation Board to meet in the near future.
The mayor went on to report that he had received complaints about citizens riding lawnmowers on the streets. Police Chief Henderson said that there is no law against it, and that it is considered the same as farm equipment being on the roads. He said that the city could pass an ordinance prohibiting any farm implement equipment from being on a city street, and City Manager Kibbey said that he would research the matter with the help of MTAS.
Mayor Staggs then said that he would like for the city police officers to meet with the School Resource Officer in order to get familiar with the school. Commissioner Huntingford asked when an active shooter drill had last been conducted, and Chief Henderson said that one was conducted last year.
County Commissioner Stephen Pevahouse asked Fire Chief Roberts if his department has a fire evacuation plan for Frank Hughes School. Roberts said no, but that he would get one together.
With no further business to come before the commission, the meeting was adjourned.