Clifton City Commission Hears Both Opposition & Support for Ferry Landing Project

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   The Clifton City Commission met in regular session on Monday, April 26th, 2021. Commissioners in attendance were Mayor Mark Staggs, Vice Mayor Eva Ruth Warren, and Commissioner Stacy Huntingford. Also in attendance were City Manager Doug Kibbey, City Attorney Mike Hinson, and City Recorder Barbara Culp. Commissioners Randy Burns and Layton Packwood 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 Vice Mayor Warren to approve the minutes of the previous meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Huntingford, and the minutes were unanimously approved.

   New business from the audience was next on the agenda. Ms. Jennifer Franks addressed the commission concerning an issue she is having with flooding when there is a lot of rain. She said that water runs off the hillside where the city has a water tank, and this causes damage to her yard. A discussion followed, and it was mentioned that a culvert may be stopped up. Since Ms. Franks lives on a county road, Mayor Staggs said that he would contact the county about the problem to see what can be done. City Manager Kibbey and Public Works Director Austin Clark said that they would also get in touch with a county official about a resolution to the problem.

   City Manager Kibbey next told the commission that on May 5, 2021 there would be a clean-up project in conjunction with Wayne County Recycling. Representatives from the Nashville’s Big Back Yard project would be visiting some locations in Clifton on May 19. A Paddle Event was scheduled for June 3 through June 5, and fishing event for kids was being planned that will be sponsored by the Rotary Club and TWRA.

   Wayne County Commissioner Stephen Pevahouse told the commission that there is an ongoing issue with people blowing their yard clippings in the road and leaving them there. He asked if something could be done about this, because it can cause a dangerous situation and there is a state law against it. Police Chief Jerroll Henderson said that he would speak to anyone who is doing this.  

   Mr. Terry Lineberry addressed the commission about the need for his driveway to be paved. He said that several years ago he gave the city an easement to install a water line, and he is now asking that the city maintain his driveway. City Manager Kibbey said that this took place 19 years ago, and was discussed at the last meeting. City Attorney Hinson stated that the city is not responsible for the upkeep of Mr. Lineberry’s driveway. The commission asked Mr. Lineberry if he wanted to deed his property over to the city for a city street, stating that if this is done, the city would maintain the property. It was agreed that other property owners near Mr. Lineberry’s property should be contacted before any decision is made.

   Under old business on the agenda, City Manager Kibbey said that he had not heard back from the grant application submitted for the Dog Park Dash Grant.

   Next was the first reading of the fiscal year 2021/2022 Budget Ordinance. City Manager Kibbey stated that in this budget, the city’s property tax rate will be reduced by ten cents. This is possible because of the revenue generated from the liquor tax. Also, $116,000.00 has been underspent in the general fund. City Manager Kibbey also stated that Mr. Eddie Kelley has been hired to work part-time for the Parks Department. Vice Mayor Warren made a motion to approve the first reading of the 2021/2022 Budget Ordinance. Commissioner Huntingford seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously on roll call vote.

   A lengthy discussion of the proposed Ferry Loop project was next. Attorney Ryan Hagenbrox, representing Mr. John Lee, addressed the commission in opposition of the project. He presented a petition with signatures of several people who oppose the project. City Manager Kibbey said that information on the project had been run in The Wayne County News on three occasions with no opposition, so the commission voted to go ahead with the project. He went on to say that they are now in the engineering phase of the project, but if TVA does not give their approval, the project will not move forward. Ms. Kelli Gilham inquired about the benefits of the project. Mr. Bill Willoughby stated that he has had a business on Main Street for 55 years, and sees tourists, people taking pictures, etc. He said that in his opinion, the project is well designed with no safety issues. Tommy Tinin, who was awarded the bid for the construction of the project, said that the city needs all the tourism it can get. Mr. Tinin went on to say that if the city were to void the contract they have with him for the project, they will have to pay him $80,000.00.

   Department reports were next on the agenda. Fire Chief Lindsay Roberts said that everything is going well in his department.

   Parks Director Eddie Simmons reported that his department has mainly been working on keeping the ballfields ready for the school to play their games.

   Police Chief Henderson said that he had heard a concern voiced about safety, and possibly people driving to the area and drinking if the Ferry Loop project proceeds. He stated that his department would take care of anyone found drinking. He said that he does not see why it would be more of a safety issue, because there are several spots around town where someone could run into the river.

   Chief Henderson went on to tell the commission that he has had a personnel change. Due to some issues, Officer John Horner is no longer employed in the Police Department, and Jaggar Thompson has been hired. Officer Thompson has already worked some part-time hours with the department, and previously worked with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

   Public Works Director Clark stated that there is now an initial review design of the water plant. There will be more details added as the time draws closer to advertising for bids.

   City Manager Kibbey told the commission that the LPRF Master Planning Grant should be signed in the near future. The splash pad was engineered, but the plans were wrong and have been sent back for correction.

   The city manager then said that a land developer attended a city meeting a few months ago who was interested in getting a water line run to some property that he owns, and he wants to donate an acre of land and install thirty water meters. Kibbey said that the city does not have the money to proceed with this at this time.

   Officer Terry Dickey said that beginning next month, there may be limited prison labor available.

   Commissioner Huntingford and Vice Mayor Warren said that they did not have any issues to address at this time.

   Mayor Staggs said that he wants to do what is best for the city, and especially what is best for the kids.

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