Home » Clifton’s Hidden Gems: Clifton City Government, by the Clifton Chamber of Commerce

Clifton’s Hidden Gems: Clifton City Government, by the Clifton Chamber of Commerce

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The Greater Clifton Area Chamber of Commerce is beginning a monthly spotlight on various members in order to educate the community on local area businesses and local employees found to be hidden gems of our community.

This month’s “Hidden Gem” is focused on the Clifton City Hall and City Government employees. The Chamber team interviewed Clifton City employees Barbara Culp, Austin Clark, and Kiersten Rainey to learn more about the duties carried out by Clifton City Hall.

Barbara Culp is the City Recorder, and she shared that for the past 47 years she has handled a wide range of duties in administration for the 29 full- and part-time city employees in areas such as payroll and benefits.  Barbara is also responsible for issuing licenses to new organizations who wish to start a business in Clifton.

“During my time here, it has been amazing to watch technology grow from the days of issuing paychecks on a manual typewriter to utilizing software to provide better access to data,” Barbara stated. “The people of Clifton are what makes our city a hidden gem. I have enjoyed working with my colleagues as we serve this community where people are so often willing to help each other in their time of need.”

Austin Clark, Public Works Director, shared that technology has also enhanced the efficiency of the Public Works department with the digitization of utilities and adding new software to monitor meters. Austin shared that in the past, a gap of time existed as to a water or gas leak due to meter readings conducted only on a monthly basis. This resulted in much water wasted before the leak was identified and repaired. With new technology, daily reports monitor any excessive water use so that homeowners and businesses can be quickly notified of a leak in order to expedite repair. During the recent Christmas winter blast, for example, Austin spent a great deal of time on the phone to let citizens know of potential leaks caused by frozen pipes in an effort to conserve water and save money in costly water bills.

Another technological advance for Clifton is with GIS Mapping. Austin explained that in the past, Clifton City employees were the only knowledge base for how the utility connections were mapped, so when someone left the department, important knowledge left with them. With the implementation of a GIS Mapping System, the City of Clifton now has mapping information for homeowners and business utility connections recorded in a database, which allows helpful information handy for making repairs and improvements.

Austin stated, “People look to our department during times of crisis, such as water, sewer, or heat not working when it is cold outside. Having the technology to expedite repairs has really helped us to better serve our community.”

Kiersten Rainey, Assistant City Manager, shared about her work with grant applications for the City and as an auditor to ensure money is spent according to grant specifications. Potential grants are identified by Clifton’s City Manager, Doug Kibbey, along with Kiersten as they conduct research and participate in local government workshops and conferences. Many grants are available, especially to rural and economically disadvantaged communities as provided by the State of Tennessee and the Federal Government. As grants are identified, Kiersten works with Doug and local community partners to gather information for grant applications. Grant money has been utilized for improving the Clifton area for current and future generations through past implemented projects, such as improvements to Clifton Airport hangars to support travel for business/tourism, ball field and recreational park improvements, splash pad, stage, and new sidewalks, as well as future grants to support projects such as a new dog park and basketball courts at the Clifton Recreational Park. Also, new playground equipment/benches will be provided at the Clifton River Park. Other grant applications have been initiated for Violent Crime and DUI prevention as well. Past grants have provided life-saving equipment such as CPR equipment that was recently utilized in a first responder call to obtain a positive outcome. Kiersten shared that between past and future grant applications, the City of Clifton has been awarded $12 million dollars for the above completed as well as approved but pending initiatives.

Austin Clark shared how some grants are initiated and applied for by the State of Tennessee on the City’s behalf, such as a new grant for approximately $800k toward a new Water Treatment Plant. Additional forgiveness for loans toward the building of the treatment facility and support from other community partners such as TDOC will cover costs toward building a water treatment facility with the potential of serving surrounding communities. The State of Tennessee recognizes that Clifton has a unique location that borders Kentucky Lake which is the largest supply of water in the State of Tennessee, as well as bordering other areas in need of water improvement.  Due to regional needs that cross county lines, the State supports this project to provide unification of the water system to best serve our geographical location with minimal to no cost to Clifton taxpayers.

The Clifton City Government organization and city employees are true hidden gems in the Clifton community. The Greater Clifton Area Chamber of Commerce wishes to recognize Clifton’s city employees for maintaining utilities, maintaining and improving parks, and the continued safety of our citizens and visitors to our beautiful river city.

Article courtesy of Jackie Brewton & Sidonna Foust
Photo courtesy of John Dumont

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