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Former Clifton City Commissioner Brings Concerns Before Commission

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   The Clifton City Commission met in regular session on Monday, June 28th, 2021. Commissioners in attendance were Mayor Mark Staggs, Vice Mayor Eva Ruth Warren, and Commissioners Layton Packwood, Randy Burns, and Stacy Huntingford. Also in attendance were City Manager Doug Kibbey, City Attorney Mike Hinson, and City Recorder Barbara Culp.

   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 Burns, and the minutes were unanimously approved.

   New business from the audience was next on the agenda. Former City Commissioner Carol Hickerson first addressed the commission with questions about mowing on private property. She said that she had been unable to get a direct answer from anyone on the actual right-of-way distance from the center line of roadways. Ms. Hickerson went on to say that she had personally observed city crews mowing property that she knew for a fact was private, and leaving areas unmowed that should be mowed by the city. No action or resolution to Ms. Hickerson’s voiced issue about mowing was taken by the city. Public Works Director Austin Clark addressed the right-of-way distance later in the meeting.

   Ms. Hickerson next asked what is done with old city and police vehicles after they are replaced, and the commissioners said that they are sold on govdeals.com. Ms. Hickerson said that she had personally observed a former city employee and a relative of a city employee driving former city vehicles. The policy on this was addressed by City Manager Kibbey later in the meeting. 

   Next, Ms. Hickerson brought up the Sanitation Department, asking what, and/or whom, gets paid from this fund. She said that RaeKar, the company that is contracted by the city to handle the city garbage, charges $4 to the city for each residential garbage pickup, and the charge for dumpsters varies by size. The city charges residents $10.07 for garbage pickup, so the question is, why does the city make a $6.07 profit on residential garbage pickup? Ms. Hickerson also said that in her research, she found that the city is charging customers more than twice what RaeKar is charging the city for dumpsters. With City Attorney Hinson advising the commission not to answer many of Ms. Hickerson’s questions due to legal reasons, essentially none of her questions were answered by the commission. Mayor Staggs told Ms. Hickerson after 30 minutes that the meeting had to move on to the next items on the agenda.

   New Clifton resident Mike Chilcott addressed the commission next. He said that a neighbor has many animals on their property, including dogs, chickens, and ducks, that are causing a foul odor in the neighborhood. He said that he and his wife are unable to enjoy any outside activities at their home due to the smell, and he questioned the legality of the animals on the property. City Manager Kibbey read the ordinance aloud regarding animals within city limits, and Mr. Chilcott’s neighbor was found to be in compliance with the ordinance as long as the animals are in a contained area. Police Chief Jerroll Henderson said that he had spoken with the animal owners at that address before, and that he would be glad to speak with them again and see if anything can be done to better control the odor.

   More new Clifton residents. Jeanine and Scott Higgins, next addressed the commission. Mrs. Higgins said that they had heard a new road will soon be built that will come through their property. City Attorney Hinson said that the road construction planning is still in the very early stages, and that the affected residents will be notified if and when their property becomes involved in the plans.

   The first item of old business on the agenda was the second reading of the fiscal year 2021-22 budget. Vice Mayor Warren made a motion to approve, and Commissioner Huntingford seconded the motion. The second reading of the budget was unanimously approved.

    Next under old business was the Riverfront Park concession stand/bath house. City Manager Kibbey said that all the plans are completed, and he recommended that the city wait until August to start the bid process since the building will not be done by the time the Horseshoe Riverbend Festival is held.

   The first item under new business was the 2021-22 Budget Amendment #1. City Manager Kibbey said that the state had conditionally approved the amendment.

   Next was the Capital Outlay Note Hangar Resolution. City Manager Kibbey explained that the city gets around $150,000 per year from the state that can be used for projects such as airport hangars. The cost of the hangars will be approximately $450,000, and Kibbey presented a capital outlay note for the remainder of the hangar cost on which the airport authority will pay interest. Commissioner Burns made a motion to approve the resolution for the capital outlay note. Commissioner Packwood seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.

   A CDBG Grant Resolution was next on the agenda. City Manager Kibbey said that this grant would provide $208,980 in funding to be used for a new water meter system for the city. Public Works Director Clark said that the city currently experiences around $218,000 in water loss per year, and the new system will be able to pinpoint where the leaks are more accurately. Commissioner Huntingford made a motion to approve the grant resolution, and Vice Mayor Warren seconded. The grant resolution was approved unanimously.

   Next under new business was the Sale of Surplus Property Resolution. City Manager Kibbey read the section of the ordinance that answered Ms. Hickerson’s previous question regarding who may purchase old city vehicles. The ordinance makes it clear that no one, including former city employees, may purchase used city vehicles unless they submit a bid. Vice Mayor Warren made a motion to approve the resolution, and the motion was seconded by Commissioner Packwood. The motion carried unanimously.

   Concrete slab options for Riverfront Stage were last under new business. City Manager Kibbey distributed the different plan options to the commissioners for their review. Commissioner Huntingford made a motion to approve Option #5, which was the largest concrete slab. Commissioner Burns seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously.

   Departmental reports were next on the agenda. Fire Chief Lindsay Roberts said that he had nothing to report from his department.

   Police Chief Henderson said that everything was going well in his department.

   Public Works Director Clark said that the construction was complete on the gas border station. He then brought up the three letters that had been sent out to city customers regarding THM water violations, and stated that customers should be aware that the state had rescinded the violations.

   Director Clark then addressed the earlier questions about right-of-way. He said that there is no set answer about the distance of right-of-way, as it varies on different roadways. He went on to say that it would cost the city approximately $36,000 to hire a surveyor to map out the right-of-way on all the roadways within city limits.

   Commissioner Burns asked Director Clark about a self-flushing fire hydrant that seems to be flushing all the time with water running freely out of it. Clark said that the self-flushing hydrants are set to flush for 15 minutes every six hours, but he would check and make sure they are working properly.

   The commission briefly discussed a few more items, including an alleyway that needs to be designated for deliveries and drop-offs only with no through traffic allowed. City Manger Kibbey said that an ordinance would have to be written up and approved before a sign stating the restrictions could be placed at the alley.

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

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