David Paschall joins the Lookout Commission; Security cameras on the outskirts of the city improved; Spring cleaning dumpsters overflowing
Changes have taken place on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. Commission since Commissioner Don Stinnett left town. At the April meeting, David Paschall was appointed and sworn in to fill the vacant position. He will become Commissioner responsible for Parks and Playgrounds, while Brooke Pippenger will take on the post previously held by Commissioner Stinnett, as liaison with Lookout Mountain School.
Mr Paschall is entering his role at a time when all recreational facilities in the city have been closed and all sporting events have been or are likely to be canceled due to the threat of the coronavirus. “As a father, it’s been a disappointing time for recreation,” said Commissioner Paschall. Before the baseball season was canceled, there was excitement because Lookout Mountain had joined a new league with more teams to face than in the past. Scott Shell is now in the process of reimbursing the fees to those who have registered. This will be done via bluesombrero.com. The uniforms ordered will be kept until next year. Commons Camp is also in the air, and if the virus persists until May, he said, it will be difficult to justify. The large soccer registration window opens from May 1 to August 1, although the season does not start until fall. Those who wait until later to register will have a better idea if the season can actually take place.
School Trustee Pippenger asked Ruth White, Principal of Lookout Mountain School, for an update on the school’s status. The school will have open registrations to fill 22 available seats next year, she said. Anyone wishing to attend the school who does not live in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee can request one of the seats, but no transportation will be provided for these students. Selection will be by lot and controlled by the Hamilton County Department of Education. There are six places available in Kindergarten and four each in Grades 1, 2, 3 and 4. Registration is open now. More information can be found at www.HDDE.org.
Since the school closed in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, teachers and parents have been teaching at home using the Zoom platform. Ms White told commissioners it is not known when the school will reopen or when the graduation ceremony will take place this year.
Chief Chuck Wells told commissioners that cameras at all entrances to Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, and Lookout Mountain, Ga., Are being upgraded. Cameras have been lost several times due to power surges, so with guidance from EPB, action has been taken to protect the new upgraded cameras. They will all be properly grounded and the conduit will be removed from the telephone poles. The new cameras are “absolutely exceptional,” said the chef, with excellent visual and audio capabilities. They have 360 degree vision and the ability to focus down to see people walking under them. They can also zoom in and identify drivers. The computer system that manages the cameras is also being replaced by new technology. Additionally, tag readers are located at each camera location. This was a big expense and is shared with Lookout Mountain, Ga.
Car stickers are now on sale, but must be ordered using the forms that have been mailed to residents. The forms will also be available on the city’s website, www.lookoutmtn.us, the post office and local stores which remain open. The cost is $ 10 until May 31, when it will drop to $ 15. Police and Fire Marshal Jim Bentley said car stickers are a valuable tool for the police department, and if a car is pulled over after June 1 without a sticker, the driver will be cited. When filling out the application, residents are asked to fill in the space provided for an email address. The city wants to have a list that can be used for important announcements.
Commissioner Bentley would also like residents to know that the signs mean what they say. When public access is closed on city property, it means the location is closed to everyone. This includes signs and barricades on roads that prohibit pedestrians and cyclists as well as cars. At present, The Commons’ trail is the only public recreational facility that remains open and a posted sign does not necessarily prohibit others, but it does indicate that use is restricted to those who cannot walk to d ‘other places. It has been left open for people who need a level surface to walk on.
Fire and Police Department statistics for March show police received 244 calls, patrolled 5,456 miles, responded to seven burglar alarms (all bogus), six citizen assistance calls and 26 calls to 911. There were 92 roadside checks carried out in March; the low number was attributed to the home shelter order. There was a car accident with no injuries and 17 parking tickets were issued. There were seven arrests during the month – two for possession of narcotics, three for pending warrants, one for traffic violation and a suspect was arrested for an ongoing burglary. Suspicious persons / vehicles or activities were investigated 22 times. In March, there were 12 medical calls – eight in Tennessee and four in Georgia, and four false fire alarms.
With so many people staying at home to control the spread of COVID-19, they are working in their gardens and doing spring cleaning, said Public Works Commissioner Frank Schriner, who occupies the public works department. The main objective of the department is now to remove the brush. He said it is important that the size of the brush piles do not exceed 4x4x8 feet to facilitate their removal.
The dumpster usually available one day a month for residents of both cities has been overwhelmed as people have time to do the spring cleaning. The dumpster regularly scheduled for the first Saturday of the month filled up within the first hour, after which the doors were locked. Due to demand, another tipper was made available the following weekend, also full to capacity. An additional dumpster that was specifically designed for spring cleaning will be available at the public works facility on Saturday (April 18). Two dates are scheduled for next month – May 1 and May 16. It was noted that city employees will not be allowed to assist with dumpster unloading due to social distancing.
Assistant Treasurer Samantha Van Alstyne reported that in March, $ 129,000 was received in property taxes, $ 5,000 in back taxes and penalties and $ 7,600 in building permits. She said she expects a reduction in income collected for the coming year. There will be less sales taxes, less parking revenue since the closure of Incline and Point Park and lower bank rates. The city expects to receive $ 100,000 from the Hall tax this year, which is the last year for this phased-out investment tax. Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, will receive $ 71,000 as a state subsidy based on population count to help offset lost income due to COVID-19. Due to economic uncertainties, Municipal Technical Advisory Services (MTAS), which provides assistance to cities in Tennessee, is advising on a conservative budget without planning major capital improvements, Van Alstyne said.
Despite so many changes, the city is performing quite well, Mayor Walker Jones said in his monthly report. Everyone is doing a good job, including the employees and residents who have followed the guidelines to stay safe, he said.
Work on the mountain continues from EPB which still marks and cuts trees and branches in their easements. WWTA is completing most of its work on improving the sewer system. What remains to be done will not be as invasive as it has been, said the mayor, who is also the city’s representative on the WWTA board.
The next meeting at Lookout Mountain, Tn. The commission will take place on Tuesday May 12 at 5:30 p.m.