Two residents of Fairy Trail came to the Lookout Mountain, Tenn., commission’s July meeting to see what the commissioners could do to help with this issue. Commissioner of Fire and Police Jim Bentley said this is not a resort area where the practice is common, and that safety is a big issue. “It’s not many houses,” added Commissioner of Public Works Walker Jones, “but when it’s next to you, it’s a problem.”
The other commissioners agreed and voted to address the issue by amending the present zoning ordinance to ban rentals of less than 30 days. It must first go to the Hamilton County planning commission for approval before coming back to the commissioners for two readings and two votes on the changes.
With the amount of state sales tax now known, Town Consultant Dwight Montague completed the yearly financial report and presented it to the commissioners. The amount of Hall Tax for the year that was received in July is $601,714, which is 10 percent above what was received in 2015. Additionally, due to Mr. Montague’s persistence, Mayor Carol Mutter reported that the town also got an additional $36,934 from the tax that had previously been misallocated to other cities. Other receipts for fiscal year 2016 include $75,000 in building permits, which is almost doubled from the previous year, an increase in auto decals and $73,400 from the parking meters. It’s a boom time for tourism here, added Mr. Montague. The budget for fiscal year 2017, which increases property taxes by 5 percent in preparation for the reduction of the Hall tax next year, was passed on the second and final vote. The property tax rate is now set at $1.83 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Even though Lookout Mountain School is still on summer vacation, there is a lot going on, said Commissioner of Schools Don Stinnett. During the summer, new teachers were hired to replace ones that left. Ashleigh Cain will be the new second grade teacher, Tammy Johnson, the new fourth grade teacher, and Dr. Will Casada will be the music teacher. Bryan Mann will move to the fifth grade and Principal Ruth White is in process of hiring a replacement for Mr. Mann’s former position in third grade. Karen Leavengood is the new PTA president.
Appreciation was given to Lee Cook, who was in charge of the summer library program, and Camp Invention was very successful with 30 attendees. Final touches are being put on the new greenhouse, and another level of safety has been added to LMS; security cameras were placed in and outside of the school.
The new school year begins on the August 4, when teachers and staff return. The PTA will host a welcome breakfast that morning at 9:30 a.m. Registration is August 8 in the gym, and the first day of school is August 11. PTA orientation is August 16 from 5:30-8 p.m., and the PTA general membership meeting and parent orientation will be in the auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on August 23.
The public works department has been clearing the roads of high vegetation to help trucks navigate, causing brush pick-up to be slower than usual, said Commissioner Jones. The department is also making repairs to large potholes and cleaning drains in preparation for rain. The dumpster is scheduled to be back on the mountain August 6.
Statistics for the month from the fire and police departments were compiled by Chief Randy Bowden. During June, the police had 61 calls, patrolled 2,553 miles and answered 21 false burglar alarms. Response was made to 13 assist citizen calls and 15 calls to 911. There were 11 traffic stops made during the month and no auto accidents, thefts or burglaries. Nine medical calls were handled by the department, as well as two medical calls to assist Georgia. There were five false fire alarms.
Chief Bowden would like for the residents of the town to know how much the fire and police departments appreciate being part of the Lookout Mountain, Tenn., community. He thanked the residents for their interest in what the department does, as opposed to problems that have recently occurred in other areas of the country with law enforcement. He said food and desserts have been brought in to city hall for the employees, to show appreciation.
Commissioner of Parks and Playgrounds Brook Pippenger said Commons Camp was successful this year, with more kids participating than last year. The dog park that was considered at the last commission meeting has been tabled for now. Dr. Chris Keller didn’t think it was a good idea because of the number of patients he has seen as a result of fights in dog parks. Jimmy Stewart, director of Dade Animal Rescue Team, was also consulted and said that another veterinarian he talked to expressed the same concern.
Mayor Mutter, on behalf of the commissioners, expressed sorrow at the loss of long time Lookout Mountain resident Allen Brown, who died very unexpectedly Saturday, July 23. She also recognized Drew Viscomi for being named an All-American in soccer. He has committed to play at Northwestern University after graduating from McCallie. The mayor also would like for all drivers on the mountain to slow down to assure the safety of children and walkers.
All five of the commissioners are running for re-election with no opposition. Flossie Weill, town judge, is also up for retention. Three positions on the school board will also be on the primary election ballot on August 4. Mayor Mutter urges all residents of the town to vote. The election will take place at the Jane Harris Youth Building at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church.
The next commission meeting is Tuesday, August 9 at 5 p.m.
By Gail Perry