Council approves NTMP; anticipates Northern Connector will reduce traffic volumes

By Bob Robinson
Star Staff

   Elizabethton City Council last night, unanimously, voted to approve the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) which, in part, uses "traffic calming devices" to combat speeding motorists in residential neighborhoods.
   Before the vote was taken, Council member Diane Morris asked if the volume of traffic on Mill Street would meet the NTMP criteria of either 100 cars per hour or 1,000 cars per day.
   City Manager Charles Stahl said he thought Bluefield Avenue and Mill Street would qualify, adding "15,000 cars per day now use G Street and 37,000 cars per day use West Elk Avenue."
   One resident of Mill Street asked if residents would be involved in the decision to place traffic calming devices, such as speed bumps, in the residential neighborhood.
   Mayor Sam LaPorte assured the resident that any concerns of Mill Street residents would be considered by both the City Planning and Development Department and City Council before any decision would be made.
   The Northern Connector, when completed, should greatly reduce the volume of traffic on G Street and Elk Avenue and the number of motorists "using downtown Elk Avenue as a race track," Mayor LaPorte added.
   Mayor LaPorte also expressed appreciation to (1) Terry Arnold of the Carter County Emergency Medical Service for meeting requirements for the Class A 2000 Certificate; and (2) Tennessee Highway Patrolman Steve Galyon, who retired recently, for "honorable service and doing a wonderful job."
   In other action, Council:
   * Awarded a contract to Tysinger, Hampton and Partners, P.O. Box 982, Johnson City, Tenn., 37605, for engineering services, not to exceed $21,450, to repair and restore the Covered Bridge. It is expected to take 18 weeks to survey, develop construction plans, bid, advertise and perform the construction.
   * Authorized the sale of .192 acres of property, jointly owned by the City of Elizabethton and Carter County government, totaling $4,185, to the State of Tennessee for State Route 91 Highway improvements;
   * Approved a resolution authorizing the Tennessee Department of Transportation to utilize any rights-of-way in the City of Elizabethton from Highway 321 to west of Highway 19E for the construction of the Northern Connector;
   * Authorized a lease agreement between the City of Elizabethton and Canon Financial Services for a copy machine used by patrons of the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library;
   * Approved bids and purchases, totaling $21,222;
   * Appointed Richard Tetrick and Dean Batchelder Sr. to the Golf Course Board for a one-year term;
   * Appointed Victor DeLoach to the Planning Commission/Zoning Appeals Board for a five-year term; and,
   * Appointed Council member Pat "Red" Bowers to the Wastewater Regulations Appeals Board for a one-year term.
   City Manager Stahl also distributed to City Council a report from the Tennessee Department of Revenue showing Local Option Sales Tax collections in November totaled $409,803 in the City of Elizabethton, $91,226 in Carter County, $17,045 in the City of Watauga, and $13,434 in the City of Johnson City.
   Stahl also presented the following monthly reports:
   * Elizabethton Police Department (EPD), from Nov. 21-Dec. 20, made 72 arrests; investigated 88 vehicle accidents without injury and 17 with personal injury; issued 282 citations; provided 98 escorts; responded to 716 calls for assistance and 108 motorist assist calls; responded to 26 domestic violence calls; patrolled 27,201 miles; and served 97 warrants and 49 criminal summons.
   * The EPD Detective Division had 54 new cases assigned; closed 10 cases by arrest; 12 are pending; and eight were cleared.
   * Elizabethton Fire Department, in November, made 40 inspections; found 57 violations and corrected 12; had nine emergency and/or rescue responses; two structure fires with loss to buildings totaling $15,000; 13 grass and brush fires; and eight false alarms.
   * Elizabethton Water Department, in November, responded to 134 total calls for water and water taps.
   * Public Works Department, in November, responded to 256 calls, including 143 water-related; 11 water quality; 102 sewer related; and 20 related to street/sanitation.