Council approves War Memorial fund, Davis resolution

By Bob Robinson

Star STAFF

   Elizabethton City Council, at its regular meeting last night, gave its nod of approval for City Finance Director Bradley Moffitt to receive donations and make disbursements for the new Veterans War Memorial to be built at the corner of Elk Avenue and Pine Street in Elizabethton.
   Council also adopted a resolution to memorialize M/Sgt. Jefferson Donald "Donnie" Davis of Watauga, who died in combat in Afghanistan on Dec. 5.
   The resolution proclaimed Sunday, December 16, 2001, Jefferson Donald "Donnie" Davis Memorial Day in Elizabethton.
   Mayor Sam LaPorte also called upon citizens of Elizabethton to remember all servicemen this holiday season and the personal sacrifices they make for freedom.
   Deacon Bowers, member of the Veterans War Memorial committee, expressed appreciation to Council for their support of the Veterans War Memorial project, which will memorialize all veterans who died in combat in all wars.
   Donations to the Veterans War Memorial fund are tax-deductible. Checks should be made payable to the City of Elizabethton, Veterans War Memorial Fund, and mailed or delivered to the Office of the Finance Director, Elizabethton City Hall, 136 S. Sycamore St., Elizabethton, TN 37643.
   Donated funds will be used exclusively to build and maintain the Veterans War Memorial Park, Bradley said.
   In other action, Council expressed displeasure with the latest rate hike announced by Charter Communications, which will become effective Jan. 1, 2002. Charter's last rate increase was in February 2001.
   Mayor LaPorte asked City Attorney Roger Day to look into other options available to the City. Among them, opening up the cable television and Internet market to other companies in the City of Elizabethton and "taking action against Charter" for possible violations of its agreement with the city.
   Several Council members indicated Charter, previously, had agreed to maintain a business office in Elizabethton but only has a payment collection office here.
   "Elizabethton subscribers have to go to Kingsport or Johnson City to find a Charter business office," Mayor LaPorte said.
   In other action, Council:
   * Adopted the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program to combat speeding motorists in residential areas.
   * Revised city fines and court costs last revised in 1994.
   * Amended the 2001-2002 budget by $170,000 to extend the runway at Elizabethton Municipal Airport. Funds for the project were in the 2000-2001 budget but were not used.
   * Set $674,635, the amount of in-lieu-of-tax payments of Elizabethton Electric System to the City of Elizabethton for the fiscal year, July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002.
   * Postponed action on awarding 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 and advertise and perform the construction.
   * Approved $5,000 in local matching funds for the City of Elizabethton to participate in the Johnson City Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization, which serves as a clearinghouse for federal and state transportation projects in the region.
   * Approved Change Order No. Three, totaling $8,738, with W. Rogers Co., who was awarded the $8.58 million contract in October 1999, for construction of Elizabethton's new Wastewater Treatment Plant.
   * Approved an invoice for $5,137 to J. R. Wauford and Co., consulting engineer, 908 W. Broadway, Maryville, Tenn., for assistance with the Big Springs Water Treatment Plant evaluation.
   * Approved bids and purchases, totaling $81,685.
   * Approved a 2001-2002 contract with the Tennessee State Library and Archives, parent agency of the Watauga Regional Library, through which the Elizabethton/Carter County Library receives state and federal operating funds.
   * Approved a lease agreement with the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce, from Sept. 21, 1997 through Sept. 21, 2017, for use of the Chamber of Commerce Office building, parking, tourist rest stop and information center, picnic area, memory gardens and historic train facility.
   * Approved a resolution authorizing a Mutual Aid Agreement between the City of Elizabethton and Greene County, in accordance with Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines, in emergencies.
   * Authorized the purchase of property at 700 Fifth Street in the amount of $52,000 from Wayne J. and Diane M. Allen, in accordance with Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines.
   * Approved a resolution from the City of Hendersonville requesting the Tennessee General Assembly to enact legislation to deprive sign companies from using a state statute as a means of filing suit against cities that enact local legislation regulating proliferation and size of billboards within the city limits.
   * Made the following one-year term appointments:
   Animal Control Board -- Sam Shipley;
   East Tennessee Railroad Authority -- Pat "Red" Bowers;
   Library Board -- Diane Morris;
   Planning Commission/Zoning Appeals Board -- Sam Shipley;
   Elizabethton School Board -- Janie McKinney; and,
   Elizabethton Baseball Commission -- Patricia Treadway;
   * Appointed to two-year terms on the Construction Board of Adjustment and Appeals were Robert E. Reedy, Chuck Madget, Charles LaPorte, Q.K. Roberts and W.A. Taylor.
   In another matter, Mayor LaPorte expressed appreciation to State Sen. Rusty Crowe and State Rep. Ralph Cole for their assistance in obtaining funding to purchase rights-of-way along five miles of the new Elizabethton Connector Highway.