THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 4/08/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items voted upon during the April 8th, 2013 regular city council meeting. The complete agenda packet and full video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the May Regular Meeting Agenda packet.

NOTE: I did not attend this meeting because it occurred at the same time as my grandfather’s funeral. Councilmember Chuck Hope was also absent due to travel.

VII. CONSENT AGENDA   (2 items total, all passed by unanimous vote)

b. A resolution awarding a contract to Rogers Group, Inc., Oak Ridge, for street milling and resurfacing of 6.62 centerline miles of designated city streets in the estimated amount of $645,056.

VIII. RESOLUTIONS

a. A resolution amending the contract with the City and Waste Connections of Tennessee, Inc., to eliminate the rewards portion of the City’s recycling program for an annual cost savings of approximately $123,972.00. After an amendment to defer how to distribute funds, the vote to terminate the Recycle Bank portion of the contract passed. Garcia Garland had made a motion to return the cost savings to the citizens, but it failed with Garcia Garland, Hensley & Mosby voting in favor and Miller and Beehan voting against

b. A resolution approving updated bylaws for the Senior Advisory Board and eliminating representation on the board by the Coalition of Oak Ridge Retired Employees (at their request) and adding representation by the Anderson County ADA Oversight Committee.  Passed 5-0

c. A resolution authorizing the Industrial Development Board of the City of Oak Ridge to enter into a five-year one hundred percent (100%) payment in lieu of tax agreement with Protomet corporation for the Phase II expansion of their business. Passed 4-1 with Garcia Garland being the Nay vote.

I had and still have many questions about issuing a second tax abatement to a company who has demonstrated minimal impact on our local economy. My understanding is that the IDB is essentially providing the company with a $125,000 loan which they will pay back over 5 years in lieu of any property taxes. I heard no justification for why council should provide an exception to the rule for this particular company over any other. I have requested ROI info from our city attorney on all of these tax breaks issued in recent years. I will continue to research and assess our history of “public private partnerships” in preparation for the request I expect to come from the sale of the mall.      

d. A resolution adopting updated City Council Rules and Procedures. Item deferred to allow for additional input from council to the committee.

e. A resolution requesting the State of Tennessee to develop a uniform approach to school security using the City of Oak Ridge as a pilot project to conduct necessary risk assessments and provide accompanying recommendations to improve school security. Passed 5-0

IX. PUBLIC HEARINGS AND FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES   only one item which passed by unanimous vote

A public hearing for the Program Year 2013/Fiscal Year 2012 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Annual Action Plan.

The City of Oak Ridge is an entitlement jurisdiction, receiving annual allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from HUD. This plan is a requirement under that program. The city receives $200,000 – $300,000 per year in CDBG funds. The planned expense for these funds this year is to repay some of the debt on the Scarboro Community Center expansion and to acquire and demolish dilapidated housing primarily in the Highland View community. There is much more to this plan that I will share at a later date. 

X. FINAL ADOPTION OF ORDINANCES items removed by unanimous vote at the beginning of the meeting

Second and final reading of amendments for land use and zoning for parcel to be occupied by a Dollar General store.

As occurred last month, both resolutions for this West End project were removed from the agenda because the Road Access Agreement had yet to be completed.

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