The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the September 14, 2015 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet is found here and a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will most likely be posted at the city website as part of the October 2015 Regular Meeting Agenda packet.


Votes on the Special Events Advisory Task Force Recommendations:

  1. Expand the scope of the Secret City Festival (SCF) into a celebration occurring sometime in October through Veteran’s Day with a minimum duration of one week which includes an actual festival. This item was deferred until after item #5 below. At that time, Callison motioned to remove the words “occurring sometime in October….through November 11th) thereby leaving the scheduling decision up to the nonprofit Board of Directors. The motion passed and the amended main motion passed 7-0.
  2. Direct the city manager to enter into an agreement to establish a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose purpose will be to assume responsibility of implementing the SCF/Celebration with the goal of becoming self-sustaining within five years. Motion passed 7-0
  3. Appoint a board of directors for the 501(c)3 in October 2015 or soon thereafter. Motion passed 7-0
  4. Encourage the 501(c)3 to develop a veteran’s theme for the celebration around the arts, history, science and culture of the city of Oak Ridge. Callison moved to remove the word “veteran’s.” Callison motion passed 5-2 with Chinn and Baughn voting “no” Amended main motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “no”
  5. Establish a (14) member Board of Directors for the 501c3 and require them to hire an executive director or consultant within twelve months. Motion passed 7-0

VII.  CONSENT AGENDA  12  items passed by unanimous vote

h. Resolution to accepting $113,624 reimbursement grant from TEMA for expenses related to the severe winter storm of Feb 2015.

k. Resolution extending the employee medical insurance contract with the state local government health insurance program for $4,520,000. (same amount as the last two years)

l. Resolution to apply for and accept a grant from TDOT for up to 80% reimbursement of net operating expense of ETHRA (city’s public transportation program) for an estimated amount of $165,500.

m. Resolution accepting a grant extension through July 31, 2020 from DOE for the Oral History Project for $100,000 per year. Note: Previous total grants from DOE for Oral Histories totaled over $600,000. That money produced 548 documented interviews. This extension will bring the total to over $1.1 million.


a. Resolution approving agreements with Secret City Films and BBB Communications for preservation of Oral Histories in the amount of $35,000 each.  Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “no” Note: My vote was based on the fact that the Library Director could not or would not provide a reason for not bidding these projects out other than to say that DOE was content with the arrangements made in the past.

b. Resolution authorizing purchase of a medium duty 4WD dump truck from Landers Ford, Colliervilee for Recreation and Parks Department in the estimated amount of $49,288. Motion passed 7-0

c. Approval of contract with Gresham, Smith and Partners for engineering services to design reconstruction of 13KV spacer cable for the electric department in the estimated amount of $56,000.   Motion passed 7-0       Note: The director stated that three other firms were consulted but none had spacer specific experience, thus the bid process was not used.

d. Award a contract to First Place Finish for abatement and demolition of 105 Waddell Place for $26,821 Motion passed 7-0. Note: Per my concerns at the last council meeting, this item was put back out for bid. While I still have concerns about both our RFP process and our use of tax dollars for the benefit of the Land Bank, I supported this item given that we did receive a second bid this go round. Also, the price was reduced from $29,000 because the fire treatment requirement was removed.

e. Electrical power contract with TVA amended to establish new electric rates effective October 2015. Motion passed 6-1 with Chinn voting “no”. Note: This resolution passed along a TVA rate increase that equals approximately 1.78% for the average residential customer. The smallest commercial customers will see an increase of 1.69% with the impact on larger customers varying widely.

f. Charter Review Committee Selection Process. Council had to choose between electing or appointing committee members. Hope and Smith initially supported the election process but when that failed, a vote for appointments was unanimous.

g. Professional Services Agreement with Ferguson Group for Federal lobbying in an amount not to exceed $30,000 plus $5,000 for expenses. Motion passed 5-2 with Baughn and Chinn voting “no.”


a. Amendment to the monthly residential refuse collection fee from $7 to $10.50 Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting No

b. Amendment to the Motor Vehicles, Traffic and Parking ordinance to align with state law as follows:

  • Crash Helmets – adjusted to allow for exemptions during funeral processions or special escorts
  • Safety Belts – fine increases, restrictions to exemptions for utility workers and exemptions for persons with physical disabilities which prevent proper use
  • Notification of change of address – state law requires 10 day notification
  • Illumination of license plate – integration into city code allows for citation to be entered into city court rather than issuing a state warrant for violation
  • Texting while driving– integration into city code allows for citation to be entered into city court rather than issuing a state warrant for violation Motion passed 7-0


i. City Attorney Evaluation Committee: Hope, Chinn & Gooch

ii. City Manager Evaluation Committee: Hensley, Callison & Smith

iii. Budget & Finance Committee: Smith, Hensley, Callison

All elections passed unanimously.  Baughn declined the mayor’s original appointment of her as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, Smith volunteered to take her place.

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