The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the December 14, 2015 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet is found here and here and here 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 January 2016 Regular Meeting Agenda packet.
VI. SPECIAL REPORTS
EQAB – Pat Imperato gave a presentation regarding EQAB’s plans to develop a tree plan for the city in 2016.
Land Bank – This presentation (ORLandBank2015YearInReview) by Land Bank Chair Charlie Jernigan was given.
City Manager’s Annual Evaluation – Committee Chair Hensley requested to remove from the agenda and place on January’s agenda.
VII. CONSENT AGENDA 2 items passed unanimously
Resolution approving a grant agreement with Prevent Child Abuse TN for use in Healthy Start of Anderson County program and disbursing funds in the amount of $31,850.
a. Resolution accepting a TDOT grant of $432,960 with an approximate $108,240 local match for the Oak Ridge Turnpike Intersection pedestrian Safety Improvements at South Tulane and East Division/Tennyson Road. Motion passed unanimously.
b. Resolution adopting the 2016 State and Federal Legislative Agenda. Motion passed 6-1-0 with Hensley abstaining
c. Resolution authorizing the transfer of $325,000 from the general fund to the Golf Course Fund to provide operational funding for the golf course (in support of the private company, Billy Casper Golf Management (BCMG) who operates the course). Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting no.
In addition to the points I made in this column, key points influencing my vote were as follows:
– Contrary to what the representative stated, BCMG has operated primarily at a loss since they received the contract seventeen years ago – only three of those years did they turn over a very minimal profit. I consulted our online finalized budgets here and calculated that, since 1998, expenditures totaled $20 million while revenues only totaled $18 million.
– This project, in conjunction with the Parcel A fiasco, was sold to the public on a promise that it would be self-sufficient. It has not. In fact, it has cost tax payers upwards of $20 million. Some have proclaimed that we would not have the revenue from the new homes that were built around it if we’d not build the course. At best, we’ve seen a $3 million return over the last 22 years which means we’ve lost $17 million.
– Council refused to entertain exploring alternatives that would lessen the burden on taxpayers.
I made a motion to reduce the proposed allocation by the amount that was to be paid to BCMG directly in fees ($70k). Annually, the city pays BCMG fees of approximately $120,000 with no performance expectations or benchmarks. The motion failed for lack of a second.
The primary justification for passing this as expressed by my fellow council members, was that we had to meet our obligation to the management company and its debtors. Ironically, none felt obligated to uphold any commitments to the taxpayers, past present or future.
d. Resolution designating D. Ray Smith as “Honorary City Historian.” Motion passed unanimously.
e. Resolution establishing the 2016 City Council meeting schedule. Motion passed unanimously.
f. Resolution to modify the current water services contract between the city and DOE to set forth a new annual potable water rate. Motion passed unanimously
The individuals appointed by a vote of at least 4 to the following committees are:
Anderson County Economic Development Association: Leonard Abbatiello
Beer Permit Board: Wende Doolittle, Theresa Scott, Danny Whitson
Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals: Joseph Lee, Michael Marsh, Leonard Vaughen
Board of Zoning Appeals : Susan Donnelly
Convention and Visitors Bureau: Heather Buck, Own Driskill, Susan Frederick, Gretchen Julius, Martin McBride, Troy Patel, Rebecca Williams
Environmental Quality Advisory Board: Leon Baker, Bryan Crable, Kaela O’Dell
Health and Educational Facilities Board : Leon Baker, Sue Anne Lewis, William Logan
Oak Ridge Housing Authority: James Palmer
Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation: James Palmer, Anne Dunthorne, Melinda Hillman, Charlie Jernigan
Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission : Sharon Kohler, Hans Vogel
Personnel Advisory Board: Lisa Bollinger, Anne Garcia Garland
Recreation and Parks Advisory Board: Kevin Hoyt, B. Tatum
Senior Advisory Board Agenda: Patricia Gengozian, Robert Smallridge
Trade Licensing Board: Wayne Garber
Traffic Safety Advisory Board: Jana Humphrey
Secret City Festival Board of Directors: Cynthia Beatty, James Dodson, Don Hughes, Bill Lawrence, Emilee Smith, John Stone