Council Votes: 12/14/15 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

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.

VIII. RESOLUTIONS

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

X. ELECTIONS/APPOINTMENTS

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

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Council Votes: 12/14/15 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

  1. The decision by the city council to pour tax payer monies into this huge cash sponge is an absolute tragedy. When this course was built without the approval of Oak Ridge residents, we were told that this “city golf course,” would be self sufficient…what happened? To make matters worse during the time this course opened one of the main supporters was quoted in the Oak Ridger as saying ” this course is not for the average golfer and we are catering to mostly players from outside the Oak Ridge area”. Well, why don’t we let them bail out the Centennial golf course. The city of Oak Ridge is in need of this $325,000 in many other areas including the recruitment of good paying jobs within the city. The entire city council should be asked to step down!

  2. Golf has been on a decline in the U.S. since around 2002 and course P&L statements have been under pressure ever since. In recent years, many private courses have cost-cut their way to small losses. Public courses are all to frequently in the red year after year, with typical profit margins over the last decade in the zero to -10% range. The fundamentals of the trend run unabated. I doubt Oak ridge will fair much differently. Expect another double bogey next year.

  3. So the majority of the Council believes throwing away nearly a thousand dollars a day with no end is in sight is good fiscal policy. Our Council is an example of the disastrous consequences of stupidity in power. The majority of things they do hurts this community. We would be better off with no Council at all. Time to have the State revoke our City Charter and have the county run things. Enough is enough. Seeing as how Trina is the only person on the Council that questions stupidity, I hope everybody votes against all of the others at election time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s