BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (April 6) — Members of the Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Mayor Jeff Washburn and City Recorder Jennifer Branscum were the only city officials physically present at Monday night’s regular monthly meeting at Dresden City Hall. Public access to the meeting was made possible via the internet by utilizing Facebook Live. A conference call line was available for any alderman and for department supervisors.
The virtual meeting was conducted to comply with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s directive to use electronic means when holding board meetings to minimize the risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus. This allowed the public to view the proceedings without being in the boardroom. Remote viewing of the meeting also prevented violation of the Sunshine Law, which requires public access to government meetings.
The mayor said, in keeping with the emergency declaration issued by President Trump and Governor Lee, he has initiated a curfew in the City of Dresden from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. to have local citizens maintain social distancing. He added public buildings and the City parks are closed during the COVID-19 emergency.
“We have received a one-time State grant in the amount of $94,616,” Mayor Washburn said. He noted the funds may be used for road projects, I.T. upgrades, capital maintenance, utility system upgrades, and public safety projects. He stated part of the money could be used to repair the sidewalk in front of City Hall and some of the funds could be used for smoke testing the sewer system for breaks in the pipes, which causes rainwater infiltration. Alderman Gwin Anderson suggested installing concrete supports around the lampposts circling the town square.
Mayor Washburn stated he is hopeful an ISO inspection of the city’s water system and fire department conducted in January will result in upgrading the city’s ISO rating from a 5 to a 4.
“The bridge project on Old Hwy 22 is progressing,” Mayor Washburn said. “They have the river bridge torn out, and it appears they have the structure built for the bridge going across the river. He added the other two bridge projects between the river bridge and Champion Homes is also underway.”
Mayor Washburn announced the Iris Festival is rescheduled for July 4-11.
In input from citizens, Nancy Elinor sent the board an email regarding the status of a mobile home ordered to be brought up to code.
“They’re doing a good job of improving that property,” Mayor Washburn said. “They’re doing some grade work around it. She’s already got bids for doing the concrete foundation work. I urge the board to be patient with her and give her a little more time to get that completed.”
Alderman Lyndal Dilday made a motion to set the review date for 90 days, and take the issue up during the August meeting. “I think she’s really trying,” he said. The motion passed unanimously.
“There was a public comment on the live feed from Kathy Watson requesting the board consider installing speed bumps on West Main Street,” City Recorder Jennifer Branscum said. “I think that’s an insurance question, because we had those at one time and was asked to have them removed. She said there are several children riding their bikes and walking, and she witnessed a child that was almost hit by a car driving way too fast.”
“What we’ll do is ask our police department to give a little more attention to that street,” Mayor Washburn said. He also mentioned “No Thru Trucks” signs have been installed to keep the large trucks from traveling the street.
Under new business, the Board unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance adopting the City of Dresden’s annual operating and capital budget, as well as the tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021. In addition to there being no property tax increase, there is also no increase for garbage collection, or the water and sewer rates. Additionally, he stated the budget will include a raise for City employees, based on merit. (See separate article, “No tax hike in Dresden’s FY 2020-2021 budget.)
Board members approved a resolution involving the National Flood Insurance Program, which states in part:
The Board of Aldermen of the City of Dresden, Tennessee, hereby goes on record that the City wants to remain in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and that the Board of Aldermen intends to take all action necessary to resolve and correct the deficiencies found by FEMA in the existing program, including, but not limited to:
* Enforcing the provisions of the flood damage prevention ordinance, including, if necessary, asking that a flood insurance policy be canceled permanently or that flood insurance not be available to any owner of that property who refuses to comply with the municipal flood prevention ordinance;
* Providing all documentation for the variances issued for review;
* And, taking such further action as may be required by FEMA and/or the NFIP to correct the deficiencies found in the flood insurance program in the City of Dresden.
This resolution shall be made a part of the minutes of the board of aldermen of the City of Dresden, and copies of this resolution shall be provided to FEMA and other interested parties.
A budget resolution for the current fiscal year that transfers funds to cover expenditures in various departments was also approved. It includes:
* An expenditure of $146,796 for the annual payment to WK&T for the infrastructure of fiber network installation, and a $140,000 transfer to cover the cost for the installation of the remote read water meters, which total $286,796;
* The purchase of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for Dresden Fire Department firefighters costing $8,526;
* An expenditure of $995 in the Water Department’s water fund to cover the cost of a water tank inspection was less than $5,000 and, therefore, does not qualify as a capital expense, so the $5,000 was transferred into the repair and maintenance line;
* Other budget transfers in the City of Dresden’s various departments are for routine expenditures including employee salaries and benefits, as well as utilities and supplies.
A bid for the purchase and installation of two Allen Bradley Powerflex 400 60 HP Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) at the city’s water plant was awarded to Vaughan Electric Company, Inc. of Union City, which submitted a bid price of $21,715.
The job involves mounting the two VFDs, control panels that cause the water pumps to start and stop water flow slowly to prevent a surge of water pressure that could burst the water pipes or cause the pipes to separate.
“We expect it will be a cost saving measure for the City in the long run,” Washburn said.
BY DAVID FISHER