BY DAVID FISHER
GLEASON (June 11) — The top item on the agenda during the regular monthly meeting of the Gleason Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Thursday, June 11, was the city’s budget for FY 2020-2021.
The budget ordinance sets the tax rate at $1.6638 per $100 of assessed value, which is unchanged from the previous year.
Projected revenues and expenditures are as follows:
General Fund: revenues = $1,308,680; expenditures = $973,546
State Street Aid Fund: revenues = $99,000; expenditures = $49,500
Drug Fund: revenues = $19,500; expenditures = $4,500
Water Fund: revenues = $1,044,229; expenditures = $7,945
Solid Waste: revenues = $235,135; expenditures = $147,000
When the question was called on the motion, the budget was approved 4-1 with Alderman Keith Radford casting the only “no” vote.
An ordinance amending the budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 was unanimously approved on first reading. Appropriations for these funds are as follows:
The General Fund budget appropriation, previously set at $1,054,301, is decreased to $902,841.
The Water and Sewer Fund budget appropriation, previously set at $768,390 is decreased to $380,828.
The Drug Fund appropriation, previously set at $2,000 is increased to $7,945
The Solid Waste budget appropriation, previously set at $144,000, is increased to $146,094.
The State Street budget appropriation, previously set at $42,500 is increased to $45,500.
The above-cited amendments are deemed necessary to meet unexpected expenses in the General Fund, Water and Sewer Fund, Drug Fund, State Street Fund and Solid Waste Fund.
The first reading of a property rights voting ordinance was approved by unanimous vote.
The ordinance notes Gleason’s town charter currently allows persons residing outside the corporate city limits of Gleason, who own real property inside the corporate limits of the town and meet other general legal requirements, to vote in city elections.
The property rights voting ordinance approved Thursday night, establishes absentee by mail ballot voting procedures for non-resident property owners in municipal elections, as allowed under legislation adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly and recommended by the Weakley County Election Commission.
One of the reasons cited for passage of the ordinance is to simplify the voting procedure for property rights voters, and thereby increase and encourage voter participation in city elections.
The ordinance requires property rights voters to vote by mail only.
According to Administrator of Elections Alex Britt, absentee by mail ballot voting for non-resident property owners avoids the confusion experienced at the polls during past elections, when citizens were required to cast their ballots in two separate lines – one for voting in the General Election and another for voting in city elections. He said it also helps avoid confusion by poll workers.
Britt said Gleason has 45 registered property rights voters. Providing the ordinance is approved on second reading, the Election Commission will mail letters to property rights voters explaining the process and including the ballots. There will be no cost to the city for this service.
Aldermen Jim Phelps said, “Our charter specifies you must be a resident of the state to vote as a property rights voter.”
Britt explained citizens must apply to be a voter and supply a copy of the deed of their property, to be registered as property rights voters. Additionally, only two persons can be registered as property rights voters per property. These individuals may not vote more than once as a property rights voter in a city election, regardless of how many properties they may own.
There will be a second reading on each of the above-mentioned ordinances, during a called meeting of the Gleason City Board on Thursday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Under old business, the issue of purchasing a building to relocate the Gleason Police Department was discussed.
Alderman Radford asked about the minutes from the last board meeting involving the proposed purchase of the former Co-Op building. He said the minutes indicate there was not a second on a motion to purchase the building, but actually, no one called for a second.
City Recorder Angela Hunt said she will correct the minutes accordingly.
Alderman Radford then made a motion to purchase the Weakley Farmers Co-Op building on Janes Mill Road and the motion was seconded by Doug Johnson.
While Alderman Phelps agreed the police do need a building separate from city hall, he asked if anyone had looked into purchasing the insurance building downtown across from the bank, as a possible location.
When the mayor asked for a roll call vote, the motion failed 3-2, with Mayor Diana Poole, Jerry “Bubba” Dunn, Jr. and Jim Phelps voting against the Co-Op building purchase, and aldermen Doug Johnson and Radford voting in favor of the motion.
According to a report submitted by the police department, there were: seven state warrants, no juvenile petitions, 15 city citations and 158 calls for service during the month of May.
In the fire department report, Deputy Chief Mark Stafford stated firefighters participated in various activities during the month of May, including: establishing a landing zone, conducting two smoke investigations, a fire call on West Street, responding to a traffic control issue on Hwy. 22, attending a monthly meeting and training.
In the library report, it was mentioned Gleason Library re-opened June 8.
Downtown Revitalization Committee Chairman Charles Anderson addressed recent activities involving downtown revitalization projects. Anderson expressed his appreciation to Edgar Floyd, Avery Orr, Noah Lampkins, Albert Collins and Lucas Snider for planting ferns around town for the Downtown Committee.
Under business and concerns from aldermen, Radford said, “On a bright note, Gleason collected more sales tax than any other town in Weakley County.”
Alderman Phelps thanked those on the Dog Park Committee, including: Stephanie Hopper, Hollie Harris, Ronnie Arnold and Gloria Erwin. He stated the fence is being built, the water line was installed and major items have been ordered for the dog park. The city is staying with the school colors of black and orange for the dog park, which is expected to open this summer.
The mayor stated there may be some kind of event at the park in July and will update the board, as plans are made. “We still only have three guys and they are trying to keep up and get things mowed,” Mayor Poole said.
BY DAVID FISHER