BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (December 7) — Members of the Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen considered a rezoning ordinance and a budget resolution, as well as well as infrastructure improvements, during Monday night’s regular monthly meeting.
Board members considered an ordinance, which would rezone a property located at 145 East Main Street, from B-2 (Central Business) to R-2 (Medium Density Residential).
According to Stan Hurt, who owns the property, rezoning will make it possible for him to install two houses instead of just one residence, on the 19,500 sq. ft. lot.
Alderman Gwin Anderson stated he is not ready to vote to approve the rezoning request until he has more information.
Mayor Washburn states the owner needs to come before the board to answer any questions.
A motion to approve the rezoning request failed for lack of a second. (See related article, “Dresden Planning Commission Approves Rezoning Request”.)
A budget resolution transferring $23,887.20 out of the General Fund balance into capital outlay for the purpose of purchasing new turnout gear for the Dresden Fire Department was unanimously approved. Finance Director Carla Edwards explained, the money was received in the past fiscal year, but since it was too late to take action on the funds, they were placed into fund balance.
Property reappraisals were also a matter for discussion. Board members were informed the State no longer does appraisals and a private company is now doing the job.
Additionally, property reappraisals are now required every year, instead of every five years.
Mayor Washburn noted the cost for reappraising property in the city limits of Dresden is approximately $4,000 per year.
Alderman Anderson said he wants to invite Weakley County Tax Assessor David Tuck to address the board concerning reappraisals.
In other business, Mayor Jeff Washburn said, “The bridges on Evergreen Extended (Old Hwy. 22) have been inspected and are open. I think they’ve done a marvelous job. The bridges are safe. They have guardrails. And, they’re wide enough now that two cars can safely pass one another.”
Alderman Lyndal Dilday added, “They also have good shoulders.”
“They’ve improved the drainage along that section of roadway as well,” Mayor Washburn said. “They’ve also improved our driveway to the lagoon just a little bit. I’m proud of what our contractor has done.”
The mayor noted the project was funded by a 100 percent state grant, at no expense to the City of Dresden. “We just had to flow the money through our accounts,” Mayor Washburn said.
He also mentioned the WK&T connectivity grant has allowed the City of Dresden to make fiber cable internet service available to 100 percent of the homes in Dresden. “That grant is going to be completed without any hitches, as far as we know,” Mayor Washburn said.
Alderman Anderson stated it would be a good idea to see if WK&T could provide the City of Dresden
with another fiber internet feed, by connecting to one of the fiber cable lines the company is installing in rural Weakley County. He stated this would provide local citizens with backup fiber cable service using the secondary lines.
“We do have an alternate feed,” Mayor Washburn said. He explained, when a cable was accidentally cut recently, there was a loss of television service, but computer and phone lines were still functioning. “The line that comes into Dresden from Paducah and Mayfield, Kentucky, is the one that got cut.”
Mayor Washburn said, “WK&T is now working in the area south of Dresden on Oak Grove Road, headed over to Sharon and back toward Martin. They’re also working out in the Bible Union area near the Hyndsver Community Center, with the second grant they received.” He noted WK&T was awarded two grants totaling $4 million to install fiber internet cable in all of rural Weakley County.
The mayor explained, the grants are only available to municipalities and counties, if an existing cable service is only capable of providing a maximum of 25 MBPS to its customers.
In committee reports, Public Works Director Kerry Cooper stated the city’s leaf truck has experienced a few mechanical problems, but they have been repaired. He said the city is still waiting for the delivery of a new tractor it purchased. Mayor Washburn informed the aldermen, the tractor ordered has been upgraded and the implement will have a better chassis than originally bid, as well as a heavier transmission and rear end. He said, this is a $6,000 value, at no additional cost. “I hope we get some use out of the tractor this winter working on our right-of-ways,” Mayor Washburn said.
It was also reported the Dresden Police Department has received a new decibel reader to check for vehicles exceeding the legal noise limit, caused by loud engine noise. The device cost the city approximately $100.
The condemnation of dilapidated buildings was another topic for discussion.
Alderwoman Sandra Klutts, who chairs the Dresden Condemnation Board, said she wants to be fair to everyone, and it’s not the desire of the Condemnation Board to tear local citizens houses down. “But at some point, they don’t really qualify as a house they are in such bad shape and must be torn down.”
Klutts reported an old house on Linden Street was placed on the condemnation list during a Condemnation Board meeting in November.
Mayor Washburn stated a letter was mailed to the owners informing them the house has been placed on the condemnation list. He noted the city attorney has not yet completed the condemnation order for the Linden Street residence, but it will be delivered as soon as the order is ready. The owners then have a maximum of 60 days to tear down house and remove it from the lot.
Mayor Washburn notes the owners of the Linden Street property informed the city in a letter they plan to hire someone to tear it down. The letter states two bids have been submitted and they are waiting on a third bid before contracting out the demolition job.
According to Mayor Washburn, the City of Dresden is holding a review meeting for all condemned properties on Thursday, December 17, beginning at 6 p.m.
Mayor Washburn said, since the Condemnation Board began taking a firm stand on dilapidated housing, “We have improved our property values around town.” He stated, because there is such a shortage of housing, when a house goes on the market, there is usually a bidding war. This results in homes selling for more than the price they are listed for, and they usually sell in a matter of days.
The mayor remarked the influx of new homeowners in the area might, in part, be attributed to cleaning up the town. Another factor may be the availability of high-speed broadband internet up to 20 GB. He stated these and other factors could also result in new houses being built in Dresden.
Klutts states, she hopes the city will be able to add something new each year to city’s Christmas decorations.
Mayor Washburn agreed this would be a good idea. He added, “Our Parks and Recreation and Public Works employees do a wonderful job of making our downtown look good. What we’ve been trying to do the past four or five years is buy something new every year costing $500-$600 or maybe a little more, if we have the money to spare. After Christmas, we’re going to try to find something on sale. We have 10 light poles that need to be wrapped with garland.”
The mayor mentioned he has received a lot of positive comments from local citizens regarding the appearance of the Dresden’s Christmas displays.
The next official meeting of the Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen is at 6 p.m., Monday, January 4, 2021.