BY JASMINE WILLIAMS
SHARON (January 10) – The Sharon Board of Mayor and Aldermen held its first meeting of the new year Monday night when members discussed the formation of a condemnation board and the weekend resignation of two Sharon police officers.
City Attorney Jeff Washburn was present to field questions from the board regarding a condemnation board. In the December meeting, Mayor Ali Stalter expressed her desire to form a condemnation board for the City of Sharon, which would include her, aldermen James Gary Roberts, building inspector David Kelley and two Sharon citizens.
Washburn announced cities could form a condemnation board when an ordinance is passed as stated by the state of Tennessee. This ordinance explains how a condemnation board could be formed and conducted.
Washburn stated a slum ordinance would need to be passed, which the City of Sharon approved years ago. It did not form a condemnation board at the time of the slum ordinance being adopted, but it did help some properties improve from their previous state.
The board, with help from a building inspector, decides if a building is in disrepair or a health and safety hazard. He stated that in the case of the City of Dresden, the condemnation board works with property owners to prevent the demolition of properties. But if there was no other choice, the board could have the building torn down, have the owners tear it down, or condemn the property and the city could then tear the building down and take a lien out to recover the cost of demolition. Washburn stated that in most cases, a condemnable property was based on if the cost of repairs exceeds 50 percent or more of the value of the property.
Because the board had passed a slum ordinance, which meets the states requirements to form a condemnation board, Mayor Stalter will meet with the newly-formed condemnation board to set up meeting dates and times.
In other meeting news, board members accepted the resignation of Chief of Police Troy Whitworth, who resigned effective Saturday, January 9. In his letter of resignation, Whitworth stated retirement for his reason to leave the department and gave thanks to those who gave him the opportunity to be chief.
Another police officer also resigned from the Sharon Police Department over the weekend. Jason Edwards served as the assistant Chief of Police and was a part-time officer at the department. The city has four part-time officers who are filling in the schedule. The city will be protected at all times no matter what, according to the mayor. The Weakley County Sheriff’s Department is answering calls to help protect the city while Sharon works to find replacements.
It was announced that the department is looking to hire a new chief of police and a police office;, information regarding job requirements and responsibilities can be found on Page 7 of this week’s issue of the Dresden Enterprise.
It was announced by Stalter that a business is interested in the former city hall building, located on Main Street in downtown Sharon, for a pizza restaurant. In the lease term, which was approved by the board, the owner will pay $400 a month and has signed for 10 years. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served at this new restaurant. The owner of Pizza DiRoma, located in Martin, is expected to open the new Sharon business. The owner is in charge of renovating the inside of the building. No timeline was discussed for an opening.
Mayor Stalter also announced Beau Pemberton will serve as the city’s judge, effective this year.
In the monthly reports, city recorder Donna Stricklin reported the sales tax collection at $8,407. The city is currently six months through the fiscal year and the budget has seen no major changes from previous years.
Greg Evans with the Public Works Department reported the leaf truck is not running anymore and all citizens should bag up their leaves and the city will pick it up with the brush truck.
Fire Chief Gary Eddings reported that for the year of 2020 the fire department saw less calls compared to previous years, except for December. The department has started its online training. He also reported Santa riding on the fire truck during the Christmas holiday was a big hit in December and he is happy to see it growing each year.
Eddings also gave the monthly police report.
Bill Bostwick with the Parks and Recreation Department reported he would not have a youth basketball league due to COVID-19. The board also approved the purchase of another bleacher for the ballpark for $1,076 and new lights for the ballpark, which will be around $2,000. He stated that the ballpark is in need of new light poles and updated wiring that Bostwick described as a major project for the future. Mayor Stalter expressed an interest for applying for a grant that might possibly help with the cost for replacing the lights at the ballpark.
Librarian Deena Smith reported over Thanksgiving weekend, an incident occurred in which two people entered the library knowing they had been exposed to COVID-19. The library remains open, but patrons must have their temperature checked and answer COVID-19 exposure questions upon entry. The library continues to be used by the community despite COVID-19. She also thanked the board for the purchase of LED lights in the library, which has improved the lighting.
Before the meeting adjourned, the board opened the meeting to citizens’ input. One citizen voiced a concern over her turning brown during water leaks. Mayor Stalter said citizens who have brown water need to call Sharon city hall. The resident’s meter will be read and they will need to run their water for a couple of hours to flush out the brown water. The city can provide hoses for residents to run water to the street while they wait for the water to clear. Another meter reading will be conducted so the resident will not be charged for the water that is used during that time. Evans reported the water is tested for safety by the state frequently, and the water is safe even though it is brown, but it is still being suggested for the water to be flushed out.
Another citizen voiced concern over the naming of streets, which are different than what is shown through police departments. The concern was that the street, North Highway Avenue, is shown as Old U.S. Highway 45. Evans reported the city will need to update the street name signs to be correct with the police departments. Mayor Stalter announced the city has a list of things that need to be done such as updating signs, and it will hopefully be done in the near future.
Another resident asked if the condemnation board says a property needed to be torn down, could the property be burned or buried instead of having to pay for it to be hauled away. The State of Tennessee notes a home cannot be burned down due to many different materials that are present inside. It is also recommended to not bury homes, as it will take many years for the ground to fully settle before anyone can build on it or install new water lines. But if the property is buried, where it is buried on the property will need to be shown so that no building is put on top of it.
The Sharon Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet again Monday, February 8 in city hall at 6:30 p.m.