BY DAVID FISHER
GREENFIELD (April 13) — The Greenfield City Board approved the first reading of an ordinance that sets the city’s property tax rate and budget for fiscal year 2021-2022.
FY 2021-2022 Budget
The board approved an ordinance leaving the city’s property tax rate for the coming fiscal year unchanged at $1.7322 per $100 of assessed value by a vote of 7-0, with Alderman Bobby Morris absent.
The budget lists estimated revenues and expenditures in the city’s various funds are as follows:
- General Fund: revenues = $1,316,840; expenditures = $1,270,044.
- Drug Control Fund: revenues = $3,060; expenditures = $1,000.
- Street Aid: revenues = $80,900; expenditures = $69,000.
- Solid Waste / Sanitation Fund: revenues = $175,000; expenditures = $161,000.
- Water and Sewer Fund: revenues = $804,250; expenditures = $710,530.
Capital projects planned for the coming fiscal year include: $30,000 for a General Fund street vehicle; a backhoe for the Water and Sewer Department costing $37,000; and a backhoe for street work with a price tag of $37,000.
Infrastructure Planning Grant Resolution
A resolution authorizing the city to apply for an infrastructure planning grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, to fund sanitary sewer system rehabilitation, was approved 7-0.
The purpose of the grant is to conduct a field study to determine where storm water is entering the city’s sanitary sewer system. One of the tools used to find leaks is smoke testing. According to City Recorder Callie Croom Smithson, a sewer smoke test was previously conducted on the west side of town by a similar grant, and this grant could cover the cost of smoke testing the east side of the city.
The grant requires the city to explain how the study will be used improve the sewer system and what steps will be taken.
The resolution directs King Engineering Consultants, Inc. to add to the grant application the following statement: “The City commits to a minimum of $200,000 to repair leaks found on public property. The source of the funding is anticipated to be received from the American Rescue plan of 2021.”
According to City Recorder Callie Croom Smithson, the City of Greenfield has a better chance of receiving the grant if it commits to fixing the leaks that have already been identified. She said, providing the city receives the federal American Rescue COVID Relief Grant, $200,000 of it could be spent to fix the existing leaks. She added everything is contingent on receiving this grant.
Greenfield Citizens Input
Mayor McAdams stated a local citizen informed her she is having trouble with her neighbor’s swimming pool. Police Chief Joey Radford said he spoke to Ms. Betty Fortner earlier in the day, in reference to complaints her neighbor had with her swimming pool.
“The house is not being rented and has been abandoned for some time,” Radford said. “I went by and looked at the pool and it contains stagnant water. Her neighbor has complained about potential problems with snakes, frogs and mosquitoes.” Chief Radford noted the city has a stagnant water ordinance on the books, but Fortner will be allowed time to comply with the statute before legal action is taken. He stated the owner agreed to come by sometime this week and remedy the situation.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton said, “It’s pretty self-explanatory. If you have an ordinance that deals with stagnant water, and the property owner doesn’t comply after you’ve given them reasonable opportunity, you cite them into city court for violation of the ordinance.”
Another local citizen stated a pool next door to her has had water in it for three or more years, and she asked the landlord to fix the problem. She said the landlord told her the pool liner is ripped and it’s unlikely the renter would pay several thousand dollars to repair it. Pemberton stated, if the pool has vermin or anything that is a public nuisance, the city has the authority to sue the property owner to abate the problem.
Sales Tax Receipts
The mayor stated local sales taxes for March were $24,243.91, which is down $5,489.35 from the previous month’s tax collections of $29,733.26. State sales taxes for March amounted to $17,705.24, which is down $6,550.65 from April’s collections totaling $24,255.89.
In department reports, Greenfield Fire Chief Bob Dudley, who also serves as the city’s code enforcement officer, requested the city release Jim Shelton’s property on East Main Street from the condemnation list, since he has met all of the requirements stipulated by the board. The request was approved by a unanimous vote.
Pemberton stated a property on Woodvale and another on Jefferson Street already have mowing and maintenance liens on them totaling $3,000 each. He mentioned the city has mowed one of the properties for over a year. Pemberton noted both properties are in such a dilapidated state that it’s not worth continuing to mow them. “So, we can get an order from chancery court to abate the nuisance and take whatever steps necessary. The mayor has received a lot of complaints about Woodvale from adjoining landowners about snakes and other vermin, and it’s been a perpetual problem,” Pemberton said.
Chief Radford stated the Jefferson Street property is owned by a finance company. “It’s not an action I take lightly, but we have to protect the health and safety of neighboring landowners,” Pemberton said.
The board voted 7-0, to approve the action. Public Works Director Robert Rodriguez says he is still looking to hire an employee for his department. Additionally, he is waiting on a truck he ordered under a state contract, but was informed it will be at least July before it could be delivered. Rodriguez stated he now only has one service truck for his department.
Alderman James Roy Pope said, “You can’t expect them to do their job, without equipment.”
Kathy Watson who serves as librarian at the Dr. Nathan Porter Library in Greenfield submitted her quarterly report. “Because of COVID-19, most of our in-house programs are on hold. But, we do have a book club that meets each month. We are planning on having our Summer Reading Program One-Day Bash.” Events planned include: Touch-A-Truck, laser tag, gaming truck, food trucks, and other activities. The number of events depends on donations for the bash.
“We require our patrons to sanitize their hands and wear their masks.” She stated patrons are still allowed to look for books and check them out, but they are not permitted to gather inside the library.
In the city attorney’s report, Pemberton mentioned he has filed delinquent taxes for 2019 and 2020. “Spread the word. Pay your taxes or we’re going to sell your property,” Pemberton said.
Another major topic for discussion was the 25th annual Fiddlesticks Festival. Alderman Pope stated last year’s festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He mentioned, in addition to health risks from COVID, “The festival runs on donations, so last year, there was no way to have it.”
Pope stated local businesses have stepped up this year and there were twice as many sponsors as there were in 2019. Additionally, many of those already sponsoring the festival increased their donations by 100 to 200 percent. He noted sponsors from out of town and outside Weakley County, including Dresden, Milan, Bradford and Atwood, donated to make the festival a success. The festival was held last week in downtown Greenfield.
The next city board meeting is on Tuesday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m.