BY DAVID FISHER
GREENFIELD (July 12) — The Greenfield City Board approved the third and final reading of a beer ordinance, during its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 12.
Due to the lengthy and detailed account of the discussion concerning the beer ordinance during the board’s June meeting, there was not sufficient space to include other important items on the agenda at that time. Highlights of the June meeting are, therefore, incorporated into this article, which combines the board’s actions at the June and July meetings, as follows:
The FY 2022-2023 budget was approved, authorization was given to pursue purchasing the old Simmons Bank building for use as a new city hall, the city’s new garbage disposal service was discussed, and department heads reported the status of grant funding for various projects.
After hearing comments from several local citizens, both for and against lowering restrictions for package beer sales, the board approved the amended beer ordinance 4-3. Those city board members voting in favor of the ordinance were: Bobby Morris, James Roy Pope, Mark Galey and Kelly Keylon. Alderpersons opposing the measure were: Don Allen, Chris Turbyville, and Leanna Stephenson. Alderman Donald Ray High, who previously voted against amending the beer ordinance, was absent.
The revised ordinance reduces the distance allowed between businesses that sell, manufacture or store beer to gathering places such as churches, schools, and daycares from 2,000 feet to 200 feet. The distance limitation is measured from property line to property-line.
The issue was hotly-debated during recent city board meetings, with both sides explaining their reasons for supporting or voting down the beer ordinance.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, former Greenfield Alderman Mike Caudle spoke against passage of the beer ordinance saying it would be detrimental to the citizens of the community, particularly teenagers and youth. He said the State of Tennessee collected more than $5 million in beer tax this past year, but the cost to society is $500 million, which is 100 times the amount generated by beer sales tax revenue. Additionally, he argued Greenfield businesses have prospered and the city has gotten by without the tax revenue from beer sales for the past 20 years. Caudle also appealed with board members to vote down the ordinance on moral grounds.
Union City bar owner Michael Stout, who does not reside in Greenfield, but owns property inside the city limits of the city, stated that it’s every American’s right to own property, start a business, and sell whatever the business owner wishes to sell, as long as it’s a legal product.
Stout recalled, at one time, Sixth Street had many businesses that sold beer. He commented, “You’re not going to twist someone’s arm and keep them from drinking. America was founded on liberty and independence – not government control.” Before the vote on the ordinance, Stout asked board members if they are going to vote based on the grounds of religion or American freedom. “Your moral values are not going to change based on 2,000 feet or 200 feet.”
During a prior board meeting, Alderman James Roy Pope argued the current ordinance allows a single store, located on the outskirts of town, to continue to monopolize beer sales. “That store has had a monopoly on beer sales for the past 15 to 20 years,” Pope said. The store mentioned by Pope is Tobacco SuperStore, located at 3770 North Meridian Street (Highway 45 four-lane).
City Attorney Beau Pemberton stated Tobacco SuperStore, which has been in operation for several decades, was grandfathered-in based on prior usage and location. He explained the store was selling beer before the ordinance initiating the 2,000-feet rule was passed.
Pope stressed, because of the 2,000-feet rule, there are not many establishments in town that are allowed to sell beer. He noted existing Greenfield businesses that have expressed interest in selling packaged beer include: both of Greenfield’s Dollar General’s stores, Casey’s General Store, and Little General.
“We have already had some interest from another business coming to town,” Pope said. He stated the owner of Hilltop Grocery in Medina has purchased the former Madison Service Station property located on the corner of Forest Street and South Meridian (Hwy 45 four-lane) just south of Casey’s General Store.”
Pope stated the revenue generated from beer sales will be earmarked for paving and otherwise maintaining city streets, and allow the city to avoid having to raise property taxes or levy a new tax, such as a wheel tax or some other type of tax.
After the revised ordinance was approved, Mayor Cindy McAdams stated those businesses wishing to sell beer at their establishments must complete an application and turn it into the city with a $250 application fee. She stated the applications will be reviewed by the beer board within 30 days, and there must be public notice before the beer board meets.
In a related matter, Greenfield’s beer board, composed of all members of the city board, met minutes prior to Tuesday night’s city board meeting to consider a beer application. Both the beer board and city board approved a beer permit application submitted by the new owner of the Tobacco SuperStore, which has been renamed The Cigarette Store.
* See a video recording of Greenfield’s July 12 board meeting on the City of Greenfield’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CityofGreenfieldTN/
FY 2022-2023 Budget
During the June meeting of the Greenfield City Board, board members unanimously approved the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget on third and final reading without any discussion.
The budget includes no property tax increase, leaving the property tax rate set at $1.7322 per $100 of assessed value.
At the end of the current fiscal year, the governing body estimates balances as follows:
- General Fund = $1,093,084
- Drug Control Fund = $30,120
- State Street Aid Fund = $148,331
- Sanitation = $181,716
- Water and Sewer Fund = $4,883,704
The budget for FY 2022-2023 shows projected revenues in the General Fund totaling $1,266,272 and total appropriations of $1,260,486, leaving $5,786 in the Fund Balance. The beginning cash balance amounts to $1,087,298 and the ending cash balance is $1,093,084.
The projected revenues in the Drug Control Fund total $3,060 and expenditures amount to $1,000. The beginning cash balance is estimated at $28,060 and ending cash balance amounts to $30,120.
Total cash receipts in the State Street Fund amounts to $76,900 and total appropriations are projected to be $69,500. The beginning cash balance is $140,931 and ending cash balance amounts to $148,331.
In the Solid Waste/Sanitation Fund, total cash receipts are projected to be $175,250 and total appropriations are estimated to be $161,000.
The Water and Sewer Fund shows total revenues of $646,550 and total appropriations in the amount of $635,430. The beginning cash balance equals $4,872,584 and ending cash balance is projected to be $4,883,704.
Additionally, the board voted to reserve $9,989 for the senior center. At the end of the year, the money not spent for the senior center provided by United Way is placed in the General Fund.
Simmons Bank Building Purchase
The proposed purchase of the old Simmons Bank building for use as a new city hall was another major topic for discussion, during last month’s meeting.
City Recorder Callie Smithson stated Simmons Bank offered to sell the building for $175,000, contingent on the Greenfield Board’s approval. The board plans to use American Rescue Plan funds to cover the cost of the building.
Smithson said, “They’ll fix the drive-thru and leave all of the furniture.”
Shannon Cottle with SIC Project Management, who assists Greenfield with writing grants, addressed the board concerning what the ARP funs can be used for.
Cotter stated there are several items that came out in the final rule the comptroller’s office issued through the Department of Treasury.
“A lot of communities are doing what’s being proposed,” Cotter said. “A lot of people are using this clause, which refers to revenue loss. This means you can put it in the General Fund and use it for services that are traditionally provided by the government. It can be used for construction of schools, hospitals and high schools; road building and maintenance; health; and other services including police, fire, safety, vehicles, and environmental remediation.”
Cotter suggested the board could also contact the comptroller’s office for an opinion regarding the proposed purchase, and ask them if they see any reason the Department of Treasury would not allow the use of the ARP funds to purchase the bank building.
Cotter stated, since Greenfield’s revenue loss is under $10 million, it qualifies for the ADA funding and the money can be spent up to the revenue loss amount.
After hearing from Cotter, the board voted to proceed with the purchase of the former Simmons Bank building at $175,000. The decision came after board members learned the city could also use COVID relief funding to pay for the purchase of a new fire truck.
The COVID funding is a one-time opportunity for Greenfield and other towns to replace aging buildings and equipment and procure other infrastructure needs. The money is either spent or lost.
New Garbage Service
Mayor McAdams stated RaeKar, which is replacing Waste Management, assumed responsibility as Greenfield’s new garbage disposal provider, effective July 1.
The mayor noted every resident should have received a letter in the mail with detailed information about the new trash pickup service. She encouraged everyone to take the time to read it and know what is expected.
She stated citizens located on the east side of the railroad tracks, will have their trash picked up on Tuesdays, and those on the west side of the tracks will have their garbage picked up on Wednesdays. “Bulk trash pickup will be picked up on the first Thursday of each month,” Mayor McAdams said.
She noted RaeKar only observes three holidays each year – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s – and trucks will not run on these days.
The mayor stated a letter to Greenfield citizens provides detailed instructions and includes pictures showing exactly where the carts are to be placed and outlined some of the waste disposal contractor’s regulations, as follows:
- Garbage cans must be put out by 6 a.m.
- All garbage must be bagged and tagged inside the cart and the lids closed.
- Trash bags left outside of carts will not be picked up.
- Dog and kitty waste, sawdust, ashes, insulation and packing peanuts must be double-bagged.
- The weight must be 200 pounds or less.
- Carts must be placed within three feet of the street, with the front facing forward and the serial number facing the street.
- There must be a minimum of two feet of clearance on both sides of the cart, and it must not be placed next to vehicles, poles, mailboxes or other obstructions, or the garbage will not be picked up.
“They’re going to give us a month or two to get everything worked out,” Mayor McAdams said.
RaeKar’s monthly rates are $12.50 per single cart, plus $5.50 per cart for bulk pickup (once per month), which amounts to a total cost of $18. Extra carts cost an additional $7 each, making the total amount $25.
All Greenfield citizens are required to have waste removal services.
Fire Chief Bob Dudley asked the board to approve the purchase of the remaining pagers needed for city firefighters, costing $16,635. He noted the money is already in the fire department’s budget and requested permission to spend it. The board voted to approve the purchase, as requested.
Mayor McAdams stated the Public Works Department has been busy repairing water leaks.
Police Chief Joey Radford reported a patrol car collided with a deer recently, causing $4,816 in damages. He said it broke the headlight and dented the front fender and a door. Chief Radford stated he has contacted the insurance company, obtained repair estimates, and the vehicle will soon be repaired.
Greenfield City Librarian Kathy Watson reported that the Dr. Nathan Porter Library has just been awarded a $16,000 American Rescue Plan Act grant, which will cover the cost of replacing every computer and monitor in the Greenfield Library. The grant will provide 95 percent of the cost, with Greenfield paying the remaining 5 percent in local matching funds, which amounts to $800. The grant also allocates $7,000 to purchase books.
Another grant the library has received is the Training Opportunities for the Public Grant, which pays for Wi-Fi service. The grant, which amounts to $4,180, pays 95 percent of the cost, while the city is responsible for the remaining 5 percent, totaling $195. Patrons of the library utilize Wi-Fi to connect computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices to the internet.
“I’ll be giving one-on-one classes for Ipad and Android usage,” Watson said. “That’s one of the stipulations of the TOPS grant.”
Additionally, Watson stated she has applied for a 2022 Technology Grant to replace security system software. If the library receives the grant, it will cover 50 percent of the cost for the software upgrades and Greenfield will be required to pay the remaining 50 percent.
She is also working on a $1,500 Save the Children Grant to purchase books and reading materials for children. This is a 100 percent grant with no local match required.
Watson stated the library door swells and it is difficult to shut all of the way. She said Smith and Nanney Lumber Company is working on it and will soon have the door ready for installation.
According to Watson, the library’s Summer Reading Program was a huge success. The event culminated with the Summer Bash event, which featured an animal petting zoo, a couple of bouncing inflatables, face painting, food trucks, and a Farm Bureau Women’s booth. She stated the Summer Bash was made possible with the support of the Public Works Department, Mayor McAdams, other city employees and volunteers.
Watson invites everyone to take advantage of the library’s many resources and services. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. until noon.
Mayor McAdams announced Parks and Recreation Director Chris Fulcher, who assumed the position upon the retirement of former director Kirk McCartney, effective July 1, will schedule a Parks Board meeting soon. Fulcher will discuss problems with the park’s facilities that need to be addressed as soon as possible, and the information will be provided for the consideration of board at the August meeting.
The mayor stated the new Senior Citizens Center Director Marilyn Pugh, who filled the position on July 1, is doing an awesome job.
Year-End Budget Resolutions
In other recent board action, members approved several year-end amendments to the FY 2021-2022 budget. The amended budget transfers funds out of line items which have money left over into lines where expenditures were more than expected.
The board voted to approve Juneteenth, which falls on June 19, as a city holiday.
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end of slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.
In the financial report, the mayor stated Greenfield’s local sales tax collections for June amounted to $34,511.42, compared to the previous month’s total of $33,601.13, which amounts to a gain of $910.29; and state sales tax revenue for the previous month was $20,285.42, which represents a decrease of $575.21 from the previous month’s collections totaling $20,860.63. This amounts to a net increase in total sales tax revenue of $335.08.
Mayor McAdams announced Tuesday, July 12, was World War II veteran Bill Hatcher’s 100th birthday. After leaving the military, Hatcher returned to Greenfield where he earned his living as a carpenter. He was also a beloved Sunday school teacher and faithful church member at First Baptist Church of Greenfield. On his birthday, family members and friends honored Hatcher, as he recalled some of the memorable events from his life’s journey. Additionally, WBBJ-TV Jackson was present to help celebrate his special day, being one of the few WWII veterans still alive.
The mayor announced local sponsors, including the city, churches, businesses, and civic organizations, are expanding the school supply program from grades K-5 to K-8. She noted the supplies will be delivered to the school in time for classes to begin. “This will provide the basic school supplies, so the parents won’t be out so much money,” Mayor McAdams said. “This is an awesome thing, and I know parents appreciate it.” It is the fourth year the program has provided local youngsters with items needed for school.
The mayor announced the Yard of the Month Award for July was presented to Ronnie and Julie Hollis of 118 Crestview St. The June winner was Tanner Smithson of 100 South Shelby.
With no further business, the meeting adjourned.