BY SABRINA BATES
SHARON (August 8) – The search for a new police chief for the City of Sharon is over after board members approved the hiring of Mark Kimsey during their regular board meeting held Monday evening at Sharon City Hall. Kimsey will assume the position Monday, August 15. He fills the hole after John Andrews moved out of the position a couple of months ago.
Kimsey is a sergeant for the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department and lives between Sharon and Sidonia. He said he is excited to take on this new role and will start visiting businesses in town upon his entrance into office. When he asked what political party he affiliates, Kimsey responded that he was independent of political affiliations. Kimsey is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and has family in Martin. He spent several years of his law enforcement career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before returning to Weakley County two years ago when he took on a supervisory role at the WCSD under the guidance of Sheriff Mike Wilson.
In other board meeting news, aldermen accepted bids for the paving of North Martin Avenue from Union City Paving for around $71,000. They also approved a low bid of $28,000 from PRI for patching throughout the city, an estimated 40-50 areas in need of patchwork.
Public Works Director Greg Evans announced the city’s well project is complete with repairs and is sanitized, while they await a pump that has been ordered for the well. A fencing company will then finish out the project with new fencing around the city well.
He reported the department conducted 27 re-reads of water meters, which resulted in residents learning they did use the amount the water they were billed for during the month. He said brush pick-up throughout town will commence next week. Public works crew members spent the last month with street patching, tree trimming and sewer testing.
Parks and Rec Director Bill Bostwick announced the summer T-ball league grew by five players this year. An awards banquet for the team members is set for 6:30 p.m., Monday, August 13, at the city park. He said they are looking to host a fall league and details will be released once they become available.
In related news, Bostwick requested the board approve a measure for sign placement at the park prohibiting firearms or weapons on the grounds. Bostwick said he does not object to individuals having handguns in their vehicles in the parking lot, but prefers they not openly carry handguns.
City attorney Jeff Washburn cited a Tennessee attorney general’s opinion from 2015 that makes carrying a handgun on property managed by a municipal entity a criminal offense, although concealed carry permit-holders are allowed to carry if they have their permit.
Washburn said he would look into the measure more and give an update at the next meeting to ensure the city can nullify any legal ramification for posting signage at its city park.
Library Director Deena Smith brought a Library Board member with her to address board members after the city reportedly shut down the library’s Amazon account. The account had been open for seven years and was intended to adhere to grant purposes. If Smith uses the City’s Amazon account, items must be shipped directly to the library. Sharon Mayor Ali Stalter agreed to have a meeting with Smith, the library board member and City Recorder Becky Hames upon her return to discuss the Amazon account to meet the needs of the local library.
Sharon Fire Chief Gary Eddings said equipment from the recent grant award for the fire department is starting to arrive at the station.
Eddings was helping the police department during the chief’s vacancy. He gave board members a monthly update from the department. He said the PD responded to 85 calls last month and issued 8 citations. Eddings reported the department is receiving numerous animal complaints, stray animals and vicious dog complaints. There have been a handful of animal abuse complaints brought into Weakley County General Sessions Court with success. Eddings said with limited resources, it is difficult for officers to catch strays and house them. He announced a patrol car is under repair and is almost road-ready. He also reported an officer wrote a ticket Sunday evening on the bypass to an individual driving 101 miles per hour.
In other news, letters have been sent out on behalf of the city’s condemnation board as it looks to get properties cleaned up. During citizen input, it was asked what is the process once letters are issued and how does the city enforce ordinances such as unlicensed vehicles sitting in yards or on property.
Eddings explained it is sometimes a slow process, but the new police chief is aware of some of the issues, and he will be looking to stay on top of them. Eddings added the department doesn’t want to put people in court, but they want to get people to clean up their properties.
An issue with an overflowing dumpster on Durham Street, as well as overflowing garbage bins behind the former city hall were asked to be addressed by the city board. Another resident asked if residents could be made aware of the hazards of putting grass clippings in the street, especially in areas where there are no sidewalks. It is against a state law to blow grass clippings into streets and highways when mowing.