Dresden Board Accepts Multiple Grants, Discusses Infrastructure Problems

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BY DAVID FISHER

david@magicvalleypublishing.com

The Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen considered several important topics, when it met in regular session on Monday, Sept. 11, at the McWherter Civic Center.

Some of the top items on the agenda for discussion included: a Budget Amendment Resolution accepting grant funding from multiple sources; revision of a Travel Trailer/Recreational Vehicle Zoning Ordinance; an Assistance to Firefighters Grant; and street-related problems.

Budget Amendment Resolution 2024-03

The Dresden City Board approved a budget amendment that reallocates funds and expenses in response to receiving additional revenue through various grants and donations. The resolution authorizes the following adjustments to the city’s General and Water funds for fiscal year 2024:

  • A portion of a $100,000 State Downtown Investment Grant for downtown beautification, which Dresden received on Nov. 22, 2022, was awarded to Urban Designs and Antiques on the Square. The downtown business received $6,905.32, for the purpose of improving its appearance. The grant stipulates funding may be used to upgrade: doors and windows, awnings, building facades, wayfinding signage, gateways, streetscapes, sod improvements, green spaces and painting. City Finance Director Carla Edwards stated these reimbursed funds are being placed back into the budget.
  • The Water Fund is amended to remove professional service expenses for WK&T lease payment and replace it with long- term lease accounting entries for lease payment capitalization and amortization. Edwards noted this action is required by a new state law. She added, the budget amendment will increase the city’s expenditures slightly, but there are sufficient funds in the budget to keep the City in the black. “The City has about $25,000 and this uses up about $20,000 of it,” Edwards said.
  • A donation received for the dog pound at the end of fiscal year 2022-2023 totaling $7,000, will be used pay for new dog pens and concrete under a shelter.
  • Dresden also received a Tennessee Highway Safety Office grant in the amount of $1,573.20 that reimburses the City for April-June 2023 expenditures. The grant provides $408.20 in funding for police officer wages; and $1,165 for small items of equipment.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Award

The City of Dresden voted to accept the terms of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant funding opportunity, which provides $20,952.38 in federal funding.

As a condition of this grant, Dresden is required to contribute non-federal funds equal to or greater than 5.0 percent of the federal funds awarded, which amounts to $1,047.62, for a total approved budget of $22,000.

The application submitted was for fiscal year 2022.

The purpose of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program is to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards. After careful consideration, FEMA determined that the recipient’s project or projects submitted, as part of the recipient’s application, and detailed in the project narrative, as well as the request details section of the application - including budget information - was consistent with the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program’s purpose and was worthy of award.

The grant provides funding to purchase personal protective equipment including: a PPE Washer / Extractor / Dryer = $10,000; and a Gas Powered PPE/Hose Dryer $12,000.

Fire Chief Paul Hutcherson explained, “There is a great deal of cancer related to the carcinogens on our gear.

“We haven’t had our own washers and dryers. We’ve had to wait months before we could take it to Martin to launder it. This equipment is needed to decontaminate our gear. This reduces the risk of our personnel contracting fire-related cancer.”

Travel Trailer Zoning Ordinance

Concerning a zoning ordinance that regulates travel trailers and recreational vehicles, Mayor Mark Maddox said, after consulting with City Attorney Beau Pemberton, “What we intended to do, I don’t think is accomplished with this ordinance.” He stated that it could actually make the situation worse.

The city attorney stated he will attend the planning commission meeting to confer with city planner Donnie Bunton and commission members to make sure the revised ordinance addresses the problem, as intended.

Alderman Kenneth Moore made a motion to send the ordinance back to the planning commission for further review. The motion passed unanimously.

Citizens Input

Jim Kidwell informed the board that he has attempted to get the City to take care of a drainage problem at the street in front of his home located at 535 Linden St., for the past six years, and it has still not been corrected.

Kidwell explained the drain pipe is stopped up and water flows around the pipe, causing erosion. He said, previously, the City placed gravel in the affected area and covered it up with dirt. Kidwell stated this happened numerous times, and he would like to know why this is the only thing that was ever done.

Public Works Director Josh Lassiter said, “We dug that out a couple of times. When we first put that in, we left the old brick catch-facing and we replaced culverts between them – probably 16-17 years ago. The brick deteriorated over time. We have been out there and dug around them and tried to fill them with some rock. But it just wouldn’t hold.

“I ordered two new catch-facings to replace the one in Mr. Kidwell’s yard and the one in his neighbor’s yard. We started that, and then we had a leak we had to go fix. But we have started on it. I had to wait nine weeks to get those catch-facings in. We do have the material and we’re trying to get it repaired. We fix an average of eight to 10 water leaks per week, and there are sewers we have to work on.” Lassiter stated the work is prioritized. “But we are going to try to get (Mr. Kidwell’s drainage issue) repaired in the next week or two.”

Kidwell stated there is also a large hole at the north end of his driveway that keeps washing out. He noted the City fills it with gravel and dirt, but the hole just keeps getting bigger and deeper.

Lassiter said he has not put the camera into that line, but once the holes are opened up, he will utilize the camera to inspect both of them.

Brandi George asked for a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack that destroyed the twin towers.

Next, George said, “My major concern is the sinkholes that are popping up on and around Poplar Street and West Nelson Street.” She noted one of the holes, located near the corner of School Street and South Poplar, is about five to six feet deep. George stated she didn’t know if filling it in and paving over it would solve the problem. “I’d hate to see a vehicle fall into a hole in the middle of the street. We have several spots that are sinking on West Nelson Street. There also appears to be a sinkhole on the northeast corner of the court square. I think we need to address these sinkholes, before they cost the City a lot of money.”

Reports from Aldermen or Advisory Committees

Alderman Curtis Doran stated he cannot understand why the contractors working on the new Dresden Municipal Complex drilled boreholes in the side of the brand new Flower Box building, which is private property, owned by Stephanie Kemp. He said the contractors have been dismissive of the situation and this has caused all kinds of problems and it needs to be corrected. He commented that Kemp has been through a lot trying to get her business back up and running, after her store was destroyed by the Dec. 10, 2021, tornado.

Mayor Maddox said, “Your comments are duly noted and the situation should not have occurred. I have spoken with the project manager, his supervisor Rick Fergueson, and Mr. Hinson.”

Kemp said, “I did not hear from anybody except the mayor for two days. I have emailed the construction company and asked them to come out, so we could discuss repairs. He came in and told me what would be done. She stated the construction company mentioned caulking the holes, but she told them she would prefer it to be filled with mortar and painted. He said, give me a call when you have the paint, or if you don’t have the paint, let me know where you got it and I’ll buy the paint.

Additionally, she said the contractors say they don’t believe the property lines are correct. “I offered him my survey, but he said he had professionals that would do it.

Alderman Moore stated the sub-contractors had to have liability insurance to even bid on this kind of job.

Mayor Maddox said, “If it’s not to her satisfaction, the City’s going after them (to make sure the problem is corrected).

Kemp said her internet, phones and electricity were cut, which cost her money.

Alderman Gwin Anderson said, “You should be reimbursed.”

The mayor stated the internet and phone lines were under our (former) building and had to be rerouted.

A traffic safety issue was raised by Alderman Ralph Cobb who said, “Donny Essary is wearing me out, because he says we installed a ‘No Left Turn’ sign in front of his building. But, he’s seen all kinds of people, including city employees, turn left, but never saw a police officer standing by to write tickets for the offense. Cobb said we need to start writing tickets, or take the sign down.”

Police Chief Bryan Chandler said he has been there several times, but only saw one vehicle turn the wrong way. We stopped them and had a conversation concerning the traffic violation. It was an elderly couple and they didn’t see the sign. Mayor Maddox explained that the intersection in question involves vehicles turning left off of Broad Street onto Pikeview, which is unsafe, because oncoming traffic cannot see the vehicles making the turn until they are almost upon them.