The Red Boiling Springs City Council met in regular session on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Mayor Willie Brown, Vice Mayor Tom Fultz, legal representative for the council Christi Dalton, Secretary Coby Knight and council members Joe Hill, Billy Joe Carver, Terry Newberry, Steve Newberry and George McCrary were present. CPA Hugh Wayne Smith also was present. Smith was hired at a salary of $350 per month at the end of 2013 to oversee the city’s finances and prepare monthly and quarterly financial statements for the city.
Much of the meeting was focused on budgetary issues and ways to raise money for the city that were not on the regular meeting agenda. After council members raised questions about the city’s budget, accounts receivable, billed versus received money from the Natural Gas and Utilities departments in particular, the discussions ended with the city’s financial advisor Hugh Wayne Smith promising to make sense of the city’s finances by next month. He said it was taking time, that he was working through what amounted to some confusing paperwork and that he needed time to figure out and straighten out the city’s various financial issues.
Secretary Coby Knight confirmed that some of the city’s accounts were in disrepair, in particular, she said the accounts receivable for the water and gas departments which appeared to be in errors of about $100,000. Council member George McCrary said, “I know he [Smith] inherited a mess but at the same time, the accounts receivable is killing us in both water and natural gas. We can’t continue to sell water and gas to people and not get paid for it.”
To make up for some of the deficit in account receivables, McCrary suggested adding a $2.00 surcharge to the water bills of customers who reside outside of the city limits of Red Boiling Springs and who, therefore, do not pay city taxes. He said the surcharges could be considered as a substitute for the taxes paid by city residents. According to Secretary Knight, the money from the surcharge would be added to the city’s general fund and used to help pay for the city’s new fire engine. Neither the city attorney nor the council members knew if taking money from one account, in this case, utilities, could be used for another account, namely the fire department. They are checking on the legality of the matter.
In other business, the council approved the Minutes of the special called meetings on February 24th and February 28th in which the council voted to replace former City Attorney Jon Wells with Attorney Christi Dalton.
Representing Macon County’s Three Star Program, Carolyn Whitaker addressed the council with an offer of a $5000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Whitaker offered the same opportunity to the Lafayette City Council. She is the Chairman of the Health and Wellness Committee of the Macon County Three Star Program. She offered the Red Boiling Springs City Council the opportunity to apply for the grant to initiate some recreational activities for adolescents and teenagers in Red Boiling Springs for health and wellness.
“Those opportunities are nonexistent in Red Boiling Springs,” she said. “We’re offering a $5000 grant to promote physical activity for adolescents and teenagers because we don’t have anything for them in Red Boiling Springs.”
The council discussed but came to no decision regarding what could be done to promote recreational activities for RBS adolescents and teenagers. Building a skateboard park, adding basketball hoops to the tennis courts were among the ideas discussed. After the discussion, council member McCrary said, “Well Carolyn, we’ll try to come up with a solution. You just try to get us $5000.”
Whitaker replied by saying that regardless of what the council decided, she needed a detailed grant application from the council within a week, specifying that the application include the item or items for which the $5000 would be used and a budget. The council reached no decision, but asked Secretary Coby Knight to check into it.
The council approved on second reading Ordinance #14-1, increasing the number of allowed beer permits from five to seven.
After the regular council meeting, council members held a Beer Board meeting in which they granted a new beer permit to Reed Bray for the Main Street Market, located at 281 Main Street in Red Boiling Springs. The council also approved Resolution #3-13-14, authorizing acceptance of a $170,998 bid for purchase of a new fire engine for the city.
Secretary Knight announced that Travis Browning had resigned his seat on the Planning Commission and asked the council to consider a replacement. During discussion of possible replacements, it was noted by council members that the council’s representative on the Planning Commission, Billy Jo Carver, had failed to attend meetings. Carver agreed to be replaced, saying “I don’t want to attend the meetings.” Vice Mayor Tom Fultz agreed to replace him as the council’s representative.
With no other business before the council, the meeting was adjourned.