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Dresden raises rural fire, utility rates

Dresden raises rural fire, utility rates
After holding a public hearing open to discussion, the Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to pass three ordinances on their second readings directly affecting the citizens of Dresden at the March monthly board meeting this past Monday night.
Ordinance 2008-06, an ordinance to propose restrictions and rights-of-way on political and advertising signs on city-owned property passed on its second reading. Ordinance 2008-07 for a utility rate increase to $23.55 for 2,000 minimum and $3.08 per 1,000 consumption over 2,000 gallons on water and 150 percent of the water rate for sewer for customers living outside the Dresden city limits encompassing residential, churches and commercial property passed on its second reading. Likewise, Ordinance 2008-08 to increase the rural fire annual subscription fee from $70 to $100 per year passed.
None of the ordinances passed unanimously, however. The sign ordinance received negative votes from aldermen Donnie Essary and Joyce Hurt. The ordinance to increase the utility rate for customers living outside the city limits resulted in a tie vote with aldermen Essary, Hurt and Danny Roberts casting negative votes and Mayor Danny Forrester casting the deciding vote to pass it. The rural fire fee increase ordinance received negative votes from aldermen Essary and Hurt.
Jackie Laird, a Dresden citizen and property owner, questioned the need for an increase in the rural fire subscription fee.
“We’ve already increased our revenue this year,” Mayor Danny Forrester reported.
“Prior to mailing out notices, we collected 30 to 35 percent of the fees and now it’s upwards of 60 percent,” finance director Melanie Bynum said.
The fire fee is currently $750 per response and without paying the subscription fee, it’s $1,300 pre response dependent on the decision of the homeowner.
“Every year it costs more to run every department,” Forrester stressed. “We try to look at every avenue.”
In input from the citizens, Weakley County Chamber of Commerce director Barbara Virgin reported that the county is currently working on fulfilling the requirements of the governor’s three star program. She reported that Weakley County is on its way to reaching Benchmark #1 and will soon move on to Benchmark #2 in a series of three benchmarks. Virgin also announced that the president’s banquet will be held on April 29 and the golf tournament will be held on May 15.
In employee’s reports, Police Chief Brent Perry reported that a single bid had been received for digital cameras for the police department. The bid covers cameras purchased under the governor’s highway safety grant and is a 50/50 matching grant covering the amount of $11,175 plus $1,500 for computer set up and memory cards from Digital Ally.Parks and Recreation director Corry Essary reported that new bleachers have been ordered for $7,999.95 from the lowest bidder.
In unfinished business, a bid from Wade Dortch Roofing in Paris of $17,600 plus $470 for gutters and downspouts passed for the replacement of the city hall roof.
The bids for the paving of the parking lot behind city hall will be reverted back to public works and will be brought back up in next month’s board meeting.
In new business, Resolution 2008-08 passed on a tie-breaking vote on its first reading. The resolution seeks to authorized the expenditure of funds for the purpose of providing local match to Weakley County upon approval of Weakley County receiving the FDIP grant. It would also authorize the mayor to make application to the State of Tennessee for a certificate of public purpose and necessity. This grant and specific funds are for land preparation in the Dresden Industrial Park so that a spec building can later be constructed.
Next month’s meeting of the City of Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 7 at the Dresden City Hall.

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