2011 is waiting game in UC

2011 is waiting game in UC

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 9:34 pm

By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
When 2010 began, Kathy Dillon was serving the city as interim city manager and by year’s-end, the “interim” status was removed.
Ms. Dillon was serving as city clerk and finance director in June 2009 when she took over the job which had been performed by Don Thornton. What lay ahead for her was getting the budget under control and finishing ongoing projects which needed to be completed.
Happy with her performance, the council asked her to accept the job as city manager in October.
In doing so, Mayor Terry Hailey, who was appointed to his 12th two-year term as mayor of Union City in 2010, said, “You put together a budget that has had the effect of getting us back on our feet and we know that it has been a busy year for you to do that and we appreciate your handling of our financial situation with restraint and your making us understand that times have changed and we can’t do everything at the same time anymore.”
Ms. Dillon has worked in local government since 1991. She came to the area from Michigan in 2003 when she took the job of city manager in South Fulton. She was offered the position of city clerk and finance director in 2007.
Under her guidance, the city renovated a building for housing stray dogs in the city, finished a rehab project on several streets in the city and continued plans for a walking track at the Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Park.
After several years with animals being housed outside in the heat, cold and extreme weather at the former Ann’s Place, which was being run by Ken-Tenn Humane Society, the Union City Council answered the cries of area residents and found a new home for the stray dogs and cats in the city.
A city-owned building at 1415 North Fifth St., known as the Westco building, was remodeled and the city contracted with the newly-formed Animal Adoption Center. The animals were in the building by year’s end.
The final phase of a three-phase project was completed with the help of grant money. Bids for the rehab project along Exchange, Church and High streets were opened April 30 and awarded to Ford Construction. The streets were milled down to the gutter, then repaved. Pleasant Valley Avenue, from Reelfoot Avenue to the city limits, was also repaved during this project.
Also new in 2010 was the use of mobile speed enforcement cameras. The city has contracted with Redflex for vehicles which house the cameras. Union City police have said the units are there for public safety.
Plans are still under way to build a walking track and facilities at the Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Park. The majority of the million-dollar project is being paid through a Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhance-ment Grant, with the city responsible for 10 percent of the project costs. The project will include a walkway around the park and a crosswalk at the four-way on Everett Boulevard and North Clover Street.
Ms. Dillon said the walking track project, as well as continued work on Interstate-69 and the next phase in the location of a railroad spur at the Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Park, are all in a holding pattern waiting for the federal money to be released.
Even though the projects have been approved, the new Congress could cause delays in the release of those funds. “So much is waiting and seeing,” she said, adding the city is also waiting to see how the local budget plays out before making any further commitments.
“We’re wanting to make improvements on the Civic Auditorium, but it depends on the budget,” Ms. Dillon said.
And, improvements also need to be made to City Hall. A recently discovered leak in the courtroom revealed water coming from below the surface. It could be a simple fix or the building could have structural problems. Plus, the city is in need of more space in the Municipal Building.
With continued construction on Discovery Park of America, the city is sure to have expenses with the location of turning lanes off Everett Boulevard.
Ms. Dillon said she would also like to see the placement of a water tank at the industrial park and for the spec building to be filled there. She said Obion County Chamber of Commerce officials are working on getting a tenant, but the economy may delay those efforts.
The city manager said the city is also addressing the issue of the former Reelfoot Packing Co. plant. She said attorneys are looking at the city’s options and obligations.
“It’s wait and see at this point,” she said.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 1.14.11

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