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Emotions high at Dresden meeting

Emotions high at Dresden meeting
Emotions high at Dresden meeting | City of Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen

The flag in front of the Dresden City Hall was lowered to half mast at the April monthly meeting of the City of Dresden Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday night by Mayor Danny Forrester (left) and city recorder Jennifer Branscum.

With all six aldermen present  Monday night, the City of Dresden Board paid homage to a beloved native son – Gov. Ned Ray McWherter, thanked an outgoing police chief for his 18 years of loyal service and grappled with thorny water billing issues among other concerns.
With McWherter dying just hours before the meeting began, Dresden Mayor Danny Forrester began the meeting by reading a statement from current Gov. Bill Haslam calling McWherter a “true statesman” and showing appreciation for the “wise advice he gave me during my first few months of life.”
Participants at the meeting filed outside for the lowering of the flag to half mast.
The aldermen also learned that after 18 years as police chief of the city, Brent Perry has decided to step down.  A search committee of three aldermen was formed to outline criteria to use in a search for a new police chief. In the meantime, deputy chief Ricky Cobb will serve as interim chief. “You have made a real difference here,” summed alderman Gwin Anderson of Perry’s service.
After some discussion about updating personnel policy to take into consideration resigning as well as retiring staff in the city, it was decided by unanimous vote to pay Perry 50 hours in accumulated sick leave.
The Board also discussed a water billing issue involving Dresden High School. Kerry Cooper told the board that the problem came about as a result of a tour made by the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts to give advice on water losses in the city.
It was discovered that the school had a compound or double meter instead of the single meter that had been read. To make up for the difference, the school was billed $9,579 – much more than it was used to paying and had asked for forgiveness of the amount.
By a vote of 5-1, the aldermen decided that because it was the city’s mistake – apparently officials had only been told to read one meter in the past – the school would  be billed for the average amount it paid over a six-month period, just as customers do when a water leak is discovered. According to Diane Panah at city hall, who was contacted later, this amount will be $3,017. After that, the amount reflected from both meters will be billed.
Alderman Richard Tidwell voted against the compromise, citing continuing concern over the city being “chastised by the state” for a 38 percent loss in water.
In other business, it was reported that 86.7 percent of  the city’s property taxes have been collected.
Wilson Park will officially open for the spring on Saturday with a newly painted pavilion. A city-wide Easter Egg hunt is planned for April 23 and the 32nd annual Iris Festival, for which brochures were distributed, will take place April 30- May 7.

wcp 4/7/11

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