|UC city manager: Full impact of Goodyear’s closure not felt yet |
|Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 9:07 pm |
By DONNA RYDER
Union City city manager Kathy Dillon
Union City has probably not yet felt the full impact of the closure of Goodyear.
Union City city manager Kathy Dillon said sales revenues for 2011 have been consistent with 2010 and that’s probably because of the benefit packages former Goodyear employees received.
“The outlook is currently pleasing, but we won’t know the effects for another few months,” she said, adding one thing the Goodyear closure did was cause other businesses to close.
The city manager said she is anxious to see Titan Tires come in and do business locally. “It’s a good sign,” she said.
One certain effect the closure had is the city’s need to purchase tires. Goodyear once provided replacement tires for the police department’s patrol vehicles. The additional cost is expected to be between $18,000-$20,000 a year.
Union City officials spent part of 2011 dealing with the fate of a longtime-closed business — the former Reelfoot Packing Co. plant. The Union City council approved the city’s hiring an attorney who specializes in EPA law to file complaints about the decrepit facility. In the meantime, Ms. Dillon was contacted by Keramida — a high-tech, full-service sustainability, environmental, health and safety, and remediation consulting and engineering firm which provides services to industries, cities and governments worldwide.
Keramida had worked with the owners of the building in past years to remediate the property, but negotiations fell through. The company asked for the city to be the conduit for the application of a U.S. EPA grant. Ms. Dillon said the grant has been applied for by the city and it has been received by the EPA, which is reviewing it.
The city manager said with the city working on the problem from two different directions “hopefully we’ll meet in the middle and get something done.”
Union City also was the conduit for a $300,000 Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for Small Cities Block Grant for Carey Counseling, which wants to build a new mental health facility in Union City. It plans to purchase property in the Cloys Industrial Park from the city. The city will not be responsible for any local match for the grant. Ms. Dillon said the business will now be able to serve more people “in a setting more attractive for those needing the service.”
The city utilized a Fast Track Grant to purchase a rail switch for the Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Park. The city is in the process of deeding the switch over to Greenfield Products, a company of Mi-Jack, which will manage the spur. Ms. Dillon said the move is expected to bring more industry to the area.
The city used even more grant money in 2011 to build recreational facilities at the Northwest Tennessee Regional Industrial Park. A Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhance-ment Grant was used to build a walking track, pavilion with restrooms, two lighted parking lots, piers and a fishing dock at the pond. The recreational area was named “Veterans Park.” Ms. Dillon said the city hopes to be able to place lights along the walking track in 2012, if funds are available. She added, “It will be a great family area.”
A family area which was closed by the city recently is the municipal pool. The city is set to accept bids for its demolition at tonight’s Union City Council meeting. Ms. Dillon said “there is not one council person that doesn’t understand the need for a community pool” and the city is looking at a way to replace the pool. “It is in the planning stages,” she said.
Ms. Dillon said she thinks plans by the Obion County Leadership Class for Kiwanis Park will bring excitement to the municipal park. She said plans by the group to make the park a Wi-Fi hot spot will hopefully bring more people to Kiwanis Park. “It’s an absolutely wonderful idea,” she added. The group also plans to make improvements to the park’s gazebo and playground equipment.
Also receiving much needed improvements in 2012 will be the A.L. Strub Wastewater Treatment Plant. Ms. Dillon said the city is planning a rehab project for the plant, which was built in 1986. She said the savings the city will realize each month from electricity and chemicals alone will be more than the city will pay in loan payments each month.
During 2011, the city council decided to bring street sweeping in-house and purchase a street sweeper. The city manager said the city is breaking even on the cost, but it is now under the city’s control and she has received positive feedback from the community. She said with the city keeping its streets as clean as possible, it also keeps debris out of the storm drains. “We’ve accomplished what we wanted,” she said.
Another area where the city hopes it is beginning to accomplish what it set out to do is in the area of intersection cameras. Ms. Dillon said the revenues from the intersection cameras have gone down. “It’s what we anticipated and that’s good,” she said, adding, “People are more aware of the traffic and their driving habits.”
During 2011, the council agreed revenue from the cameras would be used to pay for the expenses associated with the cameras and for street paving and street maintenance.
During the new year, Union City will build a safe room on city-owned property located between Fire Station 2 and Union City Elementary School. It will also decide what to do with six properties it purchased for $1 each from Obion County which did not sell during a delinquent tax sale.
Ms. Dillon said 2012 will also see the city dealing with stray animals within the city. The Animal Adoption Center in 2011 decided to terminate its contract with the city to house strays. Its 90-day notice has the Animal Adoption Center ceasing operation on March 4. The city manager indicated the council had given her the authority to deal with the situation the way she thinks will be best for the city. At this time, she said she thinks it might be best for the city to go back to what the contract calls for, which is animal control. She added she may place ads in the near future for a qualified person to run the facility and for the city not to work with any association.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in The Messenger 1.3.12