By DONNA RYDER
Union City Council members received a good report Tuesday night from Craig Atwill of Alexander Thompson Arnold about the city’s 2010-11 fiscal year audit.
Atwill said the city has total net assets of more than $56 million, an increase of $4,809,205 over 2009-10. The largest portion of the city’s net assets (79.81 percent) are capital assets, such as land, buildings, machinery, equipment and infrastructure.
Mayor Terry Hailey noted the city was able to increase the General Fund’s fund balance by $1,041,401 during the last fiscal year.
Councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison asked about the amount of debt the city still owes. It is $9,182,732, with most of that being for the expansion at Union City Elementary School, which was formerly East Side School, and the purchase of the newest industrial park.
The city is still owed $232,877 in federal and state grants, Atwill said.
Councilman Johnny Bacon commented “the city appears to be in good financial shape.”
But, Atwill said it is obvious the city has not felt the full impact of the Goodyear closure.
Harrison added the sales tax is $176,000 less than what has been budgeted.
There were a few minor findings in the audit. Atwill noted the city spent $2,158 more in hotel/motel expenditures than the amount of revenues received.
After the meeting was opened in prayer by Police Chief Joe Garner, the council:
• Noted the death of Jo Glasgow, mother of city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr.
• Took no action on entering into a standard agreement between A2H and Union City on behalf of Carey Counseling Arch and no action on entering into a Community Development Block Grant contract between the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Union City as there are still issues which have to be worked out with the state.
• Voted to amend the city’s ordinance to allow the city to hold an animal for seven days instead of four days. This allows the owner to have more time to pick up the animal.
• Reduced the number of Personnel Advisory Board members from five to three.
• Discussed a drainage issue at Bishop and Woodlawn streets. Engineer Bob Nichols gave the council an estimate of $45,620 to help relieve the flooding problem in that immediate area. It will not fix the problems on down the line. He said he had looked at the issue a couple of years ago, as well.
He added he had evaluated the whole city in 1978 and suggested a 30-inch storm drainage line in this area to replace the 18-inch line. In 1978, the project would have cost $127,000. Today, he estimates that would be more than $500,000.
Hailey said at some point, when the city has a four or five inch rain, it’s going to flood, but that residents should be able to withstand a “normal rain” without having their property flood.
“I understand why people would be upset when a normal rain causes a flood,” he said.
Nichols said when it stops raining, the system needs to drain, but this area is not and the water has to leave by evaporation.
Public Works director Steve Ladd told the council he had taken a look at the area last fall at the request of councilman Billy Jack “B.J.” Cranford. He said some changes were made and no water is going onto the property in question from the area of the Doctor’s Clinic through the city’s storm system.
“We did what we could do. All we could do,” he said.
The council agreed to study the matter to see what can be done.
• Was informed by Bacon the city just hosted its first official event at Veterans Park with a concrete boat college competition, but did a poor job of promoting it. He said there should have been newspapers and television stations covering the event.
“We, as a community, failed to promote that project,” he said.
Hailey said no one from the University of Tennessee at Martin issued a press release for the event, even though it has a whole department for that purpose.
The Messenger published a story from UTM on the event on its front page Thursday. The event was held on Friday and photos from the event were published on Monday.
City manager Kathy Dillon said all the city knew is that it was asked for permission by UTM officials to use the park for a boat race.
Parks Department director Ken Morris said he has been getting requests to reserve the new park, but he has not agreed to this since he does not have that direction from the council.
Ms. Dillon said the city actually has not officially taken possession of the park because there are still a few things the contractor needs to do.
Morris said his wife has gotten comments on Facebook and she suggests Veterans Park is not a good place to put a playground. He said he is unsure which way to go with grilling: should the city provides the grills or a location for grilling. He said residents need to be careful where they dump their ashes. He said in the past someone dumped ashes in the middle of the gazebo at Kiwanis Park.
Ms. Dillon said the city is aware there are problems with some of the trees, which were purchased with a grant. The city will replace them. She also told the council she has spoken with Morris and the turf department about getting rid of all vegetation, except the Bermuda grass, and re-seeding some areas to control growth.
She said she will place the park and how to use it on the agenda for the council’s next orientation session.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.4.12