Samburg to overhaul city charter

Samburg to overhaul city charter
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A major overhaul is coming to Samburg’s city government.
The Samburg mayor and board of aldermen met for nearly an hour and a half Monday night and put in motion some major reforms.
The board dissolved its finance committee and public works committee, in order to stay in compliance with its city charter.
The board unanimously approved a two-page resolution that will establish a new Town of Samburg Incorporation Charter.
The board also approved paying the Municipal Technical Advisory Service $2,900 to do a thorough review of the city’s ordinances.
All that is being done to establish a city government that is both legal and more modern than the system currently being used by the city.
The charter resolution will be forwarded to state Rep. Bill Sanderson and the incoming state senator, who will be asked to present the new charter for approval by the state Legislature. The city is currently operating under its 1947 charter, and that has created numerous legal problems for the board.
Samburg’s original 1947 charter covers 14 pages and contains outdated guidelines for the operation of city government.
The board will meet again at 3 p.m. May 24 to go over the city charter and make changes to the document.
Monday night’s Samburg meeting also ushered in several other major changes. The board accepted the resignation of board member John Vancleave and replaced him on the board with Shelly Arnett.
It was also revealed at the meeting that city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr. has resigned as the city’s attorney and the board agreed to ask Milan attorney Pam Vawter to serve as the city attorney. She will be asked to be on call for city board meetings and will be offered a $1,000 annual retainer fee and a $125 per hour salary after the retainer is met.
“I’ll call her tomorrow,” city recorder Mary Swain told the board.
Another significant change made Monday night by the board means Sam Nailling will no longer serve as the city judge. He had served in that capacity for more than 20 years.
Now that the issue of James Hack legally serving as the city’s police chief has been settled, the board has discovered that under its current city charter, Nailling cannot serve as city judge. All citations and arrests by Hack will now be handled by Obion County’s General Sessions Court, it was announced at the meeting.
“That’s the only way you can do it right now,” Mayor Larry Gene Davis said.
Using General Sessions Court will mean lower revenues for the city, but will mean the city is in compliance with its 1947 charter. The only other option was to have the city recorder serve as city judge and that option was quickly rebuffed.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, the board:
• Reviewed a letter from resort owner Richard Spicer questioning the legality of the town’s property taxes and requesting the city reimburse him $1,746 for the property taxes he has paid in the past three years. The mayor informed the board if Spicer wants his tax payments reimbursed he will have to take the city to court.
The mayor also informed the board the city will be going to court to try to collect more than $6,000 in delinquent garbage collection fees owed to the city.
“It’s unreal,” Davis said. “We’re going to court.”
In a related matter, the board agreed to increase residential garbage collection rates by $1, effective July 1, with only board member Gerald Reed voting against the motion.
• Was given a tourism committee report by board member Eddie Fickle, who outlined preliminary plans for a Family Day in the Park on June 9 and a children’s fishing tournament planned for Oct. 27. HLiving alone with Alzheimer’s tough choice for alle announced the tourism committee has scheduled the town’s annual Christmas parade for Dec. 1.
• Was given an update on plans to repair potholes in streets around town and the city will continue to pursue the purchase of new lights for the ballfield in the city park.
• Granted authority to the mayor to sign and approve all city permits.
• Discussed voluntarily turning down their monthly pay as board members, at least temporarily. Board member Johnnie Johnson suggested the move to help out the town financially.
“I think it would help us,” Johnson said.
• Reviewed a report from Al Hamilton on the Reelfoot Lake Regional Utility and Planning District.
• Reviewed a report on the number of street lights in town and will look into whether fewer and more strategically placed lights would better serve the city. Published in The Messenger 5.8.12

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