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Newly-elected Hornbeak mayor highlights bright side of town’s future

Newly-elected Hornbeak mayor highlights bright side of town’s future
Staff Reporter
The future looks bright in Hornbeak.
Newly-elected Hornbeak Mayor Dennis Dozier officially began his term Tuesday night by using two very different Christmas trees to illustrate past vs. future.
He gestured to a small tree wrapped in only simple white lights and said it represents “yesterday” — then pointed to a full-size tree adorned with colored lights and dozens of glittering ornaments and said it represents “tomorrow.”
He noted the many positive improvements in Hornbeak in recent months, including new playground equipment for the city park and a new walking track, but said there is still considerable work to be done.
“I hope you came to work, because there’s lots to do,” he told the newly-seated board of aldermen.
Prior to the meeting, the mayor and members of the Hornbeak board of aldermen were administered their oaths of office by Obion County Mayor Benny Mc-Guire. (See related photo, Page 2.)
Among those sworn in as aldermen were Paul Truett, Lynn Finch, Don Petty and Debi Jerden. Absent were Leon Walden and Robbie Riley.
Truett, Finch, Petty and Mrs. Riley were all elected in the Nov. 6 city election, where only five candidates appeared on the ballot to fill the town’s seven alderman seats. Also elected was Cody Caksackkar, who subsequently resigned from the board last month after moving out of Hornbeak.
Due to the shortage, Dozier asked Ms. Jerden and Walden — incumbent aldermen who did not seek re-election in the Nov. 6 election — to remain on the board for the time being.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, the board also approved Dozier’s recommendation that Randy Phelps be appointed to fill the vacancy for the seventh alderman position created by Caksackkar’s resignation. He also took his oath from McGuire and was seated Tuesday night.
There has been a problem in recent elections finding enough citizens willing to fill Hornbeak’s seven aldermen positions and the board voted last month to officially request amendment to the town’s charter to reduce the number of aldermen from seven to five. The request must be presented to the Tennessee General Assembly and could take some time to be finalized.
Tuesday night, Dozier reminded aldermen that attendance is expected at each meeting since they are elected to serve the people and he told them to be prepared to volunteer for committees next month.
He emphasized they should set the example with their conduct by obeying the town’s laws and should always address town business during official meetings only.
“Our business is to take care of this town,” he said. “As mayor, I do not expect any more of you than I do myself.”
Dozier said he’s heard comments in recent months about some new ways of doing things and he said there are many changes due to new government guidelines and comptroller demands. Internal changes will include the use of purchase order numbers and city credit cards, as well as the requirement for receipts for every purchase.
He said people will be asked to serve on the town’s planning and zoning boards in the future in an effort to move forward and he has implemented an official complaint form which will be available at City Hall for the town’s residents to express any concerns.
He said some items to be addressed in the future include delinquent taxes, a problem with dogs running at large, unpaid grave plots and property maintenance, adding he wants to attract people to Hornbeak and have residents be proud to live there.
“This is our town,” he said.
Dozier said the second phase of the town’s sewer system project is ready for bid and he believes a conflict which has stalled progress is about to be settled, and he said he has “a great desire” to pursue all means possible for the construction of a new fire station to house Hornbeak’s fire department.
He would also like to see some street paving completed in the future and he noted Mulberry Circle was recently paved by the county.
Dozier lauded the members of the Hornbeak Volunteer Fire Department and said they always respond quickly and without hesitation to any emergency.
“Our town runs on volunteers. Without volunteers, there would be no Hornbeak, and we thank you very much,” he said.
He said Hornbeak is fortunate to be home to Black Oak Elementary School, “which offers good education,” and said the town must remain supportive of the school.
The mayor also commended city recorder Joyce Truett, who is nearing completion of her training to become a certified municipal finance officer. He said towns received notice from the state comptroller a few years ago that they must either engage an accountant or send the city recorder to a two-year course taught by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service.
He said Ms. Truett has “studied tirelessly,” often on her own time, and has attended classes on her days off, adding she had donated many hours and not charged for all her time.
Dozier, who was unopposed in his bid for mayor, said he received 99.38 percent of complimentary votes in the Nov. 6 city election — “so I must do as good a job as I can.”
“I am, and you are, working for some 525 citizens of Hornbeak,” the mayor told the aldermen.
Tuesday night’s board meeting also had a different look, with Dozier arranging the tables in a square so aldermen could face one another and adding a podium at the head of the table. He also added the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer to the start of the session.
In other action during Tuesday night’s 40-minute meeting, opened with prayer led by local pastor the Rev. Robert Johnson, the Hornbeak board:
• Approved payment of invoices, including a $2,623 insurance premium for workman’s compensation; $405 to a voting machine technician for nine hours’ work in preparation for the recent election; and $477.88 to Reynolds Brothers for tires for Hornbeak Police Chief Ronnie Moore’s patrol car.
• Heard concerns from Petty regarding a portion of Alexander Street where tree roots are pushing up the pavement.
• Heard from Ms. Jerden that there have been many positive comments in the community about the Hornbeak Volunteer Fire Department’s highly-successful first responder program.
• Was reminded the Christmas parade will be Saturday at 2 p.m.
Published in The Messenger 12.5.12