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Smoking ban proposal at Union City parks discussed by council

Smoking ban proposal at Union City parks discussed by council
Associate Editor
A proposal to stop smoking in all of Union City’s parks drew the most attention at the Union City Council meeting Tuesday night.
City manager Kathy Dillon said the suggestion to ban smoking in the parks came up during the council’s orientation session.
She said the proposal is for the city to make all the city’s parks no smoking areas from “wall to wall” in every park.
Councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison said he has been thinking about it and does not think the city should close the entire park system. He suggested there be designated areas for smoking, possibly the parking lots.
He said he understands why there needs to be no smoking areas because of the children, but parks are “wide open.”
Councilman Billy Jack “B.J.” Cranford said none of the councilmen smokes, but there are people who do. He said the state and federal governments are limiting people all the time and he does not think Union City needs to mandate a complete no smoking area.
Councilman Dianne Eskew said she has received several comments from people who do smoke and she also suggested there be a designated area.
Parks director Ken Morris said he and turf management director Chris Crockett have discussed making the fence area at each ballfield the boundary, with “No smoking beyond this point” signs being utilized.
Morris, a non-smoker after having recently quit, agrees there needs to be a smoke-free zone, but there also needs to be a place for those people who want to smoke. He said it is especially so for city employees who work outside.
He suggested the smoke-free zones only be implemented at the ballfields and that all other city parks be left alone.
“I just don’t believe you can tell a man he can’t smoke in Kiwanis Park,” Harrison said, with Cranford agreeing that some people have their lunch there and then want to smoke.
Mayor Terry Hailey asked city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr. to draft an ordinance and bring it back to the council.
Hailey said he is a former smoker, having quit 25 years ago. He added if health officials came back today and said they were wrong and that smoking is not harmful that he would smoke one “this long,” making a gesture with his hands that would indicate a cigarette at least as long as a yard stick.
Prior to discussion about the smoking issue, the council swiftly dealt with city business Tuesday night. The meeting was opened in prayer by Glasgow and then the council:
• Approved the second and final reading of an ordinance amending the zoning ordinance to allow for street access points to be up to 40 feet, with clarification that it is in commercial areas only.
• Without discussion, voted on second and final reading to limit yard sales to three two-day sales per residence per year.
• Agreed without further discussion to changes in the ordinance pertaining to dogs, cats, etc. which calls for vaccinations of pets at 3 months old and required by 6 months old, plus allowing invisible fencing as a proper containment device.
• Without discussion, awarded a bid to Tri-State International for the purchase of a two-ton truck chassis for the public works department. Tri-State had the low bid at $59,500. The other bid of $60,850 came from TAG Truck Center. It was a budgeted item.
• Authorized the installation of lights by the Union City Electric System at Veterans Park and along Everett Boulevard from West Main Street to Clover Street, noting the projects were “as discussed at orientation.” Ms. Dillon said the Everett Boulevard project will cost $95,948 per year for equipment, maintenance and energy cost.
• Entered into an agreement with TLM for Select Tennessee Site Certification on behalf of the Obion County Joint Economic Development Council. OCJEDC has agreed to pay the estimated $32,750 cost associated with the certification for the city’s industrial park. There was no discussion by the council.
• Learned Spring Clean Up will be May 25-June 1, with June 1 being Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day from 8 a.m. until noon at the Obion County Recycle Center.
• Heard property taxes still owed to the city include $24,858 from 2010, $127,592 from 2011 and $399,669 from 2012. The delinquent 2010 property taxes have been turned over to Chancery Court.
During miscellaneous business, the council:
• Heard from Cranford who said he has received complaints from residents about people with grocery carts walking the streets and going through the garbage cans. He said these people are opening the garbage bags and dumping the trash on the ground. Ms. Dillon said residents should call City Hall when this happens and someone will be sent over.
• Was informed by Harrison the city still needs help with getting people to move their garbage cans away from the street after garbage pick up day. He said he thinks the main problems are at rentals and asked landlords to get involved.
• Asked through Hailey about the progress of the turning lanes for Everett Boulevard at Discovery Park of America. Ms. Dillon said TLM is working on it and the city is “sitting back, writing the checks.”
All council members were present for the meeting, which lasted less than 30 minutes.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at
Published in The Messenger 3.20.13

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