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Dresden city board meeting June 6


By Press Reporter: Shannon Taylor

The second reading for the budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year was held and passed unanimously. The water base rate would increase from $12.50 to $14.00 inside of city limits and would increase from $28.45 to $29.45 outside of city limits. The sewer base rate would increase from $18.75 to $21.00 inside of city limits and from $42.67 to $44.18 outside of city limits. The usage over 2,000 gallons would increase from $2.10 to $2.35 per 1,000 inside of city limits.

Alderman Gwin Anderson requested to put the leaf machine back in the budget after asking Public Works Director Josh Lassiter if they could go without it in the fall. A leaf machine would cost $80,000 and make the tax rate increase by $0.20. Finance Director Carla Edwards suggested amending the budget closer to the fall.

Mayor Jeff Washburn stated that houses pushed to the curb will be covered by FEMA. City Recorder Jennifer Branscum said that what is on the street now would be picked up, but newly demolished houses would not. Washburn stated that if the city receives individual assistance from FEMA then houses that get demolished could be eligible for help in getting the debris moved to the street and for pickup.

The board was updated on the Jackey Lamb situation whom Washburn stated was concerned there was no building inspector for the city. The city has been advertising for one. Washburn stated that he authorized the issuance of a temporary certificate of occupancy until such a time that the city acquires a building inspector. “At that point in time it would be subject to reinspection and determine if there’s steps necessary to make the building in compliance with the international building codes that we are under. I did that under using my executive powers.”

Alderman Kenneth Moore asked, “If the new inspector comes on board-what if the people have their stuff moved into the building and he turns it down?”

City Attorney Beau Pemberton stated that the inspector would have to have a justifiable reason and that and Lamb would have to either make the building safe or the people would have to be given ample time to remove their belongings until something further could be done.

The board was presented with a letter from Keely Wilson asking them to make an offer on her property and to allow counteroffers until an agreement is made. Washburn said that he spoke with Dickie Hutcherson whom he said also wanted to receive an offer for his property. Washburn said there was a suggestion made that they contact Simmons Bank and see what they plan on doing with the building on church street and locust and see if they might be inclined to sell that building to use as a city hall/police department. The Peeler property is also up for sale to the city for the amount of $14,000.00.

Washburn stated that Tony Winstead “has expressed some concerns about things all along, but obviously we have a difference of opinion about what exactly has transpired and what has not. You have a copy of his signed request for demolition dated 17th day of December.”

Anderson said that Winstead had signed for demolition with Baptist Relief and not the city and questioned about how to move forward.

Moore asked if the property owners had received bills for their demolition and if the board could receive copies of those bills to which Washburn said yes.

The Press spoke with Winstead who said that he has not yet received a bill yet and that if he does receive a bill that if he were to subtract the amount of items lost in the illegal demolition that they were “probably owe me money.”

As far as the Peeler, Hutcherson and Wilson properties, a motion was made to determine the square footage of the properties and using the price of what Peeler was asking to calculate what might be a potential price that the city would be willing to offer Hutcherson and Wilson. The motion was approved 5-1 with Alderman Willie Parker voting no.

Alderman Ralph Cobb asked Lassiter if people were getting charged for debris pickup and Lassiter stated that they had been charging people who are outside of the tornado path that wasn’t storm damage. He stated that people inside of the tornado path were not being charged. He did say that sometimes someone will slip through and get charged and that they would receive a call and adjust the bill.

During input from citizens, resident Brandi George asked if there was a contingency plan in place for tornado sirens if the city isn’t approved for a grant and Washburn told her he wasn’t going to address that.

Justin Crice, the Director of Weakley County Economic Development spoke to the board concerning his report on activity in Dresden. Crice spoke a little on Project NED stating that the project failed to have financing to move forward but that the property was now being marketed.

Crice also said that the Phoenix Building which was almost 300,000 square feet remained unleased due to it being a multitenant, price per square foot being high and ceiling heights being too low for distribution space and modern manufacturing needs. The building has been submitted to two projects.

Crice said, “On existing industry-one existing industry will be expanding soon with about $5 million in capital expenditures. Unemployment is at 2.6% and Labor Force Participation Rate has been at 56.72% for the past year with the TN average being 60.72. As a county, we’ve submitted on 22 RFIs during the past eight months in the target markets of manufacturing, agriculture and ceramics. Additionally, WCEDB is in the second round of TVA Invest Prep’s grant program to purchase additional property for industrial development in Greenfield.”

As far as the industry expanding soon, Crice said there would be an announcement regarding that later on.

In new business there was a call for election. The mayor and three aldermen—aldermen Klutts, Dilday and Anderson—were up for election in November. Washburn stated that it was standard policy for them to call for election so that they can start issuing qualifying petitions which would be June 19 and Aug. 19 is when they would be due back. The alderman seats up for election are Anderson, Dilday and Klutts. The motion was passed unanimously.

Resolution 2022-15 was approved unanimously. This would authorize the acceptance of a monetary donation from West KY TN Rural Telephone Cooperative (WK&T) in the amount of $3,330.00 to the Fire Department. The donation of real property located at 121 W. Main Street. The donation of real property located at 115 Poplar Street.

Resolution 2022-16 amending the budget to reallocate funds and expenses was approved unanimously by the board.

Anderson made a motion to extend an invitation out to an MTAS representative concerning areas within the charter that need to be addressed. This was passed unanimously by the board.

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