Council accepts deed for new fire station location

Posted August 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Albany City Council has a deed for property for a proposed new fire station, city tax rates will remain unchanged and the utility line relocation project for the US 127 Bypass is on schedule.

Those were a few of the items of business discussed at the regular meeting of City Council last Tuesday evening, August 7 with all members present.

The council briefly discussed the acceptance of a deed of conveyance from the county for land to build a proposed new fire department building. The structure would be located in north Albany, between the Twin Lakes Family Wellness Center and EMS building and Air Evac base.

The council, on a motion by James “Smitty” Smith, voted unanimously to accept the deed, which is contingent on the city receiving grant funds to construct the new facility. Should the project not come to pass, the deed would revert back to the county.

Albany Mayor Nicky Smith said he felt the prospects were good that grant funds would be awarded to construct the new building and noted a public hearing on the proposal for a new fire station was scheduled for Tuesday, August 14 (too late for press deadline.) He said he hoped there would be a lot of residents at that hearing in support of the project. (Details of that hearing will be published in next week’s edition.)

The city is working with county government on the project and the major need for a new fire station is to help alleviate traffic congestion and increase fire department response time since the current fire station is located in the heavily congested area around several businesses and the stop light at US 127 and Hwy. 1590.

The council also heard a brief project update from Monarch Engineers, David Bowles. The only major ongoing project involves the utility line relocation for the bypass, which is now in the third and final phase.

Under section one of the project, the city is still awaiting the Department of Transportation to issue a change order approval and contract modification to relocate a 3-inch water line along the Mountain Drive area.

The second phase of the project, which began in March, was 99 percent complete as of early last week. That section took in the south Hwy. 127 area beginning at Hwy. 1590, extending southward to Hwy. 969 to Duvall Valley.

The third and final phase, which goes to the Tennessee state line, is underway and already 25 percent complete. That phase is located on south US 127 beginning at Ky. 969 near Spring Creek bridge and extends to the state line. Bowles estimated it would take two to three months from now to complete the final phase of relocating utility lines.

The council needed no discussion when the mayor recommended that the city tax rates for the coming 2013 year remain unchanged.

Councilman Smith also made the motion to keep the tax rates as it has been for the past several years, at .18 cents per $100 assessed value on personal property and .20 cents per $100 assessed value on motor vehicle and tangible property.

Mayor Smith then told the council he had been approached by a representative of Mediacom Cable with a proposal to switch the phone and internet service at city hall, including the water department, to that service and presented figures showing amounts of money the city could save compared to current rates being paid for phone and internet in both departments.

The figures presented revealed that the city could save around $292 per month, over $3,000 per year and approximately $10,500 over a three-year period, which was the time period for the contract with Mediacom if the city chose to switch services.

The mayor noted that although $3,000 plus per year wasn’t a real significant amount, he added that every type of savings the city could come up with is important.

Following a brief discussion, Councilman Frankie Stockton moved to authorize the mayor to proceed with switching the city hall and water department phone and internet service for the three-year contract period, with the motion passing by unanimous vote.

Councilwoman Tonya Thrasher then moved to begin advertising for the city’s commercial property insurance, which will come renewable in October. That motion also passed by unanimous vote.

Although the Halloween season is still over two months away, Thrasher also asked police chief Ernest Guffey about the city’s trick-or-treat day, since Halloween this year will fall on a Wednesday, which is a church night for many.

Although the Halloween trick-or-treat day and hours will be officially announced in October, the police chief said he would prefer to keep the trick-or-treating on a Wednesday, in one way because it will be a church night and may keep down some of the normal mischief that occurs on that night.

Thrasher also suggested that the city may do something, in cooperation with local businesses, such as displaying ribbons, in memory of Aleigha Duvall, the little girl who was killed in a tragic accident that occurred on Halloween night last year.

The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for September 4 at 5 p.m. at city hall and is open to the general public.