Erwin leaders authorize up to $1 million in debt, promise action on cat control

Sue Guinn Legg • Sep 10, 2018 at 10:22 PM

ERWIN — The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday voted to take on up to $1 million in new debt for a long list of capital projects included in the town’s recently adopted 2018-19 budget.

The unanimous board vote followed a public hearing in which no Erwin residents or officials spoke for or against the incurrence of debt for purchases and improvements including:

• Two new police cars.

• Roof and facade repairs to the fire department building.

• A new multi-purpose public works truck.

• Road and sidewalk improvements.

• Refurbishment of Fishery Park, including the park’s tennis courts.

• Downtown wayfinding signs.

Financing for the projects will be secured through a Tennessee Municipal League designated loan agreement with the Clarksville Public Building Authority.

In other business Monday, the board unanimously voted to amend the town’s zoning ordinance to require buffer areas around any new or expanding industry.

The zoning amendment also followed a public hearing in which Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff said its intent was to give the town regulator authority to protect properties surrounding new or expanding industrial uses. Rosenoff said the buffer requirements will include storage lots that in some instances cause problems with unsightliness.

Monday’s board meeting also included a discussion of an apparent overpopulation of cats in multiple Erwin neighborhoods, including downtown.

Frustrations with the lack of action on reports of cat odors and mess were brought to the board’s attention by two members of a church on North Main Avenue, who attributed the problem to a nearby home where up to 10 cats could be seen in the yard at any given time and unknown number of cats also live inside.

They said the problem was to the point that someone had to go the the church to “clean up as best they could” before every service.

Alderman Mark Lefever said he had recently received a call about similar problems in another neighborhood and Rosenoff said the town has had reports of problems with feral cats in “probably a dozen” locations around Erwin, including The Gathering Place park downtown.

Rosenoff said the town had already met with three Unicoi County Animal Welfare Board members and is working with those board members to find a solution.

Mayor Doris Hensley said reports that officials with the county animal control office have not responded to the problem at the church and told the church members they cannot pick up cats appears to be a violation of the town’s contract with the office and something that will be addressed with the county.

“We’ll get you some relief as quick as we can,” she said.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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