First order of business was public hearing on agenda items. Larry Lawson took the opportunity to express concerns over lifting parking restrictions in the Mill Creek Subdivision I. He is a man of about 5 feet 7 inches with a head of silver hair.
“Some of us younger people like me,” Lawson said to laughs, “feel like we need Emergency Medical Services.”
Lawson’s concern is with Mountain Creek Court, as he said there are sections of roadway under the standard 24-feet width. If vehicles are parked along the road and there is an emergency, the EMS vehicle may not fit between them.
Mayor Chuck Vest assured Lawson that the proposed restrictions to be lifted were in areas of roadway that had been widened to 24 feet or more. Parking restrictions will remain in place where the road is less than that measurement. This concluded the public hearing portion of the meeting.
The meeting was called to order by Vest. Approval of special events came next.
Approved special event application requests:
• Jonesborough Days
• Pioneer Pride 5K Glow Run
• Garden Gala
• St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Vest took a moment to discuss the financial report. He wanted to speak a moment to the success of the town. He said there was a 6 percent increase in business for December compared to previous years. The financial report was approved without comment other than by Vest.
Paws in Blue announced that they had purchased the fourth canine for the police force March 11. The are partnered with Pizza Plus. The mayor took a moment to thank them for what they do to keep the citizens of Jonesborough safe.
The Jackson Theater project in downtown is progressing. Possession of the building occurred this week and office space is being chosen. There is a contractor onboard to handle the construction. The mayor and Bob Browning both made comments to the success of the project.
“We are going to put a theater together down there that is second to none,” said Vest.
Browning spoke a moment to the future of the project and the current state. He said that work is being done but more is to come. The contractor will handle the heavy lifting, but the project team is a good one, he said.
Browning said, “They are aggressively moving forward, and I am very happy about that.”
A proclamation honoring the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild was read by Vest. Ten members of the guild were on hand to receive the honor. The proclamation declared May 5 to 11 as JSG appreciation week.
Next order of business was appointments:
Jonesborough Planning Commission (3-year term)
• Stephen Callahan
• Emma Treadway (reappointment)
Traffic Committee (3-year term)
• Virginia Causey
• Chris Diehl (reappointment)
• Alan Shelton (reappointment)
• David Eldridge (reappointment)
• Jeff Dupree (reappointment)
Recreation Commission (5-year term)
• Bryan Barnett (mayor designee) (reappointment)
• Adam Dickson (reappointment)
• Marilyn Buchanan (reappointment)
• Jack Van Zandt (reappointment)
• Officer Hannah Fleming of the Jonesborough Police Department was honored as employee of the month. Vest was emotional while reading the nomination citation. Fleming was honored for her act of helping a homeless man and purchasing him a meal. The man was disruptive and not kind toward the officers, the citation read.
• The proposed parking restrictions in Mill Creek Subdivision were approved. Alderwoman Virginia Causey proposed a motion that was approved to hire two seasonal helpers to help Parks and Recreation.
• It was announced that Jonesborough received a $25,000 grant from a Randy Boyd organization and matching $25,000 from the Civitan Club to build a Dog Park at Persimmon Ridge. The Civitan Club will get to name the park for their donation but it will be mutually agreed upon.
• A “flood migration” motion was approved. Discussions were brief; Alderman Stephen Callahan lives near the area and has seen how bad the flooding is there. The motion to approve came from Callahan and was seconded by Countermine.
The following contracts were approved:
- Town Recorder
- Town Administrator
- Town Attorney: Comments from Vest, “a few minor changes to that, but Jim (Wheeler) is certainly a great town attorney for us and he gives us a break, because I think that he likes us.”
A motion to lift a 5 percent inspection fee on wholesale alcoholic beverages manufactured in the town of Jonesborough was lifted. The fee was lifted with comments of how the money saved by the manufacturers would be used to fund festivals in the town. This in theory, according to comments, would inject more money into the economy than it would by collecting the fee further.
Callahan recused himself from this voting. A nod was made to his role within the community — being the owner of Tennessee Hills Distillery, the recusal was approved by the public in attendance. That was made obvious by multiple people clapping. At least one person was opposed to alcohol manufacturing as he shouted, “get rid of it all,” from the crowd.
There was a brief discussion about a revision to the Town Wellness Program. The discussion was about another health care options available. Credit was given to Causey’s hard work. Jim Montage presented some information per an invitation from Callahan. This concluded the meeting.