BY SARAH R. GREGORY
The report of a clean audit with no findings for fiscal year 2013 was a highlight during Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
The board had few items requiring action during their regular meeting in the G. Thomas Love Boardroom at the Greeneville Light & Power System Headquarters.
Aldermen heard the report concerning the audit, which was performed by Rodefer Moss PLLC, and approved measures adopting a digital version of the town's zoning map and purchase of portable radios for the Greeneville Police Department.
The board also heard brief comments from a local business-owner, who asked the group to consider some possible revisions to the town's Sign Ordinance.
The board heard a brief update from Curtis Morrison, of Rodefer Moss PLLC, regarding a recently-completed audit of the town's finances for fiscal year 2013.
Morrison reported that the audit was given an unqualified opinion -- the most favorable result possible.
"There were no findings on the town -- as in none. Zero," he said, adding, "that is a great improvement over a few years ago" and "a great reflection" on Town Recorder Carol Susong and accountant Brooke Davis.
Alderman Darrell Bryan asked Morrison if there were any "red flags" in the finances that the town should be aware of or monitor more closely, to which Morrision responded, "No, not right now. We're good."
The board discussed the matter only briefly, but there was no shortage of praise for Susong and others in the Finance Department.
"We're very pleased that there were no findings ... again," Mayor W.T. Daniels said, noting that this makes the third consecutive year the audit has returned without findings.
City Administrator Todd Smith also complimented Susong, Davis and others in the department, saying that, from a manager's perspective, "It is so nice to have the Recorder's Office and a Finance Department where you don't have to worry about stuff going wrong.
"You can let Carol [Susong] and her staff handle things because you know that things are being done right," he said.
DIGITAL ZONING MAP
Without discussion, aldermen voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance on first reading to adopt a digital version of the town's zoning map to replace the older physical maps made of mylar material.
The board had acted to adopt the maps during a previous meeting several months ago, but Public Works Director Brad Peters noted that the measure must be implemented by ordinance to officially take effect.
The matter had been discussed months ago during a meeting of the Greeneville Regional Planning Commission, in which it was recommended that the town make the change so that it would be easier to update the maps. The older, mylar versions must have revisions drawn in by hand.
Aldermen also voted unanimously without discussion to allow the Greeneville Police Department to purchase 34 portable radios.
The total cost of the purchase is $24,495, but 75 percent of that amount will come from federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Justice's Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funding.
The remaining 25 percent of the cost, Police Chief Terry Cannon said, will come from the department's equipment budget.
BRIEF SIGN DISCUSSION
Prior to action items on the agenda, board members heard brief comments from local business-owner Larry Jones, of Greene County Land and Auction, who requested to speak.
Jones has expressed concern about the effect that changes to the town's Sign Ordinance could have on his business, since off-premises signs -- including those used to advertise auctions, which had been a special exception in the past -- will not be permitted.
"I've talked with [Building Official] Jeff Woods at length, and we've had a really good discussion about what possibly could be done" in regard to the ordinance, Jones said.
He noted that Woods has been "very helpful" throughout the process, and has discussed different possibilities -- such as finding guidelines similar to those allowing for temporary placement of political signs, a special permit process, etc. -- that would take auction companies' needs as businesses that operate off-premises from their offices into account.
"This is very critical to the auction business," Jones said, adding that he was asking aldermen to consider possible recommendations Woods may bring forth to address the issue.
Aldermen did not discuss the subject, but Daniels thanked Jones for his comments and said that all the options would be taken into consideration/
It was noted that Woods may have some form of a proposal to make to the board within the next several weeks.