BY SARAH GREGORY
At the Tuesday meeting of the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen, a resolution was passed putting in place policies and procedures for a tax incentive program designed to attract industry.
Aldermen also began discussions -- but took no formal action -- on the capital budget plan, which includes the purchase of a fire truck, upgrades to a fire hall, and renovation of EastView Pool among other items.
The board also adopted personnel policies for Town employees for the first time.
The Town has an existing employee handbook that outlines expectations of employees in each of the Town's departments.
However, policies set Tuesday provide "broad guidelines that are not departmental-specific," according to City Administrator Todd Smith.
Following the meeting, the board held a second public workshop to discuss proposed changes to the Town charter.
PILOT PROGRAM OK'D
Aldermen gave unanimous approval to a resolution putting in place policies and procedures for a Pay In Lieu Of Tax -- or PILOT -- program.
PILOT programs are an incentive tool that the Greene County Partnership can use to recruit industry to the area.
Smith said the item was placed on the board's agenda in anticipation of future projects.
The issue first came up last year when the Industrial Development Board was involved in discussions to bring US Nitrogen to Greene County.
At that time, the Greene County Commission approved a similar incentive program. It was suggested by legal counsel involved in that process that the Town also consider adopting such a program.
"There's not a particular project we're working on," Smith said, adding that the approval of the procedures "will make any future PILOT project much easier."
Under the program, industries are given an abatement from ad valorem taxes -- which are levied upon the company's value in terms of real estate, equipment, etc.
Industries are then set up on negotiated payment schedules, which are determined by a particular formula that includes considerations such as the number of jobs the industry would create and the pay grade of those jobs.
Payments made to the Town would make up for the lack of property tax while simultaneously providing a tax incentive for the company.
After brief discussion, aldermen voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
Aldermen also voted unanimously to adopt personnel policies that will apply to Town of Greeneville employees.
"This is the first time we'll have personnel policies in writing, approved by the board," said Smith.
"I feel strongly that we need personnel policies in place," Daniels.
"These are things we discussed in the handbook," noted Alderman Buddy Hawk.
Smith said he worked with the Town's Human Resources Director, Patsy Fuller, to formulate personnel policies.
"They're very broad. They're not department-specific," Smith noted.
"There may be times we need to tweak or add to a policy," he said, suggesting the board conduct annual reviews of the personnel policies and "tweaks" put in place by department heads.
Policies approved pertain to employee travel requests, expenditures, and reimbursements; use of social media on the Internet; severe weather; non-Civil Service departmental hiring; employee evaluations; dress and appearance; Town credit card use; and use of electronic communications.
Board discussion focused on travel expenditures, which aldermen agreed should be limited as much as reasonably possible and handled as part of the budget process.
It was noted by Town Recorder Carol Susong that the state requires a travel ordinance, which the Town last adopted in the early 1990s.
After brief discussion, a motion was made to adopt the policies as written -- plus language that satisfies any state requirements to the travel ordinance. The motion was passed unanimously.
At the meeting's start, Mayor W.T. Daniels asked those in attendance to keep the family of Rex Oster -- the late Kinser Park manager, who passed away on Feb. 8 -- in their thoughts and prayers.
Daniels also recognized members of the Greene County Partnership's Youth Leadership Program, who were in attendance as part of their curriculum.
At the conclusion of the Partnership report, a proclamation was read declaring the week of Feb. 17 through 23 "Food Check-Out Week."
Barbara Easterly, Barbara Southerland, and Betty Love were in attendance to represent Greene County Farm Bureau Women.
Easterly spoke on behalf of the group and urged members of the board and citizens to appreciate and thank the local farmers who make up Greene County's diverse agricultural industry.
After the board's agenda was completed, Aldermen adjourned the meeting to hold a public workshop on proposed changes to the Town charter.
A full report on the workshop will appear in Thursday's edition of The Greeneville Sun, as well as additional details from the formal meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.