The Greene County Election Commission made final preparations Tuesday ahead of the Aug. 1 Greeneville Municipal Election.
The commission certified voting machines that will be used in the election and for early voting, Administrator of Elections Donna Burgner said.
The early voting period for the Greeneville election will be July 12-27 at the Election Commission Office, 218 N. Main St.
Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. A photo ID is required to vote.
On the ballot for the Aug. 1 election are 1st Ward seats on the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Board of Education, and an at-large seat on the Greeneville Water Commission.
Voters will select two 1st Ward Board of Mayor and Aldermen representatives from among three candidates: incumbents Buddy Hawk and Keith Paxton and challenger Cal Doty.
Incumbents Craig Ogle and Josh Quillen, who was appointed to fill an unexpired term, are facing retired teacher Pam Botta for the two 1st Ward seats on the Greeneville City Board of Education.
One citywide position is on the ballot — the at-large seat on the Greeneville Water Commission. Incumbent Johnny Honeycutt is the only candidate for that seat.
The Election Commission also approved letters from the Democratic and Republican parties calling for the local primaries to coincide with the presidential preference primary in March, Burgner said.
Bid specifications for new voting machines were also approved and will now be forwarded to the county’s purchasing department to send out for bid requests, she said. The commission wants to replace the 95 machines currently in use, which were purchased in 2006. The board hopes to use federal grant funds for the expenditure.
The Election Commission also decided to have new electronic poll books bid out as well this fiscal year. The commission had received bids for the poll books last month, but decided to wait on the purchase until after a new vendor for voting machines was chosen to ensure the machines are compatible with one another.
In other business, the commission continued discussions about the possibility of relocating the West Pines and Courthouse voting precincts. Action was not taken, as the commission decided to wait for verification that possible new voting locations are available for use, Burgner said. Action about the relocation is expected at the August meeting.
With the closing of West Pines Elementary School, the former voting location in that precinct, Union Temple Freewill Baptist Church has been identified as a possibility because of its ample parking, handicap accessibility and large fellowship hall.
An alternative voting location for the Courthouse precinct is also being explored due to the parking issues around the Greene County Courthouse. The Courthouse Annex building is the option for that voting location because of more parking availability.
The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday voted to begin the legal process to obtain property on Crowfoot Alley to create additional downtown parking.
The board voted to seek legal counsel as the next step to obtain what is referred to as the “Adams Building” at 100 Crowfoot Alley, which would involve the property’s condemnation.
City Administrator Todd Smith reported that he contacted the property owners, brothers Richard and Robert Adams, about purchasing the property a few months ago. In March, the board authorized Smith to negotiate for the property.
The town had the property appraised and began negotiations with the Adams brothers by offering the appraisal amount, $76,000, which was rejected, Smith said.
For the next two to three months, discussions between the town and the brothers about the value of the property continued, with the town offering $90,000 and, later, $120,000. Both offers were rejected as well, he said.
With the last offer, negotiations broke down, Smith said. He described the negotiation process as amenable on both sides. “They are interested in the downtown redevelopment,” he said. “But, the property has been in their family for a number of years, and they have an attachment to the building, which is understandable.”
When town attorney Ron Woods was consulted about the situation, Smith said, Woods suggested condemnation of the site as a next step if the town determines to continue pursuing the property.
State law gives municipalities and counties the power to condemn property for public use.
If the town does pursue condemnation, Smith said, Woods would have to recuse himself, because the Adams brothers are also among his clients. The town would have to hire another attorney.
Alderman Keith Paxton asked about the use of the building. Smith said it was his understanding that it for storage.
Paxton said the area would be an ideal place for parking, because it is level ground and would not require downtown visitors to walk up- and downhill as other free public lots do.
Mayor W.T. Daniels said he would recommend that the town proceed to obtain the building because of the importance of parking to the success of downtown redevelopment.
“The town is making a major investment in downtown redevelopment, and there needs to be more parking,” he said, calling Depot Street “the nucleus” of the district, where parking needs to be available.
Crowfoot Alley runs behind buildings that face West Depot Street, between Summer and Irish streets.
Two adjacent lots to the building are going to be donated to the town for the parking lot, Daniels said. Those lots and donors were not specified at Tuesday’s meeting.
The resulting parking lot would create an estimated 160 surface parking spaces, Daniels said, adding that a parking garage is not currently intended for the property.
In other business during its Tuesday meeting, the board approved purchase of new record management software for the Greeneville Police Department using a state contract at a cost of $33,251. The software will replace an out-of-date system and is included in the department’s budget, said Police Chief Tim Ward.
First readings were approved of ordinance amendments to taxi franchise regulations and the town’s Zoning Ordinance.
The taxi franchise change sets the amount of liability insurance required by a taxi service provider to the same amount required by the state.
The Zoning Ordinance change deletes references related to key lots. The amendment would delete a definition of key lots and remove any reference to the lots in setback regulations.
Key lots, which are lots between corner lots and interior lots in a development, are difficult to describe to the general public, property owners and developers and are not mentioned in zoning ordinances for other municipalities in the region, said Alex Moore, an intern in the town’s Planning Office this summer. Moore is a student at the University of Tennessee.
The board also approved a resolution authorizing school appropriations, which reflect changes to the school system’s $28.6 million budget due to updated revenue projections received since the the town’s budget was approved last month.
A special event sign request was approved for signs for a special collection drive by Gifts for Kids of food and toiletry items. The signs will be placed at the collection points for the drive, Food City stores and the First Tennessee Bank branches.
A reappointment of Bill Moskowitz for a 5-year term on the Greeneville Historic Zoning Commission was also approved.