The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave final approval Tuesday to budget amendments that will allow progress in improvement projects that were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as funding new ones.
The approved expenditures add $1,583,285 to the 2020-21 fiscal year budget.
The expenditures include some that were taken out the budget in its preparation as an effort to reduce expenditures with the uncertainty of revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those include funding for the next stages of work for the construction of a new station for the Greeneville Fire Department on Carson Street and the initial phase of the Downtown Redevelopment Project. That first phase involves upgrades to the streetscape of Depot Street.
Other expenditures are new projects. One of those new appropriations involves downtown revitalization — the purchase of the Adams building on Crowfoot Alley to create more parking.
Two new appropriations provide local matching funds required by grants that have been received by the Greeneville Fire Department.
One grant provides around $250,000 to purchase air packs to replace aging ones and requires a local match of 5%. In Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved the purchase of the air packs. Fire Chief Alan Shipley explained the bid was lower than anticipated and will allow the department to purchase more than originally planned.
The other grant will provide about $350,000 in funding for a first responder vehicle that can be used for emergencies such as traffic accidents or medical calls in which the larger fire trucks would not be needed.
The new truck will have extrication equipment for vehicular accidents, medical supplies and will be equipped with a mini-pumper to respond to a fire scene that is not easily accessed by the larger trucks.
Also included in the budget amendments are the initial implementation of the newly adopted employee pay scale, new security cameras for Town Hall and the Greeneville Police Department and a new position in the City Administrator’s Office whose duties will include securing additional grants and other funding sources for town projects.
The budget amendment is larger than what was approved on first reading as items approved at the board’s last meeting are included, such as the purchase of a wood chipper for the Public Works Department.
When the budget was originally passed in June, it had a conservative projection of revenues and a corresponding reduction in allocations due to the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The budget was approved by the board with the understanding that expenditures would be revisited in the fall if revenues were higher than expected, which is what occurred with collections more than $450,000 higher than what was projected at this point.
The board also approved on first reading a request to rezone five parcels on Kingsley Avenue from M-2 high impact use to B-4 arterial business.
The situation surrounding the request has arisen due to some changes in financing requirements, explained Greeneville Planning Director Randy Davenport. Financial institutions now look at the zoning designation of a property when an owner makes a request for a loan for improvements or new construction, he said.
However, property owners who have residences within an M-2 zone may be turned down for financial assistance due to the designation, he said. While it is the most permissible zone in terms of land uses, if a residence sustained severe fire or storm damage, the owner would not be allowed to build back on a M-2 property.
A landowner in the area has requested the rezoning, and other properties were added to avoid a spot zoning situation. The properties along the northwest and southeast portion of Kingsley Avenue are adjacent to land zoned B-4.
Davenport explained that B-4 is recommended as the new zoning designation to provide greater flexibility for owners in the uses of their property.
In other business, the board approved an emergency purchase of a traffic signal controller by the Public Works Department. The purchase was for a control box that the department had on hand as a demonstration model that had to be placed into use when an aging box at a busy intersection was damaged recently in a power surge, explained Town Engineer and Public Works Director Brad Peters.
The board also approved the purchase of a road tractor for the Public Works Department. Peters said the department had been using one on hand at the Landfill, but it was now needed by Greene County for use at the Transfer Station. The town took over operations of the Demolition Landfill in the summer and the county is operating the Transfer Station.
The truck will be used by other departments including the Parks & Recreation Department and the Greeneville Police Department, Peters said.
In other business, the board gave authorization for the town to proceed with entering an agreement with Enterprise for fleet management of vehicles. In the agreement, the town would still own the vehicles, but Enterprise would manage the maintenance of the vehicles and their replacement and subsequent sale.
City Administrator Todd Smith said that the primary advantage to the town would be Enterprise’s expertise in identifying when a vehicle starts costing more than its value to maintain and replacing the vehicles at that point, which would be a cost savings for the town. Over a 10-year period, Enterprise estimated it could save the town about $400,000 in vehicle costs.
At the beginning of the meeting, Town Recorder Carol Susong was honored for her 30 years of service to the town. She will be retiring later this month.
In her time at the town, Susong said the people she has worked with have been the most important and are what she will remember most. “I have been blessed beyond words, beyond measure for 30 years,” she said.