Charles Carr updated the Oneonta City Council last week on statistics and anticipated business growth in the county. President of Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, Carr emphasized population growth, in Oneonta particularly. He said census estimates show Oneonta approaching 7200 residents. All incorporated areas in the county have shown growth over the 2000 census, according to the estimates.
Although Blount County’s unemployment rate has increased along with that of almost the entire nation, Oneonta businesses American Apparel and McMillian Fabricators plan to add workers in the immediate future. Carr says American Apparel will add 35 more jobs, bringing its employment to 200, and McMillian will add 15.
Carr also used the occasion to announce an organizational meeting for a local Crimestoppers program. He indicated full support from Blount County Sheriff Loyd Arrington and promised anonymity to any who call in tips to the anticipated hot line.
Council rejects rezoning request
With a unanimous recommendation from the city planning commission, the council rejected a rezoning request. Payne Homebuilders, LLC, had made the request to rezone a 3.08-acre tract from R2 to R3 but, reportedly, encountered considerable opposition at the planning commission hearing.
The council approved an in-house advertisement of a previously vacated firefighting position. Mayor Darryl Ray announced municipal certification for councilmen Mark Gargus and Ross Norris, a feat achieved after 40 hours of classroom instruction.
Beautification board chair Marlene Stroud presented monthly awards to Oak Meadow Garden Homes (residential winner) and Jack’s Family Restaurant (commercial). She also recognized Ed Camp who announced Mark and Pamela Thompson winners of the monthly Azalea Hills award.
Police chief James Chapman announced his department has received four grants. One of the grants requires a 10- percent match, while the others require no local match.
Director Gail Sheldon expressed her appreciation to Stroud, public works supervisor Rodney Wall, and other city employees for their help in planting and landscaping at the library. She also announced the ending of the summer’s youth reading program.
Councilman Norris reported work had begun on sewer improvements in the Southside area. He explained that any cuts to the streets would be repaired and repaved as part of the utility company project and grant.
All members (Ray, Gargus, Norris, Hal Buckelew, Tim McNair, and Danny Robinson) attended the July 14 session. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.