Cleveland council focuses on park and rec matters; police chief job on hold

Park and ball fields, both old and new, occupied a substantial part of the Cleveland Town Council meeting as members received recommendations for needed repairs to the park and ball fields and related matters at its Aug. 19 business session.

Park board spokesman James Sullivan presented the park board’s list of 10 prioritized items requiring attention, as follows:

•soft landscaping materials needed around playground equipment;

•treads and handrails needed on upper building stairs;

•concrete bleachers at big field need removal;

•new roof needed on upper building;

•water leaks repair needed around windows at lower building;

•gates should be fixed so they can be closed;

•cable installation needed to keep cars off walking track;

•air conditioning and refrigerator needed at upper building.

Discussion centered on handling as much of the repair as possible “inhouse” to control cost. Since additional labor is needed, Mayor Jerry Jones sug- gested re-hiring Lonnie Woodard to assist with repairs at park and other work as necessary to help Wayne Owens catch up on street maintenance. Doug Hill so moved and the motion passed unanimously.

Mike Evans moved that James Sullivan proceed to get bids on those items that can’t be handled by the town itself, and that motion also passed unanimously.

Sullivan also suggested replacing board member Maria Luviano, who has not attended board meetings, with Stacy Hill. David Grigsby offered that motion and it was unanimously approved.

Council member Glenn Puckett reported that the park board is working on plans for phase 1 of the new football/soccer field/walking track located on the right side of the sewer plant driveway. Action on a $5000 matching grant was postponed until it is determined how much in-kind work the town will contribute toward the project.

Mayor Jones reported that the application for the grant for two weather sirens has been received, and that results should be known within the next month.

In other business:

•Council member David Grigsby noted that the town has received one application for the job of police chief. A further report awaits the results of the background check on that applicant. Grigsby said applications are still being accepted as of the time of the meeting, and that if no more applications are submitted, the council may wish to consider hiring one of the past chiefs.

•The council discussed use of debit cards and bank drafts; Puckett suggested printing a notice on next month’s bill asking customers to identify themselves if interested in either method; an exact price for use of debit cards will be requested from Heartland, the debit card vendor.

•Puckett moved that the town donate $750 to the Blount County Education Foundation, to be given to schools within the municipality, including the Career Tech Center, on a rotation basis to be set by the mayor. The motion passed with Jones, who serves on the Foundation, and Puckett, who works at the Career Tech Center, abstaining.

•Puckett also moved to allot $100 toward finishing the walls in the town hall closet in order to create a vending room. All concurred.

•Jones presented to the council a notice of request for back pay from water department head Steve Pass, resulting from the court ruling in his favor in connection with town ordinance 2009-03, which had removed a portion of Pass’s job responsibility in 2009 along with the compensation associated with it. The amount requested is $22,000 plus legal fees.

Jones suggested turning the notice over to the town’s insurance company for further handling, following confirmation of the amount requested. Cleveland town attorney Alex Smith cannot represent the town in the case, since he previously represented Pass in the suit resulting in the ruling against the town.

Note: the $600 unpaid softball fees
reported in the Aug. 18 edition of The
Blount Countian were actually paid by
Johnny Walker several days before the
paper appeared. The paper had reported
that a letter was sent to Walker requesting