Council again delays Crisis Center request

Apologizing for the delay, Oneonta councilman Tim McNair advised gathered Crisis Center employees that the city had not yet reached a decision on their zoning exemption request. The center had sought the change after learning their location straddles two different zonings, neither of which covers some of their services.

McNair offered the apology, noting he was the one who had set a one-meeting deadline to resolve the issue. “We became tied up on other matters,” he said. “We don’t have that definition (for some of your services) in our current zoning. We need more time to look at (the request) because when we change zoning that’s [a significant] matter.”

The council did grant a request from David Hornsby of Hornsby Steel to grant him a potential $85,000 tax abatement. That non-educational abatement applies to sales and ad valorem taxes on specific equipment and its installation and will cover 10 years. Blount County Economic Development Council executive director Don Mitchell spoke for the abatement, contending the added machinery could lead to the addition of five to 10 new jobs.

Mayor Ross Norris won approval to advertise to fill the newly created human resource (HR) officer position. He and councilor Tonya Rogers spoke of the importance of adding that role.

In later comments, McNair addressed the perception that the city is adding a significant number of new employees. McNair asserted that the present council is primarily filling vacant positions from days of greater austerity. He did agree that the HR slot is new but, along with Rogers, contended that the city needs a person to help it remain in compliance.

Norris also obtained approval of a resolution authorizing the city to pursue its airport improvement grant. Also, he and others offered praise to city and chamber of commerce employees for their efforts in the recent Covered Bridge Festival.

Councilors Hal Blackwood, Mark Gargus, and Danny Robinson joined McNair, Norris, and Rogers for the Oct. 27 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.