Council moves forward with new park plans

Town of Cleveland

The Cleveland Town Council held its regular monthly meeting last Thursday.

Mayor Jerry Jones brought the council up to date on the proposed new park, which will be located near the town’s sewage treatment facility. The architect doing the preliminary work suggested bringing in a colleague who is an engineer to get another opinion about the project. Jones has been working with Community Consultants, Inc. from Huntsville. The company representative told the mayor there is a “a good possibility” to cover a lot of the costs for the park itself through a grant, but any expense to rehab the pond would most likely have to be paid by the town. Jones asked the council if they wanted him to proceed to explore the feasibility of the project and a motion to do so passed unanimously.

Jones informed the council of an issue regarding delinquent business licenses. The process of sales tax collection and reporting has recently changed, and it brought to light that 10 businesses in town do not have a current license. Some are more than one year in arrears. All licenses are due for renewal on the first day of January of each year. After Jan. 31, there is a 15% penalty and an additional 15% after the end of February. All the delinquent businesses have been sent a letter giving them 10 days to comply. If still not paid, Jones said he will instruct the town’s attorney to request the county court to send the owners a cease and desist order, which in effect means the court is ordering them to close their businesses until the license is obtained.

Jones informed the council the local St. Vincent’s medical clinic will be upgrading the office beginning mid-May. He said they will add extra exam rooms, improve the functionality of the space, and make it more “pleasantly aesthetic.” When renovations start, the clinic will be operational, but with only one doctor. The nurse practitioner and the other doctor will temporarily move to the clinic in Locust Fork.

Councilor James Bynum reported the new Voice over Internet Protocol phone system is now operational. Jones thanked him for overseeing the installation because he said technology was not his strong suit. “Everyone here has unique expertise and everyone works together to make Cleveland and Blount County better.”

At last month’s meeting, the mayor and council agreed park rules needed to be codified in order for the police to be able to enforce the rules. Town Attorney Alex Smith presented the proposed ordinance that lists the rules and penalties for violation. The ordinance passed without dissent. The rules will be clearly posted at the park, said Jones.

It was announced that police officer Conner Stone, who was hired last August, has completed the police academy.

The council is composed of Mayor Jones, councilmen Bynum, Doug Hill, Tommy Swindle, Sherry White, and James Sullivan. All members were present. The council meets the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at the town hall.