At last week’s meeting, the Cleveland Town Council approved a motion to move forward with plans for a loan from Hometown Bank for the purpose of repairing the town’s roads and the park’s walking track. An extension of the track is included in the plan.
The council also passed a motion to advertise for bids for the work. Until bids are received, the exact cost of the project will not be known, however, Mayor Jerry Jones estimated it will take at least $500,000.00 to do the job properly using asphalt. Hometown Bank’s loan proposal is a two-year line of credit amortized over 10 years at an interest rate of 3 percent. The loan will be paid back from Cleveland’s portion of the one-cent Moving Blount County Forward (MBCF) sales tax approved by voters last year. The mayor and Councilman Glenn Puckett abstained on the bank loan motion due to potential conflicts of interest.
Caleb Branch, Blount County 911 director, was present to discuss two matters with the council. One was a proposal to purchase a drone, which would be used for disaster surveys, the search of missing persons and other situations where it would be helpful. The cost is expected to be around $30,000.00 to be shared by the county, the sheriff’s office and any municipality that wishes to contribute. The council agreed to put $1,000 towards the purchase.
At the request of Branch, the council unanimously passed a resolution in support of forming an oversight board which will allow the 911 Center to provide quality assurance for ambulance service in the county. Mayor Jones is a member of the Blount County Health Care Authority and will be a member of the new Ambulance Advisory Board. Branch is making this request to all the county’s municipalities.
The council was presented with two reports. One was a financial audit of the town. There were no negative findings in the audit.
The second report was the Municipal Water Pollution Prevention report, which found no problems with the town’s water system. In other business, the council:
· Approved $1,200 for the purchase of pea gravel to be used around the new playground equipment expected to arrive within the next three weeks.
· Reinstated a business license for Christopher Hubbard’s automotive repair shop.
In the wake of the March 21 fire at J. B. Pennington High School, Cleveland held a special council meeting on March 23. According to the minutes of the meeting, Mayor Jones announced the town had received its first disbursement from the MBCF sales tax. The check was for $3,012.60 and the council approved a motion to donate that amount to the Blount County Education Foundation to help replace items that were lost in the school’s fire.
At the special meeting, the council also approved the following:
· The purchase of a trailer to haul the town’s large equipment at a cost of $2,450.
· The building of a website for the town at a cost not to exceed $350.