In the city council’s meeting on Jan. 12, Mayor Ross Norris announced Oneonta will add more than $73,000 to the alcohol excise tax revenues to provide a $100,000 payment to its school system. Norris’s announcement came after city manager Ed Lowe reported the total fiscal 2015 excise revenues.
Lowe had indicated that for the approximately eight-month period covered, excise taxes exceeded $107,000. The council had voted previously to allocate one-fourth of those funds to the city school system. In discussion with Lowe three days later, the manager confessed the mayor’s report predated official city action on the additional funding. He said somehow they had “messed up” and failed to vote formally on the grant. He said the planned additional money is to come from the city’s general fund and will be officially considered at the next regular meeting.
On personnel matters, members voted to advertise for four corporal positions in the police department, a bookkeeper, and an administrative assistant. In making the corporal motion, Councilman Tim McNair, whose chief area of responsibility is police, explained that the city had, previously, created the jobs that have gone unfilled for some time.
He and police Chief James Chapman explained that the slots provide an opportunity for officers to aspire to higher pay and roles previously not available, while some have already been performing some of the duties in addition to their regularly assigned. Chapman had told the council that the positions did not entail more personnel. When questioned after the meeting by The Blount Countian, Chapman admitted that at some time down the road, there might likely be additional personnel hired as a result of filling the new positions.
Councilors accepted the resignation of part-time police officer Delane Moon. Moon had retired from the department in the spring of 2015. After working part-time for several months, he reportedly decided he wished to end his service with the city.
Following the city’s prior decision to purchase 100 acres adjacent to the city’s northeastern boundary, Lowe announced that city attorney Alex Smith had begun proceedings to annex that property. He also explained that some property owners adjacent to that tract have expressed interest in annexation. Lowe said those wishing annexation must file their own requests separately.
Prior to its anticipated adjournment, the council voted to recess into executive session. Norris requested the motion for the stated reason of considering pending litigation.
Councilor Tonya Rogers missed the session, attended by Hal Blackwood, Mark Gargus, and Danny Robinson, along with Norris and McNair. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.