New Cleveland mayor means business

When Cleveland Mayor Jerry Jones was elected, those who know him were sure he would take his role seriously. The Cleveland council learned July 6 just how seriously when his first meeting as mayor lasted nearly two hours – compared with the average one-hour meetings.

A new platform and a new setting in the council chambers, including new seating arrangements, bore out that Cleveland’s voice had been heard.

“I hope you are all comfortable with the new seating arrangements. My hopes are that the audience will be able to hear what the council is discussing,” the mayor said.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and conducting routine business, the council moved through around 15 agenda items.

Officials approved authorizing Superior Bank to process night deposits; beginning the bidding process for alterations of the mayor’s office, surplus desk, chairs, and filing cabinets; inviting bids for altering power source of storage building; replacing culvert on Chigger Ridge Road; and paying $311.20 bill for office supplies.

The council recognized Steve Pass, utilities superintendent, for 30 years’ service to the town.

Before the meeting, the mayor and council had accepted the letter of resignation from Scott Gilliland, town attorney, the resignation effective immediately. The mayor said Gilliland’s campaign for secretary of state requires extensive travel and produces scheduling conflicts.

The council approved councilman Glenn Puckett’s move to retain Smith & NeSmith, P.C., Oneonta, to provide legal representation to the town for $400 a month with billing charges of $150 an hour, as proposed by the firm’s Alexander Smith.

Police chief Anthony Nunnelly reported that the town was outbid for a prospected Weaver police car. Last month, Mayor pro tem
Kandy Little sent a letter of intent for a $3500 police car in Knoxville, Tenn.

Councilman Doug Hill suggested the council investigate grant money possibly available to fund a newer vehicle. Councilman David Grigsby agreed: “I feel we would be better having a newer vehicle for warranty benefits.” The council tabled the matter pending investigation of available grant money – unless the council is bound by the letter of intent.

The council unanimously approved councilman Mike Evans’s suggestion that an estimated $3800 bill for repair of a sewer pump broken at one of the town’s lift stations be paid from the water department’s savings account.

The council approved Pass’s requested revisions of the water department’s rules and regulations: changing the returnedcheck fee to $30, adding a $25 delinquent fee, and adding the words “Rural Water Development is an Equal Opportunity Provider” to bills. Councilman Puckett asked Pass to report back to the council whether the town could arrange for automatic bank drafts to assist customers.

The council unanimously approved Mayor Jones’s proposals to increase citizens’ time limit on speaking to the agenda at meetings from one minute to three and the required notificaiton of intent to speak from seven days to 48 hours.

At councilman David Grigsby’s request, the council voted unanimously to change council meetings from Tuesdays to the first and third Thursdays of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 22, at 7 p.m.