Snead fills council and chamber vacancies

Members James Campbell, Jack Freeman, and Phillip McHan voted Monday night to appoint former mayor Curtis Painter to an open seat on the Snead Town Council.

Painter’s appointment came after Mayor Tim Kent proposed that he read the names of those who had signed of their interest in the position and have councilors vote. Upon reading the first name, Painter’s, the three cast their votes and Kent declared Painter the choice. Neither Kent nor councilman Charles Sanders voted.

Painter’s selection followed that of the town’s Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce representative. Campbell and Freeman voted for Jane Childers, a former chamber representative and defeated mayoral candidate, while Kent, McHan, and Sanders voted for Joyce Breasseale.

Etsel Elrod opened the meeting, expressing a concern he had over police blocking or slowing traffic on US 278 east. Elrod reported he had waited three to five minutes one Sunday while Snead police blocked the road at Bethel Baptist Church.

Freeman interjected that he had asked the police, if available, to sit near the church with their blue lights flashing as the church service ended on Sundays. He said a few years earlier a man had been seriously injured in an accident trying to exit from the church parking lot. He questioned whether any cars had been stopped and the length of time Elrod may have been delayed. He also said this was the first time he had asked for any special consideration from the town.

Kent said that he had similar requests when he had served as police chief and that he had always declined such. He explained that the town has several churches and that he feels all should be treated equally. He then asked Freeman and police chief Phillip Weaver if they had reached an understanding not to repeat such actions. Both indicated they had.

Councilors voted to continue service with Criswell and Associates as their auditing firm and to continue the town contract with M4A for its “Meals on Wheels” program. Town clerk Rae Ware advised the councilmen that escalating costs with the program might later require a re-examination of ways to cover those.

Members also accepted Ware’s recommendation to lower rental charges at the town’s community and senior citizens centers. Ware offered that the town needs revenues from rentals to help cover operating expenses and that the current rate structure has appeared to discourage such. The new rates will be for the entire day at $60 for the community center and $80 for the senior center. Councilmen lowered the security deposit for each to $100 rather the former $200.

Members chose to postpone several matters for further consideration at their next meeting and to hold a workshop a half hour before that Sept. 14 session. The workshop will include an examination of department requests for the upcoming 2010 budget.

Before adjournment, Campbell and Freeman pressed the council to consider town culverts and ditches, which they feel need attention. Both agreed that recent rains have delayed the opportunity to work the sites but held the projects need to be high priorities.

Fifty-five Oneonta High School seniors observed the Aug. 24 session along with a score of town residents. All councilmen attended. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. in the community center.