(This report was compiled from minutes of Cleveland’s town council meeting on March 12, as well as conversations with Mayor Jerry Jones.)
Cleveland Town Council met Thursday, March 12, for its regular monthly meeting.
Mayor Jerry Jones brought up the issue of several safety violations and fire hazards at the local Dollar General store despite having discussed the problem with the store’s local management.
Violations include merchandise stacked very high in aisles, which not only blocks safe exits, but could potentially fall on people. Jones said a state fire marshal recently closed the store for one day because of the violations. It reopened the following day, still in violation of safety codes. Jones said he informed the company’s corporate office about the meeting and the potential of having the store’s license revoked.
Brandie Filmore, store manager, was present and told the council that corporate representatives from Tennessee were en route, but delayed. The council waited until the end of the meeting, but company representatives did not arrive.
Town attorney Alex Smith suggested the council consider suspending the store’s business license pending the submission of a plan to address the violations. If the issues are not subsequently corrected to the satisfaction of the fire chief and the mayor, the council could reconvene to consider revoking the license. The council voted unanimously to adopt Smith’s recommendation.
The mayor told the council that a random employee drug screening policy is in the town’s employee manual and, to implement it, he suggested the council use Hope House’s drug testing services. For approximately $100 per quarter, he said, two or three employees would be selected randomly by computer and tested. The council voted unanimously to approve the agreement with Hope House as presented.
The council voted without dissent to adopt the annual Municipal Water Pollution Prevention Resolution for 2020 after utilities superintendent Steve Pass informed them that no corrective actions were needed for the water system. Pass also asked the council to purchase a continuous log chlorine analyzer needed for a well for the water department. The cost is $5,000 and the council agreed to the request.
Smith informed the council that progress was being made to secure a “building inspection service” for the town. He suggested the town adopt the 2015 International Building Code that is being used by other towns, contractors, and inspectors in the county. The council voted unanimously to do so.
In other business, the council voted to purchase:
• photo ID cards for employees at a cost of $15 each or a total of $165.
• an audio recorder for the park board, which will assist in preparing minutes.
• drug testing kit, crime scene tape, evidence bags, tubes, and tape for the police department for $209.85.
• the annual support agreement with StreamSouth for $2,700 for the telephone network and camera replacement equipment.
The council is made up of Jones and council members Doug Hill, Tommy Swindle, Sherry White, James Bynum, and James Sullivan. All were present for the meeting. The council’s regular meeting is the second Thursday of every month, at 7 p.m., at town hall. Due to the ongoing pandemic, future meetings may be held either by telephone or video conference, as allowed by a proclamation issued last week by Gov. Kay Ivey regarding the state’s open meeting act. Dollar General follow-up
Jones told The Blount Countian that on the Monday morning following the council meeting, two Dollar General company executives met with town officials, corrected the problems to the satisfaction of Fire Chief Steve Pass, and gave assurances there would not be a reoccurrence of the violations. The suspension of the store’s license was lifted. Emergency council meeting
On Thursday, March 19, the council held an emergency special meeting to adopt a resolution to declare a state of emergency regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This action allows the town to be eligible for possible state and federal funding in the future. The council also approved the purchase of an iPad that can be used to conduct virtual council meetings, if needed.
For information on state and local response to COVID-19, see the articles on page A3.