The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen are considering making changes to the city charter.
Under a proposed resolution presented to the aldermen Monday night by Mayor Taft Hendrixson, the terms of office of the mayor and aldermen would go from two years to four years and they could receive more pay, starting with whoever is elected this year. Passage of the resolution requires at least a two thirds majority of the aldermen and approval by the state legislature before it could take effect
Action has been delayed on the resolution in order to give the aldermen and citizens a chance to become better informed on the proposals.
The mayor and aldermen have scheduled a workshop for Monday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall to discuss the proposed changes in more detail.
If the charter is changed as proposed, each of the aldermen would receive $150 per month in pay, effective with the next term of office. The aldermen currently receive $25 for each meeting, both regular and special. That comes to $50 per month since there are usually two regular meetings per month.
The mayor's pay, which currently is $1,000 per month, could be raised to as much as $2,000 per month, as set by the aldermen effective July 1st of each year.
Regular city council meetings would be reduced from twice to once per month and special meetings would be scheduled as needed.
The mayor and aldermen's terms of office would remain staggered but under this plan, their terms would go from two years to four years and city elections, now conducted every year on the third Tuesday in June, would eventually be held every two years on the first Thursday in August to coincide with the county general elections..
Under the proposed changes, the mayor and two aldermen elected this year, June 19 would serve for a period of two years and two months. Those positions (mayor and two aldermen) would be up for election again on the first Thursday in August 2014, in conjunction with the county general election. Whoever is elected in August, 2014 would serve for four years, from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2018.
The other three aldermen positions would be up for election in June 2013 and whoever is elected would serve for a period of three years and two months, until August 31, 2016. Those three aldermen positions would then by up for election again in August, 2020, to coincide with the county general elections.
The verbatim proposed resolution states as follows:
"Whereas, the City of Smithville, Tennessee, incorporated by Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of Tennessee for 1941, as amended, of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee; and
Whereas, the interest of the City of Smithville, Tennessee will be better served if the charter of the town is further amended; and now therefore;
Be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville that:
The Honorable Senator Mae Beavers and Honorable Representative Terry Lynn Weaver are hereby requested to introduce the following act to the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee:
An ACT to amend the charter of the City of Smithville, Tennessee, being Chapter 486 of the Private Acts of Tennessee for 1941, as amended:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee:
Section 1. Section 5 of the Charter is amended by changing the following text: "That the governing body of the City of Smithville shall be known and designated as the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville, said governing body to consist of a Mayor and five Aldermen, each of whom shall be householders and freeholders not less than eighteen years of age and residing within the limits of the City of Smithville," SHALL BE CHANGED TO THE FOLLOWING TEXT:
"THAT THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE CITY OF SMITHVILLE SHALL BE KNOWN AND DESIGNATED AS THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF SMITHVILLE, SAID GOVERNING BODY TO CONSIST OF A MAYOR AND FIVE ALDERMEN EACH OF WHOM SHALL BE CITIZENS NOT LESS THAN EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND RESIDING WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE CITY OF SMITHVILLE"
Section 2. Section 5 of the Charter is again hereby amended by changing the following text: "The officials of said City shall receive the sum of twenty five dollars for each meeting, both regular and special, said sum representing the approximate out-of-pocket expenses incurred by said officials" SHALL BE CHANGED TO THE FOLLOWING TEXT
"THE ALDERMEN OF SAID CITY SHALL RECEIVE $150 PER MONTH EFFECTIVE THE NEXT TERM OF OFFICE FROM DATE OF CHARTER AMENDMENT." AND SHALL MEET ONCE PER MONTH ON THE FIRST MONDAY AT 7:00 P.M. AT CITY HALL EXCEPT HOLIDAYS."
Section 3. Section 5 of the Charter is again hereby amended by changing the following text. "The compensation for the Mayor shall be set by the Board of Aldermen each year by ordinance to be effective July 1 of each year. Such compensation shall be in addition to any put-of-pocket expenses incurred by such official. SUCH COMPENSATION SHALL NOT BE LESS THAN $1,000 PER MONTH AND NOT MORE THAN $2,000 PER MONTH, PAYABLE MONTHLY, OUT OF THE CITY TREASURY". EFFECTIVE THE NEXT TERM OF OFFICE FROM DATE OF CHARTER AMENDMENT.
Section 4. Section 8 of the Charter is amended by changing the following text: "Said ordinances shall be submitted and passed on two separate readings at regular or specially called meetings of the Board, the second reading to be not less than one week and not more than two weeks from and after its first reading or introduction; CHANGED TO THE FOLLOWING TEXT: "SAID ORDINANCES SHALL BE SUBMITTED AND PASSED ON TWO SEPARATE READINGS AT REGULAR OR SPECIALLY CALLED MEETINGS OF THE BOARD."
Section 5. Section 11(6) the following text: "Whenever the office of the city judge is not filled by the appointment of some other person, the city recorder shall be the city judge" IS HEREBY DELETED. (editors note: The city judge is appointed by the aldermen to a regular two year term and is paid $1,000 per month. Hilton Conger holds that position. The city recorder does not act as city judge)
Section 6. Section 20. The following text is added at the end of the section and supercedes language pertaining to prior election dates:
THE DEKALB COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION SHALL HOLD AN ELECTION ON JUNE 19, 2012. TO BE ELECTED ARE ONE MAYOR AND TWO ALDERMEN AT WHICH THE MAYORAL CANDIDATE RECEIVING THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES SHALL BE ELECTED MAYOR AND THE TWO ALDERMEN CANDIDATES WHO RECEIVE THE FIRST AND SECOND HIGHEST VOTES SHALL BE ELECTED ALDERMAN FOR THE TERM JULY 1, 2012 THROUGH AUGUST 31, 2014. A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS AND TWO MONTHS. THE NEXT MAYORAL AND TWO ALDERMEN ELECTION WILL BE THE FIRST THURSDAY IN AUGUST 2014, SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES FROM THIS ELECTION WILL HOLD OFFICE FROM SEPTEMBER 1 THROUGH AUGUST 31, 2018, WHICH IS THE COUNTY GENERAL AND STATE ELECTION DATE."
"ON THE THIRD TUESDAY IN JUNE 2013, THE DEKALB COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION WILL HOLD AN ELECTION TO ELECT THREE ALDERMEN. THE THREE ALDERMAN CANDIDATES RECEIVING THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF VOTES SHALL BE ELECTED ALDERMAN. THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES SHALL HOLD OFFICE FROM JULY 1,2013 TO AUGUST 31, 2016. A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS AND TWO MONTHS."
THEREAFTER EACH TWO YEARS ON THE DATE OF THE GENERAL STATE ELECTION HELD ON THE FIRST THURSDAY IN AUGUST, THE DEKALB COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION SHALL HOLD AN ELECTION TO FILL VACANCIES IN THE OFFICES OF THE MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OCCURRING ON SEPTEMBER 1ST OF THE SAME YEAR AND THEIR SUCCESSORS SHALL BE ELECTED TO TERMS OF FOUR YEARS."
Section 6. This act shall become effective when it has been approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville by a vote of not less than two-thirds of the entire membership of the board after resolution is approved by the General Assembly.
In other business, the aldermen Monday night approved on second and final reading following a public hearing, an ordinance to update the city's cross connection regulations.
Simply put, cross connection occurs when contaminated water gains entrance to and pollutes a safe water supply. Through the careful monitoring of the City water supply system and the installation of backflow prevention assemblies, the risk of cross connection can dramatically be reduced.
A backflow prevention assembly prevents potentially dangerous substances or contaminated water from entering the public water supply. This assembly consists of a valve that allows water to enter a building but prevents the water from returning to the supply line. Cross connection contamination usually occurs if there is a loss of pressure in the water supply system. The loss of pressure can create a siphonage situation that will actually pull the water from a building back into the system.
The State Division of Water Quality requires that all public water systems maintain an active program to identify and control cross connections. This ordinance is the basis for the City's program. Everyone that installs or repairs these assemblies is required to be certified by the State of Tennessee.
Mayor Hendrixson said the city has someone certified to deal with cross connection and backflow prevention installation and repair.
During the public hearing, Waniford Cantrell said he thought the DeKalb Utility District should be asked to take similar action. The DUD is the City of Smithville's largest water customer.
Alderman Steve White asked that a letter be sent to the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation of Nashville requesting that they come back and fix cracks that have developed in the pool since their repair work last spring. The city has a three year warranty and the company is apparently liable for work called for under the contract which was warrantied but not done properly
The aldermen voted to promote Josh Hawkins to supervisor of the sewer rehab program, filling a vacancy in the position. He will be on sixty day probation before being hired on a permanent basis.
The aldermen voted to accept Aeronautics grants approved for the Smithville Municipal Airport including a $166,667 grant for apron expansion design. The city's local matching obligation is $16,667. Meanwhile, Wes Nokes, airport manager, reported to the aldermen Monday night that he has received a verbal commitment for a $1.5 million grant to re-pave the airport runway and to pave and expand the parking area. The local matching share is $150,000.
Mayor Hendrixson also mentioned that the city won the Tennessee Association of Utility District's Region Four "Best Tasting Water Contest" last week at the Cookeville Golf and Country Club. He and the aldermen congratulated Todd Bowman, Smithville Water Plant Superintendent, and members of the staff for their work in helping attain the honor.