Hilton Conger Re-appointed Smithville Municipal Judge

August 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Hilton Conger

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night re-appointed Incumbent City Judge Hilton Conger to a new two year term, effective September 1st. The vote was 5-0.

Conger's current two year term expires August 31st.

Conger's salary as City Judge is $1,000 per month.

The Municipal Court, up until 2002, had the same jurisdiction in city criminal cases as the General Sessions Court, and the City Judge held court several times each month with the City Attorney serving as Prosecutor.

After changes were made in the City Charter, the City Court's jurisdiction was reduced to mostly minor traffic offenses and city ordinance violations. The court now convenes usually once per month.

The City Judge, previously elected by city voters to an eight year term, now serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, appointed to a two year term.

Conger was last elected as City Judge in 1998. He was named to his first appointed term in 2006 and re-appointed in 2008.

The changes in the City Charter, regarding the City Court, came following a State Attorney General's opinion in the fall of 2001 that only the District Attorney General and his staff had the responsibility of prosecuting state criminal action in municipal courts.

In other business, the aldermen voted 5-0 to employ Riley Bullard as a full time employee in the sanitation department now that he has completed a 60 day probationary period since his initial hiring on June 7th at $9.33 per hour. His pay will increase to $10.66 per hour.

The aldermen have delayed passage of the new budget again. Mayor Taft Hendrixson said another workshop is needed in preparation. "We're still kinda trying to tweak the budget a little bit on a wage scale revision and we need to have another workshop on the budget so we can get it passed as quickly as possible. We may have to call a special meeting."

The aldermen voted to have the workshop on Monday, August 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Mayor Hendrixson also briefed the aldermen on a news release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation announcing approval of an aeronautics grant in the amount of $46,308 for the Smithville Municipal Airport. "We put in for a grant, I believe the total expenditure was $61,000 for airport maintenance equipment including a tractor, bushhog, and mowers."

Mayor Hendrixson said the grant funds will be put to good use. "There's a lot of maintenance at that airport. We mow 75 feet of runway and it's 4100 feet long, and 75 feet on each side figures over 15 acres, just the sides of the runway, that doesn't include anything else. If we spend $61,000 and get $46,000 back, that's a bargain."

The aldermen voted to accept the grant.

The following is the TDOT news release about the grant:

Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that an aeronautics grant in the amount of $46,308 has been approved for the Smithville Municipal Airport in DeKalb County.

"From moving people to moving freight, the airports in Tennessee are vital pieces of the state's overall economy and travel system," said Bredesen. "Tennessee's airports are often the front doors to our communities, welcoming visitors from across the globe, so it's important to keep them up to date in order to stay competitive and efficient at meeting the needs of both businesses and travelers."

Funds from this aeronautics grant will be used for the purchase of the new grounds maintenance equipment.

The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Division.

"This division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee's diverse public aviation system," reported TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. "We are pleased to be able to provide millions of dollars each year for the betterment of our airports through these grant programs."

Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.

TAC Chair Fred Culbreath explained, "As Tennessee's communities continue to grow, the airports must keep pace. These grants are vital to many airports in Tennessee and our board examines the applications carefully to ensure the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be put to good use."

The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state's 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. The Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government and staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

Senator Mae Beavers and Representative Terri Lynn Weaver helped secure these funds for the Smithville Municipal Airport.

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