City Hires New Animal Shelter Employee

September 10, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

The DeKalb Animal Shelter has a new employee.

During Monday night’s regular monthly meeting, the aldermen voted to hire Emmaly Bennett as a full time employee to replace James Wilkerson who recently resigned to take another job.

Bennett comes to the shelter from the DeKalb Animal Clinic where she has been employed.

“Last Thursday I went to the DeKalb Animal Coalition meeting and there were 134 applicants who had applied for this job. The director, Megan Moore and the Coalition narrowed the applicants down to three and the recommendation they have given to the Council is Emmaly Bennett,” said Mayor Josh Miller.

The city funds two full time positions at the shelter held by Bennett and Director Moore. Another part time position, held by Laura Parsley is funded by the Coalition.

In other business the city’s building codes inspector Lewis Bryant addressed the mayor and aldermen asking that they consider establishing fees for a plans review of any commercial development before building permits are issued. Such fees would be separate from the standard building permit fees.

Bryant said other cities in the Upper Cumberland including Algood and Cookeville require a plans review fee and Smithville should too as part of the city’s planning process.

“I recommend instituting some kind of plans review fee. The idea is to make sure a building is built according to code and done properly and to eliminate any problems or headaches before the building is already constructed,” said Bryant.

“In the building code book part of the process is for a developer or contractor of commercial projects to submit those documents with the application for a commercial building permit and they are to get reviewed to make sure they comply with the code requirements before a permit is issued,” Bryant continued.

According to Bryant, a plans review fee would only be required for commercial development including churches and schools but would not apply to residential construction.

Plans for some commercial developments can also be quite detailed and complex requiring a lot of time and effort to ensure their compliance which is another reason for implementing the fee.

“Whether it be a gymnastics building, restaurants, or any commercial project, I have to review the plans and after I do the inspections, I need those plans to look at to make sure the contractor is building according to the way the plans were drawn and engineered. It takes a lot of work and several hours to review some of those plans to make sure they meet the code requirements but it also helps the contractor or owner of the property by having a review process to catch any potential problems on the front end. If there is no plans review process and they get the building framed up and something doesn’t meet the code and hasn’t been done right there would be a lot more costs involved to fix it,” added Bryant.

Fees for building permits are based on square footage, and Bryant said new fees for a plans review could be half the cost of a building permit or whatever the city chooses.

The aldermen took no action Monday night.

The city has taken the next step in the process toward qualifying for a Multi Modal Access Grant.

This program is a 95/5% match for construction of up to $1 million for proposed sidewalk projects on East Broad and South Congress Boulevard.

“We sent a letter of intent into the state for a Multi Modal Access Grant and they have come back and asked for a full application. We have to get that submitted by October 15,” said Mayor Miller.