​Monteagle Approves Fire Hall, Budget, Zoning Map

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the May 20 meeting the Monteagle City Council approved a bid for construction of a new fire hall, the 2019-20 budget, and an updated zoning map. The council also discussed the need for upgrades at the city dump.
The fire department has operated from a rented facility for more than a year following demolition of the old fire hall. The new fire hall will be constructed at the site of the former fire hall on East Main Street. The council reviewed a design plan in November, but the cost was prohibitive and a downsized version of the plan was considered. The council bid the project three times. The $365,200 bid was awarded to American Engineering Solutions (AES), the only bidder.
The new fire hall will largely conform to the original design. AES built the Whitwell fire hall. AES offers design engineering services as well as construction, resulting in cost savings City Recorder Debbie Taylor explained.
The 2019-20 budget approved on first reading reflects some cost increases, but otherwise differs only slightly from the current budget. Following the second reading, the budget will be posted on the Monteagle website.
Similarly, the updated zoning map approved on first reading differs only slightly from the former map. One change is an additional category, R4 Residential. “R4 is just a modified R3 residential,” explained Planning Commission Chair Carter Underhill. R4 allows for a smaller dwelling size.
Underhill introduced a discussion about the need for upgrades at the dump—more dumpsters, recycling bins, fencing, and concrete work. Taylor said Grundy County provided the dumpsters, Marion County provided the trash compactor, and Monteagle provided the employees.
The 30-acre site had harvestable timber, Underhill noted. He suggested a selective timber harvest to raise the money to pay for the upgrade.
The council tabled a request from the fire department for three sets of turnout gear, cost $9,036.
“We have people dressed out in gear I wouldn’t want to go in a house in,” said fire department Captain Matt Underhill.
Taylor will check to see if budgeted funds are available to cover the expense.
Police Chief Virgil McNeese asked if the Wi-Fi service at the May Justus Memorial Library could be turned off at night. McNeese said non-residents came to the parking lot and used the service at night, often leaving trash.
“It’s a state law if a business is closed and you’re on the property that’s criminal trespassing,” McNeese pointed out. He said the police had been asking the night visitors to leave, but having the Wi-Fi turned off would make their job easier.
Addressing a question about landscaping at city hall, Vice Mayor Tony Gilliam said city employees at a substantial savings were doing the work “in house.” Hiring out the project would cost $35,000 according to Gilliam. The rosebushes suffered from blight and were removed, Gilliam explained. They will be replaced with pines, a plant species more suitable for the soil and ambient conditions of the location.