​Monteagle Approves Codes Officer, Changes Tree Management

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Oct. 29 meeting, the Monteagle City Council voted to hire John Knost to serve as Codes Enforcement Officer. The Council also decided to adopt new tree management practices for the 2018 Christmas lighting display.
John Knost will handle enforcing property maintenance violations, previously the charge of building inspector Earl Geary who issues building permits.
Addressing Knost’s need for a vehicle, Police Chief Virgil McNeese proposed he be given use of the Police Department’s Crown Victoria. The department recently purchased a new Ford Explorer and has three backup vehicles, the Crown Victoria, a Tahoe, and a non-working Explorer.
“The old Explorer needs a starter and has nearly 200,000 miles,” McNeese said. The council approved McNeese’s recommendation to declare the old Explore surplus and sell it on GovDeals. The police department firearms instructor and fire investigator needed to haul apparatus and used the Tahoe, McNeese explained.
The council also approved allocating $5,000 for Christmas lights and not trimming the Main Street trees before installing the lights.
Monteagle resident Nate Wilson who oversees Domain management for the University said the annual trimming was causing the oaks to develop a fungus infection at the wound where the trimming was done.
In the past, the trees were trimmed to facilitate decorating. Vice Mayor Jessica Blalock who oversees Parks and Recreation will look into net type lighting as a possibly less harmful alternative.
Wilson suggested the council also consider fiber optic displays that mount to the bottom of the trees.
Acknowledging the tight schedule, with the Christmas parade planned for Dec. 1, decorating priority will be given to the park. The parade theme is “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Blalock said. Awards will go to the best themed float and the best decorated float. Awards will also go to the best decorated residence and business. Blalock is looking for judges for both categories. Citizen’s Tri-County Bank will donate the trophies and plaques. Tower Bank will donate the hot chocolate and cookies for the Harton Park meet and greet with Santa after the parade.
The parade starts at 4:30 p.m., with lineup at 3:45 p.m. at the old VFW for vehicles and at the Depot for walkers and bicycles.
Revisiting the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s request to put a sign in the median, Alderman Ron Terrill pointed out that unlike the other churches, the Seventh Day Adventist Church was located on Main Street and their sign was visible. Terrill none the less recommended allowing the signage since all the other downtown area churches had median signs.
The council approved the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s request, but Terrill said, “I hope we can protect the area from additional signs in the future.”
Reporting on operations, Fire Chief Mike Holmes said the department received a $1,500 traffic safety grant, which would be used for the purchase of traffic safety vests and a portable radio. The department has applied for a $99,000 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase 14 air packs. If received, the grant will require a 5 percent match ($4,700). Holmes said the department’s $19,000 budget for air packs could be used to cover the match.
The council meets next Nov. 26.