​New Monteagle Fire Hall Likely; City Hall Extends Hours

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
The Monteagle City Council welcomed two recently elected alderman at the Nov. 26 meeting, Rebecca Byers and Tony Gilliam. The council approved Gilliam’s recommendations to pursue building a new fire hall and to extend city hall’s hours of business to 5 p.m. weekdays.
For more than a year, the fire department has operated out of a rented facility, costing $1,100 a month. The former fire hall was condemned and demolished. The new structure proposed for the site included sleeping quarters and was too large for the lot; purchasing another site was costly. Discussion stalled.
Gilliam pointed out the $13,200 annual paid in rent could be put toward construction. The city’s capital outlay budget already has $486,000 earmarked for a new fire hall. The council approved pursuing getting blueprints and a cost estimate for a new facility without sleeping quarters to be located on the former fire hall site. Mayor David Sampley will consult with St. John’s Engineering regarding what size building the site will accommodate.
Gilliam recommended extending city hall’s hours from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. to 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to assist people who needed to pay utility bills and didn’t get off work before the business office closed. In the past city hall stayed open to 5 p.m. with two employees rotating shifts, one working 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and one working 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The rotation schedule will resume to avoid paying overtime.
Turning to operations, the council revisited the problem of an 8,000 gallon per day water leak in old cast iron pipe behind a customer’s residence. The city has delayed repairing the leak because the customer wanted to develop adjacent property, which would require a larger service line. The customer has not responded to notification about how much the service line will cost him. Whether he will proceed is unknown.
Alderman Ken Gipson proposed moving the customer’s water meter to the front of the property to bypass the leak.
“He won’t let us on the property,” said utility manager John Condra.
“The meter belongs to the city,” said Monteagle attorney Harvey Cameron. “I think you can move it. Let me get more details to make sure.”
In another issue with possible legal ramifications, the council discussed the fate of the condemned Layne Avenue church. Pursuant to demolishing the structure, the council considered bids for an environmental assessment to determine if the structure contained asbestos.
Monteagle resident Nate Wilson recommended condemning the property as well so the town would own both the land and structure, then selling both.
“If the city sells it, someone else will need to deal with it,” Wilson said.
“Legally a property can’t be sold if there are known environmentally unfriendly products on the site,” said building inspector Earl Geary.
“But at this point, it’s not known,” said Wilson.
The council tabled the discussion. Attorney Cameron will investigate the city’s options.
Alderman Gilliam introduced a discussion about the leaking May Justus Library roof. Gilliam inspected the building and determined the water spots on the ceiling were from leaking overhead plumbing and condensation. Gilliam recommended changing from four inch to six inch gutters to better wick away rain water and replacing the damaged shingles rather than replacing the entire roof, which would cost $20,000.
Gipson asked if the shingle damage had been turned into the insurance.
“I’ll check with the insurance,” said city recorder Debbie Taylor. “The deductible is $10,000,” Taylor stressed.
Fire Chief Mike Holmes said the fire department’s food drive at Monteagle Elementary School was underway. Last year, food box recipients received 160 canned items per box.
“Let me know if you know of anyone who needs a food box,” Holmes said. Contact Holmes via city hall at (931) 924-2265.
The Council will not meet in December.