Monteagle: New Police Chief, New 911 Agreement

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“I thought about it for several months,” said Monteagle Police Chief Jack Hill at the April 26 Monteagle Council meeting, announcing his decision to accept a position as a security officer at Arnold Engineering Development Complex. The council approved Hill’s recommendation to promote assistant chief Jared Nunley to the chief position. Nunley served in the military 12 years, area law enforcement 9 years, completed chief school, and has specialized training for DUI, SWAT, de-escalation, and MTAS. The police department also had another recent resignation. Nunley identified and the council approved two candidates for the positions, both certified officers: Cornelius Jackson, former Monteagle Elementary School SRO, and recent police academy graduate Jeremiah Dallas.

Turning to another change in city government, the council approved entering into an agreement with Grundy Emergency Management Agency to provide 911 service, cost $25,000 annually. According to city accountant Don Mills, the city wrote off $74,000 last year in unreimbursed expenses for supplying 911 services. The agreement will save the city $125,000–$130,000 annually in payroll expenses, Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman said.

Addressing the return to normal operations as the pandemic recedes, the council approved a resolution serving as notification Monteagle would begin collection Occupancy Tax again. “The council suspended collection of Occupancy Tax during COVID to give everybody a break…The resolution is giving notice that we’ll start collecting again,” Mills said. Occupancy Tax applies to hotels, motels, B&Bs, and similar establishments Rodman explained. Past due Occupancy Tax paid by June 30 will not be subject to interest and penalties.

The council voted on first reading to rescind the ordinance banning use of jake breaks in the city limits. Rodman said the Tennessee Department of Transportation recommended rescinding the ruling. “Jake brakes are a supplementary braking system,” Alderman Nate Wilson observed. “Usually, things like that are set by federal law,” city attorney Sam Elliot said. “If it’s allowed under federal law, we can’t say it’s not.” Elliott will research the issue before the second reading vote.

The council approved on second reading the rezoning of a 4.6 acre parcel from R-3 to C-3. The rezoning will accommodate the zoning status needed for a proposed 20-acre travel center incorporating the parcel.

The town accepted a gift of 50 Crepe Myrtle trees for the median strip on Main Street. In approving the donation, the council thanked the anonymous donor. Rodman noted there would be a financial saving to the city, since the median potted flowers would not need to be replace annually.

In conjunction with being approved for a business permit, Sarah Ambrose described her plan to open a wine and cheese bar, Rennet and Rind, at the Country Mart. The establishment will feature salads and sandwiches sourcing local food that reflects the local culture and local farmers. Ambrose hopes eventually to be able to sell beer. City ordinances currently prohibit beer sales at the business due to the close proximity to a church. Liquor sales, regulated by the state, are not subject to a distance regulation.

The council also heard from Steve Mason, pastor at New Beginnings Church and co-founder of the Mosaic Center, a substance abuse recovery center for men in Pelham, Tenn. For more information visit <http://wearemosaicrecoverycent...;.