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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Newport City Council
The Newport City Council, meeting Tuesday was told by City Manager James Finchum that the city soon will begin to provide grants to city businesses who want to beautify their properties. Matching grants of up to $1,000 will be available for business upgrades. Finchum also told the council that the Eva Babb Sexton Beautification Award has been created to recognize property owners in the city who upgrade their property. Sexton volunteered her time to beautify the community for years, prior to her death several years ago. City Planner Gary Carver also announced he hopes to apply for a $60,000 state grant, which would be matched by $6,000 each, from the city and the county. He said the grant program currently is available only to economically distressed communities. Council members also agreed to apply for a Tennessee Housing Development Agency grant in the amount of $500,000, to be used to upgrade the homes of indigent elderly in the city. City Planner Carver also reported that the state will provide more than $250,000 to upgrade traffic lights at downtown railroad crossings. However the grant requires the city to pay for the upgrades, and the cost is then reimbursed by the state. Manager Finchum said the plans are for an "elaborate traffic light system." The project will get started with the use of savings realized from the recent repairs to the city hall roof. Newport Grammar Principal Sandy Burchett asked the council to participate in the cost of a new roof for the school. The project has a price tag of $210,000, however Burchett asked the council for $130,000, saying the school can fund the rest of the cost. Newport Utilities General Manager Glenn Ray said TVA may be willing to assist in the cost of insulating the school roof. At the request of Alderman Mike Hansel, the counsel agreed to formulate a nepotism policy for all city departments. The council gave it's blessing to a proposal by Alderman Jeff Fancher, that a meeting be arranged with county officials to discuss the funding of the animal shelter. He suggested the city should be involved in animal control but not provide a shelter. In the past there have been discussions regarding the closure of the shelter, which is a costly expense for tax payers, however the question of what to do with stray and unwanted animals remained unresolved. He said that Cocke County Mayor Crystal Ottinger recently had suggested that the Rolling Rescue operation was a money maker for the shelter, but he said she has since backed away from that argument. Finchum said the shelter is hoping to set up a continuing adoption plan with out-of-state shelters, but with those shelters providing the needed transportation. According to Fancher, three employees at the shelter have resigned in the past week. Alderman Roger Gribble argued for the city property tax rate to be reduced by 59 cents, however Mayor Connie Ball suggested the new city budget be evaluated before a tax reduction is considered. Alderman Fancher also pointed to a number of costly projects the city is facing and "there still are major things that must be done and we can't do that, with that kind of tax reduction." Fancher suggested that stopping important projects "would be stepping back and stopping progress." Gribble also made a motion to put the city audit out to bid but the motion died for the lack of a second. Vice Mayor Mike Proffitt recognized Austin Crum, a Cocke County High School student. Crum hopes to be a studio musician in Nashville after finishing school, and is currently being mentored in a number of instruments by Brent Mason, himself a musician who has played back-up for a number of well-known artists. The local student also will soon represent his high school in the all-state men's chorus. The council re-appointed Dennis Thornton to the Newport Beer Board. According to City Administrator James Finchum, upgrades to the Tanner School, are to begin in April.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

  • CLB session
  • Brown/Dalton arrest
  • Dandridge crash
  • Thanksgiving travel
  • Tennessee economic report
  • Thanksgiving lunch at Feed My Sheep

    Monday, November 20, 2017

  • Jefferson City bank robbery
  • Newport DCS investigation
  • Former ETSU coach is indicted
  • Fuel prices to drop
  • Middle Tennessee tornados

    Sunday, November 19, 2017

  • Artscapes exhibition

    Saturday, November 18, 2017

  • Monica Denton heads back to prison
  • Tennessee jobless
  • Thanksgiving travel

    Friday, November 17, 2017

  • ACA enrollment
  • Cocke County Partnership meeting
  • Pridemore is being sought
  • Narcan program
  • Environmental standards are relaxed
  • Pro bono work in Tennessee
  • VietNow settlement
  • State jobless remains at record level
  • Major scam

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