By CONNIE ESH
The Wilson Post
Outgoing Lebanon Mayor Don Fox was honored with a resolution from the city’s Airport Commission honoring him for his 15 years of support for the airport.
Airport Commission Chairman T.O. Cragwall presented the resolution to Fox at the beginning of Tuesday night’s regular Lebanon City Council meeting.
Fox said felt the Airport Commission deserved the credit for improvements made at the facility.
Later, the mayor thanked all the city employees who he said had made his tenure a pleasure.
“They deserve all the credit,” he said. “I haven’t picked up a shovel in years, except in my garden, but they do every day.”
He added that what makes Lebanon a good city to live in is the service offered by the employees and by the council. “It’s a team effort,” he said.
Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath agreed, noting “It’s really a ‘we’ thing.”
Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry said he thought Fox had lived up to the Jaycees creed, “Service to humanity is the best work of life.”
All the councilors agreed that meetings wouldn’t be the same without Fox. The new mayor, Philip Craighead, takes office in a ceremony at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5 at City Hall.
During the business portion of the meeting, council voted unanimously to amend the city sign ordinance to require all electronic signs which are near residential areas to be turned down to lower light and only display a static message at night.
Council took the action at Tuesday night’s regular meeting.
Several residents spoke in favor of the changes and one man, the pastor of The Sanctuary on Leeville Pike, Pastor Daniel Stirneman, asked for an amendment, allowing churches and schools to have a scrolling single line/one color message with time and temperature run through the night.
Ward 4 Councilor Joe Hayes proposed an amendment to allow churches and schools to do as the minister requested, it failed for lack of a second.
The council also set a work session to discuss budget issues for Monday, Dec. 22 at 5 p.m. Mayor Pro Tem William Farmer told the council that the city’s cash on hand had fallen from $20.617 million at the end of September to $16.967 million at the end of October. He also pointed out that the city’s general fund was actually in the red as of the end of October.
It had been $1,011 million in the black in September, but had fallen to a negative $139,302 by Oct. 31.
He asked that all department heads look for ways to cut back and get the city back in the black. He also said he wanted department heads to attend the meeting on Dec. 22 with figures to show the council where their departments were financially now and where they expected to be by June 2009.
In addition to stating her support for the sign ordinance, Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath said she thought part of the budget solution might be to start charging fees for the use of the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. She pointed out that the city supplies police and maintenance services for the center, which cost the city money.
The ordinance to allow the city to apply for a State Industrial Access Grant to build an access road for the proposed Bible Park, faces some opposition from Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhl and Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston.
Huddleston moved to defer action on the resolution and Buhler seconded, but Huddleston agreed to withdraw his motion after Warmath and Farmer proposed an amendment which made it clear that resolution did not commit the city to fund any amount not covered by the grant.
The council also approved an Incentive Package for CoreTech Park and agreed to administer State Grant Funds for that project.
Ordinances annexing property on Quarry Loop Road and zoning it SP (Specific Plan) also passed. The property is owned by General Contractors, Inc. which plans to use it for storing building materials and equipment and possibly for a contractor’s office.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.