Today is Thursday, August 24, 2017

Good news, bad news for city customers

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The good news is that Lebanon residents could be getting a one-time "rebate" on their water, sewer and gas bills.

But the bad news is that Lebanon City Council also has approved the first reading of rate increases for the Jimmy Floyd Center and water and sewer usage, stating on July 1.

The new rates at Jimmy Floyd are the first increase in several years and are minimal, according to Mayor Philip Craighead. The new rates would mean an annual family membership would cost $415 and daily admission for ages 6-54 would be $8. Other admissions would also be slightly higher than last year.

Relief from winter bills
The rebates will be a $10 credit to all water/sewer customers and a $25 credit to all natural gas customers, for a total returned to customers of about $300,000, Craighead said. The text of the ordinance, which the city council approved on first reading Tuesday night, says the reason for the credit is to help customers with the excessive utility bills they experienced during this winter's unusual cold.

The council also approved, on second reading, an ordinance giving the city's Human Resource Director Sylvie Reichle administrative control of Lebanon's personnel rules, regulations, policies and handbook.

City Attorney Andy Wright explained to the council members that this change does not affect the council's authority to make or change any policies or rules regarding personnel - it only allows Riechle the authority to enforce those rules.

Vietnam vets honored
The mayor and council also approved a resolution honoring Vietnam veterans and thanking them for their service, which was then presented to Vietnam vets who attended Tuesday night's meeting.

Ward 4 Councilor Bernie Ash, who served in Vietnam himself, also pointed out that his fellow Vietnam vets are still dying from chemicals, such as Agent Orange, which they were exposed to in that war.

"Of the 3 million who served, only 1 million are still living," Ash said. "Of course, it's also true that we are getting older."

Sidewalks, repaving OK'd
The first reading of an ordinance "dropped in" to the agenda, accepting a Safe Schools Grant to build sidewalks from Highway 231 along Forrest Street to Coles Ferry School and on past the school along Coles Ferry Road, was also passed unanimously.

Plus, councilors approved the first reading to advertise for bids to restore and resurface two sections of Hartmann Drive - one from Highway 231 to Old Murfreesboro Road and one from Franklin Road to Leeville Pike - as well as a section of Franklin Road from Hartmann Drive to the Airport Driveway.

Councilors also approved a budget amendment on second reading to allow existing funds in the Water/Sewer Fund to be used for improvements to the existing building at 200 Carver Lane that the city recently purchased.

All items passed on first reading Tuesday night also were scheduled to come before the city council for votes on second reading Thursday night this week.

Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@yahoo.com.

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