Hearing set for sign amendments
by W. Winston Skinner
The Grantville City Council will hold a hearing on changes to the town’s sign ordinance on May 27.
City Attorney Mark Mitchell said the changes amount to “a revision to the zoning ordinance,” which will require an advertised public hearing. The council voted to move their second meeting in May from May 26, which is Memorial Day, to May 27, and to hold the hearing on the sign ordinance changes at 6 p.m.
There was discussion about where local residents might be able to review the proposed changes. City Clerk Tonya Wheelus said copies will be available at city hall.
“We’ll discuss at length the proposed sign ordinance changes at that meeting,” Mayor Jim Sells. The council meeting was held in the council chambers in the Glanton Municipal Complex.
In other business:
• Sells talked about economic development prospects.
“Things are happening, and we do hope it continues,” he said. Sells reported a boarding school with 200 students is considering relocating to Grantville. The school also would have 100 day students.
“We are on the short list for a major corporation that is looking to come to Grantville,” Sells added.
He said property in the city is being shown to industrial and commercial prospects. “The last three years the phone didn’t ring,” he said. “It’s gotten very busy.”
• The council discussed hiring a full-time utilities supervisor. Currently, the city handles those duties through a contract for someone to handle the duties part-time.
Councilman Leonard Gomez brought the issue to the council – noting the issue was discussed last week at a utility committee meeting. “We’re playing the current contractor a lot of money – too much money for part-time work,” Gomez said.
“We need someone full-time to manage all of our utilities – to keep an eye on what’s going on in our city,” he said. “Let’s hire a full-time professional who’s qualified to manage all of our utilities.”
“I certainly agree with that,” City Manager Johnny Williams said. “It’s actually called for in our charter. We’re supposed to have another department head there… It definitely could be done.”
Williams said the charter calls for the council to hire someone for the post based on the city manager’s recommendation.
The current contract is for $6,000 per month, which “would certainly cover the cost of hiring an employee,” Williams noted. “The money is in the budget. It’s just being used in a different way.”
The city has been looking for someone for the job but has had little response.
“It has been advertised more than once. We actually only got one response who was qualified. These people are not walking around looking for jobs. They are hard to find,” Williams said.
• Michelle Huffstickler, the town’s new recreation director, talked about proposed changes to summer camp and about promises made when she was hired that she be provided with a car. Councilman Johnny Cooks opposed that idea.
The council took no action on a car for Huffstickler but did approve letting employees who are provided vehicles take them up to 30 miles outside the city when driving them home. Sells cast the deciding vote with Gomez and David Riley, voting against Cooks and Barham Lundy.
Cooks asked Huffstickler what else she was considering besides summer camp. “We have talked about doing an employee incentive program” that would involve walking, she said.
Riley said Huffstickler is a welcome addition to the city’s staff. “I think she’ll do some great things for this community,” he said.
• Doug Jewell, a former mayor of the town, asked about using the town hall for meetings of the Grantville Coalition, a political action committee that is being formed. The group will address local political issues.
“What you probably need to do is look at developing some kind of policy,” Mitchell advised the council. He said the council would have to decide what spaces might be available for meetings, “what needs to be done to schedule a time and who you need to see” and who would lock buildings after meetings.
“There are a number of issues to consider,” Mitchell said. Setting a policy would make it clear who could use city facilities “so there’s no having to decide on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Sells asked Williams, who was fired at the end of the meeting, to check on issues surrounding the use of buildings and report back to the council.
“Time is of the essence. As soon as we can get an answer, it would be appreciated,” Jewell said.
• Sells announced the Grantville Library will be the location for future elections. “When you go to vote from now on, you’re going to go to the Grantville Public Library,” he said.
• Local resident Rodney Mowery gave the invocation for the meeting.