What Is a Work Session?
City Council Work Sessions typically occur on the third Friday of the month at 8 a.m. These are productive meetings where we can discuss issues without the formality or constraints of Roberts Rules of Order and such. It gives city staff and the public an opportunity to engage freely with council. These meetings are also covered by The Daily Times.
Many people who attend City Council meetings, which are held on the first Tuesdays of the month at 7 p.m., are often confused by the lack of discussion and by how common it is for members of council to vote with consensus. That’s because most agenda items have been discussed, often over the course of several monthly work sessions, and council has already deliberated on the issues.
Work Session: 2/19, 8am
The next Work Session is this Friday, Feb. 19th at 8 a.m. in the Gary Hensley room. (First room on the left when you walk in the Municipal Building.) Masks are required and we’ve been able to sit far apart.
The work session agenda can be found HERE.
We’ll be discussing: the new substation, personnel rules, a public hearing concerning property on Church Ave., food trucks in residential areas, ordinance revisions for perpendicular signs, Northfield subdivision speed limit signs, mid-year financial report, debt refinancing proposal, *Greenway presentation and a request to relocate a historic barn to the new Jarvis Park.
*I believe this is concerning new sidewalk connections to the Greenway… East Maryville & Royal Oaks areas will be of most interest to me.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Friday at 11 a.m. but the park is already open, dawn to dusk!
The trail can be a little muddy but you’ve got to see the giant 250+ yr. old trees in the untouched woods of this historic property. Dogs on a leash are welcome! The park, located at 1807 Court Street, was donated by Dr. Craig Jarvis. Foothills Land Conservancy donated one acre and has been instrumental in making this happen. The Daily Times wrote a great story about it in November, which you can find HERE.
Spoiler Alert: Next Month’s Work Session…
We’ll be discussing Bulk Trash Pickup at the March (possibly April) Work Session! This was a big part of my platform when I ran for City Council because so many citizens said it was difficult to find which day their bulk trash would be picked up, and several said their neighbors are leaving bulk trash on the curbside for weeks. I proposed looking into an appointment system, rather than a zone. At the very least, I’ve asked the city to make it easier for residents to find the information online so we can see which day(s) our bulk trash needs to be taken to the curb. This could be a simple form on the website for customers to type in their specific addresses. Once that’s done, we’ll need to make an effort to inform citizens. This could be a low-cost social media campaign or we could look into investing in things like mailers and new refrigerator magnets.
Also on the platform note… we briefly discussed online utility fees at the January retreat. I asked for a copy of the third-party contract, which was provided to all members of Council. What struck me as odd is that customers who pay with an e-check (one-time payment, not autopay) are charged a 2.85 percent fee – the same amount as the credit card processing fee. This is highly unusual and it’s expensive for an e-check. I’ve asked to see if we can renegotiate that. At the very least, these fees need to be disclosed on each customer bill and spelled-out on the payment portal.
Curbside pickup for recycling?
Many citizens have also asked about the possibility of adding curbside pickup for recycling. Elderly and disabled residents aren’t able to load their recycling and take it to the distribution center. I think we need to take a serious look at providing this service. Step One: Conduct a Survey. According to the City Manager, a survey was conducted about ten years ago and based on the results, city leaders said there wasn’t enough interest to pursue it.
I think it’s time for another survey! Please contact the other members of City Council and ask them to support conducting a new survey in 2021! (Their contact information can be found HERE.) I need at least two of my counterparts to support a survey so we can begin to look into the feasibility of adding curbside pickup service for recycling.
Questions or concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Call/Text 865-599-2037.