25 votes + $5,500 = revision of charter

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The high cost of holding a small town's municipal election was revealed at Cornersville's monthly meeting of the board of mayor and aldermen.

Mayor Amos Davis told his board that it cost the town $5,500 to hold the recent election, in which just 25 people cast votes. Three aldermen ran uncontested for re-election.

Davis proposed that the town charter be amended so that town elections coincide with general County elections. This would effectively add a year, plus a couple of months, to the terms of everybody currently in office.

"The real reason to do it is cost," said city manager Taylor Brandon. "The consultant alone cost $3,000."

"If we do it with the general election, we'll get a better turn-out and more representation," Davis added. "When I went to vote early, there were two poll workers there just for my one vote."

There will have to be three readings of the amendment to the charter, and Thursday night's meeting was the first one. There will be a special called meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, for the second reading.

In other business, Brandon announced that the state had rejected Cornersville's proposal to move $11,024.76 from the general fund to the street fund in installments, and said it all had to be moved immediately. An audit of the town's books earlier this year found that the money had been in the wrong place since the previous administration.

"It would have been nice to wait until October, when our revenue peaks, but the state says it has to be immediate," Brandon said.

"We'll go ahead and put it back," Davis said. "It's our money; it's just going in a different slot."

The town of Cornersville has a contract with Waste Management to pick up residents' trash once a week. Brandon told the board that the three-year contract is up in August 2010. He proposed to tell Waste Management in April next year that the town will be asking for bids on the garbage collection service.

"Right now it's a wait and see game," said Davis. "If they don't get the expansion (of Cedar Ridge), maybe they won't hold us to the contract."

"They've been giving sorry service," alderwoman Doris Arthur said. "This is the third time they've missed mine. I've picked up bags and bags of trash they've strewed around."

"Scotty (Brock) and I have been talking to them," Brandon said. "They do have new drivers. We have a good relationship with Waste Management, so let us know at City Hall if your trash isn't picked up."

"They've been good about coming back for trash they've missed," added Davis.

The meeting concluded with Davis urging everyone on the board and in the audience to attend the Solid Waste committee's meeting on Monday.

"We need to show interest in solid waste," he said. "We're all in this together."