Chapel Hill to add fire truck

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chapel Hill should see a significant addition to the capability of their fire department in the next few months.

Aldermen approved the issuance of general obligation bonds to fund the purchase of a new, 75 foot ladder truck for the department.

Several of the development plans presented to the town have included multi-story buildings, and the town budgeted this year to meet the future need.

“I have to give this board a lot of credit,” said Town Administrator Mark Graves, “for funding projects that are forward thinking.”

The aldermen had been working hard over the last couple of years to make pro-active decisions regarding the growth coming to Chapel Hill as the Nashville metropolitan area expands, instead of being reactive once issues have arisen, he said.

The town had budgeted $600,000 for the purchase of the new apparatus.

The structure of the funding allows the town to draw money as needed for projects when needed.

Funds from the issue will also be used toward parking lot and trail improvements at Depot Park later next year.

Aldermen heard a presentation about potential options for employee health insurance.

Chapel Hill has had to change their current plan in order to comply with Federal regulations regarding healthcare.

Last year also saw a 26 percent increase in the premiums required to fund the benefit.

Several plans were presented that mirrored, as closely as possible, the current plan, as far as the quality of the benefits, were considered.

The plans represent savings to the town ranging from a little over four percent to over 13 percent of the current cost.

Aldermen expressed a desire to hear more from the town’s employees on which version they preferred before voting on a new plan next month.

The town is currently using a temporary healthcare plan, in order to align the renewal deadline with the town’s budget process.

Mayor Danny Bingham, during his report, offered his appreciation to the Chapel Hill Police and Fire Departments for their quick response, along with other agencies, to a gathering of white supremacists at Henry Horton State Park after a march in Shelbyville in October.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how much force was there,” said Bingham. “I think we avoided what could have been a very ugly situation.”

“My gut feeling is we probably haven’t seen the last of these type of incidents,” he added.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Andrew Kon mentioned during his report to the board the possibility of the department needing to look into acquiring riot gear at some point in the future.

Aldermen also approved an ordinance on first reading that would establish a separate utilities board for the town, to address the town’s water and sewer systems.

The second reading of the ordinance could look different, as some aldermen had questions about the amount of authority the proposal, as presented, would give to the new body.

Bids were accepted for renovation work in the community center and for the construction of bathrooms at Depot Park.

Chapel Hill budgeted $40,000 for renovations at the center this year, $6,163 being accepted for flooring. Graves said that the roof on the building would be the next project bid.

Truette Construction of Lewisburg won the bathroom bid with the low proposal of $172,000. The only other bid, from a Franklin company, came in at more than $330,000.

Graves also said during his report that the town’s new wheeled trash cans were expected to be delivered on Friday, and that the town would start distributing them as soon as possible.