Fireworks at Chapel Hill meeting

Friday, February 16, 2018
In this file photo, Chapel Hill Aldermen Horace Hill and Marion Joyce consider the town’s business. Chapel Hill aldermen moved forward on several issues at Monday evening’s monthly meeting.
Tribune photo by Scott Pearson

The Chapel Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen faced a varied agenda on Monday night, adopting resolutions ranging from water to traffic.

Most of the discussion revolved around the time frame in which fireworks would be permitted to be discharged within the town limits.

“It’s something we get a lot of calls about,” said Chapel Hill Police Chief Andrew Kon, referring to complaints from residents regarding firework’s use around certain holidays.

As the resolution was written, fireworks would be permitted between June 28 and July 4.

Aldermen discussed the time-frame for several minutes, working through setting the period to tie into the weekend prior to the 4th of July or a set number of days prior to and after the holiday, before deciding to go with the original wording.

Retailers would be allowed to sell fireworks until July 9, but they could not be discharged after July 4.

The police department preferred setting standard dates and cutting off fireworks after the night of the 4th for clearer enforcement.

Mayor Danny Bingham briefed the board on a couple of items.

The town’s new 75 foot ladder truck for the fire department should be delivered by the end of the month, he said, greatly increasing fire fighting capability in that part of the county.

Fire Chief Matt Stout said that the larger pump capacity of the new truck should benefit the town’s ISO rating, a score used by insurance companies based on a fire department’s resources to determine insurance rates.

Bingham also touched on the transition of the former Chapel Hill Hardware into an Ace Hardware franchise.

Aldermen passed the second and final reading establishing a separate utility board for the town.

The five-member board will focus on water and sewer issues and make recommendations to the board of aldermen, similar to the function of the town’s planning commission.

“We have a lot of things going on right now with growth,” said Town Administrator Mark Graves, “and it’s taxing for one body to handle all of it.”

Alderman Dottie Morton asked Graves if finding residents willing to serve on the new board would be a problem.

“Potentially,” said Graves, citing the relatively small size of the town and the requirement that board members be residents.

The BOMA would continue to fulfill the duties of the new water and sewer board if there were any issues in establishing it.

Kon told the aldermen that his department was transitioning into the Taser brand of electric stun guns but would be able to trade in their current models and split any other costs between the department’s drug fund and capital outlay budget.

Aldermen approved the measure authorizing the change.

Aldermen also approved the town’s application for another planning grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

If awarded, the $90,000 grant would require a 10 percent match from the town and would be used to develop a comprehensive traffic plan for Chapel Hill’s future growth.