Chapel Hill studies budget, zoning

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Chapel Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen deferred action on several agenda items at their monthly meeting on Monday.

Initially, the first reading of the town’s proposed budget was threatened with a delay.

“I’m not happy with it,” said Alderman Marion Joyce, of the proposed budget.

Joyce expressed concern about the establishment of a public works department for the town to handle various tasks like mowing, brush pickup, and similar duties.

“I think we are jumping into something too quickly,” she said, adding that she would like to explore possible cost differences by having the duties bid by private contractors.

“It may be that this is the cheapest way to go but we need to make sure,” she said.

Ultimately, the board agreed to schedule a work session for Thursday evening, after this edition of the Tribune has gone to press, in order to discuss the budget in depth.

Aldermen also voted to accept the budget on first reading. Initially, Joyce and Alderman Mike Faulkenberry abstained before changing their votes to affirmative once the other three aldermen had approved the reading.

The board also tabled two recommendations that the planning commission had been developing for the past several months regarding mixed use zoning. Both died for lack of motions to approve, allowing the board time to study them further.

Also tabled was a request by Chapel Hill Police Chief Andrew Kon that police officers be allowed to take their police cruisers home when off shift.

The issue has been raised before, with Kon stating that other neighboring law enforcement agencies have such policies which aid in the recruitment and retention of officers as well as splitting up the department’s vehicles so that one event, like the hail storm two years ago, are less likely to damage all of the department’s vehicles.

Past experiences with abuse of a similar policy allowing town employees to use town vehicles have led to a reluctance on the part of aldermen to return to the policy.

Aldermen also approved a measure to use the Marshall County Codes and Zoning office to handle those duties for Chapel Hill as well.

The town has used a part-time inspector in the past, who has stepped down due to the demands of his full-time position in Thompson’s Station.

The aldermen approved a resolution establishing a zoning compliance fee of $500. A compliance letter would be issued by the town before the process could proceed. Cornersville uses the same method for handling inspections.

In other news, the community center will be closed Monday through Wednesday next week for installation of a new roof.