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News Town board of aldermen votes in favor of Minimum Housing ordinance

Macon County Clerk of Court Vic Perry swears in county arson investigator Farrell Jamison as Franklin's newest alderman. Photo by Davin EldridgeOn Monday, the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen swore in Farrell Jamison as their newest alderman.

Aldermen unanimously appointed Jamison to assume the remainder of former alderman Jerry Evans’ term, which ends in November. At that point, a partial two-year term will be up for election, along with three other seats, to finish out Evans’ four-year term, starting in December. The other positions will be four-year terms.

“I am worried about the different projects with the town,” said Jamison, citing economic development and its urgent need in Franklin as one of his many areas of concern as alderman. “I hope the board contiues to work on what the town will look like in the next 10 or 20 years... Now is the time,” he said.

Not only has Jamison worked for Franklin Fire and Rescue for the last 34 years, he has also worked as a county fire investigator and as a fire and rescue training coordinator for Southwestern Community College. Jamison said at Monday’s meeting that he is in the process of training his replacement as SCC’s fire coordinator.

Given his lengthy experience as a fire safety official with the town and county, Vice Mayor Verlin Curtis relinquished his liaison position with the fire department to Jamison.

“I thought 34 years was enough,” joked Jamison, gladly taking the position.

Minimum housing ordinance passes

Aldermen voted in favor of a Minimum Housing ordinance without discussion or objection. The purpose of the code is to hold all dwellings within city limits to certain standards in the interest of public safety.

The ordinance was first broached last October by Town Attorney John F. Henning Jr., who at the time said that the town was “toothless” when it came to addressing residential concerns about unsafe or unattractive homes.

“This is something we’ve needed for a long time,” said Mayor Joe Collins. “It was a lot of hard work.”

The ordinance excludes owner-occupied dwellings from code standards that apply to the inside of a residence— a stipulation aldermen Bob Scott and Evans first said was an area of concern for locals in early discussions of the code’s consideration—making the ordinance unique to Franklin. Most other towns in the state have adopted a similar code.

The code holds rental properties to the most estringent regulations, including minimum ventilation, heating, plumbing and electrical standards. Owner-occupied dwellings on the other hand are only beholden to exterior regulations.

According to the statute, whenever a petition has been filed with the enforcement officer, at least five town residents have to join the complaint. However, the enforcement officer may issue a citation based on his or her own observations. Town Planner, Michael Grubermann, will be the designated enforcement officer of the code.

Sign ordinance refined

Amendments were made to the town’s existing sign ordinance.

If sign owners fail to obtain a sign permit after posting a sign, they would be required to obtain the proper permits within 24 hours of its posting. Any other violation of the ordinance will give sign owners a 10-day window to remedy the situation.

Street closures

Aldermen voted unanimously to close Iotla Street from Main Street to Church Street for the first two days of July.

On July 1, the Arts Council will hold its annual “Freedom Rocks the Square” concert at Franklin’s Town Square Gazebo. The street closure will be from 6 to 9:30 p.m., for the duration of the event. The C-Square Band is scheduled to perform at the event with 1950s- ’70s pop hits and patriotic tunes followed by a jump dance group, The Monkey Crew.

On July 2, Freedom Works will be holding a patriotic rally at the same location as the Arts Council event. The street closure will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Reading Rover receives funds

Karen Wallace, of the Fontana Regional Library, requested funds from the town’s nonprofit funding pool in the amount of $12,000 for the library system’s Reading Rover Bookmobile service.

Aldermen unanimously voted to fund the Rover with little discussion. Last year the town granted the program $10,000

Since 1999, the Reading Rover Bookmobile has developed pre-literacy skills by bringing monthly story time programs and age-appropriate materials to toddlers and preschoolers at child care locations. The Reading Rover Bookmobile serves around 300 young children and their caregivers in at least five child care centers or family child care homes in Franklin.

The Rover provides literature for those who may not have transportation to the library. “We basically bring the library to them,” said Wallace. The program costs around $475 per day to run 200 days per year.

Other business

A sewer line construction project bid was awarded to Iron Mountain Construction Company, based out of Mountain City, Tenn., after they gave the lowest bid of $333,089.68. The company will be installing a new sewer line from Wells Grove Road to Dowdle Mountain Road.

Aldermen also adopted the proposed $8.59 million town budget, which doesn’t include any tax increases. The budget was approved at the town’s budget work session on May 23.

The budget includes a cost of living increase of four percent as well as a one percent bonus in December if the budget can sustain it. The one percent increase in pay will be divided evenly among all 61 town employees, while the four percent increase applies to their base pay.





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published: 10/18/2013
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