August 8, 2002

Memphis City Council Passes Zoning Change

The Memphis City Council approved a zoning change request as the lone item of business during the August 1 meeting of the board of aldermen.

Alderman Patty Simerl presented a request from Memphis Lumber to have a piece of property adjoining the business site changed from residential to commercial zoning.

The property, which is owned by the lumberyard, is located directly north of the businesses storage buildings. Simerl stated the company gave no indication that the lot would be used as a building site. Instead she felt like it was planned for added storage.

The council considered the request, noting there is one additional residential property adjoining the site, which has commercially zoned property on both ends of the block.

"I recommend that we make this change for the merchant," stated Simerl. "We have made similar zoning changes in the past."

The council accepted the recommendation of the city planning and zoning committee to make the change, switching the south 55, 60ths of Lot 4, Block 15, from residential to commercial zone.

The remainder of the meeting consisted of department reports and presentations by the aldermen and the mayor.

Department Reports

Light Crew Superintendent Dave Kittle reported a relatively smooth month of July considering the heat. His crew stayed busy changing out several old power poles.

Alderman Ron Gardner questioned an $8,000 purchase of power poles. Kittle indicated the city purchases the items in bulk and was refilling its stock which had been depleted do to recent work.

Kittle also reported a power outage during the weekend storms that crossed the region. He gave a positive report on the status of the city's automated system at the light plant.

"I thought the light department handled the power outage in a very timely and professional manor," stated Mayor Ron Alexander. "I was glad to see such a quick response time with the new system."

Police Chief Steve Snodgrass presented the July activity report for the Memphis Police Department. He stated officers investigated two thefts, one burglary, one assault, and one stealing case. The MPD assisted at one fire scene and with two ambulance calls as well as 16 animal control cases. The department made 57 community security checks and investigated two motor-vehicle accidents.

Street Superintendent Roy Monroe stated his department had been busy black topping city streets with the assistance of the water department when available.

Monroe also presented a request from the Antique Fair Committee to have the east part of Monroe Street blocked off during the fair for use as a sand volleyball court. The council approved the request, indicating the alley way was to remain open for traffic.

Water Superintendent Dennis Howard reported several service calls and a few minor water breaks during the month. His crew also assisted the street department.

Aldermen Reports

Alderman Simerl questioned if weed letters had been sent out by the police department to notify property owners of required mowing and other nuisance complaints. Officer Mike Steeples indicated a portion of the complaints had been mailed but not all. He added that one property frequently on the list had recently been sold and likely would no longer be a problem area.

Alderman Mike Stone asked about the appropriate methods for citizens to report power outages. He stated he received several calls at home and was unsure what to tell the people. Superintendent Mike Ahland stated all calls of power outages should be directed to the light plant by calling 465-2003.

Alderman Teresa Skinner asked about traffic signs after two citizens requested signs indicating children at play - slow traffic. The police department will review both areas where trouble has been reported and file a finding with the council.

Mayor Alexander gave each alderman a copy of the City of Versailles cemetery rules to review. The council has been considering making some changes and adjustments to the rules governing the city cemetery.

He also presented members with a preliminary budget for review. He noted there are no expected revenue changes outside a possible $15,000 increase for roads that would come if Proposition B passed in the August 6 election.

The budget will be reviewed at a special meeting August 14 at 8:00 a.m. That will follow the annual tax rate hearing August 12 at 3:00 p.m. to allow citizen feedback on the proposed tax rates, which were unchanged from last year.

Alderman Simerl said she hopes the council can take a close look at the city's revenues and expenditures where she said some areas may have to be cut back to the bare essentials.

Mayor Alexander also stated the city is still waiting on the paperwork process for the new swimming pool project. This is holding up the design work as well as the bidding process for the pool package.

Alexander indicated there are several local groups that have expressed interest in donating to the project to help purchase items such as a slide. He noted the designers are trying to create a plan that will include diving boards but noted the boards require greater pool depths.

Council members expressed a desire to be more active in the design process. Both Alderman Gardner and Alderman Skinner indicated they were unable to attend the July 16 planning meeting held at Regional Planning but expressed interest in any future meetings on the pool.

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