Charleston seeks annexation input

Posted 9/15/19

Charleston City Commission members are still talking annexation, and took steps in a recent action to get non-residents involved.

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Charleston seeks annexation input


Charleston City Commission members are still talking annexation, and took steps in a recent action to get non-residents involved.

Mayor Walter Goode and Commissioners Frankie McCartney and Donna McDermott have scheduled a 6 p.m. community meeting for Tuesday, Oct. 15, for non-residents who might be interested in being annexed into the city.

The north Bradley County municipality will be mailing out invitations to potential residents to attend the meeting in the STEM lab at Charleston Elementary School.

The invitation will include a short survey requesting comments on interest and concerns regarding annexation into the city.

It also emphasizes Charleston has one of the lowest tax rates in the state, and points out the advantages of city residency (garbage pick-up, regular police patrols in city neighborhoods, and the opportunity to be  a candidate in city elections).

The primary interest of city officials (for annexation) is the possible increase of the city's population.

Charleston currently has around 700 residents and commissioners would like to increase that number to above 1,000. This would greatly benefit Charleston's ability to apply for local, state and federal grants, which could improve the quality of life for all city residents.

According to information previously obtained from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service at the University of Tennessee, Charleston can place an annexation referendum on the city's 2020 election ballot, if there appears significant interest from residents. Approval would require a 51% vote.

Proposed target areas include Mustang Drive and the Maple Crest subdivision.

Other areas are being considered, but must be in Charleston's 20-Year Growth Plan. This includes possible annexation along Lauderdale Memorial Highway, from the city limits at Highway 11 (North Lee) to Interstate 75 to the west.

The Oct. 15 meeting is expected to shed some light on annexation interest in these adjacent neighborhoods.

In other city business:

• Commissioners discussed the possibility of applying for a Bradley County HCI grant this year, but officials will be pushed to meet a Sept. 30 deadline.

McCartney has been talking to county authorities about available grant money, saying more than $114,000 is available for health, wellness and quality of life projects.

McCartney first inquired about the grants as he was pursuing information on possible grant money for a small Charleston library, suggested by Bradley County Commissioner Thomas Crye and state Rep. Dan Howell.

McCartney said he has since changed direction. He now feels the funds would better benefit the city on other projects, and he favors improvements to Charleston's Hoyt Berry Park.

"A library is probably out of our reach, at the moment," he said.

He also plans to compile a request for an HCI grant, with approval from McDermott and Goode. "I'll give it all I've got," he emphasized.

 • Street Superintendent Melvin Graham and his maintenance department have placed a new  tetherball in Hoyt Berry Park. A previous recreational tether ball had been stolen.

Graham and his staff have also installed rumble strips on Waters and Railroad streets.

• Goode continues to support  an increase in the city's business tax, but City Recorder Janet Newport said the city must first confer with the state.

• Commissioners approved the expense of $600 for art supplies for the painting of a mural on the pavilion in the city park.

The proposed artwork was designed by two Charleston Elementary students, and they will be recognized with a small monetary reward at October's Commission meeting.

• Commissioners are reviewing a request from the Bradley County Road Department to locate an 18-by-24 building in Charleston as a salt shelter. A location is being determined.

• The Commission will also begin a series of meetings with department heads in October.

The first meeting will be with Police Chief Johnny Stokes, and his two officers, at 5 p.m. on Oct. 8, prior to a 6 p.m. Commission session.


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