By DAVID MELSON - email@example.com
Bedford County officials are asking the City of Shelbyville to waive all building fees connected with the new Cartwright Elementary School, City Council members were told at a study session Tuesday night at Shelbyville Recreation Center. Council member Stephanie Isaacs was not present.
Some council members thought it has been a tradition for the city to waive fees for new schools, but City Recorder Lisa Smith said there’s no record of a formal agreement having ever been made.
Council member Henry Feldhaus expressed concern about access to the Fairfield Pike school being “correct” upon completion, without the need for new access roads being discovered afterwards.
“Can they (Bedford County) thumb their nose and go build what they want or will the city have a voice on access roads?” Feldhaus said.
Feldhaus also said sudden changes have occurred in plans for the school.
“Eight hundred students is a long way from what we started with,” Feldhaus said. “About a month ago we suddenly went to 800 with a two-story building.”
Public Works Director Buck Vallad said extending Calsonic Way, which now comes to a dead end near the future school site, is intended. Vallad has been in discussions with county officials.
The extension will allow access to the school from North Main Street. County officials plan to widen and improve Fairfield Pike, which is currently a narrow, hilly two-late roadway near the school site, Vallad said.
Feldhaus and council member Marilyn Ewing said the city needs to wait before making a decision on fees.
Decisions on these and other items discussed at the study session may be made at the Tuesday, Dec. 8 City Council regular meeting.
Homeless Task Force
Bedford County Commissioner Drew Hooker asked the council to become involved in a joint city-county Homeless Task Force.
The proposed task force, Hooker said, will be comprised of two commissioners and two city council members; administrators from Shelbyville Police Department and Bedford County Sheriff’s Office; two ministers each to be appointed by the city and county (Pastor Jeff Rasnick of First Baptist Church-Depot Street has already been named by the county); the director of Bedford County Juvenile Detention Center; two representatives from social services agencies; and city and county codes and zoning representatives.
Organizers hope to identify why the homeless are coming to Bedford County and “transition some into a better situation,” Hooker said.
The group hopes to begin meetings in January or February, according to Hooker.
The Bedford County Listening Project Committee is also being organized.
BCLP was formed to combat what it alleges is mistreatment of renters by landlords.
Organizers hope to form a 7-member committee comprised at least half of renters, one landlord, two BCLP members and one City Council member, with the Building & Codes Director as an ex-officio member.
More discussion is needed, said City Manager Scott Collins, who said he hopes to have a proposal concerning the city’s participation by the Dec. 8 City Council meeting.
Some confusion exists about the former Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce building on North Cannon Boulevard, the council was told.
The city is making plans to move its Planning and Zoning Department into the structure, which is on property adjoining the fire and police departments and City Hall. Approximately $50,000 is being invested to remodel the building and make it Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.
But the council only discussed the building and did not officially vote on future plans at past meetings, City Attorney Ginger Shofner said.
The building was deeded to the Chamber in 1964 when it was constructed as part of Shelbyville’s Urban Renewal project which transformed downtown Shelbyville. Police headquarters, originally City Hall when built, and the main fire hall, along with the Chamber building, were all constructed around the same time in a once-flood prone area near the newly-built floodgate.
A clause in the Chamber building’s original deed states the building is to be turned over to the city entirely on 6 months’ notice of vacating.
The Chamber has asked to retain one office and a storage area in the building.
Council members discussed the possibility of ordering the Chamber completely out of the building. Mayor Wallace Cartwright suggested putting the issue on the council’s Dec. 8 agenda.
The council discussed possible funding for a city-county tourism director.
Council member William Christie suggested the city hire its own tourism director, using city-county hotel-motel tax funds, with an office in the former Chamber building.
The tax brings in approximately $250,000 per year, City Treasurer Kay Parker said.
The city is considering seeking bid requests from architectural and engineering services firms to study the possibilities of upgrading municipal buildings or constructing some new ones, Collins said.
This will include looking at possible new locations if deemed necessary, Collins said.
The council was asked at a previous study session to consider a one-time $30,000 donation to Community Clinic of Bedford County by director Freida Lusk.
Collins, who had been asked by the council to look for possible grants, said none are available.
Lusk is continuing to ask for the donation, Collins said. She is scheduled to address the council at its Dec. 8 meeting.
Shelbyville has been granted $1.2 million in state funds for sidewalk replacement on Madison Street between North Main Street and Bethany Lane, Vallad said.
The city must contribute 10 percent, or $123,000.
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