The city's proposed bond would move the fire department (right) to a new location and expand the police department (left).
March 22, 2019 – The Dunlap City Commission voted to authorize issuance of bonds up to $3 million to cover a whole grocery list of city projects, including possibly moving the fire department and expanding the police department's office space.
The new city indebtedness will come as the city finishes paying off a similar debt incurred in 2002, and so would be only a slight increase of payments.
City projects that may be covered under the $3 million umbrella include: Over-budget work on Harris Park Phase II and Coops Creek Phase II, a new city fire department, expansion of the city police department facilities, air packs and a fire truck for the fire department, grass around the city stage, and a backhoe.
According to John Werner, of Cumberland Securities, the $3 million bond, on a 25-year amortization, would amount to around $195,000 per year, as opposed to the $160,000 a year the city has been paying on the old debt.
“We're looking at possibly moving the fire department somewhere else and enlarging the police department,” Dunlap Mayor Dwain Land said. “That keeps the police department next to the park. Right now its busting at the seams.”
Police Chief Clint Huth pointed out that the police department is currently in a perfect location, right in the heart of Dunlap.
“I love our location,” he said. “It's right in the center of town, by the park. We're right smack-dab in the middle of town. We can get anywhere pretty easy.”
Norman Hatfield, the city recorder/treasurer, also serves as fire chief for the all-volunteer city fire department, and he pointed out that firefighters have trouble getting the big trucks out of that small space on Spring Street, especially when there is a special event at the park.
Both the Harris Park Phase II and the Coops Creek Phase II projects have run over budget, and the bonds would help cover the additional $190,000 for Coops Creek and the $600,000 needed for Harris Park.
Harris Park Phase II was originally planned to add new restrooms, a children's splash pad, and a farmer's market pavilion to Harris Park, but has since been expanded to include grass around the city stage, a new playground, and improvements to the pavilion to accommodate Valley Fest at the park.
Coops Creek Phase II will take the city's greenway from where it currently ends on Rankin Avenue next to Sonic, across the road and behind the strip mall to the county schools complex.
Although the projects are partially funded with state grants, bids for both projects came in over budget, and the city has had to look for additional funds.
The two-hour long city meeting Thursday night included a lengthy discussion about the proposed bond issuance.
Commissioner Bryan Harmon asked if the expanded police department was going to need improvements to electrical wiring and plumbing.
“Some of the plumbing will have to be upgraded,” Hatfield said.
The mayor pointed out that the police and fire departments have all new roofing, and the electrical service is probably okay.
“With a $2 million bond, it's more or less replacing what's about to retire,” Mayor Land said.
Werner pointed out that in addition to revenue going to pay the debt, the city has savings that have not even been realized yet, due to the solar arrays that were installed last year.
“We haven't considered any of the savings from the city going to solar,” Werner added.
“If the board votes 'up to $3 million,' there might be other things that we might like to include,” Mayor Land said. “I would say that what we need is like $8 million. What I'm saying is, buying property on the main drag is very expensive. At the next meeting, we'll have a lot more details. I think we'll have more to discuss.”
Werner pointed out that after the city commission votes to authorize the bond issuance, the law requires 20-day notice in a legal ad before it can be initiated.
“I wanted to make sure we have an adequate revenue stream to serve that,” Comm. Jeff Harmon said.
“At $160,000 per year, we're flat,” the mayor said.
The proposed note of $3 million over 25 years would come to $190-195,000 per year, Werner said, which will be an increase of about $35,000 per year.
The city of Dunlap presented a proclamation recognizing May 18 as American Legion Day to representatives from American Legion Post 190. L-r are Comm. Bryan Harmon, Mayor Dwain Land, Diane Overstreet, Police Chief Clint Huth, Comm. Judy Layne, Tom Egleston, Comm. Allen Jones, and Comm. Jeff Harmon.
The Dunlap City Commission also issued a proclamation recognizing the American Legion's 100th birthday on May 18. Tom Egleston and Diane Overstreet from Dunlap's American Legion Post 190 were present at the meeting to receive the proclamation.
Janis Kyser, who serves as the executive director of the Sequatchie County-Dunlap Chamber of Commerce and is co-chair of Valley Fest, addressed the city commission about the upcoming Valley Fest celebration, slated for April 30-May 5.
“All of Valley Fest will be on the 17 acres (at 287 Pine St.) this year,” Kyser said. “On Saturday, May 4, we want to present a fireworks display, immediately after the band, about 10 p.m. It will be a small package, only about five minutes.”
The two sites Kyser presented as possibilities for shooting off the fireworks were on Main Street and on the Valley Fest property itself. Police Chief Clint Huth suggested the Valley Fest property would be better as far as he was concerned, because Main Street would require more manpower, to shut down the street.
Kyser also informed the commission that this year runners in the Valley Fest road race are being offered training sessions in preparation for the race, with an eye to eventually hosting a “half full marathon.”
Kyser presented a list of proposed road closings for the weekend of Valley Fest, and these were approved by the commission.
In other business, the Dunlap City Commission:
- Heard from Phillip Sanders, who requested permission to modify his business location to accommodate living quarters; he was referred to the Building and Zoning committee.
- Appointed Tim Dean to the Industrial Development Board (IDB), to replace Howard Hatcher, who is retiring.
- Discussed a request for insurance reimbursement by two city employees who wanted to drop out of the health insurance plan provided by the city to pursue other options; the proposal died for lack of a motion.
- Accepted a bid of $14,750 for the Fourth of July fireworks show, submitted by Pyro Shows, with the city and county sharing the expense.
- Approved a budget amendment for payment of $17,816 to cover “some pretty substantial repairs” to the landfill shared with Bledsoe County, as Hatfield described it. “It's based on an engineer's study,” he said. “They had some erosion.”
- Agreed to increase the city's contribution to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS), to match an increase in the amount required by the state. The city maintains a rate 1 percent higher than the minimum required.
- Rejected a request to name a road off Keen Road because of the similarity to other road names, and approved the name “Windmere Loop” for the new Windmere Estates apartment complex currently under construction on SR 28.
- Approved a change order on Dunlap Industrial Park pump station improvements.
- Approved on first reading Ordinance #269 regulating construction of cell towers in the city limits.
- Approved Dunlap Police Department's application for a DUI enforcement grant.
- Heard Police Chief Huth report his department answered 284 calls in the month of February, with 122 arrests and citations.
- Heard Fire Chief Hatfield report his department answered 16 alarms, including two structure fires, and assisted with water rescues due to flooding.
All members of the commission were present at the March 21 meeting, and all votes were unanimous.
The Dunlap City Commission meets the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. CDT, in the upstairs commission chambers of Wagner Municipal Building. All meetings are open to the public.