|Martin looks at moving city hall to new building
|Expansion plays a factor in the City of Martin’s pending decision to purchase a building that would eventually house city hall and its day-to-day operations.
In meetings past, Martin board members toyed with the idea that room was thinning at the current city hall location in downtown Martin that also houses the Martin Police Department.
If the proposal that is currently on the table that allows the City of Martin to purchase an existing building in downtown Martin is approved by the Martin Board of Mayor and Aldermen, city hall would take over the new location, while the MPD would retain the current building.
The proposal — to allow Martin Mayor Randy Brundige to sign a letter of intent that states the city can purchase the First State Bank property located at 109 University Street.
The purchase price — $1.5 million. The conditions of the proposal that are under consideration would be a 29-year note at 3.9 percent financing which equates to a payment of approximately $86,000 a year for the city.
First State Bank has 11,660 square feet. Alderman Randy Edwards said the going rate for newly constructed buildings is approximately $2.50 per square foot. The City of Martin would pay at least one dollar less than that if they purchased the building for $1.5 million.
“Do we put our people in this kind of position right now. Remember this is money that we’re spending and with the way the economy is right now, this kind of payment would hit everything — property taxes, water, gas and sewer rates,” Alderman Johnny Tuck replied. Tuck added he would not vote for the proposal.
Alderman Danny Nanney suggested using funds from a retained earnings fund, or the city’s “rainy day” fund. City recorder Chris Mathis stated the “rainy day” fund balance is healthy.
If Martin purchases the First State Bank location, the bank would lease the property from the city for 18 months, giving them time to construct a new building for their day-to-day operations.
Currently, the City of Martin spends $274,000 a year under a contract with Weakley County to pay for the Weakley County Detention Center. The contract was issued in September 1999 and runs for 12 years. According to the Weakley County Trustee’s office, the contract terms state the last payment is set to be made by the City of Martin August 2010. Other cities throughout the county also pay a portion for the county jail.
The letter of intent to allow the City of Martin to purchase First State Bank will be placed on the agenda for Monday night’s formal board of mayor and alderman meeting.
In other news, the City of Martin is also considering a hike in rural fire fees for Martin residents that live outside of the city limits.
Martin Fire Chief Russell Schwahn explained to board members the last increase in rural fire fees was in 2001. He said due to inflation from rising fuel costs coupled with overtime for personnel, it was time to increase those fees.
Mathis said the trend to increase rural fire protection fees is echoing throughout the county with the City of Dresden recently increasing its fees from $70 to $100 and the City of Greenfield, who is considering an increase as well. Greenfield rural residents currently pay $50 a year for rural fire protection.
Martin has considered increasing the fee from $70 to $100 each year for rural residences. There is a stipulation, however, that would increase the MFD’s response fee from $750 to $2,500 for those who receive the service, but failed to pay their rural fire fees.
Some insurance companies will not pay the MFD fee for a homeowner if they have not paid their rural fire fees.
The ordinance to adopt the increase in rural fire fee protection will be on the agenda Monday night. This will be the first reading of the ordinance and if it passes, there will be a public hearing scheduled during the next monthly board meeting before its final passage and reading.
City of Martin M.I.S. Director Phillip Johnson addressed board members Tuesday evening seeking input regarding a grant application for broadband Internet access.
Johnson said an organization known as Connected TN, which is spearheaded by State Rep. Mark Maddox and State Sen. Roy Herron, is trying to push for every household within the state to have broadband Internet access.
The USDA Rural Development Grant would be a maximum amount of $1 million with a city match of 15 percent.
Johnson said he has volunteers willing to write and manage the grant proposal free of charge. If the city were to receive the grant, it would have the option to accept the terms that would lay the groundwork for implementation of wireless mobile and mobile Internet throughout the city and extending beyond its limits for those who currently do not have access to wireless Internet services.
The topic was placed on the agenda for Monday’s formal session.
Finishing old business, a verbal agreement was reached in the hopes of resolving the issue of flooding backyards in Lakeview Subdivision.
Former subdivision owner Larry Baker will be allowed to purchase two culverts from the City of Martin with the intent of placement to manage water flow to the area.
To help alleviate run over of water onto property along K Street, the city has offered to clear out debris from a tributary that runs into a creek intersecting K Street.
Brundige said once the culverts were in place at Lakeview Subdivision, the city would consider accepting the street into the public works system.
The City of Martin’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet at 5:15 p.m. Monday, March 10 at city hall.