By Alex Haglund
The Washington County Historical Society had members present at the regular meeting of the Nashville City Council held on the evening of Thursday, July 21, including Society President Dave Marshall.
Marshall told the council that the historical society has received 488 visitors at the Depot since it was reopened following its renovation in December. Overall, there have been around 1,000 visitors total who have come to the Depot or to the Historical Society Museum.
“And nearly 70 to 75 percent of those come from out of state,” Marshall added.
“We rely on donations,” said Marshall, and as of the most recent Saturday when they were open, donations were low – about $13 at the museum and only $4 at the depot.
“We’ve put about $125,000 into renovations at the depot and into repairing the major water damage at the museum,” Marshall said.
The historical society had two requests for the city council. First, Marshall asked about benches which he said that the city had in its possession, saying that if the city could loan them to the historical society, they would be “very gracious” for anything that they could put on display.
Second, Marshall asked the city about waiving the bill for their utilities at the depot, which he reckoned ran roughly $40 a month.
“Over the last 12 months, the average bill was $47.40,” said city council member Dennis Kellerman, “while the highest bill was $86.25.”
The mayor discussed giving the society a donation amounting to $50 a month, instead of waiving the fees directly.
“$50 per month is pretty reasonable,” said Kellerman, “given what they bring into the city each year.”
“Plus, we don’t have to deal with the Santa house anymore either,” said council member Doug Hargan, because the historical society and the Chamber teamed up to host Santa at the depot for the first time this year.
Beginning at 6:45 p.m., 15 minutes before the start of the regular meeting, the city council held a public hearing regarding the appropriation ordinance for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2016.
During the meeting proper, the city voted on ordinance 2016-4, making appropriations to defray all necessary expenses and liabilities of the city of Nashville, for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2017.
The city of Nashville honored James R. “JR” Aitken, a retiring city employee.
Mayor Kolweier gave Aitken his last paycheck, a bonus, and a plaque honoring him “In appreciation for the 15 years of dedicated service, your outstanding performance record will always be remembered and admired.”
There is a grant being applied for by the city of Nashville and Washington County, which will help to purchase street signs.
The grant is to be written up by County Engineer Mitch Burdick, and will be completed by October or so.
“The grant is to help pay for any regulatory signs,” said City Streets Department Superintendent Rich Schuette, like stop signs, no parking signs, and speed limit signs.
Currently, the city is in need of replacement stop signs, and Schuette said that his crew had already stopped by the county highway department to pick up some signs, saying that, “the process is already begun. This will definitely buy us some time until October.”
The council also learned that the street department is in need of a new packer truck for garbage disposal sometime soon.
“Basically, we would like to get bids on anew one,” said city council member Terry Kozuszek, “and when we get the new one, we are going to rebuild one of the old ones too.”
The new truck would be to the same specs as the older ones, said Schuette, “a 25 yard, high capacity unit.”
The street department is planning on trading in one packer truck to help with the purchase, rebuilding another, and then purchasing the new truck. The council approved the streets department seeking bids for the truck.
The utilities department is looking at ways to remove sludge from the treatment plant. Current option would be to: transport it themselves, pay someone else to transport it, or evaluate a piece of equipment the city of Carbondale has that can remove water from the sludge, improving its characteristics for handling or transport.
For the piece of equipment that can dehydrate the sludge, Utilities Superintendent Blaine Middleton said that he was in the process of negotiating a one-week trial period with Carbondale, after which he would have a recommendation for the council on how they should proceed.
“Everyone knows that we have been putting in a lot of time in the last couple months putting together an employee benefit package,” said Kolweier. “There is one employee we forgot about though: the city clerk.”
A stipend of $400 was approved for City Clerk Joyce Sheridan.
There will be no meetings in July of the Planning Board of appeals or of the planning commission.
The treasurer’s report was approved and filed for audit.