TIMES FORD COUNCIL
THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2023
FRANKLIN COUNTY ANNEX BUILDING, COMMUNITY ROOM
Board Attendees: Lois Brown, Bob Greving, Adam Wonder, Marybeth Averill
Absent: Chase Lawson, Jake Davis, Rick & Katie Silver, Amanda Edmonson
General Attendees: 30 general attendees
Called to order at 7:08 pm by Adam Wonder
Financial Report – Robert Greving, no financial activity in July. Year to date revenues of $1,570, $1,957.17 in expenditures, and we used $284.59 of a TVA grant. This is a deficit of $671.76 leaving a balance of $5,441.76. We are budgeted to spend about $1,400 more, putting us further in the hole without added donations. We are still fiscally sound, but do need more donations/membership dues. A question was asked about the number of members, and currently we have 40 paid members. We email approximately 230 people with meeting announcements.
Motion was made to approve the financials, John Casey motioned, Adam Wonder seconded, approval given.
Meeting Minutes – Adam Wonder presented, they were approved
By-Laws Update – Adam Wonder shared that we are updating the bylaws and that the revised version will be put before the general membership at the November 9th meeting.
Water Testing Update – John Casey gave a brief update on our water testing and a good discussion ensued. A question was asked about the brain eating amoeba’s bacteria being found. John replied we do not have the specific test for the bacteria, nor do we have the resources to do so. Another question was asked what we do with results and it was explained that if there is an issue, we go to the source where the testing was done but that we are not an authoritative body so can only recommend the location look into their water cleanliness. 2 of the 3 marinas are in the clean marina program. We test 16 sites right now we review trends over time. Things are looking very similar to other years. We test all inlets coming into the lake, water treatment plants and marinas. The E coli tests that were high in May have dissipated. An additional question was asked if overbuilding on the lake eventually be a problem. We believe that is a possibility of that occurring at a future date as any lake can only handle a certain level of disruption.
Other Outstanding Items – All – No other old business brought forth.
Future Council Efforts: Membership; Clean-Up; Contests & Funding – Adam Wonder
Time was spent discussing possible pontoon boat outings for various groups, targeting Facebook with information, and listing on websites. Greg Born offered to post us on his website free of charge. We also have a radio spot ready to go. All ideas were thought of positively, but a concern for pontoon liability did surface and will need researched. Marybeth reported for Jake on timing of lake clean ups, with a schedule ready by the November meeting. We also need volunteers to plant cypress trees in October and a sheet was passed around for volunteers. Additionally, the TVA is conducting accountability surveys on the lake for tree cutting and approved docks. If findings are made, there are hefty fines to the homeowner and docks may need removed. A question was asked if a tree is cut down if the homeowner is required to replace it, and no one present knew the answer.
Other – All – No other new business was brought forth.
Special Presentation – Beth Rhoton, City Administrator of Winchester, TN
Planning for the Future
Beth Rhoton made an excellent presentation on the status of Winchester. There have been 750 new homes built since 2018, which is one of the highest growth rates for a small city our size in Tennessee.
She went on to speak about various paving projects, their operating budget and the balance of retail, commercial and living. The city works at keeping property taxes low and to operate within their $13 million budget. They are working to attract more retail and income tax. Winchester has a high percent of retail business, while the county has historically focused on industrial. It is a collaborative effort between cities, county and various utilities to keep everything moving forward.
There are more projects planned for the downtown area, some of which she cannot specify at this time. Focus has been made to have ample parking on the square, and other than one private lot that charges for parking, the rest is free at this time. There are currently 1,000 parking spots around the square. Additionally, with the number of restaurants going in on the square, the city will be designating ‘to go’ spots around the square that all restaurants can use for people picking up.
An interesting point was made that she constantly debates using the City’s money or applying for grants to pay for various projects, as the grant process can take up to three years for approval. She did say that our gas money is obligated to paving projects.
An ARC grant (COVID), with Winchester Utilities, is a huge sewage project. To date, easements are finished. Also included is an improved lift station and larger sewer lines. Winchester has the lake on three sides so they have to run lines a long way to go around the lake.
There are also two developers on Bible Crossing and one at the south end of town by the racetrack. Developers have been turned away because of sewage restrictions and they continue to build the city but not overbuild. Developers also need to consider lot size and based on that answer, either they or the city will be responsible for the development roads. Some projects have gone to Decherd and Cowan, but still in the area so we should all benefit. At this time, we have ample drinking water available. There are currently no projects that should directly affect lake traffic.
There was discussion about downtown development and that while there is a sturdy dock for boat traffic to come into town, the TVA has not provided approval to date. They have concerns about the dock’s proximity to the bridge.
Also discussed was Templeton Funds $500k grant for animal control. Winchester used to have their own department but now relies on the county and makes a donation to them.
Beth hired a company to look at land usage, and will provide advice on zoning and if accepted will become the roadmap for future planning. A question was asked if the land study is just for Winchester and the answer is yes. She approached the county but they have not chosen to participate at this time.
Another question was asked about Air BNB’s and a discussion ensued about the hotel rates they charge and the difference between what the city can do is there’s an issue (noise, hours) and what homeowners associations can do. There are currently no city limitations and she will take that back and see if that’s a potential action item for the commissioners.
A question about hotels was asked. While the city tries to attract them, it is challenging due to our size. One study in the works is a demographic study to see what has changed. She is hoping to have better data as a result to share with potential hotel operators.
The lake is our greatest asset and they do use it to promote the city. A recurring issue are the homeless who inhabit the areas of the lake. The police cite where they can, but the TVA is also involved, and there is a set of rules they must follow. It will continue to be an issue as many homeless don’t want help.
Winchester is a destination. Demographics are changing and we need to work hard to stay ahead of what’s coming.
Adjourned at 8:25pm