A $47,275 payment from Livingston’s Downtown Revitalization grant fund for an upcoming Americana music festival was approved by the Board of Aldermen at last night’s city council meeting.
Greg McDonald, Livingston-Overton County Chamber of Commerce director, addressed the board with a request to use the money for a second payment installment to the Council of Americana Roots Music (COARM) for the May event.
The amount is in addition to $30,000 the board approved this past December, bringing the total to approximately $77,000.
Alderman David Sadler II questioned McDonald on future event fees.
“If it cost this much this year, what’s it going to cost next year?” he asked. “Are we still going to have grant money to cover it?”
McDonald replied, “The whole theory out of doing it this year…(is that COARM) is going to be applying for grants.”
“It’s an opportunity, we won’t have these kinds of monies 10 years from now,” he added.
McDonald also requested to free-up grant money for additional items, including $3,700 for four billboards and additional advertisement, and $6,100 for part of what McDonald called a building touch-up project, in which buildings deemed in need of paint will receive touch-ups. According to McDonald, $35,000 has been pledged for the project. Holland Painting has been contracted to do the work and Building Inspector Darius Sims has assisted in identifying buildings needing paint, McDonald said.
Bill Linder made a motion to approve the request, and Cindy Robbins seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.
Also approved during the meeting was a request from the Livingston Municipal Airport for $3,250 to get a project underway to build 10 new t-hangers.
Johnny Halfacre told the board that the airport’s current 10 t-hangers are rented and there is a waiting list for potential renters. He appealed to members that building the additional hangers will be an investment for the city. A current grant will fund the majority of the approximate $780,000 project, he said, but the airport needs $3,250 to get the project started, beginning with design plans.
“With this money, you’re going to get a quick return on your investment with this, as soon as these things open,” Halfacre said. “And you’re already getting a return on your last, the first 10 that we built…The city gets 100 percent of that rent, and these will be the same way.”
But some aldermen expressed concerned about approving the request due to estimated yearly costs to the city.
“Our return will be great, I’m just concerned about the $15,000 per year,” Robbins said.
However, Halfacre said the city will not be obligated to stay with the project and the city will be returned the $3,250 should it decide to withdraw from the project.
According to Halfacre, the project may take up to two years to complete.
Also during the meeting, softball coach Larry Melton addressed the board about a recently approved softball draft. According to Melton, the draft was approved by the board three weeks ago.
“Parents (are) still calling me, wanting to know why they ain’t been notified,” he said. “It’s not been in the paper.”
Several board members expressed not knowing whether or not a draft announcement was published in local newspapers.
“I’ve thrown my hands up, I said I’m just a coach for it,” Melton continued. “But the kids are still calling me, ‘Won’t you fight for us?’…So that’s why I’m here tonight.”
“Curtis (Hayes), he said, I give you my word, the draft will not go through, we will have a committee at the ball field to take care of this problem,” he said. “I called Curtis this year, he said he didn’t have time to fool with me and hung up.”
According to discussion from some aldermen, there was supposed to be a committee formed for the draft.
Melton said parents should have been notified of the draft, because the parents paid $30 to sign up their children but may no longer want to play because of it.
He asked if the parents could be reimbursed.
“I don’t see why their $30 wouldn’t be refunded,” Robbins said.
In other business…
The Livingston Fire Department was acknowledged for winning a F.M. Global Fire Prevention Grant. Bill Winningham read a portion of a congratulatory grant letter, stating, “Your grant stood out among the hundreds we received.” Winningham said, “Our grant must have stood out good…So thank you, Rocky.” Fire Chief Rocky Dial was not present at the meeting.
A low bid of $6,525 for a new mower for the city ballpark from Mt. Farm International was considered. But a question was raised whether or not the current one could be repaired and how much repairs would cost. The matter was tabled to further explore the option.
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