City passes budget, beer ordinance

Bartlett’s Board of Aldermen established the 2013 certified tax rate of 1.62 per $100 of assessed property value without objection and approved a revised beer ordinance in regular session May 28. BE logo square

The tax rate keeps the city “revenue neutral” despite fallen property assessments.

With Vice Mayor Jack Young presiding in Mayor Keith McDonald’s absence, the board also approved the final reading of a revised beer ordinance. The revisions were the aldermen’s attempt to clarify some language called into question months earlier when the board first discussed a license application for historic Cedar Hall.

Citizens at that time voiced concern about the building of a wedding reception hall adjacent to the proposed bed and breakfast. They cited noise and traffic concerns as well as ambiguity in the existing ordinance to noise levels and the allowance of dancing where alcohol is sold.

On Tuesday, aldermen gave final approval in response to some of the alleged ambiguity but failed to silence some critics.

Bartlett resident Dan Melancon questioned the board’s definition of the words “unusually loud” pertaining to decibel levels allowed by locations selling alcohol. Previously the code restricted any loud or obnoxious noises to emanate from (his) premises. The change calls for the definition to be “unusually loud” leading Melancon to question the definition.

Board members told Melancon that how loud an event may be would be up to law enforcement and stated the city already had a noise ordinance to handle unreasonably loud offenses.

Among the ordinance changes were:

• Redefining dancing on premise to restrict only employees or agents of the business.

• Increasing the maximum penalty from $1,500 to $2,500 to mirror the state’s fines on liquor sales.

• Changing the distance requirements from a free standing school or church from 225 feet to 150 feet.

• Demanding any person serving beer to have a server permit from the Bartlett Police Department or the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

• Forbidding the hiring of anyone convicted of any crime involving misuse or abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs.

The board originally had considered allowing Sunday alcohol sales to begin at 10 a.m., but the approved ordinance maintains the previous start time for sales at noon.

In other action, the board:

• Accepted the recommendation for group health insurance for city employees.

• Approved $34,805 in transmission repairs from Wamco Transmission.

• Approved a three-year $27,240 contract with Union for automobile and equipment parts.

• Approved Panther Petroleum’s bid of $32,799 for oil and lubricants.

• Approved the purchase of 2013 Dodge Charger from Swope Auto Group

• Approved a service agreement with Motorola for $20,291.

The board also acknowledged the receipt of an HW Durham Foundation Grant of $7,234 and voted to amend the 2013 budget to appropriate $46,200 for education incentive pay for fire department personnel.