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Gleason Votes Yes on Beer

By Jason Martin   jmartin@mckenziebanner.com
GLEASON (April 13) — On the second and final reading of beer sales ordinance, the Gleason City Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 3-2 in favor. The vote clears the way for package beer to be sold in the city. Mayor Diana Poole informed the audience she was not opening the floor for further discussion about beer sales because she felt it was time for the community to heal over the issue.
After a motion was made to vote on the ordinance, a representative from Highway 22 Convenience Store asked the board to vote “No” and pledged a yearly $5,000 donation to the city. His proposition was dismissed since there was a motion on the floor.
Aldermen Jim Phelps, Doug Johnson and Keith Radford voted yes on the beer ordinance while Mayor Poole and Alderman Jerry Dunn voted against. Poole in a prepared statement said she refused to sign the ordinance on her moral beliefs but would assign the beer board since it was part of her obligation as mayor. She added later in the meeting, she would not necessarily appoint aldermen to the board.
The Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) recommends the city board serve as the beer board. The city board is accountable to the public, and decisions that it makes are more likely to be made with benefit of legal counsel.
In other business, the board discussed the piling up of brush and other items on the sidewalks well before the scheduled pick up dates. City Recorder Angela Hunt cited the city’s municipal code 16.6 on littering, and Alderman Phelps cited code 13.106 focusing on health and sanitation. Both codes would cite the property owner into city court if the owner did not clean up the property within five days of the warning.
Police Chief Jeff Hazlewood reported four state warrants and five citations for the month of March. Chief Hazlewood added the officers had completed their in-service training. Alderman Radford later had questions for the chief dealing with his daily duties, who he directly answered to, the number of officers and police vehicles, when were the busiest hours for the department, and to what extent were illegal drugs a problem in Gleason.
Chief Hazlewood stated he worked under the direction of the mayor and alderman, and he served as a direct liaison between the department and the people of Gleason. There were currently five full-time officers and four part-time officers with five patrol vehicles with one Crown Victoria in reserve. The busiest hours were Thursday through Saturday with an overlapping shift. He added the drug problem in Gleason is no worse than anywhere else. The department has made numerous arrests but the perpetrators end up back on the streets. Gleason does have the lowest crime rate in Weakley County.
Alderman Radford asked if Hazlewood was aware of the vandalism of Huggins Park. The vandalism includes damage to the bridge, fence and trees. Hazlewood said he was aware of the issue and was investigating the matter.
Tony Terrell of the Water Department updated the board on the repairs of lagoon. In his report, he added the bids he had received to repair additional portions of lagoon. The board voted in favor of Miller Construction from Jackson, Tenn. at $144,000. Terrell said the construction crew had 100 days to complete the project once they begin the repairs.
Dale Stephens provided the Public Works Department’s report. Stephens told the board the parking lot at Snider Park was lined with 113 parking spots. “No Parking” signs were posted as well to keep vehicles off the grass. He added construction on the Memorial Wall at Snider Park has restarted. Charles Anderson of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee provided the update on the progress.
Stephens added the Gleason Rotary Club was moving forward with the construction of the emergency helipad on Summer Street. Acting Club President Jason Martin stated the club accepted a bid from Casey Toombs Concrete and construction would begin shortly depending on weather.
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Stafford gave the fire department report. It included a grass fire, assisting in a missing persons search and one emergency medical helicopter landing at Snider Park. Stafford added the department was participating in a grilled chicken fundraiser on May 7 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Mayor Poole read the parks and recreation department report stating games were underway, they purchased a new grill and concession sales were up.
Alderman Phelps gave the library report saying the library board spoke with Charter/Spectrum and increased their internet speed.
In new business, the board approved the racial profile policy for the police department which was mandatory from the State of Tennessee. The board also accepted the resolution for the lagoon project grant. Tucker Kail was hired as the water department’s meter reader.
In the final business of the night the city board and public works department discussed what to do about the ditch on Vinson Street. After much discussion it was decided to table the issue until legal advice could be obtained. Stephens, Radford and Phelps worried about setting a precedent for the city.
The next meeting of the Gleason City Board of Mayor and Aldermen is May 11 at 7 p.m.

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