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McKenzie Council Fills Vacancies, Continues Annexation

By Jason R. Martin jmartin@mckenziebanner.com
Posted 1/19/21

McKENZIE (January 14) — Thursday evening through ZOOM Meeting, the two vacant positions on the McKenzie City Council were filled by Garrett Burns (Ward 3) and Josefine Batton (Ward 4). The …

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McKenzie Council Fills Vacancies, Continues Annexation


McKENZIE (January 14) — Thursday evening through ZOOM Meeting, the two vacant positions on the McKenzie City Council were filled by Garrett Burns (Ward 3) and Josefine Batton (Ward 4). The seats were left vacant upon the resignation of Brian Winston (Ward 3) and the death of Debbie Riley (Ward 4).

Batton is the Long-Term Care Quality Director at Qsource, a company that provides quality improvement initiatives for hospitals and nursing facilities in multiple states. She is a registered nurse with a degree from Bethel. Councilperson Batton holds a Master of Science Degree in Nursing and Healthcare Systems Management from Loyola University.

Before being appointed to the council, she served as the treasurer of the soccer board and served on the parks and recreation board. In her letter of interest, Batton stated, “It is always my goal to be a productive citizen of McKenzie... I volunteer in helping our community with every opportunity that is presented before me. I am proud to be part of such a great group of people that support each other in times of happiness and need.”

Burns, an associate chaplain at Bethel University, held a position housing authority board before his appointment. Councilman Burns works with a mentoring and tutoring program at the housing authority.

In his letter of interest, Burns stated, “I believe that as a citizen of McKenzie it is a privilege to serve and represent the voice of my neighbors. I am thankful for the current leadership... And am hopeful to provide encouragement, accountability, and vision as we step forward into 2021.

“As a McKenzian since 2006, I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived any other place in my life. I am in a unique position as a pastor, university chaplain, and military chaplain… I hope to help bridge the barriers within McKenzie which include barriers among the blue-collar working class, the farmer, the tradesman, the liberal arts student-leader, the professional, and the state of all our hearts in relation to God.”

Two public hearings dealing with the annexation of Profile Metal occurred during the meeting. The first hearing dealt with the plan of services for the property and the second was based on the amendment of the city’s zoning map.

In its first reading, Ordinance 537 was approved. The ordinance amends the official zoning map of McKenzie, by zoning Tax parcels 10.05 and 10.07, Henry County Tax Map 162 M-2 (Heavy Industrial).

In February, the board will have a second public hearing about the annexation and then vote on the resolution for the plan of services and on a resolution to annex.

The council passed Resolution 21-001 to apply for CDBG Small Cities Block Grant Funds. The CDBG grants are 80/20 matching grants and will go towards McKenzie’s wastewater improvements.

In other business, the council agreed to the sale of the former Impressions building located at 15 Broadway. Taylor Nichols and her husband provided the City of McKenzie with a business plan along with a bid for $3,500. The burn-out building has sat vacant since December 2012. The Nichols plan to open their business, Tie This Creations, a t-shirt and gift store.

The city provided the young couple with an incentive plan hoping to expedite returning the building to the tax roster. The incentive states the couple has a year to complete building renovations and open before the building is deeded to the Nichols. The calendar year would begin March 2021 and run to March 2022. If they finish the renovation by October 1, 2021, the cost of the building would be reduced to $1,000 allowing them to use the $2,500 for further enhancements to the building.

Mrs. Louise Scates was honored with a mayoral proclamation recognizing her 100th birthday. She was born January 11, 1921, in Trezevant to William McKinley Yates and Nina Rebecca Yancey. She graduated from Trezevant High School and attended Bethel College. On December 6, 1940, she married Ira Scates, Jr.

Louise worked for the City of McKenzie for 30 years. After retiring she began working for Millers Jewelers in McKenzie. She is a member of First Baptist Church and is still active in the church and politics. She attributes her longevity to her family; her mother lived to be 102 and her grandmother was 103.

During department reports, department supervisors provided the council with status updates. For December, the fire department responded to 19 calls two of which were residential/structure fires. The police department received 1110 calls for the month; 604 were security checks, 139 were investigations (10-43), 86 were vehicle stops, 26 were for theft, and 21 related to vehicle incidents or crashes.

The next meeting of the City of McKenzie Board of Mayor and Council is February 11 at 6 p.m.


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