Woodbury Complaint Department Starts With Heads

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If you have an issue with something taking place in the Town of Woodbury, the people to go to have it addressed are the town's department heads.

The Woodbury Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted a resolution Tuesday night at its regular monthly meeting that it hopes will streamline the process of handling concerns expressed by citizens.

The resolution was presented by Aldermen Faye Knox.

"We are not a policing body. We are not here to enforce ordinances," Knox said. "This resolution starts the process of getting the situation resolved and then starts the appeal process."

Knox's resolution reads:

"A resolve to expediate a remedy for issues affecting the residents of the Town of Woodbury.

"Be it resolved that a resident of Woodbury has a more direct and expeditious avenue to address an issue than appearing before the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

"The function of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen is to make policy and oversee the budget for the Town of Woodbury and not to act as an enforcement body. Therefore, be it resolved that any persons residing in Woodbury should bring their concerns to the proper Department Head. There are ordinances and processes in place to address issues and to secure a remedy. If a resolution is not satisfactorily addressed, then the issue should be brought to the attention of the Mayor for further action.

"The department heads representing the Town of Woodbury are: City Recorder, Charlene Odom; Public Workers Director, Alan Paschal; and the Chief of Police, Tony Burnett.

"Be it resolved, from this day forward, any issue covered by an existing ordinance will be directly addressed to the proper Department Head and will not be an item for the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to consider."

While the resolution was not passed until after Guy Alexander Jr. had addressed the board concerning grievances he has expressed over the last few months with respect to what he considered lax and selective enforcement of town ordinances relating to property care, the process officially put in place Tuesday had already proven to be effective.

Alexander said over the past few weeks Mayor Harold Patrick, Aldermen Dotty Duggin, Chief Burnett and Public Works Director Paschal had already taken major steps to address his problems.

Alexander was scheduled to make a PowerPoint presentation illustrating his concerns, but decided to postpone it following discussions with both Patrick and Burnett earlier in the day Tuesday.

"There has been substantial work done and they say more work will be done, and I do not have a presentation at this time," Alexander said.

While expressing appreciation to both the mayor and police chief for their efforts, Alexander also suggested an enhanced public awareness campaign to make citizens more aware of their responsibilities on matters such as keeping lawns trimmed to an acceptable level and not leaving trash and junk cars on their property.

The Board adopted a motion to advertise the ordinances in local media outlets on a regular basis.

In other business Tuesday the Board:

• Adopted Ordinance No. 432 on first reading, an ordinance adopting the 2006 edition of the International Building Code.

• Adopted Ordinance No. 433 on first reading, an ordinance amending the Town of Woodbury Municipal Zoning Ordinance, regulating development within the corporate limits of Woodbury, Tennessee, to minimize danger to life and property due to flooding, and to maintain eligibility for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

• Approved a request from Cannon County High's basketball teams to hold a roadblock on Main Street on Sept. 3. The purpose is to raise money for the teams' trip to Florida in December to play in a Christmas tournament.

• Decided to delay until the next fiscal year the installing of new signs for Brown-Spurlock Park. Mayor Patrick said the estimated expenditure of $10,000 would be a hard hit at this time on the town's fund reserves, which were already depleted an unexpected amount of $19,000 when it was learned the town could not use money from its portion of the Cannon County Courthouse Revitalization Project grant to pay design fees.

• Asked Cannon County Chamber of Commerce Services Coordinator Carolyn Motley to come back before the Board in November or December to see if it could contribute additional funding for chamber operations this fiscal year. Patrick and other board members again expressed their dismay that the county is contributing only $50 yearly, while the town is giving $1,000.

• Some disheartening news came out at the meeting concerning Woodbury Fire Chief Bill Johnston. Johnston was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville Monday after experiencing heart problems which began over the weekend. He is experiencing 40 percent artery blockage. Further tests and treatments are planned this week.
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Members Opinions:
August 04, 2010 at 10:13pm
Two things to point out regarding this article:

1) The resolution provides no direction for what is to happen after a resident voices his concern (as we did) to the department head and/or Mayor, and no action is taken. In my particular instance, we only appealed to the Aldermen after contacting the Mayor and Police Chief. So, with this resolution what is the next step or appeal process after contacting the Mayor/Department Head and not getting a satisfactory result ?

2) A quick search of the Charter of the Town of Woodbury shows that the Board of Aldermen is, quite indeed, an "enforcement body" despite Alderwoman Knox's comments. These excerpts are from Section 4 of the Charter, which enumerates the powers of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

5. To make regulations and laws to secure the general health and safety of the inhabitants of said town; to make and enforce quarantine laws and regulations; to prevent the introduction and spread of contagious diseases; to declare, prevent and remove nuisances; and to provide for the control of the growth of grass, weeds and vegetation and the accumulation of trash, rubbish, junk and other deleterious or noxious matter upon any property within the town; to require the owner or tenant of said property to keep the property free
from the accumulation thereof; to charge such owner or those in possession of
said property and land with the cost of removal of and to impress a lien upon
such property to defray the costs thereof.

8. To impose fines, forfeitures and penalties for the breach of any
ordinances made, and provide for their recovery;

28. To make and enforce all laws and regulations necessary or proper
for the preservation or protection of all trees, town or public property of every
kind situated in the said town.

29. To define offenses, declare and impose fines, forfeitures and penalties and provide for their collection and enforcement; to pass all laws and ordinance for the government of said town and the rightful enjoyment of the powers herein conferred, for the regulations and preservation of public morals and health, peace and good order of the town.

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