Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The Bradley County Commission has postponed scheduled votes on a funding timetable for a $14 million overhaul of Lake Forest Middle School. On Monday, items related to the proposed middle school renovation were withdrawn by their sponsoring commissioners, Adam Lowe and Charlotte Peak-Jones. Both cited requests for further discussion and the desire to have a full commission present for the votes. Absent commissioners included Chairman Louie Alford, Jeff Morelock, Brian Smith and Bill Winters. The Bradley County Board of Education has said a makeover of the middle school is a top priority. The renovation plan calls for the replacement of more than half of the school’s 17 classroom pods with a central academic building and incorporating a geothermal energy field into the 75-acre campus.
A 13-month partial moratorium on property annexations by Tennessee towns and cities is now in effect after Gov. Bill Haslam signed the measure brought by two Hamilton County legislators. The law, signed last week, halts forced annexations of residential and farm property already in progress prior to April 15 until May 15, 2014, unless a city can persuade county commissions to approve them. New annexations of such property are banned during the same time frame unless property owners want to become part of a city. That’s intended to provide time for the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations to study how a 1999 urban planning law, intended to bring order to annexations, has worked. TACIR serves as a forum on state and local issues.
In the wake of a successful traffic signal adjustment that improved motorist flow at the busy intersection formed by North Ocoee and 20th streets, Cleveland Utilities is now beginning a traffic study of 11 key junctions along 25th Street from Candies Lane to the Spring Creek development. According to the Cleveland Daily Banner, the utility has entered into a contractual agreement with Cannon & Cannon, a traffic engineering firm from Knoxville, to complete the detailed study of 25th Street. The 25th Street initiative will evaluate coordination timing for morning, afternoon and mid-day rush hours, as well as for night-time and weekend travel times. Similar studies have been conducted on the heavily traveled Paul Huff Parkway.
Governor Bill Haslam on Monday traveled to Monroe County to sign legislation to reduce the state portion of the sales tax on groceries from 5.25 percent to 5 percent. Governor Haslam held a ceremonial bill signing at Sloan’s Grocery in Vonore. In 2012, the General Assembly passed and the governor signed the first step in reducing the state portion of the sales tax on groceries, lowering the rate from 5.5 percent to 5.25 percent. The reduced tax rate does not apply to prepared foods such as a meals at a restaurant, candy, alcoholic beverages or tobacco.
Average retail gasoline prices in Chattanooga have risen 1.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.20/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 170 gas outlets in Chattanooga. This compares with the national average that has increased 8.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.67/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. In Cleveland, the lowest reported per gallon pump price stood at 3.15…while the highest was at 3.29. Including the change in gas prices in Chattanooga during the past week, prices yesterday were 15.0 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 3.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has increased 16.6 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 3.0 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.