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Johnston Town Council Discuss County 1% Sales Tax, Streetscape, and Promotes Police Officer

By Anne Waits
web posted December 12, 2013

JOHNSTON Johnston Town Council met Monday night in their regularly scheduled meeting, with discussion on a Streetscape Proposal taking up the majority of the time. After the approval of the Nov. 12, 2013 Minutes and the November 2013 Financial Report, Dennis Brown of Action Landscape presented his company's proposal for the Streetscape repair in the amount of $18,000.
The proposal offered the repair of the four corners of the area in question. He was proposing taking the big trees up in the 400 and 600 blocks of Lee Street and planting crepe myrtles. Also his original plan would include the redesigning of 14 or so planters and planting Jasmine. His original plan would have included placing Tennessee stone at the ends of the planters to deter people from walking through the section and the placing of new mulch.

He was also at first proposing a row of trees as a barrier between the railroad tracks and the Municipal Parking Lot, but Council opted to wait and consider that later.
Councilwoman Tyra Miller asked if the stone would be moveable and when his answer was "yes," she said she did not like the idea because she was afraid someone would try to cut through them and fall and break an ankle or something. Council then talked about stamped concrete instead of stones and it was agreed the concrete would be better so people could walk around it. They talked about the fact that the concrete could be stained.
There was a long discussion regarding the size of the shrubbery and Brown explained that they grow a certain height and then grow outward.
Councilman Burton was concerned about unforeseen expenses after the bid, as Brown explained that the estimate was as close as they could get it without knowing what they might run into (such as root problems). Council agreed that no one can know about unforeseen expenses and Mayor Andy Livingston jokingly punned it could not be "written in stone."

Councilman Nicholson said since Brown felt confident of his bid and felt he had given a reasonable, calculated proposal based on his experience, they should go with that.
Council agreed that the plan seemed to meet their needs and Miller stated it would be a low maintenance plan.

Brown said improvements on the proposal might add another $500 or $600.

Councilman Burton then moved that they accept the proposal as long as the company can keep the cost around $18,000 and if anything major comes up, they can take another look at it. It was seconded and approved unanimously.
Another old item of business on the agenda was the generator purchase. No action was taken since Mike Casey, who is looking into the matter, reports no generators are available for purchase from the State yet.

Council approved the 2014 Holiday Schedule, after the mayor informed them he had looked at what other governments were doing and theirs was the same. They also approved the 2014 Council Meeting Schedule without comment.

Under new business, Donna Livingston, who is on the 1 Percent Tax Committee, was supposed to have led a discussion. However she was unable to be there so Council decided to have some discussion anyway. The County is wanting to do a 1 percent sales tax increase for things needed in the county and to put it on the ballot. The mayor reminded Council that they need to be thinking about what the Town of Johnston needs by April 1.

"This applies to each town," he said. "You have to do this if you agree." They agreed to think about it and discuss it further at the next meeting.

In the Mayor's Report, he informed Council that he and Councilman Culbreath attended the Legislative Delegation meeting on Nov. 23; and the closing of the loan on the garbage truck will be Dec. 18;  on New Year's Eve, fireworks can be shot from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m.; the Employee's Luncheon is Wednesday, Dec. 18, at noon; and that the Christmas lights are up. He noted there are several new lights on Lee Street and thanked public works for their hard work.
Council then went into Executive Session where the police committee recommended that a position of lieutenant be created and a salary range set for the position. Upon the return to regular session, Sergeant Lamaz Robinson was promoted to lieutenant and a salary range of $$34,635 to $44,700 was created.

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