Lynnville Mayor Robert White led a spirited board meeting Oct. 6, during which he and others discussed balancing several of the town’s revenue streams.
This week, a court order will be issued to clear the books for all outstanding property taxes owed by Lynnville residents from the years 2003 to 2008.
White pointed out the advantages of this process.
“You can’t pay your current property taxes if you owe back taxes,” he explained.
In many cases, he continued, the lawyers fees to take residents to court exceeds the amount of back taxes owed, making prosecution an unappealing option for the city.
City Clerk Dawn Baron added that when residents fail to pay in a timely manner, “the penalties and interest are more than the taxes themselves.” The city is currently owed approximately $10,000 in back taxes from 2015-18, which White hopes to collect under his administration. He asserted that he will be more diligent in collecting the taxes going forward, as well.
“It’s not right that some of us pay, and others do not,” he said.
The City of Lynnville is losing money in the household waste collection service it provides residents. White proposed raising the monthly trash collection fee from $12.22 to $13 per month in order to break even. He pointed out that the service was a bargain even at the increased price, as residents may dispose of unlimited trash for that price, while private haulers limit the number of bags and charge a larger fee. The increase will be noted on December water bills.
Another revenue stream Lynnville relies on is from traffic citations. During his briefing to the aldermen, Lynnville Police Chief Mike Diaz discussed how the income generated by these tickets had taken a hit over the summer due to the county Courthouse closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. No tickets were issued from May to July, and revenue in the following months is approximately $3,000 per month. The Giles County District Attorney advised that Diaz and the two volunteer officers on his team continue to go easy on residents during this difficult time.
Diaz said that approximately three quarters of motorists stopped are issued only a warning. He said he doesn’t even stop a motorist unless they are going 20-30 miles over the speed limit, which he sees frequently in downtown Lynnville where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour.
“We aren’t here to hurt you. We are here to help,” he said. “We came here to work and keep people safe.”
The police officers in Lynnville find themselves responding to a wide range of calls, including domestic assaults, attempted murders, DUIs, thefts and drugs. Diaz said the majority of the criminal activity occurs on Friday and Saturday nights, which is when the additional volunteer officers are on duty.
Following the report from Diaz, Alderman Sandra White asked if the police officers had adequate radio equipment to remain in contact with Giles County emergency services. Diaz described the outdated equipment they use, and the board agreed that the officers should be provided with modern two-way radios.
Mayor White continued the discussion on traffic safety by requesting that a stop sign equipped with solar-powered red blinking lights be purchased and installed at an intersection where other signage and a curve in the road make the existing sign hard to see. He hopes the lighted sign will prevent future accidents and potential tragedy.
The board also discussed:
• The city’s annual Trunk or Treat event will be held outdoors on Halloween this year. Businesses and individuals may park their vehicle with a decorated trunk at the event, and parents will drive their children through to receive candy from the participants. The event allows for social distancing, and is safe for children as they will not be walking amongst traffic.
• Repairs have been completed in the public men’s restroom. The commodes are now fully functional.
• Research is ongoing into the newly discovered cemetery in the city park. Equipment will be brought in from Vanderbilt to scan the ground for bodies, and names of the individuals buried there will be put on a plaque to be installed in the area, along with a fence surrounding it.
• Two applications were received and will be reviewed for the meter reader position for which the city is hiring. No applications were received for the lawn service provider.
• The next town board meeting will be delayed due to the election, and will be held Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m.
• Carnell McCandless was officially sworn in as Vice Mayor.