Lookout Mountain, Ga., Residents Concerned About Speeders; Town Eyeing Tax Increase

Friday, August 18, 2017 - by Gail Perry

Speeding on the narrow roads throughout Lookout Mountain, Ga. has become so widespread that the city council is considering lowering the speed limit on all streets. A petition with 26 signatures from residents on Hardy Road was presented at the council meeting Thursday night, asking for more stop signs and speed bumps.


John Cline, representing the group, said that at a meeting earlier this week with some council members and Police Chief Todd Gann, the consensus was that, to begin with, the best approach would be to install stop signs at each intersection on Hardy Road, to reduce the speed limit from 25 to 15 mph and increase police monitoring.

A “children playing” sign will also be put at the top and bottom of the road. Two months will serve as a trial and, if cars fail to slow down, speed bumps may be installed as a last resort.


A committee may be formed to get community involvement in developing a “universal approach” to slow cars throughout the city because it is feared that if driving on one street becomes difficult, the problem will just move to the next street. If the speed limit is lowered, multiple streets will be included. The city is also buying two portable speed signs as a reminder to drivers. The cost of each is $2,500-$3,000.


A property tax increase of two percent has been recommended by the council for 2018 so increases will be gradual. A public meeting will be held at the next council meeting that will determine the millage rate for the coming year.


The council also was in favor of following a Walker County plan to add one cent to the sales tax. This would increase TSPLOST funds received by the city by about $85,000 per year. The money would be dedicated to transportation projects such as paving and building sidewalks.


The home sharing ordinance recommended by the planning commission was passed with two changes suggested by the council. The maximum number of home shares allowed will be 15 and there will be a two-year sunset clause. The practice just goes away if the council does not renew it, and it can be repealed any time before the two years are up.


The contract with the company that engineers the city’s sewers will expire in 18 months. Sewer board representative Wes Hasden said that an increased price for handling the sewage is expected as there are new conditions that will have to be followed. Mr. Hasden also reported that a new procedure for dealing with delinquent sewer bills is that they will be turned over to a collection agency after 90 days.


Mayor David Bennett told the council that the Town Center committee meets again Aug. 23 to interview two more architects. A recommendation is expected soon after.


Councilwoman Taylor Watson said she has applied for two grants to be used at Joe Wilson Park for plants and trees. The town is considering installing a sprinkler system in the park prior to plantings in the fall. The Lookout Mountain Beautiful garden club will be holding a white elephant sale in October to benefit this new park. Councilwoman Caroline Williams suggested letting students from Fairyland school plant bulbs in honor of Joe Wilson.


School started Aug. 3 with almost 300 children filling all the rooms, said Ms. Williams. This year, she said, the gym has been air conditioned and the PTO has a new website. Music on the Mountain, the biggest fundraiser benefiting the school, is this Saturday, starting at 6:30 p.m. Another fundraiser will be the raffling of a golf cart. Only 135 tickets will be sold at $100 apiece.


At the July council meeting approval was given to raise the hotel/motel tax from three to five percent. City Attorney Bill Pickering said he has learned that the additional two percent would have to be administered by an agency such as a convention and visitors bureau. It could not be self administered. The council had hoped to use the additional money for building tourist amenities such as sidewalks, trails and parks. Attorney Pickering suggested more study to see how other municipalities use that tax before passing the increase.


Chief Gann said that the Chattanooga Ironman triathlon on Sept. 23 and 24 will come up Ochs Highway and follow Lula Lake to Highway 136 to Chickamauga. Informational signs will be provided to tell the community what to expect. Every street will be kept open during the event, he said. 

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