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Kingston gets seat on 911 board

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Vice mayor hopes to gain understanding of agency’s needs

By Mike Gibson

To say it was a foregone conclusion that Vice Mayor Tim Neal would be recommended by Kingston City Council for the county E911 board at its March 12 session would be more than an understatement.
Neal, whom council members agreed to place on the agenda as its potential candidate to replace the late Bob Humphreys at its March 5 meeting, had already been appointed to the board by County Mayor Ron Woody at a County Commission meeting the night before.
Council already knew their “recommendation” would be a Johnny-come-lately proposition when they moved to put him up as their representative.
It was all part of council’s plan to keep a council presence on the E911 board for future meetings, in light of 911 Director Mike Hooks’ requests for increased funding, which had sometimes been viewed with skepticism.
Last year, Hooks began lobbying Roane’s local governments for more funds; 911 revenues are largely based on phone taxes in Tennessee, and the trending away from landlines to cell phones has been a serious drain on the organization’s incoming funds.
Though Kingston has so far given Hooks the money he has asked for, city officials have declined to sign an agreement promising to do so.
Instead, they would like a city council member to serve on the 911 board, and perhaps give the rest of council a better idea of 911’s needs.
The quick appointment of Neal means he should be able to attend a 911 meeting in late March.
His belated appointment passed council unanimously.
In other council business at the March meeting:
• Council passed on first reading an ordinance to rezone property on Boeing Drive off Gallaher Road from residential to light industrial, in accordance with zoning commission recommendations. The property already abuts another industrial tract.
• Council passed a resolution recognizing the Tennessee Valley Authority’s 80 years of service.