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Kingston wants refund from Tennessee

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By MIKE GIBSON
newsroom@roanecounty.com
The city of Kingston will ask the Tennessee Department of Transportation for a refund, or so city council members decided at a recent council session.
Trouble is, no one knows how such a request will go over; the state doesn’t have a refund aisle, or a customer service desk, nor even a complaint department.
“We don’t know how they’ll review this,” said City Manager Jim Pinkerton. “But I think council felt that if there was a chance to get money back we should move on it.”
The request is linked to the Ladd Greenway project.
Kingston has accomplished that project with the help of a matching grant from the state, a 20-80 split.
For Kingston’s 20 percent, the city put up $500,000 from greenway developer Matt Caldwell, with the understanding he would be reimbursed over a period of years through a Tax Increment Financing deal.
Since then, Caldwell has also deeded to the city the right-of-way necessary to enter the greenway; that property has been appraised at an additional $200,000 or thereabouts.
And under the original terms of the state grant, it also qualifies as a so-called “soft” match (meeting the terms of the match with resources other than liquid cash). In theory, this means the city put up around $200,000 more than it had to in cash and property under the terms of the grant.
So council members voted unanimously to send a letter to TDOT, requesting a refund in the amount of $218,440.
In other council business:
• Fire Chief Willie Gordon reminded officials that his department will provide and install fire alarms for city residents who don’t have them, free of charge. Contact the Kingston Fire Department.
• Pinkerton reported that engineering work on the Gallaher Road sewer project’s second phase is complete, and nearly ready to send to the state for approval, at which point it will be bid; that the Ladd Greenway is 95 percent complete, and may finish this year; that sketches and a rough budget for the new city hall should be available at the December council meeting.
• Council voted unanimously to approve on first reading an ordinance requiring any property occupied as a dwelling to have functional toilet, wastewater disposal, and water supply.
• Council voted unanimously to approve on first reading an ordinance cleaning up language concerning zoning of residential districts in city codes.
• Council voted unanimously to adopt a policy to rehire former employees who only leave in good standing and return soon thereafter, at their previous level of seniority, benefits, etc.
• Council voted unanimously to cancel the Jan. 1 council work session due to New Year’s Day.
• Council voted unanimously to appoint Amanda Crumby to a five-year term on the Historic Zoning Commission; to reappoint Edith Miles and Mary Ann Wesolowski to the same board; and to reappoint Glenda Johnson to another five-year term on the Board of Zoning Appeals.