Jasper touts Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree Success; Continues To-Do List for Sewer System

Jasper, Tenn. – The Jasper Board of Mayor and Alderman recently came together for the regular monthly meeting. Cleaning up the budget with some moving around of line item fund balances was among the tasks the Board addressed. The final vote on the hotel tax was also completed. To “spread the wealth,” the Board voted to explore additional options in some banking choices for some funds. The Board also celebrated the size and success of the Joshua K. Jennings Jack-o-Lantern Jamboree for the town. There was also an update on some of the fixes and improvements made to the water and sewer infrastructure of the town.

Following a public hearing on both measures, the Board approved both the budget amendments to correct spending descriptions from the 21-22 fiscal budget as well as passing the four percent hotel tax. The budget modifications are a rudimentary action that most, if not all, municipalities end up doing as of the closing of the fiscal year (July-June). The overall number for spending rarely moves dramatically, but the description “line items” that the spending takes place in are clarified and put in more accurate descriptions. The hotel tax was adopted with the second and final vote as well. This will affect traditional hotels as well as commercial trucks that hook onto utilities at equipped service stations.

Mayor Jason Turner said, “The {State of Tennessee} Comptroller likes for you to review your bank accounts and shop around for the best interest rates, and I’m asking permission to move some accounts around. One bank, in particular, we have nine accounts, and we have one bank up the road in which we have one account. So, we want to be {more equitable} to the banks in town, so we want to spread the wealth, I guess.” The Board approved the measure without dissent.

Turner went on to sing the praises of the town’s collaboration with Lion’s Club again to put on the Joshua K. Jennings Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree. The event traditionally takes place the Saturday before Halloween and serves as an unofficial kick-off to trick-or-treating with community businesses surrounding the courthouse square at the corner of Betsy Pack Drive and Main Street. Turner said, “I believe it was the biggest one yet. I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. The weather cooperated with us.” Turner named off some individuals to thank but conceded, “I’m afraid I’m going to miss somebody.” Turner added, “The Lion’s Club knocked it out of the park this year.”

Jasper Mayor Jason Turner explains the new sensors installed on the sewer system and the information hoped to be gleaned from them to guide future repair and construction projects.

Turner also shared with the audience some of the improvements on the sewer system. “We’ve been moving the needle on this sewer plant, and we keep doing things…to make it better for the town. One thing we’ve done is install these sensors we got in. What these sensors do is measure the velocity and quantity of sewer flow.” Turner said it provides real-time information of what the system is doing at any point in the system. Turner said the purposes of the monitors included diagnosing heavy-use locations and times on the system. Turner alluded that this information would dictate where testing and repair would be prioritized. Turner said that the town expected to expend “two-and-half million dollars” in grant money to “fix the {sewer} system.” Turner used a map of the sewer system to explain where possible modifications may be made to the system to better serve stakeholders.

Library System Director Karen Strain announced that Jasper’s Carolyn Stewart Library has formally kicked off its “Friends of the Library” organization. As Strain described it, the organization looks to alleviate the library’s staff’s workload for more ancillary causes such as administrating book sales and taking over some library marketing. Strain also spoke of the senior’s gathering at the library every Tuesday, which starts at 1 p.m.

The fire department reported 10 calls for October, and the police department logged 394 calls for the same period. The town collected 14 stray dogs and rehomed four of them. The town will hold its Christmas Parade on December 10 at 6 p.m. As Justin Baker pointed out: it does not conflict with the SEC Championship game this year, undoubtedly to the relief of many football fans.

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