By Megan Dame,
Residents of Kenton who were hit hard by a harsh windstorm that plowed through the area last month will receive assistance from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) with brush pickup. Kenton Mayor Danny Jowers shared this news at the monthly meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen last week.
The early-morning storm blew up suddenly and left a considerable trail of damage in an area just north of the city in its wake. Trees were uprooted or simply snapped in two, falling on top of houses, cars and even blocking Highway 45, the main thoroughfare into the city.
The clean-up effort began immediately following the storm, leaving property owners with massive brush piles and uncertainty on how to dispose of those piles.
For those who live inside the Kenton city limits, the city will pick up the brush and haul it to the city dump. However, for properties outside the city’s boundary, brush pick up and removal falls under the responsibility of the property owner.
Unfortunately, the most significant damage from the storm occurred just north of the city. Jowers was happy to report to the board that help was on the way.
According to Jowers, he had been contacted by TDOT in the days following the storm, offering their assistance. TDOT officials told Jowers they would send clean up crews to pick up the brush piles for those properties outside the city limits, but requested the city allow them to dispose of the brush in the city dump.
“They told me that unless we allowed them to use the dump, they would have to take the brush all the way to Tiptonville, on the taxpayers’ dime,” Jowers said. He explained that by law, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) would have to grant them permission to use the city dump.
Jowers said he had contacted TDEC and received permission to allow the brush piles picked up by TDOT to be disposed of in the city’s dump. “This will help our neighbors who live to the north and the City of Kenton, saving taxpayers’ money and wear and tear on the city’s equipment,” he said.
The pic up services in both the Kenton city limits and those provided by TDOT are restricted to brush items, including tree limbs and trees cut into logs and shrubbery that is free of other storm debris and placed roadside. No scrap metal or other storm debris will be picked up.
Pet owners could face fines
Pet owners in Kenton have to keep their animals from running loose inside the city limits or face a fee and possibly a trip to the Gibson County pound in Trenton.
The existing animal control ordinance has been amended to include a $25 fee for holding an animal for a minimum of 24 hours. Jowers explained the fee would go in the city’s General Fund and would be used for care and maintenance expenses at the city’s small shelter. At its July meeting, the board approved a request to create a small, short-term shelter to house no more than four animals at a time for 24 hours
Jowers said the shelter would give pet owners the opportunity to retrieve captured animals before they are sent to the longer-term pound in Trenton. The $25 fee will pay for food, water and other basic needs of the animals while in the city’s custody.
“The Gibson County pound is overrun with animals, and I hope this will relieve some of the strain on them, while also allowing a window for residents to retrieve their animal locally and not to have to go to Trenton,” he said.
Before taking the vote on the amendment, Alderman Harold Banks raised a question about the way the ordinance was worded, particularly on the word “vicious.” Banks asked what the criteria was for an animal to be considered vicious and if there are specific breeds that are considered more dangerous.
Jowers explained the inclusion of the word “vicious” in the ordinance was an oversight as the board had agreed that no vicious dogs would be kept in the city’s shelter during the July meeting. He continued to say there are specific criteria and conditions residents must follow to own any of the three breeds, pit bull, rottweiler or pit bull mixes.
“A Chihuahua can bite a person just like these breeds, but a Chihuahua is unlikely to maul a person to death, where these animals definitely can,” Jowers said.
To own one of those breeds and keep them inside the city limits, the owner must register the animal with the Kenton police and provide stronger restraints for the animal, such as a shelter with a floor to prevent tunneling under fences to escape.
Jowers also reminded the board the ordinance will require two readings to pass and changes or additions may be made before the second reading. The board agreed to pass the first reading and consider any alterations to make on the second reading at its September meeting.
In other action, after Jowers opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, and Banks led in prayer, the board:
- Was informed by Jowers that street paving was to begin soon and requested the aldermen consider what streets are in the most need of paving for recommendation at the September meeting.
- Learned the city had been deeded a partial lot, located next to the Dollar General store. Jowers said the lot was very small and requested the board to consider what the city should do with the land for discussion at the September meeting.
- Agreed to pay the outstanding tax lien of $1,200 on a property located behind the Co-op building on College Street and then demolish the standing structure.
- Heard from Jowers that the property where an old Exxon service station had been signed over to the city by the previous owner. Jowers told the board the city would be required to have the building inspected for asbestos before demolishing it. He said the cost associated with the inspection will be $1,200. The board agreed to have the building inspected and demolish the building.
- Approved a request from Banks to issue a list of rules regarding the pickup of items left curbside with utility bills. The list will include what can be picked up and what can’t and will establish a pickup rate of between $10-$50 per load for appliances and large item removal. The rules will also require that any construction or renovation projects have an onsite dumpster. Shingles are not allowed in the city dump and anyone who needs to use the dump must first clear it with City Hall. Jowers said this is due to improper disposal practices and the dump being used by non-Kenton residents, which is not allowed.
- Commended City Recorder Shayna Jackson for the outstanding work she did with the city’s budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.