by DANNY WADE | Senior Editor
History was made last week for the city of Three Way when a new mayor was sworn into office. Mayor Mary Ann Tremblay is Three Way’s first female mayor in the city’s almost 25 years of existence.
Mayor Tremblay takes over for the late Three Way Mayor Larry Sanders who passed away a few weeks ago. Alderlady Tremblay served as the city’s vice mayor and assumed the mayoral duties upon Sanders’ death.
Prior to the Three Way Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Monday, May 1, Tremblay was sworn into office. Chancellor Steve Maroney administered the oath of office during the ceremony. Maroney served as Three Way’s city attorney for several years prior to becoming chancellor.
After being sworn in and prior to the city board meeting, Mayor Tremblay offered a word of prayer. She prayed for Mayor Sanders’ family, and asked for the strength and wisdom to lead the city.
As the board meeting began, the first two items on the agenda were, motion to appoint a vice mayor and motion to appoint an alderman for the city of Three Way. But, Mayor Tremblay wanted to move one agenda item to the top of the list, which allowed city attorney Jay Bush to explain the process of mayoral transition of power.
Attorney Bush referred to state statues and Three Way’s charter as to how the process takes place. According to the charter, the vice mayor assumes the duties of mayor until the next municipal election. In this case, the next city election will be in November of 2024. Bush said at that point, the mayor position will be on the ballot and the winner would take office in January of 2025. This election would be for the remainder of the current term, which would be two years. In the 2026 city election, the term for mayor would be back on track with its original 4-year cycle.
Bush noted that would be the same procedure for the vacant alderman’s position, which Tremblay previously held since both positions are on the same 4-year cycle.
Bush added that the city board must appoint a new vice mayor and alderman.
With that, Mayor Tremblay motioned to appoint Alderman Danny Wade as vice mayor. With only two voting members on the board, Wade seconded his appointment and assumed the duties of vice mayor.
Next, Mayor Tremblay motioned to appoint Franca Young to fill the vacant alderman’s seat. Tremblay gave her reasoning for wanting Young to serve on the board. She said Young is a long-time resident of Three Way; she is interested in local government as a regular attendee of city board meetings; Young had volunteered during the Three Way Festivals and most recently the Heritage Festival; she volunteers with the Madison County Election Commission; and Young currently serves on the Three Way Planning Board.
Alderman Wade seconded the appointment of Young and said he believes Young will make a fine alderman representing Three Way.
Mayor Tremblay said Young would be sworn into office at the city’s next board meeting, which could be a called meeting or the June 5 regular city board meeting.
In other Three Way business:
•Mayor Tremblay submitted Ordinance 2023-1, an ordinance to adopt the annual budget and tax rate for the city of Three Way, fiscal year 2023-24. Tremblay noted that the city’s budget meeting on April 11 was Mayor Sanders last board meeting. He and city recorder/treasurer Susan Rogers worked up the budget.
Tremblay announced to the audience that MTAS (Municipal Technical Advisory Service) advised all cities to estimate expenditures to increase 10-percent due to inflation and that this budget reflects those increases. Mayor Tremblay said the board voted to give all city employees a 7-percent cost of living raise.
Three Way’s property tax rate will remain the same at $0.4159 per $100 assessed value. Alderman Wade noted that the city has never had a property tax hike, although the rate may have changed in order to bring in the same amount of tax dollars.
There were some concerns floating around of the budget having $1-million for park expansions. Mayor Tremblay explained that the city had to put an amount in that line item, but it does not mean $1-million will be spent. She also said the project would most likely be done in phases and the cap of a million dollars or below would take place over the next three to five years.
The board unanimously approved the first reading of the budget ordinance. A second reading will take place at the city board’s June 5 meeting. A public hearing on the budget will take place at 6:45 p.m. prior to the meeting.
•Mayor Tremblay said the city is still awaiting information from TDOT as to the size of the sign the city plans to erect for Super Bowl champ, Trey Smith, who is a resident and grew up in Three Way.
Alderman Wade came up with the design but cannot have the final plans until he knows the exact dimensions. Mayor Tremblay showed a printout of Wade’s design. She wants to get approval from Smith’s father, Henry Smith, before moving forward.
The board hopes to get some direction from TDOT soon.
•The family of the late Three Way Mayor Jimmy Hill had requested planting a tree in Pine Hill Park in his honor. Hill’s daughter, Suzanne Hill, had spoken with Mayor Sanders earlier about the tree, to which he agreed it was a good idea.
Mayor Tremblay said the city was aware of the request but did not know there was a location selected to plant the tree. After the tree was planted, Mayor Tremblay said she spoke with the city’s Parks & Recreation Supervisor Jace Seymour. Seymour suggested moving the tree to a better location. Its current location is in a grassy area where children play, beside the playground, and Seymour’s concern is the kids could damage the young tree or the plaque.
Tremblay said she spoke with Hill about the location and the concerns. Tremblay said she and Hill would look for a different location to move the memorial tree and plaque.
•The board selected dates to hold a called meeting to resume talks with Lashlee-Rich and HRF Wold for the park expansion. The previous called meeting set for April 24 had to be postponed due to the loss of Mayor Sanders.
Last Monday, the board selected four possible dates in May for the called meeting and see which dates work for the architect engineer and the construction manager for the project. Once the date is nailed down, notice will be made to the public.
If one of the dates in May is workable, Alderlady Franca Young could be sworn into office prior to the meeting.