Lenoir City plans to annex part of interstate

Brittany Davenport News-Herald

Lenoir City plans to annex 3.2 miles of I-75 right of way after voting unanimously Monday night, passing the first reading of the ordinance. Councilman Bobby Johnson Sr. recently voted no to the consideration of the annex, fearing Lenoir City Police would spend more time on the interstate than taking care of the city, he said.

After talking with LCPD Chief Don White, Johnson said he understood the reasoning behind the annexing.

He did not want the area to be a "fee grabber" or a "sore thumb" to the city he said.

"When they first brought it up, I think I just took for granted that it was going to be a traffic thing, to watch for speeders and stuff," Johnson said. "It's not going to be that way."

While LCPD currently works the exit 81 ramp, annexing the area will not only help LCPD monitor speeding more easily, but help combat drug trafficking, White explained at a recent meeting.

"A lot of these drug people are coming in off the interstate and they're going to have to try and control it," Johnson said.

"It's a bad situation and they're getting in (the city) and (LCPD) can intercept a lot of them coming off the Interstate," he said.

Council also approved the first reading of the planning commission's recommendation to provide a plan of services for the right-of-way. The plan of services is required before any territory can be annexed, according to the ordinance.

Council also:

Adopted an ordinance levying a litigation tax. The $13.75 tax would be levied on all civil and criminal cases and would be collected when the city renders a judgment against a defendant for violation of a city ordinance, when a defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty to a state criminal violation, or when a defendant submits to a fine for violation of a state criminal case, said City Attorney James Scott.

"It's a small minor tax when you think about it," Scott said.

The tax would support the court systems and law enforcement, he said;

Approved the addition of a drought management plan to Title 18 of the city municipal code regulation the use of water by customers of the city water system during periods of shortage of water supply and providing penalties for violations.

The plan is required in order to be in compliance with Tennessee Department of Environment Conservation, said Lenoir City Utility Board Shannon Littleton.

There are four drought alert phases included in the plan;

Approved the installation of street lighting located at Jan Way Drive; and

Approved the personnel committee's unanimous recommendation to add the city attorney to the city's health insurance plan; and

Hired Keith Sennett as a full time employee of the LCPD, filling a vacant position. Sennett was already employed part time.

Council is scheduled to meet again May 16 at its monthly workshop following the scheduled 4 p.m. Lenoir City Utility Board meeting at City Hall.