Kingsport reverses course on skimmer boat bottoms | Local News
KINGSPORT – The mayor’s and aldermen’s council set a new course on Tuesday night when it came to offering to help purchase a new skimmer boat for the Boone Lake Association.
At its regular meeting, the BMA voted 5-2 to give the BLA $ 31,250 for the purchase of a skimmer boat. If this all sounds familiar to you, it’s because the BMA voted 3-3 in May on the same issue, which means the measure was not passed.
The main difference is the composition of the BMA, given the municipal elections of May 18. Alderman Jennifer Adler, who voted against the contribution of skimmer boats, has chosen not to stand for re-election.
Alderman Paul Montgomery, who won his seat on the board of directors in this election, voted for the measure on Tuesday night.
Mayor Pat Shull, who has backed the proposal from the start, brought the issue back for another vote.
“Now I have a feeling that a majority will vote for this and I think given the amount of impact money we have received from VAT, it is a reasonable thing to do,” said Shull Tuesday afternoon. “If we don’t, we seem cunning and seem unwilling to cooperate with regionalism. “
With the Boone Dam essentially out of service for over six years, this has caused financial hardship for many local residents, businesses and municipalities. To help offset these difficulties, TVA made annual impact payments to local municipalities, including Kingsport, which received more than $ 1 million.
The BLA approached Kingsport in March asking for $ 32,500 to help purchase the boat, which would be used year round to help keep the Holston River side of Lake Boone free from debris.
BLA representatives made a similar request in Bristol, Tennessee, (which did not approve), while Sullivan County agreed last year to pay $ 62,500 for the $ 125,000 purchase.
One of the main differences in the wording of the agreement between Kingsport and the BLA is that now the BLA will make the skimmer boat available 14 days a year for use at Fort Patrick Henry Lake.
Val Kosmider, president of BLA, said he was not initially excited about the arrangement, but upon reflection he believes it is the catalyst to help the group grow beyond its original mission.
“I think it will help us a lot in keeping our area safe and clean for local and regional enjoyment,” Kosmider said.
THOUGHTS OF THE BMA
Deputy Mayor Colette George and Alderman Betsy Cooper both voted against the measure in May. They did it again on Tuesday.
“I appreciate the change, but I have heard from several citizens who do not agree. My vote will be no, ”Cooper said.
George said she too has heard from many citizens, who are on both sides of the issue.
“When the lake was lowered it had an effect on Kingsport. We’ve had flooding in the Riverfront Park area, and the impact payments have to compensate for a loss in city revenue, ”said George. “To my knowledge, we have never given city money to a non-profit organization for use outside the city limits. “
Although the majority of Lake Boone is in Sullivan County, no part of the Kingsport city limits are on the lake.
Alderman Darrell Duncan said the skimmer boat project is regional in scope, adding that the $ 32,500 is a small amount compared to the total amount of impact funds Kingsport has received. Alderman James Phillips said he was concerned about the precedent of referring a case to the BMA.
“He failed the first time and we are bringing him back. I’m afraid I’m going to set a precedent for failure and then bring it back until we get the vote someone wants, ”Phillips said. “I am struggling with this.”