McKenzie has two new council members

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The City of McKenzie now has two new council members.

Garrett Burns will  serve the citizens in Ward III and Josephina Batton will represent constituents in Ward IV. They were both sworn in by Mayor Jill Holland during a zoom meeting of the McKenzie City Council Jan. 14.

Burns is assuming the position formerly held by Brian Winston who moved from the ward. Burns serves as the associate chaplain at Bethel University. He also does tutoring and mentoring with children at the McKenzie Housing Housing Authority and is a board member of the Housing Authority.

Batton is currently the Long-Term Care Quality Director at Source, a company that provides quality improvement initiatives for hospitals and nursing facilities in multiple states. She is a registered nurse, having received her Bachelor of Nursing degree from Bethel University in 2007 and in 2012 received her Master of Science in Nursing and Healthcare Systems Management degree from Loyola University. She is taking the place of Debbie Riley, who died suddenly prior to the election where her name appeared on the ballot. Batton is a member of the Tennessee Nurses Association District 10 board where she served as treasurer and serves as treasurer of the McKenzie Soccer City League.

“I think we have two excellent council members,” said the mayor.

Council members agreed to sell Taylor Nichols of Gleason the former Impressions building at 23 Broadway for $3,500.

Nichols said in her letter to city recorder Jennifer Waldrup that she intends to expand her retail business, Tie This Creations. She makes things such as T-shirts, tumblers, signs, blankets, and artisan soaps. She also said that she and her husband, who is returning from Iraq in Feb., will begin renovating the building.

The mayor said the new owners would have up to a year (March 2022) to remodel the building.

“The city would return $2,500 if renovation finished within six months,” she said. “We are trying to do everything we can to help a new business.”

The city was awarded the burned out building through the court system. City Attorney Laura Keeton will draw up the contract.

“This is one way to assist businesses through Main Street America Tennessee Services of which McKenzie is a member,” said Holland.

Council member Bobby Young said he felt the new business would be an asset to McKenzie.

Through Main Street, the city can offer grants for improvements downtown. Edward Jones and Super D have added improvements through the grants.

Council members began the process of annexing Profile Metal into the city limits during the meeting. A resolution to annex the property located on Republic Drive near State Route 22 passed.

The first of two required readings on the annexation ordinance received a favorable vote. No one spoke at a public hearing on the matter. There will be a second public hearing also at the second reading on Feb. 11. A resolution that adopts a plan of service for the annexation was passed with a public hearing held at which no one spoke.

Council members also authorized matching funds for a CDBG grant that will be sought in 2021. More than likely it will be a 80/20 match with the funds being designated for a waste water system if received.

During the meeting the mayor read a proclamation in honor of Mrs. Louise Scates who reached her 100th birthday on Jan. 11. She was a former employee of the City of McKenzie.

In other business, reports were heard from department heads.

Public Works Superintendent Johnny Mercer said the leaf truck is running and residential culverts are being installed. Parks and Recreation director Mike Beasley said leaf cleanup is taking place at the parks and downtown, and benches are being refinished. Fire Chief Brian Tucker said the fire department had been involved in 19 incidents during December and 256 incidents during 2020. Police Chief Craig Moates said the police department had 1,110 calls for service during December. Water Department Superintendent Billy Wood said his department is working on sewer rehab through a CDBG grant.

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