The Hurricane City Council met on Monday, March 1, to conduct regular business and hear reports from the police and fire departments, the city manager and the director of marketing and development.
Police Chief Mike Mullins was not present to provide an update to the council. Mullins lives south of Hurricane and was trapped at his residence by flood waters produced Sunday’s and Monday’s rains. Mayor Scott Edwards told council that February had been a busy month for the department’s Criminal Investigation Unit (CUI). Edwards said the CUI was effective in stopping drug distribution in the city.
Edwards also told council that they should be proud of the manner in which the police and fire and street departments responded to February’s ice storms, power outages, and flooding. Edwards stated that one determined street department employee rode a bicycle from Cow Creek to Hurricane when fallen trees and ice closed the roads. Edwards said that city volunteers teamed with the Community Cupboard to provide food to 18 families in apartments near the fire station.
Fire Department Chief Deron Wilkes reported that February emergency calls greatly exceeded those of January which were much higher than average. Wilkes said the fire department responded to four structure fires in February. The department failed to reach the structure fire on Deerfield Drive off Hurricane Creek Road on Monday, February 15, but it was not for lack of effort. Wilkes said that he had to use a chain saw to cut 32 trees that had fallen over Hurricane Creek Road. The Winfield Fire Department was able to reach the Deerfield Drive structure.
Wilkes said that some fire department members chose to remain at the station during the prolonged power outage.
City Manager Andy Skidmore reported that the city had closed on the Hidden Creek Building on Main Street and is seeking bids for a sprinkler system. Skidmore said that more than one party has expressed interest in renting the building. Courthouse records reveal that Jam Enterprises LLC transferred title to the Hurricane Development Authority for $315,000.00.
Skidmore also reported that the city is prepared to seek reimbursement from FEMA for diesel fuel used for electric power generation during February’s power outages. FEMA funding is contingent upon Putnam County being declared a federal disaster area.
Marketing & Development Director Amanda Ramey announced that plans for Hurricane’s 2021 Spring Festival on May 1st is a go. Ramey said that the theme for this year’s event will be Super Heroes.
Ramey also announced that Hurricane’s Food Truck Fridays will feature a once-a-month evening edition when the season kicks off in May.
In other business, council approved an ordinance to refinance outstanding sewer revenue bonds. The refinance will save the city $200,000 over the remaining seven-year payment schedule.
Council approved a zoning variance to allow Morris Smith to add a sun deck to his Virginia Avenue home. The council also approved rezoning the lot at 2607 Main Street from R-1 to R-2. The R-2 designation allows multi-family structures.
In new business, the council held the first reading of an ordinance which prohibit parking within thirty feet of an intersection unless an exception is requested and granted. The parking restriction will provide easier emergency vehicle access.
Bill Bartley submitted a “To Do” list to the city for repairs and improvements to the Caboose at City Park. Plans include making the area between the Caboose and the CSX railway part of the Meeks Mountain Trailhead.
The council will next meet on Monday, March 8, to hold a public hearing regarding the 2021-2022 Levy Estimate. The next regular meeting is Monday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m.