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Jonesborough BMA approves billboard changes, liquor store maps and more

Several important action items were approved by unanimous vote with no discussion during the Dec. 13 meeting of the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
• An amendment to Jonesborough’s sign ordinance will now permit owners of the town’s “grandfathered” billboards to replace those billboards with changeable message signs, which offer rotating sign faces of ads or information. The motion for approval was made by Alderman Mary Gearhart. Alderman Terry Countermine seconded the motion.
• Approval of the final reading of Jonesborough’s first Retail Liquor Store Overlay Zone and Zoning Map moves the town one step closer to having liquor stores. No citizens appeared at the public hearing to voice opposition.
Wolfe said he has already spoken with people who are interested in opening a liquore store.
The motion to approve the RLS Overlay Zone was made by Alderman Chuck Vest and seconded by Countermine. The motion to approve the RLS Zoning Map was made by Countermine and seconded by Gearhart.
• In other action, aldermen renewed Jonesborough’s contract with Bob Browning to continue serving as town administrator.
The two-year contract is effective Jan. 1, 2011, and agrees to an annual base salary of $65,455. The benefits package includes health and life insurance, retirement, vacation and sick leave, and use of a town vehicle. Gearhart made the motion for renewal, and Countermine seconded.
• A contract with Steve Cook to direct Music On The Square in Jonesborough from May through September 2011 also was renewed. A payment of $10,000 subject to the availability of the funds at the end of the season, will be made to Cook for selecting and contracting individuals and bands to play during the five-month performance season; activities involved in soliciting sponsors and donors; and preparation of advertising and marketing plans. The motion for renewal was made by Gearhart and seconded by Countermine.
• Speed tables will be installed on Woodrow Avenue and South Third Avenue in an effort to slow traffic traveling above the speed limit on those roads.
Woodrow and South Third avenues are feeder streets for Depot and Main, according to Wolfe.
“We have a desire for the people living on those streets to be safe,” he said, adding that no requests for speed tables are approved without a traffic study.
• Approval also was given to funds of up to $119,000 from the Mary B. Martin Fund for a performance of Jonesborough’s stories, a project that is in partnership with Community Performance International and the International Storytelling Center.
• A list of people whose cell-phone usage is covered under the town’s program was presented for review, including that of Jerome Fitzgerald, the only alderman to receive a town-funded phone. Vest made a motion to approve the list with the recommendation that no aldermen receive cell phones from the town. Countermine seconded the motion, which was approved.
• BMA members went into executive session to discuss a $4,500 claim from Jonesborough Presbyterian Church, 128 W. Main St., which was flooded due to a back up in the sewer system.
A laundry bag flushed by an inmate at the Washington County Detention Center caused a plug in a manhole on Main Street and led to the back up.
Town Attorney Jim Wheeler recommended the claim be settled directly with the church. Wheeler also recommended the purchase of a back-up grinder to avoid future liability. Aldermen approved settling the claim and purchasing a grinder.
Town Administrator Bob Browning said he will work with the Detention Center to prevent future problems.