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Rogersville BMA approves closing streets for Appalachian Spring fest

Jeff Bobo • Mar 15, 2018 at 9:45 PM

ROGERSVILLE — A section of Main Street will be closed for the May 5 Appalachian Spring Fest, although it’s substantially smaller than requested.

Last month, Rogersville Arts Council (RAC) representative Guerry McConnell requested that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen allow her to close Main Street from Brownlow to Hasson Street, as well as Depot Street and Church Street between Main and Washington.

BMA members were concerned that closing that much roadway in the downtown area would have an adverse effect on local businesses.

The BMA tabled McConnell’s request last month to get some clarification and “make sure everyone is on the same page.”

McConnell returned to the BMA Tuesday and reported that her request last month was incorrect.

Actually the RAC was asking to close Main Street from Church Street to Depot Street, as well as Church Street from Main Street to Washington Street.

That request was approved unanimously by the BMA.

This will be the third year for the RAC’s Appalachian Spring fest, which includes music, dance, arts and crafts, and children’s activities on the street.

The weather was perfect in 2016, but it rained last year and organizers halted the event at 2 p.m.

McConnell said many people came from out of the county last year and it was going to be a good turnout before the festivities were dampened by rain.

Health insurance switch

The BMA voted to switch from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to United Health Care as the city’s employee health insurance provider.

Alderman Brian Hartness, who sits on the BMA’s Insurance Committee, noted that Blue Cross was seeking an 18 percent increase this year. 

Under United Health Care, there is no price increase, employees keep their same benefits and the city still pays 100 percent of employee health insurance premiums.

Hawkins County EMS contract

The BMA tabled a request from the Hawkins County EMS to increase the amount it receives for working city festivals by about $100 annually to $1,750.

Hawkins EMS receives about $50 per hour to have an ambulance and EMTs on duty for the monthly Cruise-Ins, Heritage Days and the Motorcycle Show.

City Attorney Bill Phillips recommended that approval be tabled until he can draft a new contract.

Advertising for bids

The BMA agreed to advertise for bids to purchase a new vehicle for animal control/evidence tech, uniforms for the Street Department and restriping all city streets.

City Recorder Glenn Hutchens said he will advertise for bids on a used half-ton, four-wheel-drive extended cab for animal control and evidence transport.

Clarification on paid committee appointees

At the suggestion of Phillips, the BMA approved a resolution clarifying that appointed members of city boards and commissions, excluding the BMA, are paid $50 per meeting.

Phillips said the previous language could be misconstrued to include the BMA as well. Aldermen receive $300 per month, and the mayor receives $500 per month.

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