City approves contract with revamped DKA

Rick Wagner • Oct 6, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — City leaders approved a contract for a revamped Downtown Kingsport Association Tuesday night.

But the remaining $46,000 of $48,000 in city funding won’t start flowing from city coffers until the DKA board meets, changes its bylaws, and makes new appointments to the board, said Vice Mayor Ben Mallicote.

DKA and the Downtown Business Association agreed Monday to a compromise that lets a merger of the two groups move forward.

That compromise says that the DBA will nominate 12 members to the DKA board, and the board will put six of those on the 24-member DKA board.

In addition, the DKA board is to change its bylaws to initiate term limits of two three-year terms followed by a mandatory year off the board before rejoining it.

The contract the BMA approved was generic and reflected little of the controversy between the two groups over the past six months, which at one point included each side being told to split $48,000 in city funding for the year.

Of that, the city has appropriated only $2,000, and that was to the DKA.

Instead of previous quarterly payments, the resolution the BMA passed calls for semiannual payments of $23,000 each — one immediately and one in January.

However, Mallicote successfully amended that to say that no city funds were coming until the DKA board met and made the changes and City Attorney Mike Billingsley confirmed that to Mayor Dennis Phillips.

The vote on that amendment was 5-2, with Mallicote, Phillips and Aldermen Valerie Joh, Jantry Shupe and Tom Parham voting yes and Aldermen Ken Marsh and Larry Munsey voting no.

The subsequent vote was 6-1, with Munsey voting no and saying he did so because he opposed the amendment.

DKA and DBA members left the room shortly after the vote except for DKA President Larry Crawford, who declined comment after the meeting and declined comment to the full board when recognized at the end of the meeting.

“I’m a firm believer in trust in God but tie your horse,” Mallicote said.

Parham argued that Mallicote’s amendment was micromanaging, Marsh said the city could pull its funding on 30 days notice, and Munsey said it was not his understanding the changes were expected to occur at one meeting.

Mallicote said he thought the DKA board would simply replace existing members barred from further service by term limits or a one-member-per-household limit and let the former DBA members serve out unexpired terms, and he saw no reason that couldn’t be done at the same DKA meeting as the bylaws change.

Shupe asked if Lisa Childress was still executive director of the group, and DKA member Mark Freeman indicated she was. Before the meeting, Freeman said Childress had taken a sabbatical of sorts because of DKA financial issues.

In other action, the BMA:

•Unanimously voted on first reading to annex the seventh and eighth Rock Springs annexation areas into the city limits despite opposition by Ron Mayes, 441 Hidden Acres Road.

Area 7 is 50 acres in 27 parcels, mostly the Vantage Point subdivision, while Area 8 is 42 acres in 28 parcels including Hidden Acres subdivision and land along Sumpter Road.

“If you live in the designated urban growth area, there is a very good chance you will be annexed at some point,” Phillips said.

•Voted for a first-reading ordinance to redesignate some road funds for making part of the old Model City Motors building downtown a parking lot, following the collapse of the roof over that section. Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds said he could do the job for about $25,000 to $30,000, less than it would cost to re-roof the building, and bring 24 parking spaces reachable by Shelby Street with an exit through an alley and onto Clay Street.

City Manager John Campbell said the city still will pursue a proposed downtown parking garage, but details of the project have yet to be worked out.

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