Jefferson BOA considers Oktoberfest, 221 closure

Dylan Lightfoot Staff Writer

August 29, 2013

The Jefferson Board of Aldermen at their August meeting Monday heard an Oktoberfest proposal from the Olde Town Jefferson Business Association, and discussed a plea for a new water meter arrangement from the owner of a 14-unit apartment building.

Stacy Maye of the OTJBA presented the board with a proposal for an Oktoberfest event in Jefferson this fall, to include music, vendors and a cruise-in.

“We’re going to need space for this,” she said.

Maye said she had spoken with the Department of Transportation about shutting down two blocks of US 221 Business for the one-day event.

The DOT stipulated that the state highway could only be shut down if the blocking and patrolling of the road was supervised by municipal police, she said.

Town Manager Cathy Howell said that, with only one police officer on duty in town at any given time, the town might not be able to detail that one officer to patrol the festival.

Maye said she would look into sources of funding to pay the town’s off-duty officer for festival duty.

Maye said festival organizers were looking for ways to offer festival-goers a beer garden, always an element in a traditional German Oktoberfest.

Howell said the safest way to accomplish this would be to approach a Jefferson restaurant owner who already holds a liquor license, and set up the beer garden at that establishment.

Tobin Vanscoy, owner of a 14-unit apartment building on Badger Street, requested board input on a better water meter configuration for his tenants.

Vanscoy said when the building was purchased several years ago, the water bill averaged $460 per month.

“Upon purchasing this building, I found 13 water leaks in several apartments that I repaired immediately, and the water bill dropped below $300 per month,” he said.

“Approximately a year and a half ago, I was informed from the Town of Jefferson that the water meter was being read wrong, causing the monthly water bill to double overnight,” he said.

Citing a “256 percent increase in the water bill,” as well as “tenant water abuse,” Vanscoy requested each apartment unit be given its own town meter, and each tenant presented with their own monthly town water bill. He offered to fund all meter installation, and “pay the town for three years of advanced postage” for mailing the water bills.

Alderman Charlie Caudill said that the town could not risk metered accounts with rental tenants, who might “run up a bill and move off.”

Vanscoy said he was willing to work with the town on any arrangement that was better than the current one. “I don’t have $4,800 a year for water,” he said.

After some discussion, it was agreed that Vanscoy would explore the option of installing one meter for the whole building for which he would be responsible, with individual meters for tenants who would be billed for water usage by Vanscoy.

Other business

A public hearing for rezoning of property owned by David Miller of Auto Express was rescheduled for the board’s next regular meeting Monday, Sept. 23, Howell said.

A Ford Explorer, abandoned for some time on town property, was sold by the town for $600.

Howell announced improved street lighting would be installed at the intersection of US 221 and North Main Street once DOT crews have completed road work there.

The Maintenance Department will be making an effort to repair all potholes in town streets before the winter, Howell said.