Lewisburg to narrow city manager field

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The Lewisburg City Council added an hour to next Tuesday’s regular meeting at its work session Tuesday afternoon.

The council will meet in a special called meeting, beginning at 5 p.m. prior to the regularly scheduled 6 p.m. meeting, to narrow the field of candidates.

The city has received 17 applications for the position and each councilman will submit three to five selections, based on the resumes received, from which the smaller pool of interviews will be drawn.

The city is looking to fill the city manager position held currently by Buck Beard, who plans to retire in January.

Beard had originally planned to retire last January before being convinced to remain in the position for another year.

According to the city’s original time line for the process, a replacement for Beard should be named by mid-December.

“We are doing better than I would have suspected and there is plenty of credit to go around,” said Mayor Jim Bingham, of the city’s financial recovery over the past two years. “All of the citizens of Lewisburg owe a great debt to Buck Beard.”

Two proposals from the council will require more study before possibly coming to a vote.

Councilman Jack Cathey raised the idea of a new construction impact fee.

Such fees are intended to offset some of the infrastructure costs associated with new construction, such as roadway or utility expansions and shift costs away from current residents.

Marshall County already assesses an adequate facilities tax on new residential and commercial construction, but those funds, even if generated within the city, are dedicated to the county water system or county highway department.

The process for establishing a similar fee within the city would require a revision of the city charter, said City Attorney Steve Broadway, which must be approved by the state legislature.

Any implementation of such a fee, even if approved by the council, would be some time in coming.

Councilman Joe Bradford asked about the possibility of establishing parking lot lighting standards.

He said that constituents had approached him, specifically about Marshall County Plaza, concerned about a lack of illumination and safety in some parking lots.

The management company for the shopping center has been difficult to reach about the matter, Bradford added.

Any such measure would have to first pass the planning commission and would not, however, apply to already existing lots.

Director of Parks and Recreation Cary Whitesell asked the council to consider dissolving the existing Parks Advisory Board.

She said that the seven member body had not been able to make a quorum for a meeting since September, 2020, and requested that it be reestablished in the future with governing bylaws and a clearer scope of duties, neither of which the board, in its current form, has.