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Sunday, July 3, 2022
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Clarksville City Updates

by Councilman Bill Summers

City of ClarksvilleI hope everyone is having a good summer and able to stay cool.  I have been taking a little time off myself.  However, a few things are going on and I thought I would pass on a few items.

20-year Plan

You may have seen in the newspaper some of the information presented at APSU about the findings of the plan.  There are a great many details, maps and layouts.  The initial plan with 5 of the 7 sections will be online at the city’s website by July 30th.  The remaining sections should be online by mid-August.  You will be able to see the full 350+ page report when all sections are scanned in.

There are many positive ideas and plans that need to be reviewed and scheduled in the out-years.  Some are continuations of projects we have already started, while others suggest new ideas or approaches to thoughts and concepts that have been bounced around for years.  Over 65 previous plans (most sent to the bookshelf after completion) were reviewed in this process.  About 100 citizens worked in the committees and about another 100 provided input through the website access provided for all citizens.

You can see some of the info at the following web address:


Greenway Expansion

Today, Mayor Piper held a meeting at the Greenways to announce the building of a 600-foot bridge, which will cross a major ravine/valley and connect the current trail to the extension that goes to Heritage Park.  The extension adds almost 1.6 miles to one end of the trail.  The bridge will actually be higher than the tree line and provide a wide view of the forest and valley.  It may the photo landmark by which the trail becomes known.

In addition, a private citizen (to be possibly named later) provided $250,000 to offset the cost of the bridge, which will be around $1.4 million total.  It is expected to be completed by this November 30th.

Marina and Park

I went on an inspection drive through the marina and park area this week and the place is jumping with activity.  The lake area and many of the river pavilions are well underway.  The road leading into the park and marina has been roughed-in.  Work on the marina basin is underway again too.  We are looking to see one section of the park completed in November.

Hemlock Building

As you may recall, a new classroom and training building has been under construction at APSU.  Hemlock donated $2 million for equipment.  The council was given a sneak preview of the building, minus equipment, this week.  It is a great addition to the campus and will provide a real-life operational training facility for students heading to Hemlock and other similar manufacturing facilities.  The facility uses solar panels for power and produces more power than it can use on sunny days.  The excess power is sent to the rest of the campus for use.  The equipment will be installed over the next couple of months.

Paperless Council

I had mentioned during the city budget exercise that I would propose a suggestion to reduce the amount of labor and materials used to support the city council.  That idea, in coordination with the city technology department, was the potential use of Apple iPads.  Currently, most, if not all, data and information we receive comes to us at home in email format.  It has only been in the last four years that all council members used computers or email.  The attachments to the emails have packets written in Microsoft Word or in a PDF format.  Currently, the city staff takes hours each month to prepare notebooks with all of the data on printed paper.  So reams of paper are used in this effort.

In addition, there are a number of committees which council members get similar notebooks and packets produced by the responsible department’s staff.  This results in hours of labor and paper to produce these packets.  In all, the estimate is about $500 a month is spent in labor and materials to prepare information that is already prepared in a digital format and emailed to us.

To pay for the iPads, I suggested and used several methods.  First, I reduced the funding for a position that was not needed at the Airport.  That reduction alone paid for the entire paperless council project (as I call it).  Second, I proposed a reduction in the funding given to each council member for mailing, paper, postage, etc.  The amount cut equated to $250/year for each member.  So if that method was used alone it would pay for the project in just over three years. Third, as I mentioned earlier, we should save $500 a month in labor and materials.  This would pay off the project in 1.5 years.  So no matter how you slice it, this project will or has paid for itself.

Two news stations did reports on this project along with the newspaper.  Through friends and ward residents I heard about a number of rumors that had spawned based on no facts.  I will share some of them with you:

  1. The council members get to keep them.  I’m not sure how this one got started, but this equipment is no different than police cars and office computers.  They belong to the city.  If a council member loses or tears them up, the council member will pay for it.
  2. They bought the highest priced model (over $800.00) and could have bought computers cheaper.  This was wrong too.  The model being looked at costs $499.00.  The total project price is under $10,000 and includes two additional years of warranty, a couple of programs to operate with and adding wireless capability to the city buildings.
  3. They could have bought computers cheaper.  Having worked technology and bought many a computer for both business, school and individuals, I can tell you that cheap and technology do not often go together.  A decent laptop costs more than the iPad.  Yes there are cheaper laptops but the Yugo was a cheap car too.  It wasn’t worth the cheap price either.  Also portability was a high priority and laptops are a hand or armful for some.  Netbooks are more cost competitive to the iPad, but quality, screen size and speed do not match iPad.  The school system uses netbooks for students and while they can stay powered a long time (with the additional purchase of a larger battery) they do not seem as reliable as hoped.  The school system spends a considerable amount on repairs due to both student misuse and reliability problems.  The small keyboards are hard to type on and keys seem to come off too easily.
  4. They just don’t need them – they are just a toy.  As I have expanded, they will pay for themselves and save money in the long term, they should last 4-6 years and make city and council operations more effective and efficient.  Some people said the same things about home computers and cell phones and now most can’t imagine life without them.

The final decision to use iPads has not been made.  We will test the system with a couple of iPads and have some of the council members test them.  Only after that test will a final decision be made.  If the iPad doesn’t do what we expect, we will not spend the money and look to other technology to do the job.


A reminder that early voting ends this Saturday at 4:00pm.


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