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HomePoliticsClarksville City Councilperson Brian Zacharias’ Ward 1 Newsletter, February 17th, 2022

Clarksville City Councilperson Brian Zacharias’ Ward 1 Newsletter, February 17th, 2022

Written by Brian Zacharias
Clarksville City Council – Ward 1

City of Clarksville - Ward 1Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville City Council met last night to take up some of the items that were on the agenda for the regular session that could not be held due to weather.

The meeting was short, only lasting about 30 minutes, as most of the items were non-controversial and had already passed the first reading in January.

The remaining items from the Planning Commission will be taken up at the special session scheduled for February 22nd.
 
The item that generated the most discussion was a resolution to amend a budget ordinance that, among other things, increased funding for repairs to the Smith-Trahern Mansion. A member of the council submitted an amendment to remove an increase of $135,000 to the budget for repairs to this building.
 
There is some concern that the building is turning into a money pit, where the city puts money into repairs with little return on its investment. During the meeting, Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts explained that the building’s foundation and some seals around windows were included in the list of repairs that need to be done to the building.

Ultimately, I voted against the amendment to remove the Smith-Trahern funding out of concerns that $135,000 in repairs could turn into even more expensive repairs if they are not performed. The resolution passed.

Nobody likes spending money on upkeep and would rather use that money for upgrades or improvements. I want to say that I agree the city should be proactive in the creation of a future plan for this building. Unfortunately, maintenance is part of the cost of ownership and this building is owned by the City of Clarksville.

As such, I believe we have an obligation to maintain the city’s property to keep this historic site from becoming dilapidated. A few members of the council seemed to express support for actively looking for a private party who may be interested in purchasing the property. I think that is an interesting idea and would be very interested in exploring that option.

Click the link below to read about the Smith-Trahern Mansion on the Historical Marker Database:

Smith-Trahern Mansion

Parking Downtown

There has been a lot of discussion about recent changes to policies and pricing of downtown parking. The Parking Commission held a meeting yesterday afternoon during which they heard from several people who were concerned about things they had been hearing on social media.

Afterward, the city’s communications department issued a press release, which I have included below:


Parking Commission temporarily suspends ParkMobile daily transactions

Members will reconvene during a special session to analyze rate

Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville Parking Commission voted to temporarily suspend ParkMobile daily transactions, effective Tuesday, February 15th, 2022 during a monthly parking commission meeting held at the Crow Recreation Center.

In the agenda, City Parking Manager Michael Palmore brought up concerns from the public about ParkMobile transaction fees after he previously made the operational decision to have ParkMobile charge $1.00 an hour for unlimited hours.

“The current price structure ParkMobile has does not support the price structure we have for our downtown meters,” Palmore said. “In all transparency, I made the decision to have ParkMobile change the rate to $1.00 an hour, which is cheaper than what our community pays at the meter.”

Currently, the downtown meters charge 25 cents for the first hour and 15 minutes and $2.00 for each additional hour with a daily max of four hours. Essentially, a customer would be paying a total of $6.25 for the limited four hours. This rate was the rate that existed before the City adopted the ParkMobile app.

The ParkMobile app charges $1.00 an hour for unlimited hours, plus a 35 cent convenience fee for each transaction. For example, if a customer wanted to park for four hours, they would practically be paying $4.35.

[320oleft]”I do want to apologize to the Parking Commission for making the change without consulting with them first,” Palmore said. “When you do the math, ParkMobile seems like the better option in terms of fees and convenience; however, I now realize that rates need to be discussed and approved by the members of the Parking Commission.”
 
The Parking Commission will hold a special session within the week to discuss the ParkMobile daily transaction rate and to determine if any changes are needed from a collective standpoint.
 
The temporary suspension does not affect the ParkMobile monthly transactions; customers can still pay for parking garages and can continue to use metered on-street parking spaces.

Calling All Ward 11 Residents!

Although this newsletter is primarily for residents of Ward 1, I know there are many people who live outside the ward who subscribe. On March 3rd, residents of Ward 11 who wish to apply may appear before the City Council to apply for the Ward 11 vacancy. The mayor will then call a special meeting for the council to appoint Ashlee’s replacement.

Only those applicants who appear at the March 3rd meeting and make known their intention to apply to fill the vacancy will be considered at the special called meeting. I highly encourage anyone who meets the criteria and is interested in taking a larger role in local government to apply.

Voter Registration

The Ward 1 election cycle falls during mid-term elections, which historically sees lower voter turn-out than elections where people have the opportunity to vote for the president. The last time the residents of Ward 1 voted for their city council representative, 956 voters chose the representative for a ward of almost 12,000 residents.

Getting to the polls on Election Day is the only way to guarantee you have a voice in choosing your representative. Since our last election, the nation has conducted its 10-year census and our city’s wards boundaries have been redrawn to account for shifts in population. As a result, many residents may find themselves in a different city ward, school board, county, or state district. It is important that everyone who intends to vote in primary or general elections ensures they are registered to vote.

The State of Tennessee has made it very easy to register to vote online, either through its GoVoteTN website or through the GoVoteTN app on your smartphone. Click the button below to visit the GoVoteTN website, or search Apple’s App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android) for the GoVoteTN app. The process takes less than 10 minutes and guarantees your voice is heard in upcoming elections!

GoVoteTN

Schedule an Appointment

I want to hear from you. My phone number and email address are public, but I am learning that there are times when a face-to-face meeting would be more appropriate, depending on the issue.


If you would like to discuss an issue facing Ward 1 or Clarksville in general, please use the form linked below and we can schedule a meeting. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible!

Schedule a Meeting

Local Tax Rebates for Eligible Residents

At this month’s executive meeting, Montgomery County Trustee Kimberly Wiggins explained several tax relief programs for residents of Clarksville and Montgomery County. Seniors, disabled veterans, and those receiving SSA or SSI benefits may be eligible for tax relief or rebates from real estate and wheel taxes. Please click the buttons below for more information!

Tax Relief for Disabled Veterans and Widow(er)s of Disabled Veteran Homeowners

Tax Relief for Elderly or Disabled Homeowners

Income-based Wheel Tax Rebate for Seniors

Past and Future Votes

Transparency in government, especially local government, is extremely important to me. At any time, anyone can click the ‘Votes’ button to see my complete voting history as well as ordinances and resolutions on the City Council’s agenda for consideration in upcoming meetings.

Votes


What Has Your Councilman Been Doing?

  • February 3rd, 2022 – City Council Regular Session (Canceled – Inclement Weather)
  • February 7th, 2022 – Neighborhood & Community Services Committee Meeting
  • February 15th, 2022 – City Council Special Session

What Is Your Councilman Going To Be Doing?

  • February 22nd, 2022 – City Council Special Session
  • February 22nd, 2022 – Finance Committee Meeting
  • February 24th, 2022 – City Council Executive Session
  • March 3rd, 2022 – City Council Regular Session
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