A new mayor, a new alderman and two returning aldermen — all winners in the recent city election — were sworn into office Tuesday night before a standing-room-only crowd of friends, family and supporters.
“I’m deeply honored to be elected by the citizens of Kingsport and very honored to serve with the men and women on either side of me,” said Mayor Pat Shull, minutes after taking the oath of office.
During the May election, Shull and his supporters went to the homes of thousands of Kingsport residents, making the pitch as to why Shull should be the Model City’s next mayor. On Tuesday, Shull said when he went door to door, several citizens mentioned they didn’t know how much the mayor got paid.
“It’s not very much ... $250 a month,” Shull said. “Why bring that up? Because in the truest sense, these folks who are elected to serve with me are volunteers. They give up a lot of their time, spend their own money to go to meetings and attend events and we ought to be proud they’re wiling to serve.”
Incumbent Tommy Olterman, Alderman Darrell Duncan (who served on the BMA two years ago) and newcomer James Phillips were also sworn into office, each standing with their spouse and other family members.
Then, as their first official action as a new board, the BMA unanimously selected Alderwoman Colette George to serve as vice mayor.
IN OTHER BUSINESS
— The BMA approved two contracts totaling almost $1.6 million with W-L Construction and Paving for the city’s fall paving projects. The work will be performed in two sections of town: the West View neighborhood (upper Sevier Terrace) and three roads in the Cooks Valley/Fall Creek community.
The West View paving will include the streets bound by Stone Drive, Interstate 26, Fairview Avenue and Virgil Avenue. The remainder of the work will take place along Harbor Chapel Road from Memorial Boulevard to just past Skyland Lane, the city’s portion of Hemlock Road (with Sullivan County paving its portion) and Fall Creek Road to the Fort Patrick Henry bridge.
— The BMA voted 5-2 to enter into an agreement with AEP to relocate power lines to the other side of Main Street. Shull and Alderwoman Jennifer Adler voted against the measure. As to their reasoning, Shull said he received no positive comments about the issue from the public during the campaign; Adler because it locked up $170,000 of the city’s aesthetic funds for the next 20 years.
Kingsport is planning to rebuild and improve Main Street from Sullivan Street to Clinchfield Street, and moving the power lines was seen as one way to improve the area’s aesthetics. The rebuild is expected to begin next summer.