(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves) [Order this photo]
"Effective October 13, 2010, I will be resigning as Alderman of the Town of Bell Buckle," stated the letter, "It is with mixed feelings that I make this announcement. I hope that it is clear to everyone that the Town, its well-being, and that of its citizens are all factors that, to a large degree, affect how I live my life. Bell Buckle is, and always will be, my home, and I have great pride in having served, to the best of my ability, as a caretaker of all it represents.
"Lastly, I would like to express my appreciation for the time and care that you, as well, have invested in protecting our jewel that is Bell Buckle."
Anderson did not attend what would have been his last meeting as an alderman.
"He wanted to come, but he had to work," said Alderwoman Jenny Hunt. She later expressed her appreciation of the work he has done for the board and the town.
"I would like to state that James Anderson was one of the best public officials," she said. "He will be missed."
She said before the meeting began that Anderson wanted more time with his family.
He is remaining on as the chairman of the parks and recreation board, but alderwoman Annie Rooney asked if there had to be a member of the board of mayor and aldermen serving on the parks board.
"I'll have to look into that, but I don't think so," said Webb.
Anderson's resignation posed a problem for the board -- an empty seat to fill.
"A lot of people don't realize this, but alderman is one of the few positions that the mayor can't appoint," he said. "It has to be the board."
Hunt moved to accept former county commissioner Edwina Chilton, who served from 1994 to 1998. Rooney seconded the motion and with no other nominees, Chilton won the seat by acclimation. Webb said she would serve until the next election.
Chilton, an environmental engineer working at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, said she was honored for the opportunity and hoped to be bale "to fill James' shoes."
"I will be honest and fair and do the best I can do," she told the board.
She will be sworn in at the November meeting.
Chilton is married to Ron Smith, who works at The Webb School, and they have a 15-year-old daughter, Chilton Smith.
Those who feel they have suffered property damage or too-high water bills in Bell Buckle because of the water problems and flushing may not be able to get reimbursed by the town. Webb told the board he has received a legal opinion from MTAS that was looked over by town attorney Greg Perry.
"There exists no statutory authority for the City of Bell Buckle to offer adjustments to consumer utility bills due to excessive flushing cause by water quality issues," stated the MTAS opinion. "The City of Bell Buckle has an arguable defense against breach of contract claims seeking damages to personal property."
"They spelled out there was no liability," said Alderman Frank Reagor.
Based on what MTAS and Perry had to say, "We should resist those claims," said Webb.
The mayor stressed that the matter would be handled by legal counsel. He said town recorder Janet Robinson would be compiling a list of those who have made claims and will present it to Perry who is currently out of town. Webb said any calls that come in about the matter will also be referred to the town attorney.
"It's out of our expertise," said Webb.
* Water supervisor Ronnie Lokey told the board three major leaks and two smaller ones had been identified, and the water loss, with the flushing added in, is at 24 percent, down from last month's 31 percent.
Inspections have also looked good for the beleaguered water system. Lokey said a recent TDEC inspection was passed with a score of 98 percent and the new line on the Wartrace-Bell Buckle Road passed inspection and is now in use. All of the bacterial tests have tested negative for coliform. The flushing will continue, he added, until the water quality issue is resolved.
* The newly formed Bell Buckle Water Board will meet at 4 p.m. today for the second time to discuss ways to do that.
The board approved expenditures of approximately $12,500 for needed equipment repair or replacement at the treatment plant, including a new mixer at $4,628.77,a bid awarded to Fox Brothers.
* Rooney reminded everyone the Webb Art & Craft Show is this weekend and the preparations are well in hand. She said the Chamber of Commerce hopes to bring back its Halloween festival next year.
* Katherine Strobel's resignation from the parks board was announced and Russell Faxon was appointed to take her place. Alderwoman Hunt reminded everyone that there would be a free concert at the new amphitheater Saturday evening after the Webb Art and Craft Show.
* Webb told the board that a resident has asked the city to file an insurance claim. The man told Webb leaking waterlines near his house have caused the chimney to pull away from the main structure.
"I'll turn it in and let the insurance people deal with it," said Webb.