Loudon City Council accepted Tim Brewster’s immediate resignation Monday.
Although Brewster was absent, City Attorney Kris Frye read a provided statement.
“Dear mayor and council, it has been my honor to serve the people of Loudon as a member of the city council,” Frye read from the Brewster statement. “Due to private health reasons, I am unable complete my term and ask the council to accept my resignation from this office effective immediately.”
Council voted to accept the resignation and declared Brewster’s seat vacant. Councilmen Johnny James and Tim Dixon motioned and seconded, respectively, and the measure passed 3-1. Councilwoman Tammi Bivens was the lone opposing vote.
Bivens said she voted “no” simply because she wouldn’t support any council member’s resignation.
“There’s no opposition, nothing ugly about it all,” Bivens said. “I just wouldn’t support any of these guys to resign.”
Jeff Harris, Loudon mayor, said he was informed Monday about Brewster’s decision.
“We appreciate the value he’s added to council and regret that he feels like he’s at this point,” Harris said. “I asked him if he felt like he could serve the next 16 months and he didn’t feel like he could do justice to the position, felt like his concentration needed to be on his health and what all lies in front of him with that. He wanted to dedicate his attention to that and I get that and I respect that.”
Brewster’s term is set to end December 2022.
“Our charter says we have to fill it within 20 days or hold an election and that gets expensive,” Harris said. “We looked at the calendar, our attorney (Kris) Frye and myself, we looked at the calendar counting 20 days falls on our workshop date so we’re going to put it on the agenda to workshop it and then we’ll call a special called meeting to fill that seat based on how the workshop goes. Someone will have to nominate a replacement and we’ll have to vote on that nomination.”
Harris said he hopes for a candidate familiar with the city’s recent activities.
“We got a lot of projects going on,” he said. “Naturally, they’re not going to be as informed as we are, but someone that’s involved and knows kind of what’s going on, and they’ve got roughly 15-16 months to kind of catch up.”
Brewster could not be reached for comment by News-Herald presstime.
“I appreciate his service and spending the 2½ years we had together on the board,” Dixon said. “… We’ll look at that, at all angles, and I’m sure there are going to be people coming out of the woodwork wanting that position. We just have to look at it and make the best choice we can make.”
Council passed on first reading increased pay for future city council members and the mayor.
Dixon and Bivens motioned and seconded, respectively, for the pay raise. The vote passed 4-0.
Harris said the salaries, which go into effect December 2022, will be $400 per month for council and $800 per month for mayor.
“Tim Brewster sponsored that because it hadn’t been raised in 20 years or longer,” Harris said. “I don’t know if it’s ever been raised. I think it was still set at what it had originally been set at. I can just speak from the mayor’s point of view, I spend a lot of time in filling this role, and it certainly will help compensate for the time spent. If you do the job effectively you’re going to have to spend time doing it.”
“We are one of the lowest paid city councils in the area,” she said. “It has not been increased in several, several years. It’s time. There’s a lot of work that goes into this, more than people see. It’s more than just coming to a meeting and it’s more than coming to a workshop. Our mayor, for one, does a tremendous amount of work for the city and he definitely deserves that money. I don’t want it to be seen as a reason for people to run just for the funding of it, but that’s still not a lot of money when you consider that it’s for the entire month. It’s still not a lot of money but it is a lot of work and it deserves to be increased a little bit.”
In other news, Loudon City Council:
• Authorized acquisition of property on Watt Cemetery Road for infrastructure by condemnation.
• Passed on first reading a change that will stagger elections.
• Authorized first reading for a hotel/motel tax up to 4%.
• Passed on first reading an ordinance regulating the use of compression braking devices.
• Recognized Billy Rolen, Mark Harvey and Kenny Ridings for their city service anniversaries.
• Approved an $18,298.25 bid from Rogers Petroleum Inc., for the purchase of fuel.
• Passed a resolution authorizing the transfer of $1.68 million to Loudon Utilities Board as a grant for infrastructure. The money comes from a $1.58 million federal grant and an additional $100,000 in local funding.
• Donated $500 to Loudon High School for the Battle of the Bridge food drive for Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County.