Loudon City Council unanimously approved Monday the second and final reading of a 4% hotel/motel tax, agreed to stagger elections and gave the go-ahead for salary increases for future a council and mayor.
Councilwoman Tammi Bivens motioned and Councilman Tim Dixon seconded the tax.
The move brings Loudon in line with Lenoir City and Loudon County, which already have a hotel/motel tax, Jeff Harris, Loudon mayor, said. The tax will go into effect Jan. 1.
Council also voted unanimously on second and final reading to have staggered elections starting in 2022, which keep all of council from facing election in the same year.
Bivens and Dixon motioned and seconded, respectively, for staggered elections.
Two council members will face election in 2024 and the other two in 2026. In Loudon, voters elect a mayor and four council members to govern the city.
Harris suggested if all of council members face election at the same time, it’s possible they could all be replaced at once, taking away all the experience they might have on a project.
“We need some continuity,” he said.
The decision required a change to the city charter, which in turn required approval by the Tennessee General Assembly. State legislature in Nashville has approved the change.
Staggered elections will start with the 2022 election. Two council members will first serve two-year terms and two will serve four. Candidates will decide when they pick up nominating petitions whether they want to serve for two years or four, Harris said.
After the 2022 election, two members will be elected to four-year terms every two years.
Council also unanimously agreed to raise the salary of the mayor and council members starting after the 2022 election.
The proposal came from former Councilman Tim Brewster and was based on the amount of time it takes to serve the city, Harris said. Salaries hadn’t changed in about 20 years.
The salary for the mayor and council members was set at $200 per month in 2001, according to a document given at the city council meeting.
Under the ordinance change, the mayor will be paid $800 per month starting Dec. 1, 2022, and council members will be paid $400.
Bivens motioned and Dixon seconded for the change.
In other business Monday, Loudon City Council:
• Unanimously authorized by voice vote engineering services for proposed harbor improvements of Steekee Creek, where fuel pumps, courtesy docks for boats and possibly a new boat ramp could be added.
• Unanimously authorized the purchase of a six-camera Flock Safety Camera System that could cost $15,750 and be used to track “potential bad actors coming through our community,” Ty Ross, Loudon manager, said.
• Unanimously approved the purchase of 23 self-contained breathing apparatuses and supporting equipment for Loudon Fire Department using grant funding of about $169,000 from the Department of Homeland Security and a local match of $15,664.