With Buddy Massengill acting in place of Mayor Ben Hickman, who was absent from Tuesday's meeting, the council made a motion to approve two building permits from the codes of enforcement office.
Councilman Larry Adkins questioned codes enforcement officer J.C. Meredith on why they were passing the permits now since one of the buildings on the permit list was nearly completed.
“It's just a formality,” said Meredith. “I was there when he (the builder) first started, it's not really a big deal.”
Councilman Ronnie Carter disagreed, saying it could be a big deal. Adkins asked what would happen if the council was to receive and pass a permit that the building inspector hadn't done yet.
Meredith responded by saying that hasn't happened yet.
“I know it but it's that ‘yet,'” said Adkins.
Meredith said he would try to see to it that things be done better. Councilman Dewey Morgan told Meredith it wasn't so much as a matter of doing, it was a matter of going by the law. Meredith agreed.
After Adkins asked the burning question of what would happen if the council voted a permit down, Meredith revealed that the council “really doesn't have anything to do with it.”
Safety director James Pursifull explained that over two years ago, the inspector requested that the permit approvals be added to the agenda out of courtesy.
“They just want the council to be informed best they can,” said Meredith. “I sort of roll with the flow of the people. So far, we haven't had it jump off the track far enough to be a problem.”
In other matters, councilman Morgan wanted to make a clarification about the annexation discussion.
Morgan wished to make it clear that it was not Ambleside itself he believed the city should annex but an undeveloped piece of property that was adjacent to the city and Ambleside.
Morgan said he was not satisfied with city attorney Robert Bowling's findings because he did not give the information he asked for and added he could clearly understand why the people of Ambleside would not want to be accepted into the city.
“They are not wanting to pay taxes but at the same time, they are wanting us to be a good neighbor, but for us to be a good neighbor, they must be a good neighbor,” said Morgan. “They want all the goodies and they don't want to pay for them.”
Morgan said he still believes a good amount of money could be made off the undeveloped property if the city was to annex it. He said it was the developers' responsibility to build the homes, the streets, the sewer lines, and the lights.
“The $12,000 figure (amount stated in Bowling's findings) is not all the income - expensive houses have to have expensive insurance,” he said. “The insurance premiums themselves would bring in tons of money.”
Morgan said he would like to know how many ambulance runs, fire calls, and police runs are done to the Ambleside area. He also wanted to know if there has been any agreements with any insurance agency - that promises the residents of Ambleside they will be taken care of.
Morgan also suggested Bowling be directed to get the correct information on the undeveloped property and it's pros and cos for the city if it were to be annexed.
Moving on to the spirit of the season, councilman Randy Ball said he wanted to thank all city departments for an outstanding job this year.
“I think we are lucky to have exceptional people like we do,” said Ball.
He also thanked all the homes and business in and around the city who decorated for Christmas, adding how festive everything looks with all the lights.
“You can feel the spirit of Christmas here in town. I personally would like to wish everyone in town a Merry Christmas - not a happy holiday. Bing Crosby wasn't dreaming of a White Holiday, Elvis didn't dream about a Blue Holiday,” he said. “I just believe that it's Merry Christmas and it's been Christmas all my life. We've had a good year in the city.”