Amber Tatterson was chosen from two nominations to succeed Billings as clerk, and she will be sworn in as treasurer at council’s regular meeting on Monday, July 13 at 7 p.m.
Council member Marshall Bonecutter moved to accept Billings’ resignation. He was seconded by James Bowles and the motion passed unanimously. Billings was appointed mayor on June 11 after Mayor Leonard “Buster” Riffle announced his resignation, which was effective June 13.
Later in Tuesday’s meeting, council held discussion on appointing Billings’ successor. Billings asked for nominations, and Gary Cotton then abstained from voting and left the meeting. Linda Smith nominated Tatterson and was seconded by Barbara Brown. Sam Juniper nominated Elva Cotton, the wife of Gary Cotton, but there was no second.
Billings then asked for further nominations. Robert Doeffinger moved to close nominations, with Smith seconding. The motion passed 8-1, with Juniper dissenting. Tatterson’s nomination was approved 8-1, also with Juniper casting the dissenting vote.
In other action, council accepted a response drafted by a committee to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District’s April 2008 inspection of the city floodwall, which recommended maintenance to some areas of the structure.
Council was made aware of the corps’ concerns by Riffle at his last meeting as mayor on June 8, and council appointed a committee of council members Bonecutter and Bowles, and Street Commissioner Willie Call, to check the floodwall and respond.
“We are aware of and are addressing the issues,” Billings said, stressing that the floodwall is safe and the corps’ concerns have become more paramount since the failure of New Orleans levees after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Bonecutter passed around photos of the floodwall to help council understand the situation. Bill Park moved to accept the response and was seconded by Gary Cotton. The motion passed unanimously.
Council also approved, on a motion by Juniper and seconded by Doeffinger, extension of the sewer improvement project in the city with the state Division of Environmental Protection, with completion now set for June 30, 2010. The motion passed unanimously, and Billings said he spoke with Sewer Superintendent Bruce Chapman about notifying DEP of the move Wednesday.
Council also learned that the state Public Service Commission issued a final order on objections to the city’s sewer rate increase issued by Henderson Mayor Jack McCoy.
The PSC upheld the rate hike and denied exceptions raised by McCoy.
“The rates have been reviewed and adjusted by staff and determined not to be discriminatory,” the PSC ruling reads. “Therefore, the staff-recommended rates should be approved.”
The city adopted an ordinance increasing the sewer rates in December 2008. On Jan. 2, McCoy filed an objection with the PSC “alleging that the ordinance discriminates against sewer customers (in Henderson) because 75 percent of the proposed sewer rate increase has been designated to address a combined sewer overflow problem to which (Henderson) allegedly does not contribute.”