Dick Gee's response to questions from Candidate Forum
These are the responses from Town Council member Dick Gee to the questions from the candidate forum on Sept. 9. As many of you probably know, Dick was out of town on a long planned trip. Obviously he was unable to respond to some of the discussion which occurred at the forum. In addition, there were several questions at the forum which had not been previously given to the candidates, so the questions here will vary slightly from the previous transcript.
1. Do you support preserving and protecting over two hundred acres of Signal Mountain parkland by granting a conservation easement on these lands to the Land Trust for Tennessee?
I am opposed to the conservation easement proposal. I don’t believe that it is necessary to relinquish any town rights to a third party in order to adequately protect the property in question.
2. The town requires all businesses to appear before the DRC for signage approval. Do you support this process? If not, how would you change it?
I support a process that would allow a business to install a sign without appearing before the DRC as long as it meets the standards described in the sign ordinance. DRC would approve variance requests. Violations would be cited by the building inspector.
3. Do you think the Signal Mountain budget is too fat, too skinny, or just about Right? If you don't like the current expenditures, specifically which ones would you change and why.
I believe the town budget is appropriate, and adequate to maintain the level of service and quality of life expected by the majority of our citizens.
4. What is your position on the repaving of Signal Mountain Blvd. and the future of the trolly tracks?
I voted in favor of the current project which includes replacing the trolley tracks. I was persuaded by the input from citizens who were overwhelmingly in favor of retaining the tracks. I have no regrets.
5. Where do you see the MACC in the future and will the town play at part?
I think MACC is becoming the social and cultural gathering place of the town. You can see a play, or be in a play. You can see a concert or be in a concert. You can visit an art gallery, or take art lessons. You can learn to play a musical instrument, dance a jig, or get some exercise. You can meet with the Garden Club of Signal Mountain or the Lions Club. You join in the celebration of the Christmas season. And you can do all these things and more in the most historically significant building in the town. I think MACC has a very bright future.
6. What are your views on the relationship between Signal Mountain, Walden and Hamilton County?
I’m not aware that there are problems. I know the SRO issue came up in the forum, and although I believe the town is justified in its position, communication could have been better. However. I believe that was an exception. Generally I would rate relations as good.
7. How would you support and assist the businesses on Signal Mountain? And be specific.
It’s pretty hard to be specific to such a broad question. I would suggest the Business Association put together a proposal of the ways the town could help. Make a presentation at Council meetings. Maybe we create a task force. But this not a question of what the town can do for businesses. This is a question of what we can do together.
8. The businesses have asked for holiday decorations for years. Other communities surrounding us have this to support the businesses. Why doesn't our town council do the same?
I have been on Town Council for 4 years, and I’ve never heard anyone or any organization propose expanded Christmas decorations beyond the Christmas Train, which is a collaboration between the Town and the Lions Club. I’m not opposed to additional Christmas decorations.
9. What is your position of the SRO officer and our schools?
I have to say that I regret the need for police officers in our schools. However today's parents have convinced me that they are not only useful but essential. Our specific situation at SMMHS is this. Who pays the bill? I could be persuaded that the Town should contribute, but I do not believe the Town should bear the entire cost.
10. Do you feel the plan for a catastrophic event on Signal is in place? Do you propose any changes to this plan?
I have enormous confidence in our emergency responders. They are dedicated and well prepared. They have capable and experienced leaders. We are prepared for all the disasters one would expect to occur on Signal Mountain. Plans are reviewed and updated regularly.