KNOXVILLE — The Knoxville City Council accepted the resignation of council member Craig Kelley during a meeting July 17, the second resignation from the council since March.

Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch said a few comments about Kelley’s resignation, thanking the former mayor and long-time community advocate for everything he has done recently and his entire tenure of being involved with the city.

“Craig is a very helpful guy he has done a lot for the community,” Hatch said. “He has been very influential. Craig has been a great person in the community.”

Council members then moved on to discussed filling the vacant seat for the remainder of Kelley’s term. His term would have ended Dec. 31. There is only a small period of time before the November election, Hatch said, adding that he felt it was important to keep the process simple and make a decision as quick as possible to appoint a new council member.

Hatch said the City Council had already gone through the interview process in March when Dawn Allspach-Kline resigned from the council. After Allspach-Kline’s resignation, the council had narrowed down the pool to two applicants before eventually appointing Megan Suhr to fill that vacancy.

The second choice at the time was Dylan Morris, Hatch said. One option for the council would be to appoint Morris to the open seat after Kelley’s resignation. Hatch mentioned this may be optimal since Morris has already been through the interview process.

“Another option would be to open it back up to the public for interviews again,” Hatch added. Although he said he does not think there would be enough time to go through the entire process of public notice and interviewing for the vacancy.

Council Member James Lane said he felt that for the sake of fairness and consistency in the process that the council has done, that they should follow the same process again.

Council Member Rick Kingery, said he has had a lot of people contact him in the last month showing interest in running for a council seat in the November election.

“It’s not just the people already interviewed,” Kingery said. “Their may be other interested candidates.”

After discussion, the council chose to keep the process consistent and publish the vacant position and hold interviews in early August at a special meeting.

In other business, the council approved in a 3-1 vote a resolution to re-allocate $5,000 from Knoxville Living funds to the new community organization called “THRIVE Knoxville” after some discussion. The funds will be used for event planning in the community by the organization.

Kingery was the lone vote against the resolution, and he expressed his concerns saying that other organizations are struggling for volunteers and money. Kingery said by creating another community group, it will merely stretch resources further.

Hatch replied to Kingery, saying that THRIVE could potentially bring benefits to the community.

“I thought Knoxville Living was a great step for us. I feel like this is the next step in the right direction,” Hatch said. “I love everything [THRIVE] is talking about. I think it will be great and I am excited about it.”

The council also passed a resolution for Paws and Pals Dog Park’s to establish a new lease agreement.

Knoxville City Manager Aaron Adams asked the council to consider listing a property at 705 S. Seventh St. at a list price instead of taking any offer that comes through the door.

Adams said the city has about $17,000 invested in the property, and for the city to make up some of the cost, he would like to see it listed. Adams said he spoke to a real estate agent who said a fair market value for the property would be $15,000.

The council eventually approved setting a list price of $17,000 for the property.

— Ethan Goetz covers the Knoxville City Council for the Journal-Express. He is also a staff writer at the Pella Chronicle. He can be reached at either newspaper, or via email: reporter@pellachronicle.com.

Ethan Goetz is a general assignment reporter for the Knoxville Journal-Express. He can be reached in the newsroom at 641-842-2155, ext. 19, or via email at reporter@pellachronicle.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ethan_Goetz.

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