Council honors Bowen

Xavier Smith • Mar 20, 2018 at 7:10 PM

The Lebanon City Council honored Lebanon police Officer Joseph Bowen on Tuesday as his family attended the meeting.

Bowen died earlier this month when his truck ran off Highway 70, into an embankment and into Smith Fork Creek. Bowen, a five-year veteran with Lebanon police and 10 years of law enforcement experience, left the Lebanon Police Department around 6 a.m. following an overnight shift.

He was driving to his home in DeKalb County.

The council presented Bowen’s family with a proclamation in his honor and voted to retire Bowen’s No. 16 badge from the department so “lasting memory will forever be emblazoned on the badge he wore protecting and serving the City of Lebanon.”

The council also approved an ordinance to start a scholarship fund Bowen’s children. The city will donate $5,000 to each fund to start the scholarship through Liberty State Bank.

The council also voted to reject project bids for the West Side Park after bids came back higher than the city’s budgeted funds for the project.

The council approved a loan agreement for up to $5 million for the park in 2016 after Councilor Rick Bell and his family donated 15 acres for the park adjacent to the Hamilton Springs development.

Lebanon Public Works director Jeff Baines said the lowest of three bids for the project came back at about $5.9 million, with the other bids more than $6 million and $7 million.

 Baines said a group including Bell, Lebanon Parks director William Porter and consultants discussed possible removals from the project to get the possible total number close to $4.3 million.

“The work you guys have done to get this under budget really has cut a lot into what the task force created and what the citizens expect,” Bell said last week. “Our hope was to build the entire thing for [$4.2 million]. Now, we’re talking about building half of it for [$4.2 million], and I just don’t think that’s a good idea, because that’s not what people expected. That’s not what our goal was.”

The group also approved an annexation and zoning and plan of services request from Ginger Dorris, Edward Bailey and Swingley and Smith for 266 acres of land at 6775 Hickory Ridge Road, 2385 Martha-Leeville Road, 780 Highway 109 N. and 6775 and unaddressed property on Hickory Ridge Road in the Leeville community.

Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash’s motion to lower the allowable density failed for the lack of a second.

The annexation request received scrutiny since it was first introduced last year, and residents continued their pushback against plans Tuesday night, as they voiced concerns about the annexations impact on traffic, infrastructure and schools.

The Lebanon Planning Commission will still hear building plans in the future.

The council sent the requests back to the Lebanon Planning Commission in December due to concerns over the project.

City planner Richard Donovan said the worst-case scenario is the project would generate about $1,500 worth of property tax a year for the city, with an estimated cost to serve it just less than $1 million, resulting in a 621-year payoff.

Mike Wrye with Lose and Associates represented developers during the December meeting and disputed the figures, noting they did not take into consideration potential fees and sales-tax revenue during and after construction.

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