Watertown mourns alderman, prepares to replace him

Jared Felkins • Aug 22, 2018 at 5:01 PM

The Watertown City Council honored Alderman Tom Nix who died recently and made plans to replace him on the council. 

“He always had a joke or a good story or a song,” said Mayor Mike Jennings. “It’s a sad time for all of us. We are thankful for Tom Nix and what he did for this community.”

Nix died July 19 at Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon. He was 76. 

Nix was a 1959 graduate of Watertown High School and retired from Robertshaw Lux Clock Co. after 25-plus years. He was a member of the Watertown Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder and song leader. He was a Watertown city alderman in his third term. 

He is survived by his wife, Emily McKinney Nix, daughter, Mary Elizabeth Nix, and several other family members. 

Emily Nix was also at Tuesday night’s council meeting and expressed her gratitude. 

“I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone in this room,” Emily Nix said. “It has shocked me the support we have received. We thank you.”

Jennings said the council would likely vote on a replacement alderman to serve the remainder of Nix’s term at its next regular meeting Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Watertown Community Center. He said in the meantime, a call for interest would be made for anyone interested in serving as an alderman. The council will receive nominations, and the person who receives at least four votes will serve as alderman. Jennings said the requirements to be an alderman are the person must be at least 21 years old and have lived in the city limits for at least a year. 

In other business, DTC president Chris Townsend and Brent Adcock brought the council a proposal to buy a 100-by-100-feet piece of property at the intersection of Tennessee Boulevard and Purple Tiger Drive for $30,000 plus closing costs to allow DTC officials to build a small building to house fiber and electronics. DTC was recently awarded a federal grant to provide high-speed internet access to rural residents, and the building is part of the project, which Townsend said the telecommunications company invested about $2 million in the project. 

“We have been working feverishly,” Townsend said. “We have only two years to do it. We have gotten down to the engineering design.

“We firmly believe in being a good community partner. I hope we can buy this property.”

Townsend said the project doesn’t include Watertown residents due to Charter service already available, but residents on Linwood Road and in areas between Lebanon and Watertown would be able to get DTC high-speed internet when the project is complete. 

The council approved sale of the property and will retain first rights to buy it back if it became available in the future. 

The council also approved its budget for the upcoming fiscal year and set a special-called meeting for Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Watertown Community Center to consider it on final reading. The property tax rate was also set at .8822, which didn’t change. 

Wastewater manager Dale Smith presented a bid to the council to buy a data system that would alert him via text message if there were problems at the treatment plant. In past years, the city had problems with overflow at the plant and is currently working toward state-mandated upgrades. 

“I think it would be a very good thing,” Smith said. “It will send us a text message and has its own website where anyone with a code can go in and check the status.”

The cost of the system is $5,000 for installation and $360 per year for the monitor service. 

“It’s really desirable to have something like this,” said Alderman Katie Smith. “If you check it every 12 hours, a lot can happen in that amount of time.”

The council also amended its brush pile access to also include the second Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. until noon. At its last meeting, the council limited access for residents to bring and dispose of brush to Wednesdays from 8 a.m. until noon. The Saturday access is in addition to Wednesdays. The brush pile is limited to only limbs, leaves and other organic waste. 

The council’s next regular meeting will be Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Watertown Community Center. 

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