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Chris Dorsey

Tim Thornbury, who has been serving as the city's interim public works director since City Manager Chris Dorsey fired former director Wayne Hamill in June, was appointed to the position Monday.

"I've been very happy with his performance as interim director," Dorsey said Tuesday. "He's already done a great job handling storm debris removal, the new softball field construction and just general oversight of our public works forces."

Dorsey had cited conflicting goals and philosophies for the department as his chief reason for firing Hamill. He said he still is working on restructuring public works.

Thornbury has worked in the city's Public Works Department for 27 years. His new salary will be $60,597, according to city Finance Director John Alexander.

In his first address to the City Commission as director, Thornbury announced Tuesday that the city will have close to 90 percent of its storm-related expenses from the April 27 tornadoes reimbursed from FEMA and state funding.

Between labor costs, contracts with cleanup crews and brush disposal, Red Bank spent $149,407 in recovery efforts. The city will have to pay only $18,675 of that out of its reserve fund, Thornbury reported.

"I think that's fantastic. We were talking about it costing the city over $100,000 at first," commented Commissioner Greg Jones.

Thornbury also noted that the city would be reimbursed 75 percent for its costs related to the Feb. 28 tornadoes, meaning the city foots a $6,206 bill.

During the meeting, commissioners -- absent Commissioner Floy Pierce -- voted unanimously to approve two business-related initiatives.

The first is a measure to allow property tax incentives to lure big businesses to the area. The PILOT -- payment in lieu of taxes -- agreement will freeze a prospective business's property taxes to a "pre-development" level, excluding them from future tax hikes.

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Monty Millard is Red Bank's mayor.

"This will put us in a unique position in that we may really be able to incent business to come to Red Bank, hire employees and pay them decent wages," said Mayor Monty Millard.

There are three main factors that determine if a business is eligible for the PILOT agreement, Millard said after the meeting: the number of jobs it brings to the area, the average salary of its employees and the company's total capital investment.

It will also only be applicable to new businesses or businesses planning major expansions in the city, Millard said.

The council also unanimously approved a "brownbagging" ordinance in hopes of regulating a practice most commissioners didn't seem to realize was already legal: bringing liquor or wine into a restaurant to drink with a meal.

City Attorney Arnold Stulce explained that because the city passed its policy allowing liquor by the drink in restaurants, the city no longer had the authority to cite someone for bringing liquor into an establishment.

"I can go into Hardee's right now and brownbag ... and the city can't stop me right now," Stulce said. "If you pass this ordinance, you have set out a standard."

The ordinance will essentially create a process for an establishment to obtain a permit for brownbagging, similar to the beer board licensing process, according to Dorsey.