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Downtown loading zone and overdue sewer bills get solutions

[MARCH 24, 2004] 

Reserved parking raises hackles

Last week the city voted to zone a parking space on Broadway Street as a loading zone reserved for trucks picking up and delivering. The request for that came from Action Rental. The business is moving to the corner of Broadway and Kickapoo streets.

With the move to that location, owner Roger Matson said that his business will be receiving several large truck deliveries each week. Off-street parking to load and unload trucks would be preferable. Years ago when the business was a Kresge it had a parking space designated for just that purpose.

The council recognized that there is limited parking downtown and businesses are affected in multiple ways by this limitation. They also recognize that trucks blocking traffic on a downtown street create a traffic hazard. This business was saying they will have a lot of truck traffic. The council agreed to mark the space.

Since then some downtown merchants have contacted alderman to say they want to use that space for the same purpose for their businesses.

Verl Prather said, "Now, we all kind of expected this." There had been discussion that other businesses would want the same thing. He then clarified that there was nothing put with that vote that said only Action Rental can use that parking space for deliveries and pickups. He said he saw the space as a downtown loading and unloading zone that any business nearby can use for the same purpose.

At the recommendation of the city attorney, Bill Bates, the council will clarify by vote that the space is not for the exclusive use by any particular business.

A better means of sewer bill collection

A new state law gives the city more power to collect on sewer bills. It also makes collection simpler and will lower the collection expense.

 

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Previously the strongest course of action the city could take was to dig up the sewer line to the house. This was not always a viable option because many times the location is a multiple-dwelling residence. Removing the sewer hookup would affect others living in the same building who are paying their bills.

Digging was also a large expense. It cost the city to dig it up and it cost residents to reinstall the sewer lines.

Now the city can put more pressure on sewer bill deadbeats through an agreement with the water company. For a fee the American Water Company will shut off the water at a residence. Water shut-off can be more targeted because many of the same multidwelling residences have just one sewer line but have separate water connections.

When water is shut off it creates a public health risk to the occupants, as toilets can't be flushed and so on. Then the building and codes inspector, Les Plotner, will be forced to issue an eviction notice.

Warning to delinquents: Pay your sewer bills or pack your bags.

Cab fares

American City Cab is requesting that the city raise cab fares in light of escalating fuel costs. Forecasters are predicting $2 per gallon gasoline by summer. The cab company says that at the current increasing rate they will not even cover costs.

It has been more than 2 years since fares were raised.

The matter will be discussed at a future workshop.

Guests at the meeting on Monday included Lincoln Community High School seniors Alex Davis and a foreign exchange student named Andreas from Germany.

The next city meeting, a voting session, will be on Monday, April 5.

[Jan Youngquist]

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