Monday, April 20, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

City: Siren to move from City Hall to safety complex; salvage, switch and save planned for lift station; and more

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[April 20, 2009] 

DonutsEmergency sirens will move from City Hall to safety complex

The emergency warning siren on top of City Hall is no longer functional. Considering the new roof that will hopefully be going on the building soon, the council had discussed placing a new siren on Hamilton Street. Fire Chief Hulett told the council that plan is not going to work.

There has been a verbal agreement with the Logan County Safety Complex saying that the siren can be placed on their roof.

An intergovernmental agreement has been drafted by the city attorney's office and will be forwarded to the state's attorney. If it meets with county requirements, it can be signed by the city on Monday, the county on Tuesday, and the siren can be erected by the end of next week.


Dan Fulscher of the emergency management agency and Hulett both agree that with the storm season approaching, this needs to be done as quickly as possible.

Singleton lift station is failing quickly

David Kitzmiller, wastewater treatment manager, said that the Singleton lift station is not going to last much longer. With the heavy rains last week, crews are going to the station on the average of every four hours trying to keep it running.

Kitzmiller wants to spend $5,000 for a temporary pump that will keep the station going until the council decides on a larger-scale plan involving moving the old Kmart lift station to Singleton. Kitzmiller said that this was only a temporary fix and that eventually, one way or another, the Singleton lift station would have to be replaced.

Because expenditures less than $10,000 do not require a vote, Alderwoman Marty Neitzel, who chairs the wastewater and sewer committee, told Kitzmiller to proceed with the temporary fix.

Kitzmiller also said that he had heard from Donohue & Associates regarding the plan that he and city engineer Mark Mathon had developed for sewer improvements along Woodlawn. The plan includes a new force main near Malerich Drive, removing the Kmart lift station and taking it to Singleton, and closing sewer lines running south of Woodlawn Road along Lincoln Parkway to Fifth Street. Donohue estimated that the project costs would reach $350,000 to $400,000 by completion. Kitzmiller reminded the council that this would resolve the Singleton problem and in the long run would save the city money.


Logan County Emergency Telephone System

At last Monday's meeting, the council voted to renew their intergovernmental agreement with the Logan County Emergency Telephone System Board for the coming year, beginning May 1.

The ETSB agreement requested that the city pay a total of $148,439.55 for the centralized dispatch services. This constitutes a 5 percent increase over the current year.

Fulscher came before the council last week to express his appreciation for the vote. He also said that he wanted to explain the increase. He cited that the ETSB staff raises for this year would be 2.5 percent and that insurance and workers' compensation had seen increases that need to be covered.

In addition, the ESTB is requesting an additional $12,000 this year for their software contract. The New World software package was purchased using grant funds. The first year of maintenance and service to the software was free, but now there is an annual fee of $36,000, which would be divided among Logan County, the city of Lincoln and 911.

Fulscher explained that the annual agreement provides all upgrades to the software, eliminating the need for any future purchases.


Route 66 Association Motor Tour

The downtown courthouse has been selected as a stop for the bicentennial Route 66 Motor Tour on June 13.

A letter from Geoff Ladd of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County requested closing off parking spaces surrounding the courthouse. The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club would have a car show between 2 and 6 p.m. that day.

No street closing would be associated with the event.

City attorney Bill Bates told the council that the parking spaces on the interior of the square were under county jurisdiction.

Sign ordinance is completed

On Tuesday evening the ordinance committee met to go through the final draft of the new sign ordinance for the city of Lincoln.

Alderwoman Wanda Lee Rohlfs had e-mailed copies of the ordinance to the council so all that had to be done in committee was to note changes and discuss any issues.

One major change is that people failing to comply with the city ordinance regarding signs will be fined $100.

City attorney Bill Bates said that the original penalty of $10 was really not worth the effort and expense of taking violators to court. Alderman Dean Henrichsmeyer said that if the city was going to have a penalty, "it should have some bite in it." The council agreed and changed the figure to $100.

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Auto Sales

New language has been added regarding commercial banners and pennants. Those types of signs will have rules for temporary use as well as permanent structures. Rohlfs said that she had thought about these, and they needed to fall under the same rules as regular signs, so that the city could be held harmless if one of them fell and damaged a vehicle or person on the sidewalk.

The committee's work on the ordinance is now completed. Bates will review the 22-page document, assure that it is written with proper legal language, correct any errors or inconsistencies, and make sure that the ordinance numbering is correct and sequential.

The vote on this ordinance will be placed on the next Monday's agenda. Bates said that his portion of the work can be completed by then. Alderman Verl Prather said that he understood, but felt that because he and Rohlfs were leaving office, they wanted to see it on the agenda as complete before their term ended.

Council hears a letter from Logan Correctional Center

Logan Correctional Center wrote to the city, requesting help in obtaining signs that would serve as directional markers for correctional center staff in the event of a prison escape.

The letter states that in updating their procedures for a command center for a critical incident, there needs to be a plan for manning the community. The signs would be placed throughout the community as markers to assist staff members in finding their proper locations.

Tracy Jackson, street and alley superintendent, provided the Department of Corrections with contact information for the Department of Transportation. However, IDOC's attempts to contact IDOT have been unsuccessful.

Jackson said that he was willing to contact IDOT on the prison's behalf and request the signs.

Police Chief Stuart Erlenbush said that he found this request disturbing in several ways. First he said that if IDOC has a critical incident plan, it should be able to offer training so that prison staff would know where they are supposed to go.

He added that IDOC should share the plan with city police and the county sheriff, and that hasn't happened.

The council requested that Erlenbush contact IDOC and discuss this plan and the request before they move forward.

Discrepancies in bond ordinance

Alderwoman Melody Anderson said that she has been reviewing the bond ordinance for the city, which requires that certain elected officials and department heads be bonded.

She explained that in comparing the ordinance to the actual bonds that have been issued, there is a discrepancy. For example, the mayor is not currently bonded, but the ordinance requires that there be a $3,000 bond on that city official. She said that some positions requiring a bond of $3,000 have only $1,000, while others have a bond of $3,000 when the ordinance requires only $1,000.

She also stated that the bond required for the city clerk is only $5,000, while office staff is at $10,000. She said that she feels like the clerk needs to be bonded much higher: at least $50,000, if not $100,000.

The council advised Anderson to bring the current bonds in line with the ordinance for the time being. Then, at a later date, the council will look at changing the ordinance, increasing and decreasing requirements as needed.

License for scavengers does not need to include a sticker

The city has an ordinance allowing scavengers to purchase a license for $10. With the license, the scavenger receives a sticker that they can place on their vehicle or carry with them. The sticker costs the city $5. Anderson said that the city ordinance doesn't say anything about the sticker, and the city clerk's office has checked into it and found that these stickers are at the city's discretion.

The council will vote on whether or not to continue issuing the stickers. An alternative might be to offer additional copies of the license, perhaps in a smaller version that can be carried or taped to a vehicle window.


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