Council okays Streetscape Ordinance
Town of Bath Council passed Ordinance 2007-05, Creation of the Streetscape Committee as a Separate Entity, at the August 7 meeting.
The ordinance empowers the Streetscape committee to make financial decisions pertaining to the streetscape project. The committee will report monthly to town council and account for all expenditures.
The ordinance stipulates that town council must be involved in all financial decisions that require expenditure of taxpayer monies.
The ordinance also empowers
the Streetscape Committee to create
subcommittees "to allow for parti-
cipation of members of the community with specific expertise or a vested
interest in a particular aspect of the project."
The Streetscape Committee had sought the passage of the ordinance in the interest of continuity because the project will last beyond the term of the present council and several future councils.
Recorder Garnet Marsh said any plans the Streetscape committee makes must be approved by the state Department of Highways and Office of Historic Preservation.
Smoking ban discussed
Tamme Marggraf told council that since the smoking ban has taken effect, the streets and sidewalks are being littered with cigarette butts. This started a discussion by council of smoking ban issues
Mayor Susan Webster wondered if a municipality, such as the Town of Bath, is tightly bound by the letter of the law.
As the law is written, smokers must be a minimum of 15 feet from a building. Councilman Kenny Easton pointed out that standing 15 feet from most buildings in town would put you in the middle of the street.
Webster wondered if the law could be modified by a municipality. She said she would consult with an attorney on the issue.
Councilman and Chairman of the Finance Committee David Crosby said the town's budget is already in trouble. Crosby foresees a shortfall for the fiscal year of $30,000 to $40,000.
The insurance cost for town employees increased by $12,000 a year after the budget was completed and approved. In addition, the town needs to buy a new garbage truck.
The town has two garbage trucks, but one is beyond repair. The working truck needs a new air conditioner and has an oil leak. The cost for repairs is $1,300.
Crosby estimates the cost of a new garbage truck at $100,000. Comvest, LTD Inc., a lease to buy company, quoted Crosby a five year loan at 5% interest that would cost the town $23,000 a year.
Councilman Scott Merki questioned the need to buy a new garbage truck. He said it might be more practical to buy a used truck.
Town Clerk Margie Allgyer said the first thing to go on a garbage truck is the compressor and that buying a used truck is asking for trouble.
Webster asked David Crosby to see if any local banks could offer a low interest loan.
Another unexpected expense is the replacement of the town's fireproof document safe. The current safe is lined with asbestos that is flaking off and causing a health hazard.
Allgyer, who researched options, said the cheapest solution is to purchase two fireproof filing cabinets rather than a new safe. Council approved the cost of $4,000.
Chief Water Operator Terry Largent reported to council that the town's water pumps are no longer running at capacity. Instead of pumping 750,000 to 760,000 gallons a day, Water Works is pumping between 700,000 and 721,000 gallons per day.
Largent said the change is not great enough to lift the water moratorium. He said there are still leaks out there that have to be found and fixed.
Looking ahead, Webster asked Largent to make a list of areas beyond the recent water line replacement project that need the most work.
"We need to start planning for the next project," Webster said.
Councilwoman and Committee Chair Nancy Harvey received an outline from Municode of Florida, the company that is rewriting the town's code book. She asked council to look over the outline and make corrections or suggestions.
Harvey suggested a modification to the ordinance that prohibits the riding of bicycles and skateboards on town streets. She said that a citation should be imposed for a first offense. A second offense within a year should result in confiscation of the bicycle or skateboard.
Easton pointed out that you can't give a citation to a minor and suggested that language be included to issue the citation to the parent or guardian.
Harvey also suggested an ordinance be written to prohibit debris such as old refrigerators, stoves, inoperative cars and other junk from cluttering private property.
Marsh said the ordinance should give the owner 30 days to comply or the town would clean it up at the owner's expense.
Discussion of the draft dog ordinance was tabled until the next meeting.
Webster and Allgyer were scheduled to attend the Municipal League conference in Charleston August 9 – 11.
Easton and Merki were to drive to Buchhannon to look at surplus state vehicles the week of August 13. Council authorized them to spend up to $5,000 to purchase a new pickup truck.
Chief James Minton will attend Officer Richard Haynes' graduation from Police Academy in Institute on August 23.