RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
MEETING OF COUNCIL
Mayor Goudy called the City of Union council meeting to order on June 9, 2008, at 7:30, Monday evening.
Attendance was taken and the following council members were present: Mr. Bruns, Mrs. Terry, Mrs. Kyle, Mayor Goudy, Mr. O’Callaghan, Mr. Blackwell, and Mrs. Perkins.
Other city staff members present were John P. Applegate, City Manager, Denise Winemiller, Clerk of Council, Joe Moore, Law Director, and Michael Blackwell, Public Safety Director.
Mayor Goudy asked for a moment of silence.
1. Mayor Goudy asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes from the May 27, 2008 council meeting. There were no corrections so Mr. Bruns moved that the council minutes be approved. Mr. O’Callaghan seconded the motion. Mayor Goudy and Mrs. Perkins abstained and Mr. Bruns, Mrs. Terry, Mrs. Kyle, Mr. O’Callaghan and Mr. Blackwell voted for the motion. The minutes of the May 27, 2008 council meeting were accepted as prepared.
2. Citizens and Visitors Comments
Mr. Gergasko said he wanted to thank the city for helping resolve the drainage problem in his yard.
Mr. Applegate said they recently had six inches of rain and he had checked Mr. Gergasko’s back yard at 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and considering the amount of heavy rain, he said the improvement was working very well.
Mayor Goudy thanked Mr. Applegate for his assistance in coordinating the work done for Mr. Gergasko by the developer, Sam Knobler, the contractor, and the property owner.
John and Ann Daniels from Wichendon Farm asked if the city had a noise ordinance. They said that a property nearby was having parties that could go until 1:00 in the morning.
Chief Blackwell said the city did have a noise ordinance and residents could call any time a noise was disturbing them. It did not just have to be late at night.
Mrs. Daniels said she had called the police two weeks ago concerning a party in the area. She said there is also a property that plays loud music.
Chief Blackwell said they could come out and talk to the offenders every time that the Daniels have a complaint. He said if they would want to charge the people, they would have to sign a complaint for Vandalia Court.
Mrs. Daniels said she would sign a complaint the next time it happens.
3. ONE READING – ORDINANCE 1449 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 909 – CUTTING OF WEEDS; REMOVAL OF LITTER AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
Mr. Applegate said this ordinance was concerning the height of grass. He said that the city is sending notices out to lending institutions on foreclosed properties when the grass reaches eight inches tall and not getting a quick response. The staff is requesting a height of six inches instead of eight so they can get the grass cut sooner and keep up the appearance of the property. He said a recent ordinance passed in another location treats this subject as a misdemeanor and people can be jailed.
Mr. Bruns said that the city is treating this as an emergency so they can get it passed and get the grass cut on the properties.
Mrs. Perkins disagreed with passing the ordinance as an emergency.
Mr. Applegate said this ordinance would be considered as a benefit to the health, safety, and welfare of the city. He said if they would have three readings of this ordinance, summer would be over before the ordinance would be in effect. He said residents wanted the yards mowed and that this ordinance needed to be put into effect as soon as possible.
Mrs. Perkins said they were talking about only two inches. Mr. Bruns said the city could not send a violation until the grass reached eight inches, and then if the notice had to go to a bank, it would take another two weeks before it could be mowed. At six inches, the process would be started sooner and the grass would be mowed before it got too high. Mr. Bruns added that if the city passed this ordinance in three readings, the third reading would be July 14, and the ordinance would be in effect in thirty days, which would be August 14.
Mrs. Perkins said that passing items as an emergency concerned her and she would like more background when something is being passed as an emergency.
Mr. Bruns moved that Ordinance 1449 be declared an emergency for the reasons set forth in the ordinance. Mr. O’Callaghan seconded the motion. Mrs. Perkins voted against the motion and the other council members voted in favor of the motion. The motion was passed and Ordinance 1449 was declared an emergency.
Mr. Bruns then moved to have the one and only reading and adopt emergency ordinance 1449. Mr. O’Callaghan seconded the motion. All concurred and emergency ordinance 1449 was adopted.
4. Open agenda
Mayor Goudy thought the clean up on the corner of State Route 48 and Old Springfield Road looked very neat and tidy and she thanked the city staff for their work.
Mayor Goudy then read a thank you note from Lynne Thomas-Roth to the city emergency crews for their efficient response during her accident.
Public Safety Director Michael Blackwell addressed a letter that the council had received at the last council meeting written from Roger Dilts, a Union resident, to the City of Union Fire Department, concerning what the Union fire department had accomplished since the passage of the fire/ems levy.
Chief Blackwell said that there were five items that the fire department had wanted to accomplish with the levy. Those items were: purchasing a new fire engine, purchasing a new ambulance, expanding the existing firehouse, increasing the training of personnel, and purchasing new equipment. Chief Blackwell said they had already completed four out of the five items.
A new ambulance was purchased in 2005. The firehouse expansion was completed in 2007. In the last three years, Chief Blackwell said they have exceeded training standards for the department. They have also spent $20,000 to $25,000 on turn out gear and protective gear for the fire department.
The only item not completed is the purchase of a new fire engine. Chief Blackwell said that was already in the works. They have applied for a new grant to purchase a fire engine and should be notified if they receive the grant sometime between July and October. He said they do not want to commit what they will pay for a fire engine until they find out the amount of the grant. The Chief added that they did not want to purchase the fire engine until the firehouse was expanded, and that was completed in fall, 2007.
Chief Blackwell said the fire station personnel are highly trained and they receive a lot of thank you notes and phone calls about what a good job that the fire department is doing.
Mr. O’Callaghan asked if the current fire engine is satisfactory and Chief Blackwell said no one is at risk due to the current equipment.
Mrs. Kyle said she understood about the Ordinance being passed as an emergency. She said someone in her area had only mowed his property three times and a neighbor had called. She believes the ordinance should be passed as an emergency.
Mr. Applegate said that they were expecting to start paving Phillipsburg-Union by July 23, 2008. He said the sidewalks and curbs have been completed and they are starting to restore the yards. The paving will finish this project.
Mr. Applegate said he agrees with the information provided by the City’s Public Safety Director. He said that the city keeps their word. Mr. Applegate said they would not have wanted to purchase a new fire engine until they had room for it in the expanded firehouse. He commended the Chief for being prudent in applying for grants, which would make their money go that much further.
Mr. Applegate said they were proud of the fire station and that progress is being made and they will get everything done.
5. Mr. O’Callaghan moved that the council meeting be adjourned. Mr. Bruns seconded the motion. All concurred and the council meeting was adjourned.
Denise A. Winemiller, Clerk of Council
Michael O’Callaghan, Vice Mayor