Safety on Republic council’s mind

REPUBLIC – Mayor Bruce Lambert presented an initiative to improve public safety at Republic’s village council meeting Monday evening.

Lambert said there are “numerous amounts” of trees blocking views at intersections, and inquired of council how it wanted to address the expense of correcting the problem. He offered two alternatives, council bear the cost or follow the village code and compel the landowner to trim them. The code indicates limbs must be 10 feet above sidewalks and 12 feet above the road surface.

Lambert said this is a safety risk for the village, and may be legitimate to use funds from the General Fund. Councilman Kevin Thompson suggested the cost come from the Street Fund because the safety risk involves the streets that. He said notices could be placed on utility billings stating the landowner must trim the problem areas or the village will do it.

The question of using street money and the possibility of using a tree service that recently did tree trimming is being reviewed by Village Administrator Crystal Hoepf and fiscal officer Monique Delaney.

Lambert suggested council look for money to care for trees that have fallen or are ready to fall, threatening power lines. Delaney plans to inquire if Electric Fund money may be used for this purpose.

Lambert said emergency sirens in the village are confusing for residents. He said he suggested to county officials the sirens only be used for storm warnings. However, Hoepf said some local firefighters have told her they want the sirens kept to ensure they hear them over cutting grass or other activities.

Lambert said recently the siren sounded twice for the squad, then a tornado alert and then the all clear, causing confusion. He said they need to convince emergency management agency officials “they don’t need the confusion.”

The discussion prompting council to pass a resolution ensuring a letter be sent “strongly requesting this be addressed.”

Police Chief Don Holmer discussed locations of two stop signs. surplus radios that were sold to fire department for $600 and fire signs will be cleaned to make more visible.

Thompson reported drivers are “blowing through” stop signs in the areas of state routes 18, 67 and 162. Council members discussed additional signage, and Lambert said they can’t legislate or “sign” away distracted driving. Hoepf said a 35 mph sign on SR 18 just past Van Buren Street will be changed to 50 mph reflecting the actual limit.

Holmer was asked by Lambert to explore the rules and regulations for inoperable cars in the village as he has seen many. Holmer said if they don’t have current tags they should be “tarped” or put in a barn. Holmer plans to gather more information.

Councilman Jeff Moyer and Lambert worked during the village clean up Friday and said they were disappointed at some residents who seemed to save up material all year to discard during the clean up, and about the amount of recyclables disposed of as trash. Council members agreed they should rethink the event which carted away more than 100 cubic feet of items. Lambert plans to work on new rules and regulations.

Lambert answered one question regarding a community garage sale, stating there was not one organized this year. He said it would be great if someone stepped up to organize it but it is not a function of government to do so. He also stated recent tree removals that left tree stumps would have to be removed by the homeowners.

Council voted to support continued condemnation by the county health district regarding property at 210 Center Street, owned by Frank Brickner. The property was originally condemned April 26, 2012.

Lambert suggested the village seek an agreement with the Lions Club on funding for electrical use at the park and other activities. A new concession stand was constructed by the Lions Club and is requiring new electrical service. Hoepf will research equipment needed for this.

Hoepf reported the fence project around the brush drop-off area has begun and soon will have temporary signage. Plans are to have the site open by appointment by telephoning village hall. She also stated that CROSSWAEH clients have been deemed not workable for painting fire hydrants but Boy Scouts are still being discussed.

Delaney reviewed the estimated budget for 2014. She explained the General Fund will have lower revenue due to the drop in traffic tickets and pay-out in unemployment benefits. It was estimated $77,500 would be income for 2014 with $38,000 budgeted for the police department.

The next meeting will be 6:30 p.m. July 1 at village hall.