The board approved a $1.6 million bond to be placed before voters. The money will be used to expand and improve the water system along Route O.

The City of Laurie’s monthly Board of Aldermen meeting was short, but much was accomplished. Chief among items on the docket were three separate ordinances that all unanimously passed. One of those ordinances was to put a bond issue on the April 2018 election ballot.

The board approved a $1.6 million bond to be placed before voters. The money will be used to expand and improve the water system along Route O. Originally comprised of three phases, the full expansion would run from the Laurie Care Center to Eagle Avenue. The new infrastructure would increase the line size from 4-inch line to 10- or 12-inch line.

This would allow more growth in both commercial and residential projects, and allow for the placement of fire hydrants.

At the August board meeting, Professional Engineer Matthew Vandertuig, who put together the plan on behalf of Bartlett and West, Inc., walked the board through the highlights of the study, beginning with the point that the last two Master Plan updates had recommended this water line improvement.

It was also at this meeting that Vandertuig recommended the board do away with the phases and go for one large project in order be secure funding for the project, instead of waiting on the year-to-year availability of grant money.

At last month’s meeting, the board had considered a cheaper and less-effective option to the expansion. It was determined that the option was little more than a temporary solution that would not meet the full needs of the area. At a special meeting held on November 20, the board finalized the bond request and approved the ordinance to be drafted.

If the bond issue does not pass, Laurie will be unable to proceed with the project. This could potentially impact future growth projections and cast the Master Plan into doubt. If passed, the expansion project will be implemented as soon as funding is procured.

Old Business

The meeting began with the clearing-up of old business from last month’s meeting. The municipal court transfer to Versailles is nearly complete. City Clerk Ron Clarke informed the board the only items left to do are wrap up accounts payable and clear a few tickets. They will hit their deadline of December 15 for the closing of the court. Court proceedings will begin anew on February 22, 2018 at the Morgan County Courthouse.

The long-running post office issue also had some good news: The Post Office had placed a callout for local businesses to place applications for hosting a Contracted Postal Unit. Mayor Allen Kimberling said that after everything, he would like to see a rapid response.

“After all of the letters we wrote to our representatives and all of the complaints we received, I think we shouldn’t have any problem finding a willing business to host it.”

Ordinances

Two other ordinances were passed by the board. One was confirming the 2018 budget for the city. Clerk Clarke told the board it was basically the same as last year’s though he added slight increases to the insurance, police vehicle maintenance and water testing budgets. He also removed the Court Clerk expenses due to the court dissolution and some redundant income items that were no longer in existence.

The third ordinance was to amend the zoning of two plats in the Big Creek Plaza Subdivision, a move approved by the Laurie Planning and Zoning Commission. The plats had originally been zoned as having an orientation of North/South, but were in reality oriented East/West. 

False Alarms

Laurie Police Chief Mark Black approached the board to request a new fine be implemented for serial offenders triggering false alarms at residences and businesses. The board questioned him on the need for the fine, asking him how frequently they occur and around what times.

Chief Black informed the board that the police department responds to at least five false alarms a month, occasionally as many as 10. The chief told the board that when they get an alarm call, they respond to it as if it is an emergency situation.

“It’s most often in the morning when a business opens or in the evening when they close. It’s usually businesses, but sometimes it’s a residence. We have a few repeat offenders.”

When asked if he had discussed the issue with the offenders, Chief Black responded that it is discussed every time they respond to a false alarm, and that it seems to result in a lack of training or lack of understanding of the alarm system.

In a letter provided to the board, the chief stated that “The risk involved for the officer(s) or public is too great in the event an accident occurs while responding to the alarm or a homeowner or business owner is mistaken for someone that is not to be on the premises.”

Chief Black outlined a fine model based on similar fines he has seen being implemented in other cities. City Attorney Andrew Renken told the board that this model could be based off of a nuisance ordinance and implemented quickly. The board approved the ordinance to be drafted.

Other Business

The board approved the installation of a Free Little Library at the Hillbilly Fairgrounds. Parks and Events Coordinator Susan Huff recommended installing it on the side of the cabin in the park. The board agreed, and the library was approved.

A water leak at the Indian Rock Golf Course resulted in an unusually large bill, which was requested be waived. The board approved a forgiveness for $395.52 due to the fact the leak was quickly found and repaired..

Huff reported that the Enchanted Village of Lights was going well, and that they are ahead of last year in both donations and sponsorships.