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City eyes tweaking open container rules for downtown events

City eyes tweaking open container rules for downtown events City eyes tweaking open container rules for downtown events

Carrying open containers of alcohol at community events in the downtown area will soon require special council approval.

At Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, council members recommended approving an ordinance change that will require council action to allow waiving of open container rules during things such as street dances in the downtown area.

According to city clerk Ashley Lemke, the issue came up with Old School Saloon looking to bring back holding a street dance on Main Street this summer. In researching the permit requirements, Lemke said the city rules referenced the requirement for the city council to pass a resolution allowing open containers in the public spaces. She reported in researching this, she could not find any time when there was a formal resolution passed.

She proposed that instead of a resolution, the ordinance be changed to allow for simple council approval of a request. She is working on developing a permit form for event organizers to fill out requesting the change similar to the fireworks request permit.

She noted that this is primarily for downtown events such as the Grass on the Black Bluegrass Festival, street dances and the Chair Affair and does not impact public or private events held in the city park areas.

Sidewalk repair

The red boulevards along Hwy 13 will be turning black.

City Streets/Water superintendent Jason Viergutz requested council approval to replace the decaying redcolored concrete in the boulevard, between the curb and the sidewalk along Hwy 13, with black asphalt.

He explained the concrete is rapidly deteriorating especially on the west side of 13 and south of the Allman roundabout. The area collects a large amount of salt and sand due to plowing on Hwy 13 in the winter months.

He said as they fix sections of sidewalk in the area, they would like to replace the red concrete with blacktop and do long enough stretches at a time so that it did not look bad.

Cost is the primary driving factor in choosing blacktop over concrete. Based on this year’s bid prices, a yard of concrete has a cost of $123 plus the cost of buying the bags of red powder to color it. By comparison, hot mix asphalt averages around $70 per ton.

The colored concrete was installed when Hwy 13 was rebuilt in the area about 12 years ago.

Council members voted to recommend replacing the red concrete with blacktop along Hwy 13. This would not impact the road islands or areas around the roundabouts which are maintained by the county under contract with the state.

Voting machine

Use of the city’s electronic voting machine has been increasing to the point where there are lines of voters choosing to use that over filling out preprinted ballots.

According to Lemke, about 35% of the voters in the spring election used the city’s two Express Vote machines. The Express Vote machines print the voter’s selection onto the blank ballot paper which is then inserted into the DS200 machine which tabulates the ballots. Lemke noted that the blank ballots can be purchased in bulk and kept from one election to another, while she must estimate the number of preprinted ballots needed each election for those using the paper ballots.

Lemke also noted the advantage of the electronic machine is that it will not allow cross party voting in primaries or multiple votes for a single race, which are some of the most common voting errors.

Lemke requested the city spend $3,950 to purchase an additional Express Vote machine. With the machine there would be an ongoing cost of about $180 per year for hardware and firmware upgrades, this amount would be added to the election budget line item. The city currently has $9,606.15 in the non lapsing election account and Lemke recommended the money for the new machine come from that budget.

Lemke noted that the additional machine will particularly come in handy during the spring elections where voters vote by ward, which makes estimating the number of pre-printed ballots a challenge.

In other business, council members:

  Recommend hiring Huotari Construction to build a $33,000 addition to the east side of the pool building to create a separate boiler room for the pool heater. The addition will measure 12 feet by 14 feet, City coordinator Joe Harris said the current boiler is operating on borrowed time and in looking to replace it in the future it would be better if it was in its own space rather than being with the pool chemicals. The existing boiler is estimated to be more than 20 years old. Funds for the project will come from the federal ARPA grant the city received.

  Were reminded that a special brush collection will take place in the city on May 11 and 12. The collection is due to the severe winter storms this season which caused a lot of broken branches and trees around the city. Homeowners should place their brush by the curb area for collection.