Chillicothe City Council members discussed a few new ideas and ordinances during their regular meeting last night (Monday) at City Hall.
Six of the seven new paid-by-call firefighters were presented before the council. Paid-by-call firefighters are not full-time firefighters, but underwent the same training process. Training included a written exam, practical test, criminal record and background checks, medical, physical and drug examinations, oral interviews with the officers and individual interviews. Most of the newly-hired firefighters have expressed a desire to be full-time, according to Fire Chief Darrell Wright.
There was a public hearing to consider an ordinance to vacate a portion of the alley between Woodward and Jefferson Street. Two property owners have property adjoining this alley, and would like to consolidate the lots into one for usage. Planning for this began a month ago, and it has been fully advertised. No negative comments were received by the council, and utilities, fire and police departments were all contacted with no issue. Because of this, councilmen unanimously approved the passing of the ordinance. It is effective immediately.
Street Commissioner Barry Arthur appeared before the council to discuss purchasing a new street sweeper for the city. Arthur claims the current street sweeper, purchased in 2010 for $127,909 is referred to as a “parking lot sweeper” by street department crewmen due to its lack in power. The sweeper, which runs in the spring, summer and fall, has difficulty picking up material from the gutters, and does not have the power to pick up large sticks or gravel off the streets.
Arthur said he would like to purchase a 2013 model street sweeper that the department has tested on the Chillicothe streets. He said the newer model has a larger gutter broom, a wider sweeper and will run at a greater power without using as much fuel. With the lease-to-own option, combined with a trade-in of the older street sweeper, the machine would cost $110,000. Council members reached a consensus to pursue looking into leasing and budget options for paying for the sweeper.
The last big discussion of the evening regarded the potential reduction of the speed limit on U.S. Highway 36. For MoDOT to consider the speed limit change, they require two things: a formal request for the reduction in the City Council’s minutes, and specific starting and ending points for the reduction.
Each council member offered opinions on the matter, stating what they believed the speed limit should be, and the boundaries of that speed limit reduction. Most councilmen agreed to a speed limit reduction of 55 miles per hour, but Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas said it should be reduced to 45 miles per hour, and stated that it should be between the easternmost and westernmost bridges surrounding the city limits.
MoDOT will have the final say on the matter, and if the speed limit reduction is decided upon, they will also determine the exact location of the speed limit signs and warning signs for the reduction. Councilmen have been assigned to drive the Highway 36 stretch in-between the city limits, and asked to come to the next meeting with their written opinions on the starting and ending points to the reduction, as well as what the reduction in speed should be.