By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Grayson city council moved to approve a request for a Memory Days street closure, and continued with traffic ordinance clean-ups, during their regular meeting last Tuesday.
Council was late to start, with the mayor absent and only three of the council members – Pearl Crum, Sudy Walker, and Terry Stamper – present at the meetings outset.
Without a quorum, they were ready to adjourn with discussion only when councilman Troy Combs walked in just as Stamper was ready to call a vote to end the meeting. With a quorum now, council moved forward, with Combs presenting a request for a street closure on behalf of the Memory Days committee.
Combs requested the closing of Pomeroy Street, between Main Street and Second Street, for the duration of the event – from Thursday, May 26 through Sunday, May 29. The reason for the closure request is so food vendors can have a dedicated area to set up during the event. The closure will begin at Noon on Thursday and run through 10 p.m. Sunday night.
Walker made the motion, with Combs seconding, and council members present voting unanimously in favor of the temporary closure.
In other traffic related action, council continued with code clean-up related to ordinances that are no longer enforced and passed a new ordinance related to traffic citations.
Council moved to adopt ordinances repealing two unenforced ordinances from the 1980s. The first was the repeal of an ordinance from 1980 that prohibited left turns off of Main Street onto Hord Street. With the location of the courthouse, that law made it difficult for people coming from West of Grayson to access parking for the building. Though it wasn’t enforced any longer for that reason, it was still on the books until council voted to remove it.
The second ordinance repealed, from 1986, required drivers living in the city to purchase and display a city sticker on their vehicle. That ordinance also hasn’t been enforced since the city quit selling the stickers, but was never removed from the books.
Council’s final item related to traffic didn’t add any new regulations, or remove any old ones. What it did do was extend authority for enforcing existing traffic infractions to the code enforcement department.
Police will still be responsible for most traffic enforcement. What this ordinance does is allow the code enforcement officer to issue citations for offenses where a citation is sufficient. This will allow the code enforcement officer to, for instance, issue traffic citations in relation to other enforcement action he is taking on a property without pulling police officers away from other work.
Though Combs expressed some concerns about the code enforcement officer having the authority to have an automobile towed, after further discussion council voted together to approve the measure on a motion from Walker.
Council also discussed a request from the fire department to consider an ordinance requiring all new large scale construction to install a “Knox Box” – named for Fort Knox – with keys to their building. These boxes, which are installed on the outside of a building, or in the interior of the building with exterior accessibility, have a limited number of access keys which are distributed and available only to the local fire chief or other emergency responders. In emergency situations fire fighters can access these boxes and obtain keys to the building instead of having to break down a door. This not only saves time, but it can also save the property owner on costly repairs – especially if the call is a false alarm or in situations where a medical emergency is occurring rather than a fire.
While council expressed some concerns about liability if they required a property owner to install these boxes and then they were accessed by non-authorized personnel, fire chief Greg Felty emphasized how secure the boxes are as well as how tightly access to the keys are controlled.
Council requested city solicitor Jason Greer look into the issue and draft a sample ordinance for council to consider.
Though it was on the agenda, no action was taken on the proposed ordinance regulating blighted and abandoned properties within city limits.
Council’s final action of the evening was to approve a loan for the purchase of a 2020 F-550 for the street department, and authorizing the mayor to sign the loan documents on their behalf. The department ordered the vehicle over a year ago, and has been waiting on delivery.
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