New squad car on hold, golf cart changes

Marianne Gillespie

Forms of transportation dominated the Chillicothe City Council meeting Sept. 12.

For Chillicothe policemen, police and fire chairwoman Judy Cantwell motioned that the council buy and paint another squad car.

Ultimately she ended up rescinding the motion to pay Miles Chevrolet Inc. $22,933 for a 2011 Chevy Impala police vehicle.

She said with only three cars left at the state bid price, she thought the city should go ahead and buy one.

Alderwoman Sandi Levell asked why the council was buying the car from Miles?Chevrolet in Decatur instead of Riverside in Chillicothe, saying the city needs to buy locally. Mayor Troy Childers Sr. echoed her sentiments.

“It’s still something that we need to think about because we need to support our local businesses,” said Childers. “Absolutely,” added Cantwell.

Aldermen recalled sometimes buying a squad car from Riverside, but also from Miles as well. Office Manager Denise Passage said the last one the city purchased from Riverside, which purchased the vehicles from Miles.

Acting Police?Chief Rich Mark said even if the car was bought from Riverside, it would be sent from Miles.

Also in dealing with squad cars, the council approved paying Blankenship Visual Impact $2,879 for the retrofitting of a 2010 vehicle for the K-9 vehicle. The current K-9 squad car, a 2005, has been “nickel and diming us to death,” said Cantwell. She expects the newer vehicle to last as long as the city has its current K-9 dog, Gosh.

Also traveling on city streets are golf carts, and the council approved one change to its golf cart ordinance and had a first reading about another.

Judicial chairman Danny Colwell said the city ordinance will “mirror” the state code by allowing golf carts to drive when it is dark if the cart is properly equipped with lights.

Cantwell asked Mark his opinion of the measure.

He said he was concerned about their visibility and said he thought, personally, they should be off the streets by sunset.

“I’m just leery about someone maybe pulling out in front of one or hitting the side of one, but that’s just my opinion,” said Mark.

Alderman Mike Hughes said some residents in golf carts travel to McDonald’s for breakfast before the sun is up.

The council unanimously approved the measure.

The first reading of an ordinance was about seat belts in golf carts.

Colwell said the committee was concerned about children hanging off the back of golf carts and falling off. The current city ordinance has nothing to restrict seat belts.

Mark brought up child-restraint seats before the meeting, and Colwell said the committee will look at the issue again.

Under the proposed ordinance, each driver and passenger must wear a seat belt except a child less than 8 years old, and then children under 8 must be treated the same as if they are in a vehicle.

If approved, the ordinance would begin May 1.

In other police news, the council accepted a letter from the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners Chairman Kenneth

Kirkman about Carl Brown Jr. being appointed to fill the position of probationary patrolman for the Chillicothe Police?Department, effective Sept. 13.

In other items, the council:

• approved the notice for special event held on public property for the IVC?Student Council to use and close Second Street from Cedar to Elm streets from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Friday for the IVC?Homecoming parade.

• approved a notice for special event held on public property for the use of City Park from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 15 for the “In Celebration of Teresa Benefit.” The benefit is for the children of Teresa Greiner Moore, who was allegedly killed by her husband, Gordon?“Chip”?Moore II. He is awaiting trial.

• authorized Chillicothe Fire Chief John Myers to attend the Volunteer/Officers Fire Symposium in Florida Nov. 10-13.

Heard alderman Denny Gould ask about the upkeep on homes which are in foreclosure. A resident asked him about compensation for mowing a neighboring yard. Office manager Denise Passage said in a case like this, the complaint should report it to the city. The police chief then notifies the owner of record by letter, the city waits the appropriate amount of days for the owner to mow the yard. If that is not done, then public works mows the yard and the city puts a lien on the property for the amount owed.

• Heard Childers say the city’s fence ordinance will go back to the way it was years ago. City attorney Mike Seghetti explained that there was a policy of not allowing fences on easements. In one case, a resident looked up the plat for the subdivision, which did not prevent the homeowner from putting a fence on the easement. He then told Passage they needed to take the issue on a case-by-case basis. After having more issues arise, Seghetti said they decided the city’s stance on the issue needed to go back to how it used to be done, but an ordinance needed to be enacted. The council had a first reading of the ordinance and Childers suggested any resident with questions about fences should call City Hall. All fences already installed will be grandfathered in, he added.

• Heard Childers say residents had questions about whether the IVC Homecoming bonfire and Fourth of July activities would continue. Though he did not name Steve Maurer, who resigned as police chief last month, Childers said the activities would continue. Maurer spearheaded both those activities. “Everything’s going to go the way it should go,” said Childers.