Montpelier Council Takes Another Look At Proposed Permit Parking

Members of the Montpelier Village Council convened in regular session on the evening of August 24, 2015 at 6:00p.m.

Mr. Chris Kannel addressed Council as the spokesman for the downtown business and property owners, and wanted to address the issue of the permit parking program.

With Mr. Kannel were Mr. John Dye, Mr. & Mrs. Mike Kannel, Mr. & Mrs. Keith Lockhart and Mr. & Mrs. Terry Lockhart. Mr. Kannel wanted Council to reconsider and allow discussion of the permit parking program for the downtown district. At the last Council meeting, upon recommendation from Village Manager Pam Lucas and information received from the planning and zoning meetings, Council voted to drop further consideration for the program.

Mr. Kannel cited that Montpelier chief of Police Dan McGee came to him with a problem concerning the downtown parking, and it was taken before the Planning and Zoning Commission. He felt that if the Chief of Police believes there is an issue that needs addressed, that Council should give it more discussion and consideration. There was discussion on the invitations to the Planning and Zoning meeting sent to the downtown property owners, business owners and tenants noting that there was an error in the letter regarding the date for the first meeting, and a second letter was then mailed to everyone inviting them to a second meeting. Each meeting only netted a handful of people in attendance, only one of which was in attendance at the Council meeting of this evening. It was also noted that information provided to Council included the new proposal from Chief McGee, all minutes of planning and zoning and discussions held with interested parties at the meetings, as well as those of a proposed planning and zoning meeting when the standard of quorum was not met. It was also noted that the information in the Council packets was provided to the public online. There was discussion on the time of the meetings. Mayor Yagelski reminded everyone that the citizens serving on these committees are volunteers with full time employment, and sometimes they are unable to attend the meetings.

Councilor Dan Clum noted that there were a lot of scenarios discussed at the meetings in the material he read, and questioned whether a concrete proposal was ever put forward. Mr. Kannel stated the he thought the Chief McGee did put together a proposal, and suggested Council be given that for consideration. Councilor Nathan Thompson stated that he didn’t feel that it would hurt to hear the public’s opinion on the issue. Councilor Dan Willis asked Mrs. Lucas to explain the reason for her recommendation. Mrs. Lucas commented that she had discussed the issue with several people that were not in favor, and also considered the cost to the village.

Councilor Laura Gray commented on the issue, stating that she was approached on how the village could issue a permit for a public parking space. She also mentioned that the village has a 24-hour parking lot for the downtown residents to utilize. Mayor Yagelski stated that it is the responsibility of the landlord to advise their tenants where they can park. Mrs. Gray stated that the police stated they had problems enforcing the current parking laws they currently have, and now laws that they won’t have time to enforce are being proposed.

Mr. Willis recommended that it be added to the agenda for the next meeting.

Mr. Kannel then presented an invitation to Council and administration to attend a non-profit “grassroots” organization advancement on religious and civil liberties workshop provided by the Liberty Counsel. The Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. They help educate the public on their rights and privileges as people of faith. The workshop will be conducted on Sunday, September 20, from 3pm to 7pm in Miller Hall at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Mr. Ed McNett stated that there will be a POW/MIA ceremony on September 20 at 4:00pm at the Williams County Veterans Memorial building. He invited the Mayor, Council, administration and the public to attend the ceremony, and thanked Mayor Yagelski for attending last year’s ceremony.

Councilor Clum stated that there is a piece of sidewalk on Main Street at the entrance to Family Dollar that needs to be replaced. A lot of handicapped people use the sidewalk to access the east end. Supervisor of Administrative Services, Mr. Kurt Roan, stated that there was a problem with a possible leak and an issue with Family Dollar’s sprinkler system, and is the reason why it was not finished.

Mayor Yagelski asked Village Director of Finance Kelly Hephner for an update on utility rules and regulations. Mrs. Hephner stated that revisions have been made to the door hangers, including an added a statement that all tenants requesting a payment arrangement have to contact their landlord to approve a payment arrangement with the utility office. She is continuing work on the revisions to the rules and regulations, and working on putting them together in a way that is easy to understand.

Mrs. Lucas presented the Cell Phone Reimbursement Policy. The people that are approved for official use of personal cell phones will be reimbursed from $20 – $35. The village will still have call phones. Mrs. Lucas stated that this will cut down on the costs to the village by not having to purchase as many phones and pay for as many plans each year. Councilor Willis asked about employees using their personal phone during business hours. Mrs. Lucas stated that if it happens, they will receive a verbal warning for the first offense, a written warning for the second, and she will confer with legal counsel for three day suspension for a three-time violator. Council moved to approve the Cell Phone Reimbursement Policy.

Mrs. Lucas presented Change Order #1 for the Court Street Storm Sewer Repair from Underground Utilities, Inc. in the amount of $784.95. Mr. Roan stated that this will fit in with Phase V of the CSO project. Council approved the measure without dissent.

Mrs. Lucas presented Resolution 1117, a resolution fixing compensation and allowances for hourly employees. Councilor Willis pointed out Section 4 under the fire department, stating that it should state 15 years of service, and feels it needs to be reworded to state 15 or more consecutive years of service. This was an issue raised when a former fireman was reinstated to the fire department, and for this reason, he felt it should just be given a first reading. Council agreed, and the first reading was heard by title only.

Mrs. Lucas then presented Resolution 1118, a resolution fixing compensation and allowances for supervisory employees. Some of the ranges have been changed, and the Finance Committee has put forth a recommendation that three employees who are department superintendents be moved to salary in order to assist with the cost of overtime. Councilor Clum inquired if the affected employees had been notified of the possible change, to which Mrs. Lucas stated that they were. Resolution 1118 was read by title, and approved without dissent.

Mrs. Lucas presented an issue referencing drones, and recommended that it be assigned to the Safety/Personnel Committee for review and recommendation, and to work with legal counsel on the matter. Mayor Yagelski asked that all the information from the Planning and Zoning Commission be included. In light of recent news events, Councilor Clum thought this was an issue that needed to be addressed. The measure was forwarded to the Safety and Personnel committee, as was the Retirement Agreement and Retirement Policy.

Council approved a motion to hold the Village Auction on October 15 at the Montpelier Fire Barn.

Council then retired into executive session to discuss pending litigation. Upon returning to regular session, Council discussed the recommendation of the amount of increases for village employees. It was determined that the recommendation from the finance committee with Mrs. Lucas and Mrs. Hephner that after a positive evaluation, that they were authorized to give up to a 2 percent increase. Council approved to measure.

There was also discussion on evaluations and increases for Mrs. Lucas and Mrs. Hephner. Council approved a motion that Mayor Yagelski will do a performance review on with Mrs. Lucas, Mrs. Hephner, and Mr. Roan, and they will be given a 2 percent increase in their wages.

INFORMATION PROVIDED

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