Mayor Gary Herbert was a featured guest on local radio station WTRE Thursday morning, promoting a number of city government initiatives being overseen by his administration.
Herbert appeared alongside Street Commissioner Mark Klosterkemper and City Engineer Gary Murray.
High on the Mayor’s priority list in the coming months is the Veteran’s Way construction project.
Veteran’s Way, he said, will be a three-lane road running east-to-west across the city. The plan, he continued, is to build the road’s entrance across from the Hampton Inn on Highway 421. It would then run all the way to an outlet between Burger King and MainSource Bank on Lincoln Avenue.
The road’s name, Herbert added, has been approved by the city’s TIFF board, and now awaits final approval of an anticipated three-phase construction process.
In a January interview with the Daily News, Herbert said he expects the city to pay for phase 1 and hopes INDOT will then step in with grant money once it sees that “we’re serious about this project.”
Murray cautioned that completion of Veteran’s Way could prove long and complicated, especially considering the drainage and utilities issues involved; business and landowners along the proposed route also present potential roadblocks.
Herbert agreed. In a best case scenario, he stressed, “we might start construction in 2014,” with construction itself lasting four-or-five years or more
Klosterkemper outlined a more pressing issue soon to take effect this month: The city’s new trash ordinance.
The street commissioner explained that the new ordinance has been “in the works” for a while and that it both clarifies and adds to the existing ordinance.
The new ordinance, he said, imposes a strict five-bag trash limit for residential customers.
Added Herbert, “The five-bag limit has always kind of been a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ in regards to the current ordinance.”
He continued, “I’ve seen people in the county set their trash on the curb with the trash of relatives in the city. There have been times, you’ll drive by and see 20 bags of trash on the curb.”
Herbert stressed, however, that even with the new, more stringently-enforced five-bag limit, the city would still work with residents on a case-by-case basis.
Other issues addressed in the new trash ordinance, according to Klosterkemper, include new rules regarding brush, limbs and vegetation, and commercial-building pickup.
Klosterkemper predicted that the new commercial-building guidelines would prove the most controversial part of the new rules, but added that commercial owners and residents could potentially money by contracting to private collectors.
Klosterkemper anticipates the new ordinance to be fully implemented by the end of March.
Also upcoming for the Street Department: Electronic Waste Day from 2 to 5 p.m., April 16, at the Decatur County Fairgrounds; a county-wide Paper Shredding Day from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., April 27, at offices of the Street Department; and Heavy Waste Pickup Week, April 22 to 26.
Paper Shredding Day, Klosterkemper clarified, is open to all county residents, business or residential; anyone can bring their old documents that day to be shredded.
During Heavy Waste Pickup Week, the city will collect large and heavy trash items not normally accepted on each customer’s regular pickup day.
The mayor also touted the city’s upcoming addition of Radio Read Meters for water and waste water billing of the city’s 4,300 water utility customers.
Murray, who will oversee installation of the new readers, anticipates huge advantages with the new system.
“With this system,” he said, “we’ll be able to read customer water usage remotely. With our current system, we only take usage measurements once every month. If an individual’s system springs a leak on the first day of the new billing cycle, that means they’ll pay for 30 days of leaked, wasted water. With the new system, we’ll be able to detect that leak when it occurs.”
For more information on any of these or other city initiatives, call City Hall at 663-3344.
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.