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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council voted last Thursday to move forward with condemnations procedures in connection with the proposed Stanley/Bailey street storm water drainage project.
After trying to obtain, without success, needed easements from some property owners, the council voted unanimously during its regular meeting to have James Lemon, city attorney to start the process by sending letters to the property owners in question.
“We’ve been working on this for three years,” said council member, Earl Meyers, who noted the city has done what it could to convince the property owners to sign the easements with no sign of any progress
And, while trying to avoid going down the condemnation route, the council was united in deciding to move forward with it.
“I think we’re at that point,” Meyers said.
Mayor Rusty Adrian, who was not present at the meeting Thursday, has been asking the council for the past few meetings if it was time to move on with condemnation, and asked the council to consider it.
Council Member Steve Bland, who was first elected this past April, indicated some reluctance to start the procedure, asking other members if the property owners had been made aware of the situation and if they needed to receive prior notice before the city moved forward.
Council members said planning for the project has gone on for three years and has included completion of engineering specifications and several meetings with affected property owners.
But a few have still not gotten on board.
“We’ve tried and tried and tried to work with them and we’re just not getting anywhere,” said Council Member Brock Fahy.
Fahy said it was important that, if the council chose the condemnation route, it needed to be from a united council ready to follow through with the process.
Lemon said the process would start with letters to the property owners in question and could lead to a court case that would involve a citizens panel that would hear from both sides to help determine the value of the easements.
Lemons said the letters would be prepared for sending after the Christmas holiday.
The council also gave unanimous final approval to an ordinance regulating cable communications in Palmyra.
Lemon said the ordinance was updated to reflect changes in state law.
Also approved were newly revised school resource officer and police training agreements.
The council also unanimously approved newly revised city employee hiring procedures that, among other changes, allow council members to sit in on interviews.
The council voted unanimously to authorize the mayor to sign a contract for services with Klingner & Associates for work needed in connection with the Spring Street culvert project.
The council discussed the possibility of discontinuing live streaming of city council meetings in the future.
City Clerk Deena Parsons said the current method for streaming has presented difficulties and noted there was not very much use of the live streaming by the public.
Other simpler methods for streaming were discussed, with a decision on the issue tabled until more information could be obtained.
Street Superintendent Austen Dornberger reported the need for new insulation for the fire station roof, but indicated his crew was looking into determining if they can do the work.
Otherwise, he said, the job might have to be bid out to contractors.
BPW Superintendent Brent Abell notified the council of an issue concerning the sewage treatment plant involving an extra amount of water going into the plant during the evening.
He said his department has been working to determine the source of what he called, slugging. While it is not illegal, he said it does pose an inconvenience to the plant personnel.