The Centreville City Council met Tuesday night, December 4, 2018. With all members present and the room’s heat set to tolerable, conversation got underway on five key issues.
Residents of Market Street, Riverside Drive, and Timberlane Drive separately have made informal requests to have speed bumps installed on their roads. According to council members, the only opposition to the idea they have encountered came from some residents on Riverside Drive. However, one Riverside resident came to the meeting to speak directly to council members about the issue.
“People just floor it past my house,” the mother of three young children said, adding that some drivers, “just don’t care.” She said that in addition to speaking to the offending parties, Centreville Police asked if she would like to file harassment charges – which would enable more than a fine should the problem persist. She declined. “I don’t want to cause [my neighbors] trouble. I just want my kids to be safe,” she explained.
Timberlane residents apparently see a similar problem because of the road being a cut-through to save time versus the primary thoroughfare. Some complained to council members recently that the 15 mph posted speed limit is not enough to stop the problem of people speeding past their homes.
Discussion included Councilman Kenny Hicks’s idea of installing speed cameras in these areas, if only temporarily, as well as Councilman Matthew Thomas suggesting a steady rotation of police officers covering the areas and writing citations. The question within the council was not if these requests for speed bumps were justified, but was it the will of the majority of their constituents?
With that in mind, the conclusion came that each council member would seek out residents in their areas to sign a petition if they were in favor of the speed bumps. The council agreed that the motion to install speed bumps in these areas would be tabled until the first meeting in January, when they would consider the numbers of signatures on the petitions and vote on a per-area basis. If you live in one of the areas in question, be sure to inform your City Council representative of your stance on the issue and sign the petition – if you so choose – before the first week of January.
District 1 – Kenny Hicks
District 2 – Don Mack *Riverside Drive
District 3 – Matthew Thomas *Market Street
District 4 – Dianne Epperson *Timberlane Drive
District 5 – Calvin Elliott
Also on the agenda for the night was whether or not to give all city employees a $100 Christmas Bonus. The quickest item of the night, the motion passed with no objections.
INSURANCE COST INCREASE TO CITY EMPLOYEES
Obviously a bit of a tender area, the fact arose that the cost of insurance for city employees is going up in the coming year, and some of that cost will have to be absorbed by the employees themselves. According to Councilman Thomas, the insurance company suggested raising the cost to employees by 25%-30%. He did not agree with that suggestion, nor did any member of the council. Mayor Terry Morton said that while 8% had been recommended by the company as a minimal increase, it was his opinion that 5% should be where they began – to have as minimal an impact on city employees as possible.
With all members agreeing that striking a balance between city finances and employee benefits must be a priority, a decision was made that Councilman Thomas will gather hard financial numbers for evaluation and distribute them to all members for consideration. The issue has been set aside until the next meeting in mid-December, so that council members will have time to review the figures and come to a decision.
MEGAN BATTE NEW CITY CLERK
After a brief and friendly discussion, and having asked her if she wanted the job, the motion passed to make Megan Batte the new Centreville City Clerk, effective in January. Congratulations, Megan.
The question arose in the council if the job should be posted for applications before selecting a candidate. Mayor Morton stated that the position was an appointment by the City Council, and did not require being advertised. It was also pointed out that she has already been basically doing the job.
A public hearing will take place Thursday, December 13, 2018, at 4:30, to hear arguments for and against re-zoning the land across from the Shell gas station on Highway 219 at U.S. 82. Currently zoned as residential and occupied by an unoccupied brick house, the proposal would re-zone the property for business use. If you have an opinion, the hearing next Thursday is your chance to speak your piece. The City Council has called a meeting on December 18, at noon, specifically to vote on this matter.