MOUNT VERNON — Larry Fogle will begin his duties as parking enforcement officer June 1. Fogle, who is also the city’s code enforcement officer, will split his time between the two part-time positions.
“I think 20 hours every week will be adequate,” Police Chief Mike Merrilees said.
Merrilees added that having Fogle work a flexible schedule rather than set hours will make people more aware and more cautious about potential parking violations, because they will not know when Fogle will be actively patrolling. Fogle will enforce parking in the Central Business District and Post Office area, and has the authority to write tickets not only for exceeding the two-hour parking limit, but also for violations such as parking too far from the curb or improperly parking in a handicapped spot.
At its meeting Monday night, council gave a first reading to an ordinance which would set the pay for the parking enforcement position at $15 hour, and a first reading to an ordinance which would raise the pay for the code enforcement position from $12.50 per hour to $15. Council President John Booth asked whether raising the code enforcement wage to $15 adds to council’s economic problems. Merrilees said other police officers will be enforcing parking violations as well as Fogle; the money from all of the tickets and impound fees will bring added revenue to the city.
“I believe that money going into the parking fund will take care of what goes out,” said Merrilees.
Council further discussed problems with the crosswalk on West High Street.
“I think we all realize the crosswalk is a disaster,” said Councilman Chuck Dice. “It shouldn’t be there, and I think we all realize it should be moved.”
Dice said parking should be exempted on the north side of High Street in the area of the crosswalk, the signs should be moved farther back from the crosswalk and the city should install flashing lights. More cross bars in the crosswalk was also suggested.
Dice said these changes need to be done quickly because school will soon be out and more children will be crossing High Street to get to and from Riverside Park.
Cameron Keaton, city engineer, said the crosswalk will be moved farther west, trees need to be trimmed to provide better visibility of signage for motorists driving westbound, and curbs on the north side of High Street will be painted yellow to signify a no parking area.
The cost of a pair of flashing lights is $9,000. The administration will see what funds are available to install the lights in the future. Dice said compared to the life of a child, the $9,000 is worth spending.
Councilwoman Rebecca Jordan, who agrees with the suggested changes, pointed out the similarity of the West High Street problems with those encountered on East High Street.
Security at Riverside Park was also a topic at Monday’s meeting. A west end resident previously pointed out the lights shining on the playground created shadows in the area behind the playground and around the shelter house. Council members agreed the possibilities of turning one light fixture to face the north or adding a third light fixture should be explored by the administration. It was also suggested the lights be left on all night.
Council adopted new flood plain regulations, and gave a first reading to legislation repealing the previous regulations. Council also gave first readings to legislation paying bills and appropriating money from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Stacy Beal, marketing director for Knox Community Hospital, spoke to council about the tobacco-free initiative that will become effective June 1 at the hospital.
“We feel this initiative shows our commitment to the health and well-being of the community,” she said.
Beal said it is not a mandate for a tobacco-free lifestyle, just a request that people refrain from using tobacco products on the premises of KCH.
Acknowledging it will be a culture change on campus, Beal said letters have been sent to employees, vendors, neighboring businesses and community members informing them of the change.
Council signed a proclamation in support of the tobacco-free initiative.