BY ALEX KING
Citizens' comments were a large part of the June 3 Paden City Council meeting.
Several people once again voiced dissatisfaction with the choice to pave Marshall Alley, which runs from the high school to Ann Street and from Ann Street to state Route 2.
"February or March we talked about paving the alley behind the high school," said Sue Flesher, a citizen. "At that time you guys said 'we really weren't going to do that because it wasn't in the ordinance.' At the April meeting, it was pretty much listed in the paper that we were going to pave that alley. May, I came and said something about paving the alley. Hoppy said, 'We didn't really plan on talking about this tonight, but we'll discuss it.'
"That must have been a heck of a discussion because the next day it was paved. It is not in the ordinance to pave an alley. If you want to pave an alley, like I said before, change the ordinance to pave an alley."
"I think it was done underhandedly," she said, stating that the actions of the council made them look "sneaky."
She went on to say that, if they were going to pave the alley, they should have paved the whole thing rather than just the portion running behind the high school.
In an attempt to clarify this matter, Councilman Tom Trader read an administrative code in their charter book defining streets: "'Streets include alleys, avenues, boulevards, lanes, roads, highways, viaducts, and all other thoroughfare within the municipality."
"Excuse me," said the woman, "Where's that from? Because that's not what Webster says."
Trader answered, "It's an administrative code that the city has."
"Then why does your ordinance not state that?"
"I called a lawyer and I asked her about this," he said. "The ordinance is supposed to match the charter. When they passed the ordinance, the ordinance didn't match the charter."
The ordinance, which was passed January 19, 1998, includes a levy for street paving and other street maintenance.
Councilman Dan Probst stated that he heard from between 55 and 60 people in his ward who wanted that alleyway paved and only four that did not. "When I first got the job, that was the first thing that I was approached about by a group of people," he said.
"What about my alley?" asked one man, who explained that he cannot even keep a vehicle clean.
"You've got to start somewhere," said Councilman Probst.
Mayor John "Hoppy" Hopkins stated that he had opposed the paving of the alley in favor of streets which he felt needed paved, but he also assured that he is still looking into possible reimbursements for the costs. He went on to commend citizen concerns.
"I wish a lot more people would stand up and say what they think," he said.
Another citizen present was upset with the way he claimed an employee at the municipal building acted due to a misunderstanding with the cashing of a check. He described her behavior toward him as "rude," and he stated that other people felt likewise of her behavior. He said that, not only was she rude when he came to the municipal building, but she called the chief of police on him.
After the issues with his check were confirmed to be a misunderstanding, Mayor Hopkins stated that the city was waiving the fees resulting from the confusion.
An abandoned trailer on North Third Avenue was cited as a health hazard. Mayor Hopkins confirmed that they have begun to approach the appropriate authorities regarding it.
Other public matters heard included: an untended property with high grass, privacy fencing and property lines, legal and safety violations of people driving four-wheelers through town, the clogging of sewer drains, and policemen following bar patrons home.
The council approved the moving of funds from street savings account into a general fund checking account and approved Recorder Tami Billiter to pay the paving fees. They also determined to pay for newspaper ads seeking part-time help for the maintenance department, as well as the hiring of a police matron.
Under park and pool, they have received the pool chair lift and the building in which to store it. The new dock for the marina should arrive within the week and they will open bids for selling the old dock this Thursday night.
In other news: the 5K on June 1 was reported to have had an increase of 89 participants; an updated list of handicap spots were made following the removal of handicap spaces no longer in use or needed; they are still waiting for enough rain to get a proper reading on sewer flow activity; and minutes were approved for the May 6 meeting.
Additionally, the June 6 election results for first, second, and third ward councilmen, as well as the recorder, will be canvassed on June 11. They will certify those results on June 14.