Rector City Council Meets
Standard agenda items were handled by Rector City Council at their regular July meeting, held Monday evening at city hall. Prior to handling routine business, the council heard from audience members Candy Hill and Christa Hedrick along with Johnny Williams, director of the Rector Community Museum.
The council unanimously approved a motion by council member Lark Sigsby, with a second by Iva Fahr, to continue paying the Rector Community Museum’s water and sewer bill and to continue the amount budgeted for utilities which had been the museum’s portion of the utility costs while a part of the Rector Public Library. Williams had noted the progress made since his last appearance before the council and Brad Green, standing in for city superintendent Todd Watson, said, “They’re doing good work down there.”
Williams updated the council regarding plumbing, track lighting and a fund raiser of designer pillows created by Debbie Robinson from upholstery samples left at the Underwood building, with all proceeds donated to the Rector Community Museum. Robinson’s work includes washing and pressing the fabric samples, coordinating the two sides, filling the pillows and sewing them in her professional style. “Those benches at the park get hard,” he offered. “Everyone’s going to need a pillow. They’re $10.”
Neighbors Hill and Hedrick, representing a number of Rector residents, presented council with a recommendation regarding the wording of Rector’s ordinance which permits door-to-door solicitation. Hill and Hedrick noted, in agreement with council members Sigsby and Fahr, that the changes in wording is in no way meant to limit Rector’s school children from their activities, nor is it meant to deter neighbors from meeting neighbors by knocking on doors.
Instead, their request focuses on outside agencies soliciting for profit in a manner which intimidates or causes residents undue concern. They felt that currently, the Rector permit contains vague language and the council stated they would examine revising the permit with stronger stipulations without impeding anyone’s First Amendment rights.
Council member Sigsby reminded Rector residents not to allow unknown persons access to their homes. Mayor Theresa Roofe, council member Sigsby and city attorney Kimberly Dale did acknowledge the current permit process needed to be examined and updated where appropriate.
The council thanked Hill and Hedrick for their interest in the matter, their research, and for presenting their proposal to the council.
Department reports included the expenses for taking care of the fire hydrant which was struck by a vehicle outside Freddy’s Mexican Restaurant. Also noted were seven new connects, nine disconnects, five replaced water meters with eight leaks repaired. Four dogs were picked up and 10 yard letters were issued. Two building permits were issued and six street repairs were made. The community center held 11 events, eight of which were paid. The fire department answered 12 calls, six of which were in the city.
Mayor Roofe noted fire chief Hutie Bowden had mentioned to her that next month, the re-design and addition to the fire station would have been in the works for a year. He indicated the interior work has been accomplished with volunteer hours and Bowden was working with sheetrock this week, as the department looks forward to the project being completed very soon.
Council member Sigsby suggested a breakdown in the incident reports for the department. She sought to be able to distinguish between which calls were first responder calls, such as police and EMT services, and which were actual fire calls. Council members felt this was a good idea, and Sigsby will pursue procedures for formulating the breakdown.
Police Chief Glenn Leach reported only one city accident and two car letters, while court incidents brought $858 in fines collected. The two months of reduced fees collected was noted by council members and a brief discussion was held as to cause. The council and Chief Leach agreed the paperwork, loop-holes in the procedures and general complexities in the court and jail systems have sent the wrong message to those who owe fines. Leach stated that for a number of years, warrants have gone unpaid and he sees no change in the political climate which would indicate any chance of collecting the money.
Several council members posed questions regarding use of the BRTC building. The council is looking forward to an update on the understanding Black River Technical College has concerning their work with Rector High School as presented at an earlier council meeting. The room at facility has also been of interest to a quilting club.
After addressing the usual business items, under the heading other business, the council unanimously agreed to shift $5,000 from an unappropriated small grant to replace three air conditioning units at city hall. The work is expected to be completed within a few weeks.
Late in the meeting the matter of the old laundromat building on Front Street, and its damaged canopy, was mentioned. Mayor Roofe said she'd address the issue again with the city superintendent and the building's owners.
In closing, Mayor Roofe reminded the council that municipal filing dates are from July 27 to Aug. 3, and that each council member intending to run for re-election must file during this period.