Council OKs sidewalk rules, interlocal agreement

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Cannelton’s response to 2011 flood damage ongoing

Managing Editor

CANNELTON – Cannelton Common Councilman Melvin McBrayer retained the council presidency in a reorganization conducted at a regular meeting Jan. 14. Other actions during the meeting included the council’s adoption of a sidewalk ordinance and approval of an animal-shelter interlocal agreement.

Mayor Mary Snyder told the council specifications for complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act were being developed and she had asked city attorney John Werner to draft rules for building sidewalks. As the News reported beginning in March, the Federal Highway Administration issued a mandate for public agencies with more than 50 employees to work toward compliance with the disabilities act, which was enacted in 1991 but went unimplemented by many communities. The city has fewer employees, but city officials opted in March to appoint an ADA coordinator and adopt a policy and grievance procedure to address any access issues.

The ordinance incorporating ADA requirements into sidewalk-construction rules had been provided to council members.

“I read through it a couple of times, and I thought it was a good ordinance,” Councilman Jack Harris said.

“I think this is one of the last things we have to do,” the mayor said. “I’ve had all of our corners inventoried by the street department.” She added that they still needed to be recorded in an Indiana Department of Transportation system.

The ordinance went into effect when it was published as a legal ad in the Jan. 17 News.

The shelter agreement, signed each year by officials of Cannelton, Tell City and the county, retained the $2,232 Cannelton share of annual funding and is “the very same thing that we sign every year” in other respects, according to Clerk-Treasurer Arvina Bozarth.

In other business, Werner told the council final numbers hadn’t been formally agreed to, “but we have an agreement in principle with our insurance carrier to pay a substantial sum toward the repair” of a sewer-system pump damaged during flooding in 2011.

Paired with some grant funding, that money should cover the expenses, he said. “We’re out of the woods on that, but it’s not over until it’s over, and it isn’t over.”

“We’ve gathered so much money,” the mayor said, “thinking (the cost) was going to be a lot more than what it was, so we’re in good shape.”

Harris noted it’s unusual to see expenses decrease.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” Snyder noted with a laugh. “I’m real pleased about that.”

The mayor said she talked just before Christmas to a representative of the company repairing the pump, and she hoped it would be back in place in mid-February.

A Second Street bridge project, also borne of 2011 flood damage, remains under way, Snyder said.

“That creek is eventually going to cost the city some money one way or the other,” she said. “It is moving slightly.”

“You go down on First Street and look back up at that bridge,” Councilman Emory Yaggi said, “it don’t look too safe … somebody ought to get down there and inspect that thing.”

The mayor said a representative of the Bernardin-Lochmueller engineering firm of Evansville did.

“He told me that down on the bottom where those great big sandstones are, that is all stable,” she said. “He said what’s shifting is the smaller ones on the top.”

She’s working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to secure funding, and the city leaders may need to identify matching funds if it’s approved.

“The engineers did actually say they felt that bridge was safe even for heavy truck traffic,” Utilities Superintendent Phillip Ball added.

McBrayer had praise for city workers when the mayor sought comments from each of the council members.

“They’re doing a great job this past year,” he said, mentioning each of the city departments by name. “The guys on the trash routes have been about as good and as thorough as you can get,” he said. “I think they’ve tried to save the city as much money as they can over this past year. I think they have a reliable group there, and I’d like to just sort of give them a pat on the back and say, ‘you’ve done a great job.’ ”