TC police chief addresses large-truck parking problem

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By Janet Robb

Makes case for additional dispatcher

TELL CITY - Parking problems and dispatchers were on the top of the list for the Tell City Board of Public Works and Safety meeting last week.

Paul Ramsey, owner of Dauby True Value, approached the board with a request to place two-hour parking signs on the east side of the north 1500 block of 10th Street to deter a semi-trailer truck from parking there. His complaint, he told members, was that with the truck there, drivers can't see around it when entering or exiting his lot, causing several near-misses. The truck also parks there for three to four days, and for weeks at a time around the holidays.

Tell City Police Chief David Faulkenberg, on the request of Mayor Barbara Ewing, looked at the area and presented the board with pictures. According to the chief, with the area being "a frequented business area with short-term movement especially at the banking machine, the idea of a complete two-hour parking restriction for the entire block would be understandable."

The only issue, Faulkenberg told members, was that there is one residence in the block that would be affected. To make sure the driver just doesn't "swing around to the other side," Faulkenberg said it would be best to put the signs on the east and west sides of the street.

Board member Dianne Rudolph asked why a large-truck parking ordinance doesn't apply in this instance. Faulkenberg said that ordinance applies to parking large trucks in residential areas where residents call in complaints, and since the truck is parking in a commercially zoned area, he felt it did not apply.

City attorney James Tyler, said the works board could exclude the resident's area but that might leave room for the semi to park there. They could also post a sign for residents only and add "no trucks" to the sign.

Rudolph pointed out that this is a problem around the city. Many people park their recreational vehicles, like boats, on city streets instead of putting them in proper storage, she said, adding the pontoon boat parked near City Hall is an eyesore.

The board decided to approve Ramsey's request to put a two-hour, residential-parking-only sign near the residence on the street.

Faulkenberg also reported to the board two other parking complaints. He took pictures and checked the 1000 block of 13th Street three mornings and saw no parking problems. There are signs posted for residents only until 3 p.m. in that area.

The third area was at the intersection of Washington and 15th streets, where there have been complaints about traffic not coming to a complete stop. The area isn't in much use except for when the fields are in use for soccer, he told the board, adding that other than these times, it's "impractical to spend long hours watching this area when there is almost zero pedestrian traffic." He recommended that limit lines should be painted along cross walks and "stop" painted on the street to designate the proper crosswalk area. The board approved his recommendation.

Radio Dispatching Agreement

Board members approved the 2008 radio dispatching agreement, which is the same as previous years except for the amount and dates, said Tyler. The agreement between Perry County and Tell City is worth $122,000, a 3-percent increase over last year. In 2007 the agreement was for $118,450.

Faulkenberg also pleaded his case for another dispatcher and that some costs of running the dispatch center should be passed on to the county. He presented the board with statistics of the number of calls they've received since 2005. That year they handled 17,277; in 2006, 19,151 and in 2007, 20,045. He said he believes the city should move forward with hiring another dispatcher and to get the county's portion of the cost later. He also pointed out that at the state level, 911 telephone fees may be reduced from its current rate of $2.25 per phone line, which could greatly reduce the 911 fund.

The mayor thanked Faulkenberg for all of his information and asked him to make the information available to the city council for them to consider at a future meeting and that for now, they would just address the dispatch contract.

"I think what is going on right now with our state legislation, the legislators are in the process of considering some funding that ... may affect funding of E-911," Ewing said. "Depending on how that legislation goes, it could be positive or negative."

Until then, they don't know what the future of another dispatcher may or may not be, she said, adding that the city included in its budget the city's share of a dispatcher but it was contingent on the county willing to pay for the other half.