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Council hears about parking, water bills

Water bills, business licenses and parking were up for discussion at last week’s Clinton City Council meeting.

Police Chief Tony Parish told the councilors that parking at the ballfields at Clinton schools was a big problem.

“We’ve got to have more parking for the ballfields,” he said. “They’re parked in the ditches, they’re parked on the banks, anywhere you can park a car.”

Mayor Roger Rorie said he would reach out again to JBS, owners of the Pilgrims Pride facility next to the school. The plant was “idled” in 2008. Rorie said JBS has refused earlier requests to use some of their grounds for parking.

“Mr. Attorney, can we eminent domain that for parking?” Rorie asked.

“That’s a little iffy,” city attorney Matt Gilmore said with a laugh. “We’ll research it.”

Also at the meeting, Councilwomen Gayla Bradley and Wendy Russ said they had complaints from constituents about the inconsistent amounts on their water bills.

Bradley asked for an explanation from Water Department manager Isaac “Zeke” Keeling.

He responded that the bills have ranged from a cycle of 14 days to as many as 45 days because of the bad weather the county has experienced in the past months. He said the department has been reading water meters as weather permitted and he cautioned consumers to keep an eye on their meter to make sure there are no leaks.

“If they’re on a high-pressure line those bills can add up quickly,” Keeling said.

Bradley asked about digital or drive-by meters. Keeling said the cost to replace meters would be about $52 each. The system has 2,700 meters, he said.

Moving on to zoning matters, Rorie filled in for an ailing Dwight Wilson. Rorie said it had come to his attention that if a new business wanted to open a bank account the owner would be unable to without a business license. He said the city had a business license ordinance back in the 1940s and he was unsure if it was still on the books. An ordinance to require businesses to obtain a license was approved and then quickly repealed after the 2008 tornadoes.

Russ said businesses can operate with a dba (doing business as) that is on the county level and the city doesn’t need to add a level of bureaucracy to small businesses.

A couple of councilors were asked to meet with a local banking official and discuss the matter before next month’s meeting.

Also Thursday:

• A resolution limiting grant applications to those that have been approved by the City Council and mayor was approved by a 4-2 vote. Opposing the resolution were Bradley and Russ.

• A resolution to annex land on Burnt Ridge Road owned by local businessman Jeff Pistole into the city was unanimously approved.

The City Council holds its regular meetings on the second Thursday of each month. The meetings are open to the public.

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