By Pam Robinson
At its Thursday, Feb. 7, meeting, the Mount Vernon Board of Public Works and Safety approved a contract with Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates, or BLA, to conduct an inventory of city sidewalks, intersections and curb ramps. The inventory will assess if city sidewalks, intersections and curb ramps comply with Americans with Disabilities, or ADA, standards. In addition, Judy Thomann from BLA stated the inventory would cover ADA compliance in buildings, noting, for example, elevator access, Braille signs, and push buttons on doors. Once the inventory is completed, city officials will determine what needs attention first.
When questioned about sidewalk compliance, Thomann confirmed the inventory will address cracks in sidewalks as well as sidewalk width and would tie into zoning. She added that sidewalks need to be 6 ft. wide to comply with ADA standards.
The contract with BLA was approved with attorney revision concerning buildings covered in the inventory. BLA will receive $30,000 for its services.
In concluding the legal portion of the agenda, City Attorney Beth McFadin Higgins stated the city is preparing to be aggressive concerning dilapidated buildings and needs to bring things up-to-date. To that end, the board then approved a public hearing on March 7 at 4 p.m. on a new performance bond schedule for structures in reference to continuances.
A few hours later, the Mount Vernon City Council approved on first reading an ordinance concerning dilapidated buildings. The proposed ordinance reaffirms the city’s commitment to enforcing state law and cites additional international building codes—in some sections, pulling language almost word for word from the City of Evansville’s code.
Present at the city council meeting, Building Commissioner Sherry Willis spoke of receiving advice also from personnel in Indianapolis as she helped to prepare the proposed ordinance on dilapidated buildings. It was noted that $130,000 has been appropriated for enforcing the ordinance. Mayor John Tucker noted that 69 properties had already been addressed during his administration.
In other business:
•The board approved member Steve Fuelling’s motion to insure the Parks & Recreation department’s sole use of $15,000 appropriated in line 432 of the EDIT budget. Clerk-Treasurer Cristi Sitzman advised that in the event other lines in that category go over budget (as in 2012), an additional appropriation would be needed for Parks and Recreation to receive a full $15,000.
•At the recommendation of board member Steve Fuelling, the board voted to continue paying water and electric bills at the riverfront, Phase I, through 2013 until the Parks and Recreation budget is set for 2014.
•The board approved the use of the city credit card when four city fire department members attend FDIC training in Indianapolis, April 26 and 27.
The Mount Vernon Board of Public Works and Safety will meet again Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 4 p.m. in the City Hall Annex. Later the same evening, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, the Mount Vernon City Council will meet in the City Hall Annex at 7 p.m.
By Pam Robinson
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