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Council amends vehicle ordinance

By Staff
Kim West
The Russellville city council approved amending an inoperable vehicle ordinance by a 6-0 vote during its regular meeting Monday night.
The new ordinance, which was sponsored by Councilman Lanny Hubbard of District 4 and seconded by Councilman David Grissom of District 5, will allow city residents 90 working days to remove an inoperable vehicle from private property after being served written notification.
After being served a violation notice, a resident will have an additional 45 working days to remove a "nuisance" vehicle before facing a possible sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $100 for a first-time offense.
The previous ordinance allowed residents only 10 working days before being served a written notice.
Hubbard said the ordinance will allow residents enough time to fix or remove their cars.
"If someone is working on a car, they might be working on it for more than 10 days – not everyone has the financing to fix it (immediately)," said Hubbard during the council's 70-minute work session preceding the meeting. "To me, we're in the (re-possession) business right now, and it doesn't make sense … the only thing we're doing is costing the taxpayer.
"This (amended) ordinance will allow enough time to get a car fixed."
During its one-hour regular meeting, the council also heard from city employee Tommie Clay, who is employed with the street department as a truck driver.
Clay asked the council to publish and distribute a comprehensive employee manual.
"It would settle a whole lot of issues and prevents individual discretion, which changes from person to person," he said.
Mayor Troy Oliver said the council would consider the manual request for city departments, which currently have their own employee guidelines.
"We will look into this and gather information on an employee manual," Oliver said. "A manual would cover things that are already covered by the department heads, but it would be helpful to have one."
Clay also requested the removal of a discipline certificate that was placed in his personnel file in May 2005 for allegedly leaving a departmental meeting early.
"The discipline certificate says I 'disobeyed departmental rules,' but bottom line it says I left a departmental meeting on company time," Clay said. "But nine employees signed drafts saying they did not see me leave that room. That's because I was the last one out of the room."
The council ended the regular meeting with a 30-minute executive session to discuss a lawsuit filed by manufactured home developer Jerry James during the previous administration.
James is asking the city for 20-feet wide streets in one of his developments and to add at least 3 inches of asphalt to the road surface.
In other business, the council:
The next regular meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 5 with a 6 p.m. work session.