By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post
Lebanon City Council nodded two measures at Tuesday night’s meeting, but not without lengthy discussion on either item.
The measures were a resolution to approve the Concrete Certification for Youth Program, or CCY, and an ordinance to de-annex certain property on Eastover Road.
The property on Eastover Road that was to be de-annexed is approximately 68.4 acres and could be cut up into 12 plots of 5 acres each for a subdivision without having to come before council or the Lebanon Planning Commission.
“If someone wanted to develop this land with plots of more than 5 acres or if they added new roads, it would need to come before the Planning Commission,” said Planning Director Magi Tilton. “The property owner requested that the land be de-annexed because if it was still in the city, he would have to pay to extend sewer services to each house that was developed.”
“What if someone develops this land and chooses to use septic tanks instead of connecting it to the city’s sewer line?” asked Ward 3 Councilor William Farmer. “Some council in the future is going to have to spend citizens’ tax dollars to connect it to the sewer line. We’re going to have another problem like Southfork.”
“We knew what we were getting into with Southfork,” said Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath. “We chose to annex them anyway, but we don’t have to annex this property if we don’t want to.”
With that rationale, the council voted 5-1 on the first reading to de-annex the property. Farmer voted no because he still did not agree with the process.
The CCY program was developed because of a lawsuit the city lost regarding the American’s with Disabilities Act that ordered the city to build more sidewalks. Coupled with the thought of giving the youth more skills and education and, in turn, more jobs, Mayor Philip Craighead and others came up with the program to give 15 students an education in concrete.
During their education, the students could actually pour sidewalks for the city, thereby helping accomplish the ADA’s consent decree of making the city more handicap-accessible.
Ward 1 Councilor Alex Buhler asked why no outside bids had been taken to build the city’s sidewalks. Craighead responded that the students would help with this.
“Are you telling me that 15 kids with no experience in concrete are going to do more work than a professional contractor would do?” Buhler asked.
Craighead and City Attorney Andy Wright said that there was no time limit on the ADA decree, but they had to show progress which this CCY program would achieve.
In order, he said, to keep from getting into trouble, Farmer wanted to amend the resolution after it said that the city would give $175,000 a year for the project.
“After that line, I want to add ‘however, to assure compliance with the present ADA consent decree, the Commissioner of Public Works shall present to the City Council a detailed program of the planned $175,000 allotment on or before the first meeting in March,” Farmer said. “This is nothing to stop the program. It is just so we know where we stand with how the money is being spent.”
The amendment was accepted and the amended resolution passed unanimously.
Also approved were three resolutions to hire part-time workers for the garage and sanitation departments.
Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.