Members also OK Davenport to future Land Bank board, negotiations on K9 vest sale
The City of Aragon will be leasing a piece of land on the back side of the mill pond from a landowner after they’d already maintained a portion next to the shoreline for those who want to use the area to fish.
Council members voted unanimously during their October meeting to approve a lease on the Duncan Mill Pond property at the request of Public Works Superintendent Daniel Johnson.
He told the council during their work session earlier in the evening it was his intention in the lease to be able to officially maintain and clear out an area that he considered hazardous to local residents.
‘”We’re going to spend about a day getting rid of some overgrowth,” he explained.
He said the lease wouldn’t cost the city anything annually, since their maintenance of the property in the past and in the future would keep within the terms laid out. It will require the city to come back and submit it for approval annually however, since the owner does plan in the future to build on the property at some point.
Johnson said his hope is that by keeping the area better maintained, it will lessen the potential for any harm to come to people on the opposite shoreline of the bridge on the mill pond, which he said does contain snakes and other wildlife.
“I just want it to be safe over there when we have kids fishing and playing alongside the pond,” Johnson said.
His request for the lease was just one of a few items approved by the council outside of routine monthly matters. They also moved forward in lock-step with the Polk County Commission by naming a new member to the future Land Bank board.
Mayor Garry Baldwin said in the nomination of Ralph Davenport to the seat that the city was moving faster than others in the process, but that he wanted a person in place for whenever the board’s first meeting will be once agreements are finalized and money set aside to run the future Land Bank.
Council members did give Baldwin additional approval to move ahead in negotiations to sell the K9 vets meant for Nero, the former pup on patrol with the Aragon Police and now working in White.
The city of White made an offer lower than expected for the vest, and council members gave Baldwin a chance to counter-offer at $700, still lower than the more than $800 the city paid for the equipment at the time.
In one final vote of approval, Aragon did move forward with a council unanimous decision to allow the planning commission bylaws to be changed from “shall hold a meeting” to “may hold a meeting” to avoid having session that are held without any business to hear, then approve or deny.
The council also chose to table a first reading of a false alarm ordinance for review by Aragon’s Municipal Court Judge Terry Wheeler. The forthcoming ordinance would institute a fine structure for law enforcement to respond to false alarms on residential systems if they happen more than four times in a “rolling year” or from the first time police responded to a home.
Interim Police Chief Marc Riley said he seeks to get the ordinance in place to avoid future problems after himself, Sgt. Michael Evans and Polk County Police Officers have all responded to one residence that had 20 different false alarm in recent weeks.
He said the ultimate goal was to avoid wasting police officer’s time in the field with calls that amount to no issue. He used the county’s ordinance which charges a $25 fine that increases by that amount for each false alarm responded to by officers within the city.
Wheeler said during the work session he wanted to look over the ordinance to ensure that when he would levy the fines against people, he would do so in a way that is both fair, but also gets across the idea to not allow false alarms to happen if at all possible.
Johnson did also mention in the work session that if the city instituted the plan, they would have to make repairs to their own system to avoid issues with false alarms of their own. He added there have been a number of false alarms due to the security system at city hall in the past.