Lincoln City Council: No walking in traffic asking for something – Garbage collection going up .4%, and Head to Bay addition gets big green light
Illegal begging and illegal camping
Lincoln City City Councilors, after much debate over homelessness and limiting begging on city streets, voted to continue with the city’s ban on overnight camping on city streets and public parking lots as well as drivers and/or passengers giving money or other hand-outs to beggers on the side of a city street. And they beefed up the fines in both categories.
Although the council has heard from a number of Lincoln City residents about panhandlers on the street spoiling the city’s image, City Attorney Richard Appicello reminded councilors that begging is protected free speech. “Where they cross the line,” Appicello said, “is when they step in to the travel lane to get a hand-out. That’s a safety issue. And therefore the act of stepping out to receive the money AS WELL AS the driver or passenger giving money to an outstretched hand, is illegal.” Appicello said if a car pulls around the corner and goes into a private drive or business parking lot to donate money to a homeless person, that’s okay. But it’s not okay to cause a safety problem in a travel lane. Violators, both the panhandler and the donor, face stiff fines for conducting a charity operation in the middle of traffic.
The council also raised the fine schedule for illegal overnight camping in city parking lots and parks. Homeless or not. The city code says no overnight camping between 2:30am and 5am. And councilors raised the fines for violators. At one point in the conversation Police Chief Keith Killian asked councilors to set the fines higher than the cost of legal overnight camping in a state park or private RV area. “Otherwise,” he said, “violators will willingly run the risk of getting a ticket for parking on city property since it’s cheaper than paying retail at an overnight RV stop-over.” So councilors raised the fine for violators.
Head to Bay Trail gets another segment!
The Lincoln City City Council voted on a pretty easy proposal where state grants are going to pay 98% of the coast of a stretch of boardwalk as part of the long-under-construction Head-to-Bay Trail. A nice long and wide boardwalk will connect a point west of Highway 101 from West Devil’s Lake Road clear down to Northeast 22nd. The boardwalk will stretch a 100′ farther than a football field and be a hefty 8 feet wide – just about enough room for two nice people with two dogs (that don’t like each other) to walk past each other unscathed. The boardwalk will be built in the current fiscal year.
The city is running out of disposal space for sewer sludge at the sewer plant!
City Public Works Director Lila Bradley reported to the council that the city sewer plant is running out of space to store high-liquid sewer effluent. The lagoons are full and can’t take any more. Bradley says a good five year option would be to buy equipment that could reduce the effluent from a ‘soupy mix’ to one that is more like ‘icky pudding’ which could then be deposited in a landfill. Bradley said it would buy the city about five years of time to come up with a permanent solution. Bradley said two bidders on the de-watering equipment ultimately came in at the same price – $375,000. One vendor offers a brand new piece of machinery – the other a ‘demo’ with not a lot of hours on it. Bradley recommended getting the new one despite its vendor needing more time to get it to Lincoln City. The council gave Bradley the nod on the new option.
This may sound strange but the temporary fix to the city’s sewer sludge dilemma is designed to give the city some financial breathing room to afford a new Police Department Headquarters. That $10 million dollar facility will need voter approval before any bonds can be sold to build it. City Councilors knew that the sewer plant also needed immediate attention so they agreed to a five year interim fix on the sewer plant to let the council green-light the new police headquarters. In five years the sewer plant will take its turn to get the financing it needs to take its operations to a new level on sludge disposal. They’re just buyin’ time…
Garbage rates going up…buy not by much…
And finally North Lincoln Sanitary presented its case before the council for higher garbage pick up rates. But it’s an increase that most customers won’t even notice. The rate increase is less than a half-percent. The higher rate kicks in September 1st.