WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Toledo: Cops evidence locker, helping the needy pay their utility bill, equipment needs of public works

Toledo City Council Tuesday

Toledo City Councilors were told Tuesday night that their police department’s evidence locker leaves a lot to be desired from the standpoint of security and protection from the elements. Chief David Enyeart said the building also doubles as a temporary holding area for stray or vicious dogs awaiting transport to the county animal shelter.

Enyeart told the council that for $16,500 Toledo could have a brand new evidence facility that would be far more secure and have easier access. He said he’s prepared to move ahead on the project if the council concurs. Chief Enyeart said the money has already been allocated in the 2012-13 fiscal year budget.

The council acknowledged the need for the new building and indicated thwy will be prepared to formally approve the project possibly at their next meeting.

The council also got an update from City Treasurer Polly Chavarria on a plan to help very stressed low income families pay their city water and sewer bills. Chavarria said donations will be solicited from regular water and sewer customers. Starting October 1st, there will be a line in their water and sewer bill that they can fill in for an amount they want to donate. City Manager Michelle Amberg suggested that a message be eventually attached to the bill asking the donor to simply roll up their bill to the next dollar or next five dollar point. The city’s billing software program doesn’t have that specific capability just yet, but they say it can be done.

Chavarria says after the October billing goes out, the city will begin receiving donations. However, the donations will not be awarded by anyone at the city. That job has been assigned to a non-profit human services agency in Newport, the Community Services Consortium (CSC). The CSC will receive the funds and then assign them to specific needy families who have been means tested and screened to ensure they really are in desperate need. CSC will require that any eligible family be making good faith attempts at paying at least part of their utility bill.

Public Works Director Adam Denlinger reviewed three heavy equipment purchases he needs to pursue in the year ahead. The first is a newer forklift to replace the one the city’s been running for decades. It was built in 1955 and has been the subject of much maintenance and parts replacement over the years. “But now,” says Denlinger, “about the only home we can find for this piece of equipment is a museum or some place that will part it out.”

Another piece of equipment Denlinger wants to replace is an excavator that still has some life left in it and may fetch up to $12,000 to the right buyer. The sale proceeds could then be applied to the purchase of a more up-to-date excavator that has many advantages over the old one. For one, Denlinger says it can access long stretches of pipe that a standard excavator can’t reach, especially when the pipes are right up against buildings or other obstacles. Denlinger said as Toledo’s sewer and water lines continue to break he frequently needs to call in an outside contractor to do the fix due to access problems with much older city equipment. “This will cure that problem and lower those costs by getting the work done in-house, especially in the Mill Creek watershed and through its delivery system,” Denlinger said.

Denlinger also indicated that the city needs a new sewer plant grit classifier. He said the current one is 30 years old and on its last legs. He said a new one can easily be ordered and installed. It’s part of the pre-treatment of sewer solids before they’re disposed of by spreading on specially designated lands.

These and a few other topics are expected to be discussed and decisions rendered by the Toledo City Council in the very near future.

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