BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A final reading of a change to city code that would prevent newly designated commercial vehicles from parking on city streets will be in front of the city officials Tuesday night.
At the regular meeting of the Fort Madison City Council, which will begin at its new time of 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a hotly contested change to a city ordinance that will prevent commercial vehicles from being parked on city streets will face its final reading.
Previous readings of the ordinance, which requires three readings in open session, have been approved 6-1 with 2nd Ward Councilman Brian Wright casting the only dissenting vote.
Wright said he thinks the new ordinance is an undue burden on people who make a living driving those trucks, saying some people actually spend a good portion of their lives in the vehicles. Wright questioned at the first reading of the ordinance, recommended out of the city Planning and Zoning Commission, whether or not the city could help find a suitable place for these residents to park their vehicles.
City Councilman Rusty Andrews asked Wright if he was interested in getting the city in the truck stop business. Wright said he was just questioning the legality of it, the logistics could be worked out later.
City Public Works Director Larry Driscoll even had two city vehicles that fit the new commercial truck specs parked outside the city hall on Avenue E on different sides of the street to show people attending that night’s city council meeting and the public in general how tight of a squeeze it is to fit between the vehicles if parked that way.
There was also concern from several councilman including Kevin Rink that emergency vehicles could have trouble getting down the city’s smaller streets if commercial vehicles are permitted to be parked on the street.
In other action,
• the council will be voting on a resolution to award a construction contract to Jones Contracting Corp. of West Point for just under $594,000 for the reconstruction of 15th Street from Avenue B to Ridgewood Road. The project is set to begin this spring.
• the council will be voting to have the Mayor Brad Randolph sign off on a Community Development Block Grant for a new contractor to begin working on the Cattermole Library and former Lee County Bank buildings.
• the council will hold a public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2017-18 budget and will vote on adopting the budget.