Knox Mayor Rick Chambers informed the city council this week that a new crossing guard is needed for the new school year. It’s a part time position and the candidate will be required to assist children in the morning and in the afternoon at the intersection at Main Street and Culver Road all school year. Any interested candidates can call the mayor’s office at 772-4553.
The Knox City Council held more discussion on the 2015 salary ordinance during their meeting this week.
Councilman Don Kring had concerns about the budget and making cuts to the budget. He expressed that he wants to see a raise for the employees but he would hate to see things in the budget that would have to be cut because of the raise.
There was no further discussion. The minimum height any grass or rank vegetation may reach before being subject to an ordinance violation is eight inches. If there is a violation, the penalty will be $75. Any ignorance of the warnings given will result in a contractor mowing the property and a tax lien filed against the property owner.
The Knox City Council will meet tonight where more discussion will be held concerning two ordinances.
The tall grass ordinance is expected to be passed on third and final reading. At the last council meeting, the council members agreed to change the height from six to eight inches as the benchmark for needing to mow grass or rank vegetation. The other change the council members approved was an additional penalty. The current ordinance has a fine of $25 for any person who violates the ordinance. The members approved an increase to $75 for the violation.
Chambers told the Knox City Council members this week that with the fireworks committee’s fundraisers, gate collections, donations from the three county commissioners, several monetary donations from businesses and individuals, the town of Hamlet and a generous donation from the town of North Judson, the only loss the city of Knox will realize is $767. The show was $8,550 and $7,783 was collected.
The Knox City Council learned this week of ongoing vandalism at Wythogan Park.
Park Superintendent George Byer has informed authorities that there is some form of vandalism at the park on a constant basis. Recently a picnic table was thrown into the river, a toilet was blown up by a firecracker, two fountains were destroyed and the cannon in the park has also suffered damage from vandals.
As promised, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston provided the city council members with a total cost of what a three percent salary increase would look like. The cost came to $43,642 for all employees. Houston explained that the cost of living increase was determined to be 1.5 percent and a 6.5 increase in insurance is expected for next year. The proposed salary increase would likely cover those statistics.
The issue of how tall grass and rank vegetation has to be before a notice is sent to the property owner was discussed. The previously discussed height was six inches, but the council members ultimately increased the height requirement to eight inches. If a property is not maintained with this mandate, the city will send a notice and if it is not taken care of within five days the city will send a contractor to the home and mow the property. A bill will be sent to the property owner for the cost of the maintenance. If the bill is not paid, a lien will be placed on the owner’s property taxes to recoup the cost. An additional administrative cost of $15 will be assessed.
The Knox City Council will meet tonight to talk more about two ordinances that were approved on the first reading during their last meeting.
The council members will discuss the tall grass ordinance. They had a question about the penalties involved with the non-removal of rank vegetation so that issue will be tackled tonight. Another issue will be the number of days that would be allowed before the city would go in and mow the property. The second reading on that ordinance is on the agenda tonight.
Knox Mayor Rick Chambers told the city council members in a recent meeting that he has been approached about driving gators, an off-road vehicle, in the city limits.
He said the city’s ordinance is pretty clear, although more research will be done to see if it needs updated.
The Knox City Council could soon discuss an ordinance regulating semi parking in the city limits.
Mayor Rick Chambers said there’s been an issue with semi drivers parking in certain areas and parking in a lot by the Knox City Police Department.
The Knox City Council members were presented with changes to the ordinance pertaining to the removal of weeds and other rank vegetation.
One change would amend the administrator of the notices to the Knox Board of Public Works instead of the clerk-treasurer’s office. Another change amends the way the notices are delivered. The notices don’t have to be sent by certified mail anymore which would cut down on expenses. The letter may be sent by first class mail to the owner or an officer with the police department can deliver it.
Knox Mayor Rick Chambers updated the city council members last night about a water line project in front of the U.S. Post Office that is expected to that road for today only.
Street department crews, water department crews and sewer department crews will tackle the project on Washington Street between Shield Street and Portland Street. Mayor Chambers said Water Superintendent Todd Gardner believes this will help decrease the freezing pipe issues in that area.
The Knox City Council will meet tonight where the members will have discussions on the tall grass ordinance and the 2015 salary ordinance.
Mayor Rick Chambers told the council at the last meeting that he has sent several letters to residents concerning rank vegetation and the ordinance will be reviewed tonight for changes.
The Knox City Council last week received an update on the Henry Drive water extension project.
Mayor Rick Chambers stated that while the project is complete there are several loose ends that need to be tied.
“The Henry Drive water line is complete. The street has been paved and one homeowner was not happy with the way his yard was left and I’ll take care of that. Territorial Engineering is still working with Milo to move that original water line because the water superintendent didn’t like the way it was placed. Territorial will be paying that bill. They want to wait until later on this summer when the water levels drop a little bit. That will be taken care of,” explained Chambers.
An ordinance states that “the owners of real property in the city shall cut and remove weeds and other rank vegetation growing on their property. The term “property” includes a parkway, that non hard-surfaced area laying between a sidewalk and a street, lane or roadway.”
The Knox City Council agreed to wait on a request to acquire a property in Parkview Heights.
Mayor Rick Chambers got a call from a resident who stated she inherited a trailer from her father’s estate and she moved into it but no longer wants it. She wants to sell the trailer and the property to the city.
Two members of the Knox City Council agreed to be on a committee to discuss the proposed acquisition of the Gateway property.
Discussions were held previously to enter into an agreement to transfer title of land and improvements of the Gateway property to the city of Knox. The property includes the depot, the watchman’s tower, the Nickel Plate signal tower and tracks. The depot is home to the Starke County Visitor’s Center and Starke County Chamber of Commerce. A house on West Water Street would also be part of the agreement.
The Knox City Council had final action on the outdoor storage ordinance last night.
The Knox plan commission members met on June 3 and discussed the city council’s recommendation on adding wording to allow a business to go before the board of zoning appeals and request a special use variance for outdoor displays. The council members felt that the ordinance was a blanket ordinance and businesses are different in how they operate so that could be an option for those businesses.
The Knox City Council members will again be discussing the outdoor storage ordinance during their meeting tonight.
The ordinance was sent back to the Knox Plan Commission after the council’s last meeting. The council members thought that the ordinance was like a blanket ordinance and didn’t fit each business as they are different in the way they operate. The council wanted wording to allow for a business owner to go before the Knox Board of Zoning Appeals to request a special use for outdoor storage at their business as each case is different.