By Stacy Walenter
Nearly every seat was taken at the Troy City Council meeting held on Wednesday, March 21.
Many of the citizens in attendance were owners of local bars or lodging. When the council moved to approve the Impaired Driving Countermeasures Grant, so that Chief Katie Davis can begin accessing the money for police overtime during Memorial Day weekend, many in attendance expressed concern over the intent of the grant.
The bar owners felt that increased police presence will hurt their businesses. They referenced past police behavior from the 4th of July celebrations two years ago, which they felt was overzealous and caused permanent damage.
Tish Burrows, who owns Tish’s Cabin Rentals, wanted to point out that “the town is petrified to go out for a drink.” Bruce Flock, owner of the Home Bar said, “I have less than half of what I had two years ago.”
“There are too many police and people are scared to death,” Flock said.
Councilman Ekstedt said that there were simply less of the 20 to 30-year-olds who would frequent the bars due to a lack of jobs. Population decline was discussed at the council’s last work meeting.
The council and city clerk Tracy Rebo tried to assure the bar owners that they have received the same grant for the past three to four years and that no new police officers were being hired. Rebo said only the three full-time Troy officers are allowed to conduct DUI patrols.
Glen (Louie) Garrison, of the VFW bar, asked the city to provide its recent DUI statistics.
The bar owners asked how many reserve officers the city had. Rebo responded that there are 11 reserve officers who are volunteers and who must purchase their own uniforms and equipment and none of the grant money would be spent on them.
Burrows asked if the city was looking for better grants for the city. Rebo responded that she had penned a grant to get three new police vehicles, councilwoman Kelsey recently acquired a grant for a handicapped dock at Roosevelt Park, and a grant application is underway to secure better equipment for the volunteer fire department.
The council moved on to the matter of Pine Tree Plaza. Mayor Carr has been in talks with the city’s lawyer and Pine Tree Plaza owner Charles Curtis to ascertain the legality of a plan that would allow Town Pump to tear down the plaza in exchange for the opportunity to purchase Second Street.
Carr said initially that Curtis had agreed to donate two of the three lots of Pine Tree Plaza’s property. However, at the meeting, Curtis said that he would donate one lot and the lot measurement was smaller than had been promised to Carr.
The donation of Curtis’s property is meant to offset the highway frontage the city will lose by selling Second Street to Town Pump. Carr said there are currently no plans for the land at Pine Tree Plaza, should it be acquired.
John Konzen questioned the plan, saying Curtis would “come out smelling like a rose.” The council voted to have the city’s lawyer explore the legality of the property transfer and demolition. The vote was not an approval of the plan, but merely an agreement to look further into the details.
Citizens have also questioned the legality of Carr selling city land without a vote from the people. Opponents to the plan submitted a certificate of dedication to Carr from October 27, 1919 showing that M.A. Reynolds had given the property “was granted and dedicated to the public forever.”
Carr said he’d like to have decisions made about the plan within three weeks.
In addition to the hot button issues of Town Pump and policing, the council also approved minutes from three previous meetings and approved the lowering of chicken permit renewal fees.
The council also granted another variance for Troy City Code 4-4-7.5 Nuisance Parking and Storage. At the meeting, they agreed to let Charles Roseberry temporarily live at the Missoula Avenue property he hopes to turn into a youth center.
Roseberry said there had been attempted thefts at the property by the owner’s boyfriend, who continues to try to live in a trailer at the property. He has installed security measures.
Mayor Carr said he has received complaints about the property. Roseberry acknowledged that the site was a former drug den, but that he has cleaned it up. Councilman Chuck Ekstedt concurred that the land looks considerably better than it has in the past.
Roseberry estimates he’ll only need half of the 90-day variance.
Later in the meeting, it was said that Charles Curtis is currently violating this same city code by living in a trailer behind Pine Tree Plaza. The city said they would look into it.
The council passed a resolution to access money recently granted by a new state gas tax included in House Bill 473 for road and bridge improvements. The $7,600 has already been spent on chip coating Kootenai Avenue. Under the tax program, the city must match 5% of what is received. The money is accessible quarterly and the amount received by the city is based on population.
The council tabled approving the Lincoln County Landfill renewal until it could be verified that Kathy Hooper’s waiver of the city’s previous annual payment of $546 could be assured.
The council also reported that brush had been cleaned up at the Roosevelt Park walking path. Several female citizens reported to Carr that they had been startled by transients emerging from the overgrowth.
The council also stated its intent to put a yield sign at the corner of 3rd Street and Riverside Avenue. Citizens have complained that the intersection is dangerous.