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Police crackdown on inoperable vehicles starts this weekend, lasts two weeks

By Ralph Echtinaw

If you live in St. Louis and have a junk car on your property, a police officer will come calling in the next fortnight.

“I directed (Code Enforcement Officer) Dori Foster to check the entire city for any vehicle that appears to be inoperable and to document what she finds by photographing the vehicle and noting the location of the vehicle,” said Police Chief Richard J. Ramereiz Jr. “Dori is still compiling this list for me at this time.”

Ramereiz told city councilmen Tuesday that two officers will start knocking on doors this weekend. If you are on the list you will be asked to prove that the vehicle in question starts, has air in the tires and a valid registration.

The city has an ordinance prohibiting residents from keeping inoperable vehicles on their property unless they are enclosed, such as in a garage.

As the ordinance says: “No parking, storage, or accumulation of inoperable motor vehicles, except inside a completely enclosed building.”

A notice of violation will be issued to those who have not been warned previously or have not been ticketed previously for an inoperable vehicle violation.

  • The person will have 14 calendar days to bring the vehicle(s) into accordance with the ordinance or remove the vehicle from the property.   
  • If the notice of violation is not taken care of in the time allowed, a civil infraction ticket will be issued which is payable within 14 days at the Gratiot County District Court.
  • If the civil infraction ticket is not taken care of in the time allowed, a warrant for non-payment of violation will be issued. 
  • During this process, additional tickets can be issued each week after the initial 14 day period that the inoperable vehicle(s) remains on the property. 

For those who have been warned or ticketed previously, a citation will be issued, and they must still bring the vehicle into accordance with the ordinance or remove the vehicle from their property.

Crack seal purchase

Councilmen approved purchase of 9,000 pounds of crack seal material from the National Highway Maintenance System for $9,480 to fill the cracks in number of paved surfaces around town to lengthen their lifespan.

The city also gets free use of a Super Shot Diesel Melter to apply the sealant. The work will be done by DPW crew members.

“This crack seal is intended for cracks one quarter inch and wider and fills the void and seals the surface to keep water out,” said DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott via email. “This protects the pavement from water infiltration that erodes the base gravel and can freeze heaving the pavement and making it crack at ever smaller intervals.

Assessing agreement

City councilmen approved extension of an agreement with Alma whereby assessor Kathy Roslund and staff conduct property assessment for St. Louis as well as Alma.

The Alma City Commission is likely to approved the extension on Tuesday, March 9, said St. Louis City Manager Kurt Giles.

Mayor James Kelly said the assessing agreement “seems to me it’s going very well. I think the joint system is working great for both communities.”

Councilman Tom Reed seconded Kelly’s comment.

Electric meters

Councilmen approved purchase of 112 200 amp, 240 volt electric meters from Etna Supply of Grand Rapids for $12,938. These are the meters that attach to houses and businesses in the city and report electric use wirelessly to the city.

Three quarters of the 1,950 electric service accounts in St. Louis use these meters. They were first employed here almost 15 years ago, and their life expectancy is 15-20 years, so the city anticipates having to replace failing meters soon.

Public Services Director Keith Risdon said “The electric meters are ‘auto-read’ just like the water meters. We still have some meters within the systems which still require one of the staff personnel to read them but most are auto-reads. The data is sent over the airwaves and is collected on the computer (that is used) to monitor and bill monthly. The data is collected electronically by the system throughout the day instead of once a month as in the past when it was customary to do manual meter reads.”

 Floor treatment

Councilmen approved paying Mann’s Painting of Alma $10,506 to put new flooring in the city’s 1,300-square-foot multi-purpose/training room. 

The carpet in that room was ruined last month after a water line broke and flooded the room. The city’s insurance covers $9,000 of the expense.

Replacing the carpet will be “an epoxy coating system with multicolor chips in the finish,” Giles said via email. “This is similar to what was used on the floor of the pool building. The epoxy coating system will be installed in that multi-purpose/training room and small closet off the south side. We are also having the carpeting replaced in the finance office area behind the customer service counter. That will be replacement with the same type of carpeting as before.”

City hall is expected to be closed Friday and Monday so this work can be done.

Employee appreciation dinner cancelled

This year’s employee appreciation dinner has been canceled on account of China virus concerns and restrictions, but Giles wanted to commend five employees who reached milestones this year. Police Officer Brett Morell, Library clerk Allison Gregory and Public Services Director Keith Risdon have now been with the city five years. Electrician Todd Leslie and DDA Director Phil Hansen have been employed by the city for 20 years.

Categories: Uncategorized

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