Published: Thursday, October 11, 2007
Truck measure moves forward
Opponents say the new
pickup truck law poses a safety hazard.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
STRUTHERS Despite heated opposition from members of a standing-room-only crowd, city council gave a second reading to an ordinance that would raise the size of vehicles permitted to be parked in residential areas from 3/4-ton to 1-ton.
The ordinance, supported by a 5-1 vote at Wednesday's council session, is expected to be on the agenda of the next meeting for a third reading, which if approved, would make it law in 30 days unless it is vetoed by the mayor.
Opponents said the change would decrease visibility where the vehicles are parked, causing a safety hazard for children and traffic.
They also argued that it would lead to a proliferation of commercial vehicles in the city that would be an eyesore and negatively affect property values.
One opponent called it "dangerous legislation."
Councilman at-large Terry Stocker, who opposed the legislation, said there is a difference between 1-ton pickups and 1-ton commercial vehicles, and he accused the other council members of trying to use the 1-ton pickup argument to let in 1-ton dump trucks.
Councilman at-large Jerry Shields, who proposed the one-word amendment to a current ordinance, was the target of protesters because his son, Josh, operates a lawn-mowing business in which he uses commercial vehicles neighbors say are parked on the street.
During the meeting, however, Shields' son said he planned to move his business out of the city.
Jerry Shields defended the amendment, saying there are many 1-ton pickups in the city that people use for personal transportation and the amendment would just make them legal.
In other action, Safety-Service Director John P. Sveda said that six cardiac defibrillators, which cost $2,000 each, have been placed into service in the police department.
He said that five are in marked police cars because they often arrive at medical emergencies before medical personnel, and that the first six minutes after a cardiac arrest are the most crucial.
Another defibrillator is in the police department for use in the jail and other areas of the city building.
Sveda said money for the units came from the police and safety-service budgets, as well as donations from the Struthers Rotary Club, Home Savings & Loan Co., Chris Graff of Allstate Insurance and Dan Becker of Becker Funeral Homes.
Mayor Daniel Mamula reported that city income tax collections are up $20,000 through September over the same period in 2006, and are $51,000 over what was projected for this year.