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Independence: Ordinance Hopes to Address Motorized Vehicles on Sidewalks

Independence city council listened to the first reading of an ordinance related to motorized vehicles on city sidewalks.

The legislation was drafted in response to complaints about young residents operating such vehicles in neighborhoods recently.

Councilman Dave Shafer expressed concern about the ordinance.

"I think we're opening a big ball of wax," he said. "I am concerned that we're trying to legislate things that can't be accomplished."

But others put his mind at ease. 

Police Captain Russ Wood indicated his approval of the legislation.

"We have to have parameters we can rely on," Wood said. "The ordinance is vague; it gives us some latitude. It gives us a leg to stand on if we need to use it. We can operate in that scope."

City Administrator Chris Moriconi said he thought it was simplistic, and that was good.

"When we try to get too specific, it backfires on us," Moriconi said.

The second reading of the tax ordinance celebrated the lowering of tax rates in the city. The new tax rate is $0.244 per $100 of assessed value for real estate, and the personal property tax is $0.595 per $100 of assessed value. Both are significantly lower than last year, the real estate rate had been $0.271, and the personal property $0.634. 

The city also formally adopted the one-time overall reduction in property tax bills.

City Attorney Jack Gatlin said that this is a budgeted item because of a surplus, excess revenue that the city had, and that it is not specifically using the federal CARES Act dollars.

Mayor Christopher Reinersman said that if people pay their taxes early they can put the discounts together and get a 12 percent discount.

"This is a good year to pay taxes," the mayor said, and when everyone laughed, he amended the statement a little. "Every year is a good year to pay taxes."

Captain Wood said that the police department named its new K9, a German Shepherd, Jocko. Officer Josh Salyers will depart on Sept. 27 for eight to ten weeks of training with the dog. 

The K9 should be ready for duty by the first of next year.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor