Ox­ford dis­cusses wa­ter­ing penal­ties

Three-tier penalty sys­tem pro­posed

The Covington News - - Local News - By Michelle Kim

Strict penal­ties for not com­ply­ing with state wa­ter­ing reg­u­la­tions and fire de­part­ment pol­icy on al­low­ing sirens and lights to be used on per­sonal ve­hi­cles were some of the top­ics of dis­cus­sion at Mon­day night’s Ox­ford City Coun­cil meet­ing

The pro­posed three-tiered penalty sched­ule for those re­ported vi­o­lat­ing the state wa­ter­ing lim­its would have is­sued a warn­ing for first time of­fend­ers, a $200 fine for sec­ond time of­fend­ers and would have dis­con­nected the wa­ter sup­ply for third time of­fend­ers.

Coun­cil mem­ber Hoyt Oliver asked if cit­i­zens would be able to con­test the fines in court like they could with traf­fic tick­ets. Coun­cil mem­ber Terry Smith said it would fol­low the same kind of process as a traf­fic ticket.

City At­tor­ney David Strick­land sug­gested the coun­cil might con­sider ap­ply­ing a fine that third time of­fend­ers would have to pay to get their wa­ter turned back on. He in­formed the coun­cil that with most or­di­nances they were al­lowed to charge a max­i­mum fine of $1,000.

Fur­ther dis­cus­sion of the pol­icy was post­poned un­til the March 17 work­shop ses­sion.

The is­sue of al­low­ing vol­un­teer fire­men to use sirens and lights on per­sonal ve­hi­cles was raised dur­ing dis­cus­sion of adopt­ing the fire de­part­ment’s stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure.

Ja­son Stri­b­ling, chief of Ox­ford’s vol­un­teer fire de­part­ment, said not al­low­ing vol­un­teers to use lights and sirens on per­sonal ve­hi­cles might slow re­sponse time.

Mayor Jerry Rose­berry said New­ton County Fire Chief Mike Sat­ter­field had told to him the pol­icy in the NCFD was not to al­low sirens and lights on per­sonal ve­hi­cles.

Po­lice Chief Clark Miller said he had called the fire mar­shal’s of­fice and state fire academy and both had in­di­cated the trend through­out the state was to move away from al­low­ing that be­cause of in­sur­ance and li­a­bil­ity rea­sons.

Dis­cus­sion and amend­ment of the stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure was also post­poned to the work­shop ses­sion.

The coun­cil also voted to ap­ply for a Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Block Grant and to the Drink­ing Wa­ter State Re­volv­ing Fund, a low-in­ter­est loan pro­gram run by the Ge­or­gia En­vi­ron­men­tal Fa­cil­i­ties Author­ity, to help pay for the fed­er­ally man­dated re­place­ment of the city’s wa­ter lines. The wa­ter lines were mostly in­stalled around the 1960s, said Frank Sher­rill of Hightower Con­sult­ing En­gi­neers. The city would ap­ply for about $466,000 from the CDBG pro­gram, a grant pro­gram run by the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Com­mu­nity Af­fairs, and $246,000 from the DWSRF loan, said Sher­rill, who had rec­om­mended ap­ply­ing for both. The to­tal cost of re­plac­ing the lines was es­ti­mated more than $700,000, ac­cord­ing to coun­cil mem­ber Terry Smith.

A pub­lic hear­ing for the CDBG was held on Tues­day morn­ing but was not at­tended by any cit­i­zens.

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