RED OAK – Members of the Red Oak City Council heard requests during them meeting Monday night from department heads, Charles Brewer and Craig Rudolph on additions to the city’s Code of Ordinances.
Rudolph received unanimous approval of his request that the city pass an involuntary tow ordinance for owners or operators of vehicles driving without proof of insurance. Citing a recent state law allowing law enforcement agencies to impound vehicles where there is no proof, he said this has so far been a city department policy.
“I want to bring this in full compliance with a city ordinance,” he said.
Circumstances where officers determine a vehicle is being operated in violation of the state motor vehicle proof of financial responsibility law would be when the vehicle is involved in an accident or when it is stopped for another traffic violation.
“We have some latitude where if the operator does not have the state identification card, but we receive confirmation through the state database, we do not issue a citation or tow,” Rudolph said, saying officers use some judgment when choosing to tow a vehicle. He said they typically will not tow a vehicle if there are children in the car, if the stop is during inclement weather or if there is a welfare concern.
“When we do impound a vehicle, we offer to take the occupants to a residence if in the city, to a restaurant, place of business or to the police station to call for someone to come pick them up. We will not just leave them on the street unless they choose so,” Rudolph said.
Data collected by the state shows Ellis County is just under the state level where one in five vehicles on the road are uninsured, Rudolph said, saying the county is about 19 percent reported uninsured.
Brewer received approval of an amendment to establish a new article for the prohibition of illicit discharges into protected waste water systems. The ordinance describes the storm water system being different from the sewer system and by virtue of federal mandated regulations is subject to restriction as to the types of waste that can be placed into it.
The ordinance Brewer introduced is the first in a series to regulate storm water waste systems.
Mayor Alan Hugley asked about the necessity of the ordinance, with city attorney Robert Hager saying that by not passing the ordinance or having a policy, the city’s storm water permit would be in jeopardy, with potential fines and other penalties incurred.
Examples of waste water that can no longer be dumped in storm water systems include swimming pool drainage, wash water from car washes and animal waste, Brewer said, noting that dumping grass and shrub cuttings is also illegal and subject to a fine with the passage of the ordinance.
In other action and after some discussion, a resolution was approved establishing a reserve operating budget for the city in the event of a disaster. City finance director Miykael Reeve told the council and staff that the city’s bond rating is based on the reserves available in the event of a disaster or economic breakdown.
“If the reserve is not approved, it would have a negative impact on our bond rating. It could eventually cost us more,” Reeve said.
City manager Tim Kelty said the city has a 48-day general fund reserve and 68-day reserve for the water and sewer fund.
The resolution established a five-year plan setting a maximum reserve level of a 60-day reserve for the general fund and 75 days of reserve funds for water and sewer operations. The resolution passed unanimously.
Another action before the council was approval of a resolution to fund the design development, construction documents and project administration of the renovation of the police and fire station building.
Kelty said there are needed repairs to the roof, with the other renovations to bring the building into compliance as a law enforcement center.