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Front Page » May 20, 2008 » Local News » Wellington council listens to appeal for lower speed limi...
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Wellington council listens to appeal for lower speed limit, moves budget forward

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Sun Advocate reporter

Wellington city councilmembers tackled slowing down drivers in a city neighborhood and moving forward the tentative budget for 2008/09 at a meeting last Wednesday.

Lance Manzanares came to last Wednesday's meeting serving as a representative for those living in the area with a petition asking for the new speed limit to be 15 mph. He said that the current limit of 25 mph is just too fast.

"People are always speeding through there," he said. "I would even be willing to put the money forward for a new sign."

Councilmembers posited other considerations in bringing the situation under control even if the limit is dropped.

"If nobody is there enforcing it we could put 10 mph and it wouldn't matter because they will still speed," Councilman Glen Wells said.

They also reminded Manzanares that the roadway connects with a county road and that the city could only mandate changes on Arena.

"All we can address is our road," Mayor Karl Houskeeper said.

Manzanares was not deterred, he went on to further clarify the situation.

"These offenders aren't from our neighborhood," he said. "It's a coal miner thing because it's a shortcut to Ridge Road.

He told the council that he had tried to slow them down himself.

"I went so far as placing toys in the road," Manzanares said. "They just swerved around them."

While the council seemed to understand the man's frustration they cautioned him that toys in the road could end up backfiring.

"Now that you said what you are doing putting toys in the middle of the road you need to know that if they cause an accident you are facing a big liability," said Councilmember Ed Chavez.

Manzanares quickly added some more explanation to the toy experiment.

"My kids actually put them there, I just left them," he said.

Despite the inherent problems with controlling the speeders, Manzanares was heard by the council.

The mayor asked him for an approximate time that the traffic is the worst and said that the city would put officers over there for about two weeks during that time.

"I think you will see a big change," said Houskeeper. "This should bring people back to humility."

The council then made a motion to table the decision on the new speed limit until they had a chance to run it by Police Chief Lee Barry.

With not quite $1 million in the general fund for fiscal year 2008/09 city leaders have their work cut out for them. City Recorder Ken Powell brought his tentative budget to Wednesday's meeting showing a $969,000 general fund revenue/expenditures total.

"We are going to have some challenges this year," Powell said..

Some of the challenges include a step increase for an employee of 4 percent, a need to buy two cars for the police department and more money for volunteer firefighters.

"The fire chief requested $24,000 which is doubled from last year," Powell said.

Council members expressed concern that the ability to transfer monies from between revenue streams was also affected by the budget crunch.

"I was hoping that there could be some transfer between some funds but the other funds are not doing well enough," Powell said.

In addition to the general fund Wellington also has the following:

• Capital Projects - $410,000 income/expenditures

• Debt Service - $158,700 income/expenditures

• Building Authority - $111,900 income/expenditures

• Water fund - $760,500 income/expenditures

• Sewer - $191,000 income/expenditures

• Irrigation - $145,900 income/expenditures

• Sanitation - $ 60,000 income/expenditures

• Perpetual Care - $ 22,900 income/expenditures

• Recreation - $ 10,700 income/expenditures

The future of the irrigation fund was a main discussion in the council's look at the tentative budget.

"We promised that it would never be raised when that fund was developed," Wells reminded his colleagues.

However, Powell said that despite the earlier promise, given the budget constraints,the fund would have to be revisited especially in light of rising fuel costs.

ouncilman Marvon Willson agreed saying that he can't see anyway to be more efficient with the fuel usage.

"Maybe we can put a little blurb in the newsletter saying that the secondary irrigation fund is coming up short and that we may have to increase it," he said.

The council unanimously approved moving the tentative budget forward.

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