'Do not knock' effort delayed

Implementation of a “do not knock” list for peddlers in Monticello will wait at least two weeks as language in a proposed amendment to the city’s solicitation ordinance is cleaned up.

If approved, residents could place their properties on a list of addresses where commercial solicitors would not be allowed.

The draft amendment incorrectly stated that solicitation licenses are issued by the city clerk instead of the police department, something that aldermen on Monday said they wanted corrected in formal documents before taking a vote.

The changes would also remove the license requirement for non-commercial solicitors. Police Chief John Carter said requiring a license in those cases could violate First Amendment rights.

Carter added that police run background checks before issuing licenses to door-to-door salesmen, noting he recently turned one down after finding rap sheets on all five who were involved, including some for theft.

“They had records, every one of them,” said Carter.

The ordinance amendments will likely be considered at the next council meeting on May 29. If approved, the fee for a solicitation license would remain at $10. The fine for violating the do not knock list could range from $100 to $750.

Variances approved
Zoning variances were approved for the owners of Arbor Rose, an assisted living facility for residents with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Cornerstone Enter-prises Limited Partnership asked for adjustments to be made in parking availability and lot coverage in order to add 8,566-square-feet of space. In expanding from 10 to 16 beds, structures would account for 41.8 percent of lot coverage, more than the 40 percent allowed by city zoning code.

The amount of parking places was reduced from 32 to 13 since it is not a high-traffic facility.

Aldermen also approved a new policy regarding water leaks. Bill adjustments are already made on the sewer charge when leaks are identified, but City Human Resources officer Maura Metcalf proposed a break for water charges as well.

The proposal – a 50 percent adjustment above the average charge when there is a verified leak – came out of a rough winter resulting in several pipe breaks on homeowners’ properties.

“This year with the extremely cold weather for a long period of time, we had probably 25 different residents affected by this,” said Metcalf. “Some of them were $500 and $600 bills.”

Customers experiencing leaks on their property must fix them within seven days and have city verification to be eligible for a bill adjustment.

Public Works Director Jim Grabarczyk said there is software available to identify leaks sooner, but that it would require meter replacement and an estimated $500,000. But staff are still researching it since the estimated payback is about five years.

Business happenings
Mayor Larry Stoner announced that longtime Monticello business Viobin had been purchased recently by Texas-based Panhandle Milling.

Viobin, established in 1934, is a producer of defatted wheat germ and specialty oils.

Stoner also announced that a ribbon cutting for frozen yogurt establishment FroYo Yogurt would be held at 6 p.m. Friday at 106 S. Market St. in Monticello.

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