City Council eyes ordinances
The Common Council of the City of Brazil discussed a couple of ordinances which could create problems in the future during Friday's special meeting.
The council repealed Paragraph (B) of Subsection 30.004 of the Brazil Code of Ordinances because it conflicted with other sections.
According to the ordinance, "The Clerk-Treasurer is directly responsible for billing and collection of city-owned utilities and shall appoint employees who are responsible for that billing and collection."
"We have a couple of other sections that name the Board of Public Works and Safety as the group responsible for the billing and collection of the utilities," City Attorney Bob Pell said. "It was brought to our attention that this was in the books and by repealing it, we go back to what is the status quo as the Board of Works has always been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the utilities."
Pell also said if the ordinance had remained as is, Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen would be responsible for any issues coming out of the utility offices.
"She already had so much on her plate and there is no reason to add this responsibility if the Board of Works is already handling it," he said. "According to state statutes, the clerk-treasurer or the Board of Works can be put in the position of responsibility."
The council also reviewed the city ordinance regarding when political signs may be put up.
Currently, Brazil residents may not put up political signs more than 30 days prior to any election date.
However, legal issues in other Indiana cities has the council reconsidering the ordinance.
In Plainfield and Lebanon, enforcement of similar ordinances have drawn successful challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana.
"Right now, we don't have a situation here," Pell said. "We haven't taken any enforcement action on the ordinance."
According to Pell, political speech is protected by the Supreme Court, which is why the ACLU has been successful in challenging the ordinances in Plainfield and Lebanon.
"There is no need to take action at this time, but it is something we need to keep in mind," he said. "We should try to keep current with the situation in those areas and contact the lawyers to see how they are handling the situations."
With Halloween nearing, the council set trick-or-treat hours for the City of Brazil.
With a 4-1 vote, the council approved conducting only one city-wide day for trick-or-treating. Area children will be able to trick-or-treat Oct. 31, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., which is an hour longer than had been approved in recent years. Council Member Steve Lamb voted against the time as he wanted to maintain having two trick-or-treat days.
However, to allow children a second day to go out and receive Halloween treats, the council approved having trick-or-treating Oct. 30, from 6-8 p.m., limited to the Brazil City Fire Department.
The next meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be Tuesday, at 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers of City Hall.