Truck, semi routes considered in Fillmore

Monday, May 8, 2017

FILLMORE -- At its May meeting, the Fillmore Town Council was introduced to Ordinance 2017-4, which regulates the travel of large vehicles on town streets, and is set to consider it again at its next regular meeting on June 1 at 7 p.m. in the Fillmore Town Hall.

The ordinance currently states that after “numerous complaints” and “deterioration of the streets,” the town will restrict truck traffic (vehicles with more than six wheels, more than one rear axle, weighing more than 14,000 pounds empty or loaded, or is a semi-tractor of any kind) to Cemetery Road from Main Street (east and west), Right of Way Road to Main Street (east and west) and Main Street to Cemetery Road and Right of Way Road (north and south).

“Because what we’ve got is when the gas trucks come in, they’ll go down the side streets,” President Curt Leonard said. “And we’re trying to keep them off there. And we had trouble with another guy bringing a semi up and down the road, and we’ve pretty much lost the road. It’s already caving in because he’s overweight. So that’s basically what this is about.”

There are some exemptions: Emergency vehicles; local service vehicles (school buses, trash trucks, post office or other package delivery vehicles); construction vehicles busy in repair, maintenance or construction; agriculture equipment; and any truck doing business at a destination.

The law does not, however, provide for residents who own and park such a vehicle on their property.

“If you’re delivering things it’s OK,” Town Attorney Jeff Boggess said. “If you’re bringing construction materials to work on things it’s fine. But if you’re just going to park stuff at your house, that’s not conducting business. So, no that’s not exempt.”

Clerk-Treasurer Tom Gilson commented, “That’s going to be sticky. Telling people they can’t park their 18-wheelers somewhere.”

“Well, when you’ve not got enough money to fix the roads,” Town Maintenance Director Joe Cash said.

Clerk-Treasurer Gilson asked if the council would consider approaching residents with large parcels of land about building a public parking lot for semi-tractors, but President Leonard declined.

“That would be up to them, not the town,” President Leonard said. “I don’t even want to get into that. That’s not my business, and that’s not the town’s business if somebody does that.”

During Thursday’s meeting, the council approved adding a progressive penalty ($100 for the first offense, then $300, then $500) to the ordinance.

If approved, the town would be required to put up signs designating the route, but Cash said the town was supposed to have replaced all existing signs by 2015, so it might consider doing that while adding the new truck route signs.

In other developments:

-- Rainfall: Cash reported that, despite the seven inches of rain since last Wednesday, the town’s sewer system is keeping up.

-- Town cleanup: President Leonard reported that only one dumpster was filled during the Town Cleanup Day on April 29 due to rain. He suggested the town might host another in the future.

-- Utility woes: A resident came before the council to ask for reconsideration on a decision made in February.

The resident owns an unlivable house that he uses for storage and, there being no one living there, does not want to pay the utility bill. Based on an ordinance, the council ruled that since the house is standing he must pay the bill. The resident left saying that he may consult a lawyer or tear the house down.

“We have to have so many houses on our sewer system to make it work, make it feasible money-wise,” President Leonard said in February. “Being that we cannot afford to be taking houses off the sewer system.”

To pay for two bonds from 1992 (totaling more than $800,000 and going out to 2029) that installed the sewer system, connected it to Greencastle’s system and later repaired it, the minimum rate applied to any utility bill in Fillmore is $31.99. That rate is set to increase to $33.94 by Dec. 2018.

-- Zoning: The council is considering adopting the county zoning laws to gain a seat in the Putnam County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). “What it would mean is that Fillmore would get a voice at the table if the county would make changes just outside of Fillmore,” Town Attorney Boggess said.

-- Bert and Betty’s parking: Clerk-Treasurer Gilson announced that the owners of the People Pathways property (the gravel strip by the town hall) have said that no one may park there except patrons of Bert and Betty’s restaurant and one other person, who is there temporarily. Violators will be ticketed.

-- Call 811: Robin Duncan announced that citizens can receive hefty fines for not calling 811 before attempting projects even as simple as installing a mailbox. For more information, visit

-- Claims: The council approved the claims at a total of $28,912.09, an increase from last month of $15,832.27 and of $4,698.99 from the year’s average.

The next Fillmore Town Council regular meeting will be June 1 at 7 p.m. in the Fillmore Town Hall.

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