DARLINGTON – The Tuesday, March 7 an electrifying regular meeting of the common council of the City of Darlington was called to order by council President David Gough at 7:00 p.m.
Police Chief Jason King attended an Emergency Management workshop recently. The main focus of the meeting was power outages.
According to King the causes of outages can be weather related, car accidents, animals or equipment malfunction. Contemporary causes include physical attack, cyber attack or fuel supply emergency. The underlying inference was terrorist attack.
King pointed out the Darlington Municipal Building does not have back-up power. Other locations in the city that do and do not have back-up generators include: Darlington water and sewer - yes; Darlington Schools (High School – limited, generator runs heat and emergency lights. Middle School – no); Rural Medical – no; Darlington Fire Dept. – no; Darlington Police Dept. – no; Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County – yes; Lafayette County Courthouse – no; Sheriffs Dept. – limited (could power dispatch and some lighting); Sheriff & emergency communications – yes; Cell towers – no (the Republican Journal found out the US Cellular tower in Darlington, does have generator back-up); Landline – yes. Other locations not specified: Lafayette Manor – yes; Lafayette County Health Department – yes; Lafayette County Highway Dept., main building – yes, building with fuel pumps in front – yes (in the works).
Red Cross has the Darlington Middle School listed as the main emergency shelter, yet it is not prepared.
King posed the question – is Darlington ready for a power outage? King’s answer is – no. King said, “When police, fire, EMS and municipal government don’t have back-up power, the community relies upon these organizations to take care of them in crisis situations, but they don’t have the ability to keep their lights on.”
King said, “The emergency operations plan for the City of Darlington, says that we have a back-up generator and we don’t. I think we need to take steps to address that. I know we’ve talked about it before. I hope tonight you (the council) will take formal steps to take some action.” King suggested the very least the city should do is install a camlock outlet to the municipal building. A camlock outlet would allow an outside or portable generator to plug-in and power the building.
King thinks the next step is to purchase a generator for the municipal building. In 2014 the city looked into this very thing and at that time a portable generator that would power the city building was bid at $58,000. A stand-alone generator could run as high as $100,000.
Alder Don Osterday said, “I agree with everything you’re saying, but it comes down to money. I wouldn’t be opposed to the Chief’s suggestion that we look into a camlock outlet.” Gough said he would contact Precision, Drive and Control of Monroe to get a price. King said he would check into grants.
In other business:
•The council approved Leah Gollmer to serve on the Park & Rec Committee. The previous appointee had withdrawn from the committee prior to the last meeting.
•Gough brought up a house that was destroyed by fire, in the city on Spring Street. The house burned April 9, 2016 and has sat neglected since the fire. The house is owned by Tri State Restoration, LLC. Gough said, “I think the Ordinance Committee needs to put some teeth in our city ordinance in relation to a situation like that.” He continued, “There’s nothing Mike Reuter (Darlington’s Building Inspector) can do, according to our current ordinance. I think he could fine him, but that wouldn’t do any good if there is no money to pay the fines” Alder John Sonsolla agreed and pointed out there is another house in the city in the same circumstance.
•Lions Club wants to donate a drinking fountain in the Festival Grounds, A motion to accept the donation, contingent upon DNR approval.
•The council accepted a donation of $1,500 in memory of Shirley Acherman from Jim Acherman for an exercise machine AbsBench x2.
•Approved donating a portion of the proceeds of the Bunny Hop.
•Approved the February 2107 vouchers in the amount of $1,663,410.