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Today's word on journalism

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dueling masters on words:

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."

--William Faulkner, writer (1897-1962), on Ernest Hemingway, writer (1899-1961)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

--Ernest Hemingway, writer (1899-1961), on William Faulkner, writer (1897-1962)

Wellsville council wants sidewalks but can't agree on who'll pay

By Liz Lawyer

March 3, 2006 | WELLSVILLE -- The City Council discussed the possibility of establishing "improvement districts" in Wellsville in which sidewalks would be required to be installed in front of all developed property.

Councilman Dick Wells said Wellsville needs an expert to go through the town and decide which areas should be a priority for sidewalks. Homeowners would pay the amount it would cost to install sidewalks on their property, to be determined by an engineer's estimate, into a town fund, which the council would control. The council would also decide what parts of town would be in the improvement districts.

The council discussed whether everyone in town would be required to pay or only the people included in the improvement districts.

"What if we come across someone who for some reason would not ever get a sidewalk? Would we still make them pay?" asked Councilman Ron Case.

Councilwoman Marcene Parker said yes. Some members of the council said they were concerned about what policy they should take for isolated homes where sidewalks would do no good and would probably not be put in.

"We eventually want sidewalks in town, but everyone should pay for them," Parker said.

Mayor Ruth Maughan said citizens had expressed concern that if they paid into the fund now and sidewalks were not put in on their property for several years, they would be required to pay again for increased cost.

For already developed property, the contribution to the fund would be collected and whether sidewalks should be installed would be determined later. However, for new housing developments, which are required to install sidewalks at the time homes are built, the council reserved the right to decide if they wanted the sidewalks put in or instead have the money that would be used for the sidewalks contributed to the fund.

"The council would decide if we want the sidewalk or the money," Councilman Lynn Cooper said. "Once they pay, they're done."

However, this policy doesn't address the issue of rising construction or maintenance costs. Tom Maughan of Wellsville said he would rather put the sidewalks in himself than pay the town to do it in order to save money.

"I trust Tom to do a good job," Wells said. "But the problem is, when you have private citizens do it, someone might muck it up."

Maughan said his street had irregular sidewalks on it, with large gaps in between segments of pavement. Don Hartle, city manager and recorder, said this causes more of a problem than just inconsistency.

"When they finally meet up with new sidewalk they will have depreciated and be rotten,"he said.

Yet another aspect of the issue discussed in the meeting was which side of the road would have the sidewalks installed. Nothing was decided on the issue during the meeting, and, as Wells said, the council was "arguing about hypotheticals,"since there was no official plan and nothing in writing
concerning the issue.

"If we had a master plan we could say, 'Look, this is where we're going with this,'" Cooper said. He will write a resolution about the matter to be discussed in the next council meeting.

Cooper said Brigham City is going through a similar process right now, assessing where the best places would be for sidewalks and deciding how to pay for them.

The council also discussed an application for money from the Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos tax fund to move a bowery and create a soccer field at Wellsville Dam Park. Cooper said the project would cost about $5,000. Parker said she felt moving the bowery, which was placed in the park by the Wellsville Fire Department, would make it more accessible and family-friendly.

In other business, the council denied building permits to a developer until the roads are clear and a generator is installed. Cooper said for the last week and a half there have been power outages in Wellsville for a total of about four hours.


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