City to implement one-call system

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(Posted March 9, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The city of London soon will implement a one-call system to directly notify residents of important information, such as boil alerts after water main breaks.

A notice went out in this month’s utility bills, explaining the one-call system and asking residents to provide the city with contact information–a land line number, cell phone number, or email address.

The one-call system will be used only for “important stuff,” said Mayor Pat Closser at the March 4 city council meeting. He used the boil alert example.

“While our guys are trying to get out to knock on doors, we can text, call or email those people who are affected right away,” he said. “Another example is for people who live on snow emergency routes. We can tell them to get their cars off the road if a big snow is coming.”

With the one-call system, city leaders will be able to send out calls citywide or to a targeted audience, depending on the need.

“We hope to have the system up and running in the next couple of months,” Closser said.

City facility rental fees

In other updates, Closser informed council that the city properties commission and parks and recreation commission are reviewing the fees the city charges to rent its facilities, such as the parks and the public auditorium and theater located at city hall.

“We want to see if we are charging enough,” he said.

He noted that the auditorium and theater, where city council meets, is a “fantastic room” now. It is outfitted with audio/visual technology, tables, and chairs.

“It would be great for a wedding, it would be great for a conference–things like that,” he said. “We want to get the rental fees figured out so that when COVID restrictions are gone we can start renting it out.”

Liquor licenses and restaurants

Closser also talked about liquor licenses. Paul Gross, a London resident and developer, plans to build a sit-down restaurant on State Route 56 SW, in front of the Bluebird Retirement Community. Closser said someone else is considering putting in a restaurant in downtown London.

The interest brings up one of the challenges the city faces when it comes to attracting new sit-down restaurants and bars: a low number of available liquor licenses. The state allows one of each class of liquor license per 2,000 people.

“With 10,000 people, we don’t get a lot of licenses,” Closser said, adding that there’s no way to change that ratio.

One way around the problem, he said, is a “trex” transfer, a state-approved process that allows the transfer of a liquor license from one community to another, as long as local government officials approve it. Closser said he is encouraging Gross and the other interested party to do this.

“City council is on board to get things like this–these restaurants, these nice places to sit down and have a drink or maybe watch a game or have a nice meal,” he said. “We’re going to be willing to pass legislation to bring in those licenses to bring those (restaurants and bars) in.”

Longtime clerk retiring

Arlene Duffey, who has served as city council clerk for 35 years, is retiring. She will attend her final council meeting on March 18.

“Arlene has been with us for a long time, through a lot of city council presidents,” Closser said. “For all these city council presidents to say, ‘No, I want to keep Arlene,’ it just shows a lot to what she’s done for the city.”

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