London beefs up street department staffing


(Posted Oct. 24, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The city of London is beefing up its street department staffing.

On Oct. 19, city council approved an increase of three positions to the maximum number of employees allowed for the department, bringing the total number to nine.

“The street department is adopting a lot more responsibilities around the city–maintenance, mowing,” said council member Bryan Robinson who sponsored the legislation. “With all the responsibilities they have, they are pulling (employees) off street (work) and putting them into other areas which neglects the street work.”

In addition to street maintenance, the department assists with general building maintenance, mowing, storm sewer and water repairs, traffic light maintenance, and other tasks.

In the 1970s, the department had nine full-time employees plus part-time employees, according to Bill Long, the city’s current street superintendent. Long has worked for the city since 1984, first as a firefighter and later for the street department. He said he saw the department’s staffing decrease over the years even as the population and street needs increased. He made the current request for more employees. The measure passed 5-0.

Facilities and equipment
Council passed legislation to advertise for bids for construction of a new salt barn. The city’s old salt barn fell down. The street department has made arrangements to temporarily store salt at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office facilities.

Council also passed legislation to advertise for bids and enter into a contract not to exceed $110,000 for the purchase and installation of exhaust removal systems for the fire/EMS department’s vehicles. The department received an Assistance To Firefighters grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The grant will cover 95 percent of the cost of the project; the city will cover the other 5 percent.

“I know they need it over there,” said council member Rich Hays who sponsored the legislation.

Public hearings
Council will hold two public hearings for alley vacations at their Nov. 2 meeting. One calls for vacation of the alley that runs behind 109 Canterbury Dr. The other calls for vacation of the alley between 211 and 213 Toland Street. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the legislation. Later in the meeting, council will have the opportunity to vote on the legislation.

Council will hold a public hearing at their Nov. 16 meeting on an application requesting a zoning change for a total of 26.5 acres off of Keny Boulevard. A developer seeks to build a combination of apartments for rent and townhomes for purchase on the land, along with a small commercial business, requiring a zoning switch from residential to multi-family planned unit development (PUD).

Representatives of the project plan to speak at the hearing. The public will have a chance to comment, and council will have a chance to vote on the request later in the meeting.

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