By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
The Monroe City Council discussed the possibility of painting the curbs red in areas where they are located directly in front of mailbox clusters, to indicate that parking is prohibited. The United States Postal Service requires 10 to 12 feet of clearance on either side of a delivery unit receptacle so that their vehicles can have unrestricted access to and from the mailboxes. If the area is blocked, they have the option to not deliver the mail to those units.
Councilmember Kurt Goering spoke in favor of painting curbs in front of mailboxes red.
“Quite frankly, painting a curb red, to me, seems like a cheap way to at least deter some people from parking there,” said Goering.
This issue was first discussed in both 2003 and 2004, although the proposed ordinance was tabled due budgetary restrictions and other complications. More recently, the Stanton Meadows Homeowners Association came forward to request that council consider this option again.
Similar complications to the ones discussed previously were discussed again last week.
One of the issues with painting curbs red is enforcement. Per Monroe municipal code, a red curb indicates no parking at any time, no exceptions. This would cause an increase in calls going in to the police department as citizens would need to report vehicles parked in the red curb areas.
Councilmember Tom Williams, serving as Mayor Pro Tem, stated the issue of enforcement as his primary concern with painting the curbs.
“Having another law that we can’t enforce, or that we don’t enforce… I see a problem with that,” said Williams. “That would be the only reason I would be against doing this.”
Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer was asked to provide feedback in regards to enforcing the additional parking restrictions which would result in red curbs.
“To be honest with you, we have one parking enforcement person,” said Quenzer.
He went on to explain that the parking enforcement person is also responsible for several other aspects of law enforcement within the city. When this issue was discussed previously there were two officers sharing that workload, and even then there were concerns over enforcement, said Quenzer.
The proposed alternative to painting the curbs red was the idea of installing permanent signs which dictate exactly when parking is prohibited in that specific area. The idea would be to disallow parking during hours when mail delivery service would most likely be impeded by parked vehicles, for example from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., which would enable people to park there during the off-hours.
Council did not favor this option, largely due to its expense.
In his cost analysis, Public Works Director Brad Feilberg stated that just painting the curbs in the Stanton Meadows neighborhood alone would cost approximately $1,500. The installation of permanent signage would be significantly higher than that, requiring an additional $4000. Neither expenditure has been budgeted for.
Councilmember Patsy Cudaback presented council with an alternative in which the individual homeowners associations are responsible for the installation of their own signs, placed directly on the mailbox cluster.
Cudaback stated that this method has been utilized in her own housing development, and is quite effective. The sign prohibits parking within 10 feet of either side of the mailbox receptacle.
“It definitely works in our neighborhood,” said Cudaback.
Representatives from Stanton Meadows were in attendance and agreeable as to installing their own signs directly on the postal delivery units in their neighborhood.
Council decided to encourage homeowners associations having difficulty with this issue to try this method before involving the city. Stanton Meadows agreed to report back in the future with progress.
PAY STRUCTURE FOR NON-REPRESENTED EMPLOYEES
The city will be implementing a new performance-based incentive structure for all non-represented employees.
“We would like to make it a little bit more like the private sector where people are rewarded for performance,” said Human Resources Manager Ben Warthan.
Warthan outlined the new compensation strategy for council which will include timely reviews in which employees are evaluated on a scale of one to five, five being the most exceptional performers. The structure would limit pay increases to employees who perform at a level three or better.
Council will review pay bands, which are defined ranges of prescribed pay rates which exist for specific jobs, on a yearly basis to ensure that the compensation amounts stay comparable to other similar-sized communities.