Linden Council has big dreams

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2005

LINDEN – A beautification project, a dog limit, better playgrounds and the never-ending disturbing saga of a train were all discussed at the Linden City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Councilwoman Mitzi Gates asked for a budget increase for the Linden City Beautification Project.

“We talked to Goodwin, Mills and Caywood about the project,” Gates said. “I just don’t want them to feel limited.”

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The council agreed to increase the budget from $200,000 to $300,000 which will make the city’s spending limit on the project $60,000.

The project will include new “Welcome to Linden” signs, landscaping, wrought iron posts with hanging baskets and plants and planters in Downtown Linden.

Some sidewalk work, new street signs and news signs for local parks and the Farmer’s Market will also be included in the budget.

At the meeting Cheryl Hall, city administrator, said she has received complaints from residents about dog lovers who have more animals than the average pet owner.

According to Hall, citizens are complaining about the smell and high noise levels the animals produce in the neighborhoods and wish to have a limit on the number of pets a household can possess.

Although Mayor Pat Vice thought two dogs per household would be sufficient enough, the council is looking into setting a limit of four dogs per home. City Attorney W.W. Dinning Jr. is researching the options.

In case parents are worried about the safety of their children on area playgrounds, Hall said the city hopes to begin playground work by next weekend and hopes to have the projects completed in the next few weeks.

The train and the traffic caused by its frequent rest stops in Linden was also a topic of discussion at Tuesdays meeting.

“Everybody tells me there isn’t anything you can do about it unless it’s endangering the city,” Vice said. “That’s endangering our city when the train is blocking three main highways for 45 minutes.”

Although many council members had heard of a rule that the train wasn’t allowed to stop for more than 15 minutes, Gates appropriately called the hearsay “urban legend.”

Dinning said he has looked for a document pertaining to the situation but “it doesn’t exist.” Vice said he would continue to look for a solution to the problem.

The council is also looking at regulations to potentially prevent sex offenders from moving into city limits.

According to Hall, a Florida city passed a regulation that offenders couldn’t live within a four-mile radius of the city and Linden should look into doing the same.

Dinning said he would research it, but doesn’t think the regulation would stand if someone were to protest it since it is unconstitutional.

Some Lucky Linden officers will receive a new squad car by the end of the week and city employees will receive a raise thanks to the new budget.

“If they get paid under $10 an hour they will get a seven percent raise,” Councilman Alvin “Butch” King said. “If they get paid over $10 an hour they will get a five percent raise.”

Council members agreed city workers deserved the extra money.

Hall also reported the city has received funds so the chief and county can remove storm debris.

“We have $7,915 from Dennis, $102,000 from Ivan and we are still getting money from Katrina,” she said.

The next Linden City Council meeting is October 6 at p.m.