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Council approves ordinance changes

Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News Lincolnton Fire Chief Mitch Burgin presents a general demonstration of manpower used during fire operations to City Council with firemen Shane Bowman, Rusty Reynolds and Ryan Starnes on Thursday.

ELIZABETH HEFFNER

Staff Writer

Lincolnton’s City Council reunited Thursday night for their first meeting of the new year.

Council members began with a public hearing on adding a new Chapter 97 Film Ordinance to the City’s Code of Ordinances. Planning Director Laura Simmons informed council members and the public of the recently proposed language of the ordinance, which was approved by City Council at their Dec.5 meeting.

“The ordinance would require a pre-production meeting between the film crew and staff,” Simmons said. “An application for a permit would need to be submitted 30 days before the established film date. Businesses and residents must be informed ten days prior to filming. There would be a distinction made between high-impact filming and low-impact filming, with high impact filming requiring a permit along with signatures of residents and business owners confirming that they had received a notice. Businesses and residents would then have a five-day period of time to call and express any concerns or complaints with city staff. City staff would then make an effort to resolve those issues. A $5,000 security deposit would be required to film. Upon completion of filming, the amount would be returned, given that there were no outstanding costs. Finally, the production company would be required to submit a liability waiver as well as proof of insurances.”

Council members passed the film ordinance unanimously.

A public hearing was also held for the proposed amendments of Chapter 90 in the City’s Code of Ordinances. At the Dec. 5 meeting, Chief of Police Rodney Jordan addressed council members regarding changing the city’s policies regarding dangerous dogs, the duty of the county dog warden and the vaccination of dogs to mirror Lincoln County’s current policies. According to Jordan, dangerous dogs are no longer allowed to reside in the city. Prior to tonight’s meeting, the ordinance stated that dangerous dogs were not allowed in public without a muzzle. As for the County Dog Warden’s duties, he or she is only required to hold a dog for up to four days. Previously, the city ordinance stated that a dog could be held up to five days. The vaccination of dogs was removed as it is currently covered under state statute. Council members passed the amendments to the ordinance unanimously.

Council members honored Lincolnton Police Officer Gerald Mark Sain due to his upcoming retirement Feb. 1. Sain has served the city for several years, beginning in 1989 as an electric lineman. By 2002, Sain was promoted to electric distribution superintendent. Sain decided to venture into a different avenue of public service and began serving as a law enforcement officer.

“I’m glad we take the time to recognize our employees of the city of Lincolnton,” Mayor John Gilleland, Jr. said. “This is just a small way of saying thank you, but I am glad we take the time to recognize the great efforts they’ve done over the years.”

A presentation from Lincolnton’s Fire Department is a new addition to the council’s monthly agenda. Fire Chief Mitch Burgin highlighted key points in the department’s 2013 annual report.

“I wanted to shed a little light on what we do,” Burgin said.

According to Burgin, their department responded to 2,021 calls, ranging from fire-related incidents to medical emergencies. Approximately 50 percent of calls were fire related, with the remaining 50% deemed as medical situations.

“I think we’ve got a good percentage there,” Burgin said. “There are a lot of fire departments that spend 70-80 percent on medical [situations]. We’re about 50-50, so I think that’s pretty good.”

One of the biggest achievements for the fire department was improving their response time to emergencies. Burgin said that the city’s fire department’s response time is three minutes and twenty seconds, almost three times as fast as Lincoln’s County’s EMS at eight minutes.

“There’s no way to tell how many lives we’ve saved, but I can tell you it changes putting oxygen on somebody within three minutes,” Burgin said.

Members of Lincolnton’s Fire Department also assisted Burgin in delivering a visual demonstration of the number of firefighters required for various emergency tasks.

“We hope we were able to convey the real life challenges Lincolnton firefighters face,” Burgin said.

Several members of the community spoke during the public comments portion of the evening in support of community member Dale Punch. Punch was listed as a disappointment in a Nov. 26 staff report written by Business and Community Development Director Brad Guth. Some community members, such as Lincoln County resident Bill Ledford, shared their opposition to the city’s annual Hog Happenin’ event and praised Punch’s commitment to the veteran community.

“Dale has done more for the veterans of Lincoln County than any other man in this county,” Ledford said.

Others, such as resident Robert Tomlinson, requested that the council take action against Guth’s “slanderous and libelous claims.” At this time, city council members have not expressed any interest in taking further action regarding this matter. Guth did not respond to the public comments heard during the meeting.

Lincolnton’s City Council is scheduled to meet next on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

 

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