In an effort to control vandalism on civic property, the Ladysmith Common Council Monday voted 6-0, Monday, to approve a new video surveillance policy.

The policy reads the city is striving “to maintain a safe and secure environment for its staff, visitors and customers. It states the public will be notified using clearly worded signs prominently displayed at the perimeter of the camera or video surveillance areas so patrons have “reasonable and adequate warning” that surveillance may be in operation with the area they are entering.

The policy states recordings will be used to identify people responsible for policy violations, criminal activity or actions considered disruptive to normal city operations. The video may also be used by law enforcement to assist with enforcing state and federal laws. Recordings will be kept and reviewed “as long as necessary” by the department head who authorized placement  of the equipment used. Video may be shared with city staff, including police to identify people suspended from city property and to maintain a safe and secure environment. Reasonable efforts shall be made to safeguard people’s privacy. Surveillance equipment may be installed in locations where staff, visitors and customers would not have an expectation of privacy including common areas of city hall, the public library, pavilions, common areas of city-owned industrial properties, parking lots and delivery areas.

Also Monday, the council:

— Voted 6-0 to approve an ordinance providing for the fire department to charge for recovery of some costs for certain services including rescuing cats out of trees as these animals must be leashed, filling tanks and pools with water and pumping storm water from private property.

— Voted 6-0 to approve a revised exclusive use of Memorial Park for Mardi Gras agreement with Jaycees and the city’s Park Board. New language notes the cooperative arrangement between the city and the organizations’s efforts for decades to sponsor the community’s “signature event” for decades. The agreement notes the mutual advantages this relationship has provided whereby the Jaycees have returned Mardi Gras revenues to mutually agreed upon park improvements over the years.

— Voted 6-0 to approve an ordinance amending basic monthly fee for solid waste collection. It increases the quarterly refuse collection fee from $6 to $8 for $8 total for an entire year. It then calls for increasing the quarterly refuse collection fee by 50 cents per year every year starting with 2020. The annual increase will remain in effect until stopped by council decision.

— Voted 6-0 to approve authorizing the fire department to maintain department controlled accounts. Monies deposited into these accounts shall come from department fundraisers or donations to the department and shall not include revenue from the sale of any departmental equipment bought from city general revenues. It may include revenue from the sale of equipment bought from donations provided, however, that a detailed biannual report of all deposits and withdrawals for each account shall be given to the comptroller and be subject to the city’s annual audit.

— Voted 5-0 with one abstention to approve spending up to $5,000 to relocate the former mine visitors center and do site prep work for the new location to the west of the 1920s house. The city sought to move the facility to coincide with the moving of the moving of the dwelling at the Evergreen Motel as that property has been purchased by neighboring property owner Prevea. The visitors center houses mine artifacts like rock samples, photos and maps. Ald. Bill Morgan abstained.

— Voted 6-0 to approve exterior access improvements at Rockwell including $1,645 for installing a new sidewalk and $400 for repairing a collapsed culvert. Funds will come from property rents paid to the city by the company.

— Voted 6-0 to approve establishing a non-interest bearing community development block grant CDBG checking account for the Community Center Planning Grant Project checking account. City leaders are seeking a grant to help study the feasibility of starting a new community center in now vacant properties, the former Ladysmith Elementary School or the former U.S. Army Reserve Center.

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