Williamstown City Council reviews summer activities

From left, Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford, council member Jim Parker, council member Barbara Lewis and council member Marty Seufer discuss how to make the traffic going to the new elementary school safer. (Photo by Madeline Murphy)

WILLIAMSTOWN — With summer coming to an end, the city of Williamstown reviewed summer activities and how to improve them for next year.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Williamstown City Council, council member Barbara Lewis announced that the swimming pool has officially been closed for the season.

“It was a successful season; we heard a lot of great feedback from those using the pool,” said Lewis.

The city is looking into adding pool equipment for next year.

City officials discussed updating Tomlinson Park. According to Lewis, the fountain, bathrooms and mowing will all be improved upon.

“The mayor was sent a very moving letter by a couple of the kids in our elementary school looking to add a jungle gym to the playground,” said Lewis.

“We are now looking into the costs on building a safe jungle gym for the kids,” said Lewis.

While discussing public safety, Williamstown Police Chief Shawn Graham brought up his concerns on the connecting road, Four and a Half Street, from Highland Avenue to Dodge Avenue.

“The street is too narrow for two-way traffic, especially with the increase foot traffic from the new restaurant,” said Graham.

“Accidents have happened and will continue to happen,” said Graham. “Two cars just cannot safely pass on the roadway,” said Graham about Four and a Half Street.

“I propose we make it a one-way street from Highland Avenue to Dodge Avenue,” said Graham.

“Traffic from Dodge Avenue will not be able to turn off onto Four and a Half Street to reach Highland, but rather will take Fifth Street and Park Avenue back to Highland,” said Graham.

“I think this is a great idea,” said council member Marty Seufer.

“Being a former resident of this area, I would request we put it on our next agenda and inform all the residents of Park Avenue and Four and a Half Street, in case they have a legitimate reason to not change this,” said Seufer.

Other safety topics discussed included adding flashing yellow lights to the school zone sign at the new elementary school, as the police, mayor and council are all concerned about the traffic leading to the school. Council also discussed dead tree removal around the city.

According to Lewis, the City Tree Committee is continuing to get rid of rotted trees that have fallen or could be a danger to homes, roads and other parts of the city, and will continue to do so as long as they have the funds.

Mayor Jean Ford proposed an increased salary of the municipal judge from $300 a month to $500. Seufer proposed it be raised to $600 a month. Lewis second the motion for $600.

The first reading was passed by council for the ordinance to prohibit extended uninterrupted parking.

The ordinance states: “For extended uninterrupted parking. No person shall park any vehicle upon any street or highway in the city longer than 30 continuous days. For purposes of this section, parking longer than 30 days is defined as allowing a vehicle to remain parked or standing for an uninterrupted period of 30 days or more in the same or substantially the same place or location without having caused the vehicle to be moved.”

The second and final reading of the ordinance will be on Sept. 4.

The council also passed the first reading of the water and sewer rate increases.

“We haven’t had a water rate increase in the city for the last three years and it will only be raised by three percent,” said Ford.

According to Susan Knopp, the city clerk, a four percent sewer rate increase is necessary.

“This will be the first sewer rate increase in six years,” said Ford.