News and Tribune

February 28, 2013

Jeffersonville homeless sweeps resolution gets OK

48-hours notice to be given

By BRADEN LAMMERS
braden.lammers@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Jeffersonville Board of Public Works adopted a resolution Wednesday that it hopes will resolve issues that have arisen from the city’s sweeps of area homeless camps.

A task force was created following the sweep of a homeless camp in late November near the exit 0 overpass on Interstate 65. Complaints were filed with the city following the sweep in regards to no notice being given of the sweep and that personal property was confiscated.

The city put a hold to any additional sweeps until the policy had been revisited.

City Attorney Les Merkley presented a resolution the city believes is a solution.

“Basically, this addresses any temporary shelters or personal property that is located on public property,” he said. “It is important if we want to do these sweeps, we implement some written policies and procedures.”

Among the written procedures adopted were for the city to post 48-hour notice before it removes any temporary shelter on public property. If the shelter remains after the notice has been posted, it can be removed and will be stored by the city for 30 days. If a shelter is removed, a notice will be placed at the site that provides contact information for the city and notifies the individual of where their belongings have been taken. If the items are not claimed within 30 days, the city can either continue to store the items or dispose of them.

The same policy and procedures were outlined for personal property taken during a sweep.

One other provision included in the resolution Merkley noted as being particularly important. He said the policy outlines that prior to undertaking a planned sweep, the city shall use reasonable efforts to reach out to agencies that assist with homelessness in the area.

“If we do a good job of communicating with those agencies, and specifically with exit 0,  I think we can alleviate a lot of these problems,” Merkley said.

Paul Stensrud, founder of Jesus Cares at Exit 0 — a homeless outreach group — and member of the city’s task force that was formed agreed that the resolution adopted was a good first step.

“I believe this is a great start to things ... and communication is what’s going to be key here,” he said.

Stensrud did offer one request, that he would prefer having Exit 0 volunteers conduct the sweeps for the city.

The board of public works agreed to continue to work with Stensrud and other homeless advocates and the resolution was unanimously approved.

 

Paving bids opened

Bids for paving work in the city were opened during Wednesday’s meeting. Four bids were received that included a variety of price points per ton and all were taken under advisement. Many of the prices were dependent upon whether the city or the contractor kept the millings from the work.

For paving only on large jobs, Louisville Paving Co. Inc. offered a price of $61.09 per ton; MAC Construction and Excavating Inc. offered a price of $54 per ton; Gohmann Asphalt and Construction Inc.’s price totaled $57 per ton; and Hall Contracting’s price was $62.14 per ton.

 

Upcoming road closures

The board of public works approved road closures from 6 to 8 p.m. March 12 for the annual Leprechaun Run.

The two-mile race will cause the closure of Chestnut Street from Spring to Main streets in Jeffersonville. It was previously approved by a special-events committee and unanimously approved by the board of public works Wednesday.