Monday Feb 27 2012
A monument, sign and dispatch system approved for Auburn
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
City’s policy on signs could be better, council members say
City Council approved the design of a new monument, sign and dispatch and records management system Monday night, while expressing its frustration over a still temporary policy on signs. Local sculptor Doug Van Howd has designed a monument to honor Col. “Bud” Anderson and other veteran aviators from the area. The monument will be funded by private donations and be located at the Auburn Municipal Airport. Mayor Keith Nesbitt said the monument will highlight both artists and aviators in Auburn. “It’s a perfect blend of some of the really special things we have in town,” Nesbitt said. A proposal approved by the council in October to hang a sign with the motto “In God We Trust” in the council chambers is one step closer to realization. The council approved the sign’s design and placement. “I believe that the ‘In God We Trust’ is really not pushing faith on anyone. It’s a reminder to elected officials to be modest about what we do, to always think about our decisions, ask residents and not think we have all the answers,” said Council Member Kevin Hanley Council Member Dr. Bill Kirby was the only member who voted against the sign’s location. He said while he was not against the sign hanging elsewhere in City Hall, he thought hanging it in the council chambers could alienate some people. “I have no problem with the Christian faith. I have a problem with any faith being prominent in the Council Chambers,” Kirby said. “I don’t believe that anything that would stifle any citizen of the U.S. should be in the chambers.” In other news, Kirby and the other council members did unanimously approve the purchase of its share in a new regional public safety computer aided dispatch and records management system. Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn said the current system dates back 1990. The new system, which the city is purchasing with the City of Roseville and Placer County, will allow the department to give officers real-time information while they are in the field and eliminate the need for many paper files. Auburn’s share will be 2.84 percent of the entire project. The out-of-pocket costs to the city are expected to be $42,000. “It’s a very robust system,” Ruffcorn said. “There is no way a police department of our size could get a system of this magnitude without looking at it from a countywide system.” In a report given by city staff to the council updating them on the Planning Commission’s priorities, several members of the council raised concerns over the lack of a finalized ordinance on signs. The sign ordinance was temporarily relaxed last year. Council Member Kevin Hanley said there are still business owners hanging signs without approval and a permanent ordinance is needed. “It’s really about our niche — historical towns,” Hanley said. “It may take 20 years to get the signs to look historical. What you want to do is build your asset.” Council Member Mike Holmes agreed that there needed to be better policy and enforcement of signs. “I’m not sure why we have these ordinances if nobody is enforcing them,” Holmes said. Reach Sara Seyydin at firstname.lastname@example.org.