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Stories Added - June 2009
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Filmmakers will pay fee to shoot in Onalaska
Polk County Enterprise - June 2009
ONALASKA – An ordinance to require a permit for fi lmmakers in the City of Onalaska was passed by City Council during the regular meeting held Tuesday. The ordinance recognizes local resources that may be of interest to fi lmmakers as possible locations for fi lming along with the city’s commitment to protect personal and property rights of residents and businesses. With council approval of the fi lming ordinance, it authorizes the mayor to ensure the ordinance is followed as far as control of public property and hours of production are included. Use of city personnel, property, special equipment and vehicles, notifi cation of neighbors, hours of fi lming as well as insurance regulations for fi lmmakers are also addressed in the ordinance. The ordinance also sets a permit fee and an exemption for fi lming by non-profi t organizations. A sunset clause was inserted by council members. Council will review the ordinance every three years to make amendments as needed.
The ordinance is effective until June 2012. Filming currently under way will be given notice that a permit must be obtained within 90 days of the approval date. The ordinance becomes effective immediately. Filmmakers in Texas are governed by the Texas Film Commission and archives are kept in Austin. Interest in state archives and any inclusion of Onalaska or the lake area fi lm materials may encourage the fi lm industry to visit and consider the area. Council members also discussed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in eating establishments. Council members were divided on the issue with some members stating the ordinance was overstepping its bounds on local businesses. Other members cited public health reasons in favor of an ordinance.
Jean Ann Byrd of Jerry’s Restaurant spoke to council members during public forum stating the ordinance could affect her business. She added continuing efforts to make business decisions that cater to customers is of upmost importance. The no smoking ordinance does not apply to private clubs or businesses with less than 25 percent of revenue coming from the sale of food. The ordinance was on Tuesday’s agenda for review and discussion purposes only. Action on the ordinance will depend on whether a council member wants to place it on the next meeting agenda. Police Chief Ron Gilbert presented the May police report. Onalaska Police Department handled 118 calls and 957 other incident calls during the month. Gilbert reported four felony arrests and 34 misdemeanor arrests were made.
Also, 145 citations and 42 warnings were issued during May. OPD responded to eight calls with the fire department, 25 calls with the county and two DPS assistance calls. Two additional assist calls were included in the report that were related to calls in San Jacinto County or constable calls. Officers logged 6,999 miles on patrol during May. A total of 80 warrants were issued during the month and 73 warrants were cleared. In the absence of Fire Chief Roy Newport, Mayor Lew Vail presented the Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department report for May. OVFD responded to 67 calls with 38 medical-related calls. The department responded to four structure fires and four lake calls during the month. OVFD also made three land rescue calls, four motor vehicle calls, 13 assists to other agencies and one mutual aid call to another fire department.
OVFD logged 36 man-hours on incidents inside the city limits and 46 hours in the county. To date, OVFD has logged 471 calls and 927 man-hours through the department. Mayor Vail also reported the building permit summary for May. It included three structural additions, two repairs and two electrical or plumbing inspections. Permit fees collected were $120. May activity added $99,000 in value to the city tax roll. The librarian’s report was presented to council by Patsy Goins. It included a rise in book circulation to 357. The number of patrons visiting the library was 747 and 301 users logged into the computer system. Collections for May were $84.15 which included fines and copier and fax fees. A donation to the library of $52.95 was made during May. Also reported was a waiting list for Bound to Stay Bound books targeted to teenage readers. Goins reported the Friends of the Library will hold a book sale on July 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In other council business, members accepted consent items including approval of May council minutes, payment of vouchers and acceptance of financial reports.
Mayor Vail presented council members with tentative dates for proposed budget workshops. The first workshop will be held at 6 p.m. on July 14 before the regular council meeting. Additional workshops will be held prior to council meetings before a public hearing and passage of the City 2010-2011 budget in September. Upcoming event announcements included the United States Wrestling Xplosion on June 27 at the high school. Professional wrestlers will hold matches beginning at 5 p.m. The event is sponsored by OPD and the City of Onalaska. Tickets may be purchased at City Hall or Brookshire Bros. The city-sponsored July 4 fireworks display that can be viewed from many parts of the lake is scheduled at dusk with a floating barge serving as the launching site. Donations for the annual fireworks are being accepted at City Hall. The next city council meeting is at 7 p.m. July 14.