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Railroad debris landing on county employees’ vehicles

Reserved parking spaces at the downtown courthouse are causing problems for those county employees assigned to the back wall just under the railroad tracks.
“I’ve had it brought to my attention that a lot of those people have soot and oil all over their cars,” Commissioner Pete Speropulos told fellow members of the Public Safety Committee during their Nov. 12 meeting.
Solid Waste Director Charlie Baines said the residue is actually worse than oil because it can’t be removed.
“Some kind of chemical activates when the trains go by the co-op and sprays their wheels,” he said.
In turn, the undetermined agent is then released on the cars parked all day in the rear of the courthouse lot.
“They’re (in the form of) little black balls that can’t be scraped off,” Baines said.
Commissioner Ben Bowman made a motion to designate the center line of parking spaces for employees on a first-come basis rather than individually numbered. Commissioner Sam Phillips seconded the motion.
The logic of this decision was questioned by Commissioner Mike Ford.
“If we do this, it defeats the purpose of the original resolution by putting customers against the back wall,” he said, referring to the goal of providing more spaces for the public in closer proximity to the courthouse.
“That makes sense, but we have to think about the employees,” Speropulos responded.
Commissioner Ben Bowman agreed. “Some of the employees are very upset.”
As far as the (chemical agent) being sprayed on the public’s cars, the consensus among committee members was that individuals visiting the courthouse for a short period of time would have less chance of being affected than those whose cars are there for hours at a time.
The motion received unanimous approval, and the recommendation will be considered by the full commission during its Nov. 25 meeting.