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Street sign thefts a problem

Street sign thefts a problem
Associate Editor
Whether it is because people take them as name souvenirs or to try to get a few easy bucks in salvage, the theft of street signs is costing Union City money.
Councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison questioned Public Works Director Steve Ladd Tuesday night about the number of street signs being replaced. A report to the council showed 53 replaced and 49 repaired.
Ladd told The Messenger today the average street sign, depending on the length, is about $15. He said the city is using the signs it currently has in its bins, but will have to switch over to newer federally-mandated signs before about 2018. The new signs are currently selling for around $30 each.
Ladd said there has been a “rash of people stealing signs,” but this is also typically the time the department switches out damaged and faded signs as well. He added, several signs were damaged in recent wind storms. Some poles have also been replaced.
He said the department has tried several different things, including changing brackets, to make it harder for people to steal them.
“If they want them, it doesn’t matter what kind of bracket you use, they will get them,” Ladd said.
He told the council he checked into replacing the street signs with fiberglass ones, thinking people may not want them as badly, but the fiberglass signs were more expensive than the aluminum ones.
Ladd said he has area salvage companies watching for street signs and if any are brought in, a city employee will check to see if the sign came from Union City. If it is a Union City sign, the name of the person who sold the sign is then turned over to the Union City Police Department.
Mayor Terry Hailey said he knows it is important to keep the signs up because some people can’t find their way without them.
It is also important street signs stay in place, so emergency personnel can find homes in a timely manner.
Ladd said there will not be a lot of money in the budget this year for paving, but they will be fixing potholes and replacing signs.
Ladd, upon questioning by the mayor, told the council the department has plenty of salt in stock and is ready for any inclement weather.
In other business, after the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council:
• Reappointed the following to boards and committee: Ardell Maddox and James David Kendall to the Planning Commission; Al Oliver to the Board of Zoning Appeals; Jimmy Roper to the Beer Permit Board; Gene Williams to the Personnel Advisory Board; Mike Daniel to the Board of Equalization; Kathy Johnson, Nancy Durham and Tracy Boucher to the Insurance Advisory Board; Larry Mink, Doris Robinson and Allen Nohsey to the Museum Committee; Martha Rippy and Jody Kizer to the Housing Authority; SJ Burnett, Leroy Stricklin and Frank Johnson to the Board of Housing Appeals; Steve Rice to the Health, Education and Housing Facility Board; Randy Chism to the Park and Conservation Board; Ralph Adams, John Horner and Tony Maness to the Industrial Development Board; and Art Ross and David Moran to the Municipal Board of Examiners.
• Appointed Mike Rauchle to the Planning Commission. Open seats are still available on the Park and Conservation Board and the Health, Education and Housing Facility Board.
• Heard a presentation from city manager Kathy Dillon on general obligation bonds and a state revolving loan. No action was required by the board.
Ms. Dillon noted the $2,440,000 bonds will not exceed 4 percent interest or 20 years and will include the refinancing of the Northwest Tennessee Industrial Park loan, as well as funding for various projects. She said the interest rates will vary based on the loans, as the projects will be broken down into separate loans with varying maturity dates.
The state revolving loan will be for $1,750,000 with a 1.17 percent interest rate and a 25 year maturity. It will pay for the wastewater treatment plant rehabilitation project.
• Learned cleanup work is continuing at Greenway Recover and Recycle.
• Was informed by Hailey that he has spoken with U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher’s office, as well as to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander about I-69 and that the two are aware of the issue and want to get the section in Union City finished. He said it requires federal funds, which are distributed to the state, but that it is up to the state to decide which projects the money will be spent on.
“This needs to be finished and paved, even if it doesn’t go anywhere,” the mayor said.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at
Published in The Messenger 1.16.13