Electric meters and high speed chases were on the minds of Centralia’s aldermen during the first of many combined meetings of the Public Works and Public Utilities and General Government and Public Safety committees.
“The meeting went smoothly,” said Heather Russell, Centralia’s city
administrator, “we were done with both meetings by 7:45 p.m.”
Russell said one recommendation from the meeting is the city purchase between 40 and 50 new radio transmitter-equipped residential water meters. She said the city currently uses water meters equipped with Orion transmitters. Those transmit the amount of water used to a water-department truck which drives by and takes monthly readings for billing. The transmitters, made by the Orion corporation, are to be discontinued, she said. “So we think we should purchase them while we can.” The purchase, which will be $185 for each meter, Russell said, will be voted on during the aldermen’s August 17 meeting.
They did approve a request from Jeff Armontrout, city electric department foreman to purchase at least 40 utility poles. They will cost the city $245 each. Russell said the last time the city purchased utility poles was 2015.
During the General Government and Public Safety portion of the meeting Centralia Police Chief Bob Bias said they investigated a recent break-in at the city electric department and determined nothing had been stolen.
He and Russell said the city purchased a $900 four-camera system to monitor the city’s outlying buildings. “We’re going to try and get things secured better,” Bias said. Russell said, “The system is not one we would want to use forever, but it will work for right now.”
From there they heard from Ward III Alderman Landon Magley. He expressed concern regarding the CPD’s recent high-speed chase, reported in the August 5 edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.
He recommended that police cars be restricted to no more than 10 mph over the speed limit during chases. “I feel we shouldn’t exceed 10 miles more than the speed limit that is posted. We have radios. I mean what if he’d have killed somebody, then we’d have been stuck with it. That’s why we’ve got radios. We could have had somebody from Columba come up and deal with it.”
Bias said everything that was done was done within CPD policy. “I understand your concern, a car pursuit like that is probably one of the most dangerous things we do… Ten miles per hour . . . Would I say excessive, I’ve been there done that, about 19 times. I leave it up to the officers’ discretion. Ten miles per hour. I don’t believe that is even feasible. If I’m chasing a wanted felon, 10 miles per hour over the speed l limit, who here has never driven 10 miles per hour over in the last week.”
Magley said there was a good possibility of dying if somebody hit a deer during a chase as fast as the CPD’s. “Everything that was done was done within the policy of the Centralia Police Department,” Bias said. No action was taken.