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Princeton discusses antiquated voice mail/night service system

PRINCETON — Voice mail problems, ambulance fees and weeds were on the minds of Princeton City Council members at Monday’s council meeting at Princeton City Hall.

Princeton City Manager Jeff Clawson asked for residents’ patience as the city hall/fire department voice mail and night service system is not currently working. People are taking messages by hand, but for people who call after hours, there is no voice mail. The phone system is more than 20 years old, and there is some trouble finding parts for the system.

Hopefully, the system will be repaired within the next few weeks, Clawson said Tuesday. With all of the technology changes, he wants to make sure the city positions itself to advance as funds allow. The after hour/voice mail system does not affect emergency phone call system, he said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Clawson told the council a proposed ambulance billing ordinance will be presented at the council’s next meeting. The ordinance will address some of the changes discussed earlier this year at budget time. For instance, the ordinance will include a new refusal charge, which is something other departments already have in place in other communities.

Anytime an ambulance is called out and the parties refuse treatment, the city can bill the parties, Clawson said Tuesday. Most departments already bill for this service. Anytime the city gets a signed refusal from a patient, the city will now bill as long as the patient is not a within-the-district resident. As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, non-residents are those people who live outside of Princeton and the communities contracted with the Princeton Fire Department.

Though only out-of-district patients will be billed for the refusal, within-district residents may expect to see some small increases to some of the charges with the passage of the new ordinance, Clawson said.

The landscaping upkeep at Princeton’s new water treatment plant also came under discussion at Monday’s council meeting.

Commissioner Joel Quiram said the city spent a lot of money on the new plant and spent a lot of money, probably thousands of dollars, on landscaping at the new plant, located in the Princeton Technology Park. There are a lot of weeds at the new plant, with some of the weeds encroaching over the sidewalk and some as tall as him, at 6 feet, 4 inches, Quiram said.

Also, he said there are large divots in the lawn at the plant’s entryway. The divots are now overgrown with grass and are a hazard to people who may walk across the lawn. All it takes is a load of dirt to fix the problem, he said.

Mayor Keith Cain said he’s also been out to the new plant, and he agrees there is a problem. City crews have done some mowing, but the Canadian thistles are a problem. Also, there is some construction materials left on the east side of the building. He has been in discussion with city personnel about the problem, the mayor said.

In other business, Cain commented on the death of longtime Princeton businessman Dick Nelson, saying Princeton had lost a very good business leader in the community. Nelson did a lot of things for the community through the years, many of which people didn’t even know. The city appreciates all Nelson did. Cain asked for prayers for the Nelson family as they go through this time.

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