Auburn City Hall

Auburn City Council voted on criminal trespassing, a contract for signage and wayfinding in addition to a discussion on naming businesses during Tuesday's council meeting.

Auburn City Council met for the first time in the new decade Tuesday night and amended the city’s code to keep unwanted passengers from jumping into cars.

The affected code, Chapter 13, will now define such activity as criminal trespassing to discourage unwanted vehicle guests within the city of Auburn.

“What has prompted this is we have at least one person and maybe more, who runs a scam by getting into someone’s car and asking them to, some story about needs his car jumped or needs a ride to somewhere, and when these incidents have come to our municipal court, municipal court has no real law in place to handle it,” said City Manager Jim Buston at the council’s agenda meeting Friday.

“It’s not illegal, from what we can see, for you to get into someone’s car uninvited.”

The ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the council, was drafted by James McLaughlin, presiding judge of Auburn Municipal Court.

“With input for the Police Division and the City Attorney’s Office, I have prepared an ordinance as a possible way to fill the void in Alabama law,” McLaughlin said in a memorandum to Buston. “It would make it a crime to trespass into a motor vehicle either without permission or, as in these cases, under false pretenses.

SignageThe council also approved a $55,500 contract with Gonzalez-Strength and Associates Inc. to provide way finding and signage for the new Public Safety Building and the Douglas J. Watson Municipal Complex, Auburn Parks and Recreation and downtown Auburn.

“All three of those we are combining into one contract for the $55,500,” Buston explained.

Combining the three, he said, would lead to less spending on wayfinding.

Ward 2 council member Kelley Griswold posed a question Tuesday night about the signage included and Auburn Parks and Recreation Director, Becky Richardson, said that physical signs are not included.

Instead templates will be provided which the city can use in the future.

Naming public buildings Griswold proposed that the council institute some sort of guidelines on naming new buildings during the Committee of the Whole meeting before the regular meeting.

“We’re fortunate that we have a lot of things that are coming online in the foreseeable future, whether they be the parking deck or the public safety building,” Griswold said. “… I don’t think we have any procedures in place, that I can find in the code, and I could be mistaken, that designate how we go about naming things in the city.”

Griswold said that rather than debate each time a building needs naming, there be a regular process.

Buston said that typically a citizen group or council member provides a recommendation for a building, which the council then votes on.

The council voted against asking the staff to draft an ordinance or guidelines.

Other businessAuburn Council approved an alcohol beverage license for Souphanthong, LLC for Keos Restaurant and Bar.

Auburn entered into a contract with Otto Environmental Systems (AZ) LLC for $27,440. Otto will provide 560 95-gallon roll out carts. As Brett Smith, Ward 4, pointed out, this puts the city at 85 percent recycling.

The council also approved the purchase of a new van for the Parks and Recreation Department for just under $28,000.

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