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|Council wants concession from KCS|
The Monroe City Council balked on giving Kansas City Southern Railroad authority to close the Booth Street crossing.
Action was taken Tuesday during the city council's regular meeting.
Councilman Arthur Gilmore suggested the city council only agree to the closing of the Booth Street crossing if a letter was sent to KCS asking the railroad company to approve the quiet zone the city wants established in that area. A quiet zone is a section of railway where trains are not allowed to sound their horns, eliminating the noise to nearby residential communities.
"We have done everything they have asked us to do for the quiet zone, but it still has not happened," Gilmore said. "If we give them no objection to the closing of this crossing, then it's not going to happen."
Council chairman Robert "Red" Stevens added, "This is a major concern because we are being asked to do some things, and we're not getting anything in return."
Gilmore suggested the city council amend the proposed resolution that would have given Mayor James Mayo the authority to send a letter of "no objection to the closure of the Booth Street crossing." Gilmore wanted language added to the letter stating the city's agreement to the closure would be in conjunction with KCS' expedited efforts of establishing a quiet zone in the Booth Street area.
During the city council's pre-council meeting, city attorney Nanci Summersgill said the resolution could be amended with that request.
However, during the regular meeting, the city council voted against the measure.
Councilmen Ben Katz and Jay Marx were not present at Tuesday's meeting.
Tuesday's city council meeting was not the first time the Booth Street railroad crossing issue was debated before a governmental body.
The police jury in July agreed to support the closing of the Booth Street railroad crossing. However, police juror Walt Caldwell voted against the measure at that time.
During that meeting, Caldwell said governing bodies must eventually draw the line concerning the closure of railroad crossings. He also said he believed that because the police jury had never been tasked with the responsibility of the Booth Street crossing, the parish should simply "pass the buck."
Caldwell said there were other options available for motorists traveling in the Booth Street area, but there may come a time when the railroad company wants to close a crossing that could greatly impact motorists.