OSCEOLA, Ark. (KAIT) - A change is now in effect to the thru-truck ordinance in Osceola.
The Osceola City Council voted 5-0 to overturn a veto by Mayor Sally Wilson that would have kept thru-trucks off the section of Erman Lane that is not a state or federal highway.
The original thru-truck ordinance, passed by the city council in December 2019 and went into effect in April 2020, denoted the truck routes and designated all state and federal highways as truck routes.
During a special called meeting on April 20, 2020, council members voted on an ordinance to add Erman Lane to the truck route and declare an emergency. That allowed the ordinance to go into effect immediately.
Mayor Wilson explained why she vetoed that ordinance Monday night.
“I don’t think there was an emergency at all,” Wilson said.
City Councilman Tyler Dunegan said one of the reasons to add Erman was commerce.
“We, the council, specifically talked about not impeding local commerce,” Dunegan said. “When the ordinance actually went into effect, around 91 days later, signs went up on Erman Lane saying no truck traffic and I immediately started receiving calls from farmers, local business owners.”
Mayor Wilson denies Dunegan’s claims about hampering commerce.
“We have had no negative impact for commerce,” Wilson said.
She said having trucks come down Erman Lane is a safety matter.
“We’ve got children chasing balls down into the street and these big trucks just can’t stop in time,” Wilson said.
Councilman Dunegan said while there is a safety concern on that road, there is also a concern on if trucks only stay on state and federal highways.
“You can’t put a price on safety,” Dunegan said. “If we have trucks going down Erman Lane Extended and they are having to go down Semmes, they are going to have to pass upwards of 80 homes, 3 schools, they are going to have to go through downtown which is heavy traffic, sharp turns.”
A petition was circulated asking the city council to not overturn the veto.
Mayor Wilson said many of those who signed the petition had noticed an improvement.
“When I spoke to them, I asked them have you noticed an improvement and their answers were yes, we have noticed improvement,” Wilson said. “We’ve noticed that it’s not the noise. A more feeling of safety.”
Dunegan said he wants to do what he thinks is best for the city.
“When we’re talking about safety we’re talking about finances, again we can’t put a price of safety, and we have to look at the entire city as a whole,” Dunegan said.
While the council overturned the veto, they plan to look over the ordinance once COVID-19 is over and officials can meet in the city to find a resolution to the issue with Erman Lane.
Mayor Wilson said that there will be public meetings held to get input from residents on the issue.