Generally, we don’t approve of municipalities using the emergency clause to pass ordinances.
Thursday night is a big exception and we couldn’t be happier. Tekamah City Council on Thursday passed an ordinance to extend the 50 miles per hour speed zone on Highway 75 south from the city and it used the emergency clause to do it.
In our view, the emergency clause takes the public out of what should be a public process. The public should get to have a say in the matters that affect them.
But the emergency clause is there for a reason and its judicious use can make necessary legislation move more quickly. Normally, proposed ordinances have to be read in public three times. Depending on the calendar, in Tekamah there can be as many as five weeks between the first reading and the third, if all goes well.
What makes the speed zone action unique is the public has had its say for years. The situation really came to a head when the new Dollar General building was built. Residents pleaded with the Department of Transportation, directly and through our state representatives, to lower the speed on that stretch of highway. This newspaper was once told that the high probability of a serious accident wasn’t a good enough reason to change the speed limit.
Now, finally, a new study done by the state justified a change
The city council took full advantage of the opportunity, .drafted an ordinance that helps protect the public and passed it before the department could change its mind.
Good for them. —MJ