Council OKs smoke-detector ordinance, road repair funds

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The Indianapolis City-County Council voted 24-5 Monday night to update the city code on smoke detectors in favor of new tamper-proof, long-life battery technology.

The council also voted 24-5 to spend $8.3 million from the Rebuild Indy fund on emergency road repairs in the wake of winter storm damage.

The smoke detector ordinance update requires all homes that don't have hard-wired detectors to use those with "non-removable, non-replaceable batteries." The proposal was passed last month by the council's Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee.

A number of manufacturers offer detectors with tamper-proof batteries that they claim will last 10 years. The new battery technology is more expensive, but supporters said it’s worthwhile because it might prevent people from disabling smoke detectors because of false alarms or low-battery chirps.

Homeowners and landlords don't have to replace detectors with the new type unless existing detectors are broken and need to be replaced.

Before the vote, Republican Councilor Christine Scales pleaded with members to consider her amendment, which would have required homes to have two detectors, one with each type of sensor technology to match different types of fire scenarios, smoldering versus fast-flaming. That amendment failed 24-5..

The council easily approved the road-repair money, but referred a Democrat-sponsored proposal for another $16 million in road repairs to committee. Existing city funds, rather than the Rebuild Indy funds from the sale of the water utility to Citizens Energy, would be used for repairs under that proposal.

One of the 'no' votes, Republican Councilor Jack Sandlin protested council members' influence on the Department of Public Works' project list.

“This proposal was tabled and came back to us with political changes,” said Sandlin, a member of the council's public works committee. “In Washington I guess they call it earmarks or pork. I'm not going to vote for this as long as we have political influences dictating where these roads need to be paved.”

DPW revised the list of roads that will be repaired after the original request was tabled in committee. Democrats on the committee protested that no work was planned in some Democratic council districts, including the northeast-side District 10 represented by William Oliver.

Oliver thanked Vernon Brown, the committee chairman, and Democratic Majority Leader Monroe Gray for intervening. Brown said that while he and Gray met with DPW Director Lori Miser, “At no time did we direct them what streets to pave. All we requested was a fair and equitable distribution of resources.”


  • Nanny State
    I think the law of unintended consequences is going to come in to play on this smoke detector ordinance, and not in a good way.
  • pot hole detectors...
    Now if we could just develop Pot Hole Detectors and Politics Detectors, life would be great!

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  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!