The city of Alcoa is set to pass a large set of ordinances to line up with state law, its regulations for traffic, parking, cars and funeral processions.
The Board of Commissioners will vote today to approve new rules governing how law enforcement and local codes deal with a litany of traffic issues, from private vehicle sales to how motorists interact with funeral processions in the city limits.
Commissioners and Alcoa Police officials have been considering these ordinance changes in meetings for several months.
The revised laws represent a shift toward adherence to state law and include a broader range of statutes.
Notes on the revised ordinances show they had to be made because of recent case law “whereby it was determined municipal law enforcement agencies are required to provide proper notice on citations of specific city ordinance violations.”
The notes also show that Alcoa’s current traffic laws — which include language about funeral processions — are currently incomplete, and don’t include “all pertinent subsections of the various ordinances.”
Now, if there are violations that relate to this section, they can be tried in local municipal court.
Alcoa Police Chief David Carswell and his department have been instrumental in getting the laws passed and have been at recent meetings to answer commissioners’ questions about how the city will be affected.
Rules regarding funeral processions are specifically required to be passed in a separate vote, according to the notes.
“What it does is it adds to the language,” Assistant City Manager Andy Sonner explained in a phone interview. “It mirrors the state and adds it to our municipal code.”
Sonner said funeral processions now will have to be identified with a flashing amber light and by other criteria in the ordinance. “But it also defines what the violation is if you fail to yield or pass ... a funeral procession,” he added.
Additionally, the new law states that any attempt to drive between vehicles in a procession now will be prosecuted.
Breaking the new funeral procession law is considered a Class C misdemeanor and will exact a fine of at least $50.
Along with the new funeral procession law, 17 chapters of code regarding public transportation issues such as safety, parking, towing, vehicle sales and speed limits either have been changed or are new.
The changes and additions constitute more than 100 pages.
Both the ordinances for funeral processions and new traffic laws already were passed on first reading during a Sept. 10 meeting.
If they pass on second reading in today’s meeting, they will be approved and officially become local law.