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Councilman asks if Decatur is ADA compliant

By Chris Paschenko 340-2442

Councilman Ray Metzger apologized Monday during a City Council agenda meeting for his hearing impediment and questioned whether city facilities comply with the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act.

Metzger, the District 5 representative, said he's had difficulty hearing some of the discussions on the seventh floor of City Hall during his two years in office.

"I'd read the agenda before," Metzger said. "Sometimes I'd know what they were talking about, but I'd miss something new."

Before addressing the council, Metzger handed Council President Billy Jackson and Mayor Don Kyle packets on ADA compliance settlements with the cities of Nashville and Savannah, Ga.

"I'm asking for the city to research what's required for meetings," Metzger said. "There should be headsets for the councilmen so handicapped people can hear. There were studies where Nashville and Savannah were contacted by the disability people and they didn't fine them a thing."

Metzger said a speaker and microphone installed near the meeting room's podium is insufficient.

"I'm not going to turn the city in," Metzger said. "But the city should look into these things. The fines (for noncompliance) are $50,000 per item. We need to start looking into other facilities at bathrooms and parks to see if they meet the disabilities act."

Metzger estimated a sound system for the seventh floor that meets ADA guidelines would cost between $1,200 and $1,400.

"If there are any compliance issues, then we'll address them," Jackson said. "We're intent on meeting ADA regulations."

Metzger blamed his hearing problem on heredity and his flying career in the U.S. Navy.

"I'm sorry I have a hearing problem, but I feel like it's not fair to you to have to holler through the public-address system," Metzger said.

Jackson said Jimmy Brothers, the Building Department director, is the ADA compliance representative for the city.

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