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The Portage Common Council has tabled an ordinance expanding local regulation of cigarette products to electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes.

The action aimed to make it easier for law enforcement officials to note what is legal and what isn’t for children.

The regulations cover the sale, possession or use of electronic smoking devices for persons under the age of 18.

It was tabled last week because two bills have been introduced in the State Legislature dealing with e-cigarettes.

City Administrator Shawn Murphy said, if passed, the laws could render the local ordinance “moot.”

Although it was due for a final vote Thursday, it was tabled on a 9-0 vote until such time that the state takes action on the pending bills.

If the state doesn’t act, the city can pull itsr ordinance from the table and pass it.

Employee manual

The Council approved a reallocation of budget funding to pay for a legal consultant to work with city staff to update the city’s employee manual.

Murphy said he will review and modify a model manual and then use a legal consultant to review it.

Common Council member Richard Lynn wondered why the administrator couldn’t just do the work.

“I’d have to dedicate my time to the exclusion of other projects that are on schedule for this summer,” Murphy said.

The reallocation of about $2,000 was approved on a 8-1 vote.

Sign rules

Ordinances related to traffic flow and control were introduced Thursday. The Council plans to vote on them at their next meeting in May.

The plan is to add stop signs on:

— School Road at Dorn Drive, Pine Ridge Court and Winnebago Avenue;

— Winnebago Avenue at Minnehaha Avenue;

— Woodcrest Drive at Oakridge Drive;

— E. Howard Street at Jackson Street; and

— Latton Lane at Deerfield Street.

The city also plans to add yield signs at some intersections on Minnehaha Avenue, Hiawatha Avenue, Sue Ellen Lane, Houston Street, Locust Court, LaMoure Street, Forest Hill Drive, and Reid Street.

Additionally, the Council plans to vote on making a number of alleys one-way.

— From Main Street to Chamber Parking Lot, traffic shall move in only a westerly direction.

— From Wisconsin Street to Lock Street, traffic shall flow only in a westerly direction.

— From Marachowsky Place to DeWitt Street, traffic shall move in only a westerly direction.

— From W. Cook Street to Alley 56, traffic shall only move in a southerly direction.

— From Clark Street to West Wisconsin Street, traffic shall only move in a westerly direction.

Sidewalk assessments

Prior to Thursday’s meeting, the Council held a public hearing on its intent to exercise special assessment powers relative to the replacement and installation of sidewalks, driveway approaches and replacement of sanitary sewers on the following streets:

— East Albert Street from East Haertel Street to Hamilton Street;

— Hamilton Street from Evergreen Trail to 1,100 feet north of Clemens Court;

— East Slifer Street from Hamilton Street eastward to the termini;

— West Marion Street from Cass Street to Dunn Street; and

— East Franklin Street from DeWitt Street to Adams Street.

Most of the work has already been completed.

Only one resident spoke at the public hearing before the Common Council.

“I am against it,” said Portage resident Luke Herrmann, noting the project was already completed in front of his home. “How can you start a project and then ask if there is opposition to it?”

Mayor Bill Tierney couldn’t answer that question during the public hearing. Public hearings are for opinions, not question and answer sessions, he noted.

Tierney said the public hearing was about funding the project, not about whether it should be done. He said residents were notified about the project by mail and had the opportunity to attend a public informational meeting on the matter previously.

A final resolution will need to be approved at a later date to make the assessments official