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 Town Council Considers Change to New Equipment Use Policy

May 7, 2008 - Just two weeks after approving a new policy restricting who can operate some town equipment, the Knightstown Town Council found itself considering, then tabling, a proposed amendment to the policy.

Resolution 3-2008, passed by the council at a special meeting on April 2, restricts the use of the town's gasoline or electric powered equipment to town employees who are at least 18 years of age. The policy also requires the employees to be instructed on the proper use, care and maintenance of the equipment.

Council President Valerie Trump introduced a new resolution at the council's April 16 meeting that would have amended the new equipment use policy. The proposed amendment would have permitted town equipment covered by Resolution 3-2008 to be used by third parties contracted by the town if certain criteria are met.

To be exempt from Resolution 3-2008's restrictions, the proposed amendment would have required third parties to comply with all state and federal safety rules, regulations and laws, and to carry insurance for public liability and injury to employees. The third parties would also have had to agree to hold the town harmless for any injury caused by equipment's use, follow all operating and safety instructions provided by the manufacturer, and be properly trained in the equipment's use.

Council Vice President Clyde South said he thought the wording of Resolution 3-2008 and the resolution that would amend it needed to be clarified to address conflicts between them and the council's intentions. While he said he did not think there was any conflict between the two resolutions, council member Terry Guerin seconded South's motion to table the proposed amendment, a move that was OK'd by the council.

In a related matter, the council told Mac O'Connor, president of the Knightstown Department of Parks and Recreation, that it believes a new mower purchased by the park board is town property covered by Resolution 3-2008. Council members also agreed that Park Board Vice President Bruce Brown, who works as the pool manager during summer months, is a town employee who would be authorized to operate the mower.

O'Connor noted that Resolution 3-2008 does not allow volunteers to use park equipment to maintain the ball diamond. For now, the council said volunteers can use the park's smaller tractor to drag the ball diamond if they sign a waiver agreeing to hold the park and town harmless if they're injured while using the equipment.

In other business at the April 16 meeting, Trump announced the following committee assignments for council members: office (South, Trump); police (Guerin, Bob Weber); court (Guerin, Steve Nelson); and utilities (Weber, South). Council members were also named to the following liaison positions: cemetery (Nelson); park (Weber); fire board (Nelson, Weber); Southwest Ambulance (Nelson); Knightstown Chamber of Commerce (Trump); and plan commission (South, Nelson).

Local fire fighter Eric McDaniel was appointed by the council to the Knightstown-Wayne Township Fire Board, and Betsy Wilkerson was hired as a new utility billing clerk. The council also approved Derek Seyfferle, 22, a criminal justice student at Ivy Tech, to be an unpaid intern with the Knightstown Police Department.

Council members approved an agreement with Indiana Municipal Power Agency to have them handle quarterly adjustments to tracking and fuel factors that affect what customers of the town's electric utility are charged. IMPA, which provides electricity to the town's utility, will be paid $92.50 an hour for their services, which Utilities Office Manager Linda Glenn estimated would amount to two to three hours per quarter.

Bill Sitler, a member of the Hoosier Gym's board of directors, reported that the gym's liability insurance has nearly doubled, going from $1,800 a year to around $3,500, and estimated the gym's yearly expenses to be about $20,000. He said the gym would like the town to provide an "allowance" or some discount on utilities, and asked that an answer be provided by the May 21 meeting.

The council received bids from two companies, Crim & Sons (Manilla) and Milestone (Richmond), for 11 proposed road paving projects, and the bids were taken under consideration. The council also discussed moving the recycling bins from their present location near the electric substation on the west end of town, but no decision was made.

Trump told the council that Historic Knightstown, Inc., and the Knightstown Chamber of Commerce are conducting a walking tour through town on Saturday, May 24. The council gave its consensus for a registration table to be set up on the public square, and for town employees to sweep streets prior to the tour and make dumpsters available for town residents to use in cleanup efforts.

Works Manager Mel Matlock told the council that Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's approval is not needed to change a town policy that charges the town's residential electric customers commercial rates for second meters on their properties. He said he would check with other towns and see if they charge residential customers higher rates for second meters.


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