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 Illegal Trash Dumping Continues

March 4, 2009 - Trash dumping continues to be a problem at the recycling bins on the west end of Knightstown.

Knightstown Town Council member Steve Nelson raised this issue Feb. 19, at the council's last regular monthly meeting. After Council Vice President Terry Guerin reported that Three Rivers Solid Waste Management District, owners of the recycling bins, was willing to empty the bins more frequently, Nelson said improper items were still being dumped there, including a Christmas tree the week before.

Mel Matlock, the town's works manager, told the council that town employees sometimes clean up the trash left near the recylcing bins. However, he said the employees don't always report they've done it.

"I don't think it's the town's responsibility to pick up their trash," Nelson said.

"It's our citizens' trash," Guerin said. "It's our citizens that aren't reading the instructions as to what can be put in those containers." Town employee Larry Rumple told the council that it's not just Knightstown citizens who are dumping their trash at the recycling site. He said there were people from Carthage doing his also.

Former town council member Cort Swincher asked whether the town had any signs posted near the bins declaring it illegal to dump trash at the site. When Matlock said there were not, Swincher suggested the council pass an ordinance allowing the town to post signs and collect fines for illegal dumping. The council took no further action on the issue that night.

In other business at the Feb. 19 meeting not reported in last week's Banner, Matlock reported that new appraisals of $14,000 and $9,000 had been received for the old town court building on East Main Street. The council gave him permission to advertise that bids are being accepted on the building, which cannot be sold for less than 90 percent of the average of the two appraisals.

Local resident and businessman Steve Brooks briefly addressed the council on behalf of the Knightstown Chamber of Commerce. Saying the Chamber plans to have someone attend council meetings, he invited the council to send one or more of its members to Chamber meetings.

"We feel like its kind of important," Brooks said. Trump told Brooks that she and Guerin will be the council's liaisons to the Chamber.

Brooks told the council the Chamber plans to purchase more Christmas lighting and garlands this year to decorate the town, and asked if the town would be able to provide storage for these items. Matlock said storing the new items wouldn't be a problem, but the council will check with the town's insurer to make sure the items are covered under the town's policy.

The council also heard from Jan Lockridge, a grant writer, who spoke briefly about possible upcoming grant opportunities for possible water and sewer projects. Guerin asked Lockridge to provide her resume and information on her success rate in getting grants, and the council took the matter under advisement.

In departmental matters, Chief of Police Danny Baker told the council that cold temperatures had increased fuel use. With the KPD's patrol cars no longer under warranty, Baker said it's important to keep the cars running, when it's cold; otherwise, he said starting a car and immediately taking off on a high speed run could result in serious damage to a motor.

Gueirn asked Baker how the KPD was doing with keeping overtime down, reminding the chief that scheduling changes approved a month earlier by the council had been designed to reduce overtime. Baker said there had still been some overtime due to an officer being at SWAT training and recent call-outs.

Baker also reported that three new reserve officers hired last month have begun their training. In an effort to limit the town's liability, Guerin suggested Baker work with the town's attorney, Gregg Morelock, to make sure that the KPD's reserves are meeting all their training requirements.

During his monthly report, Matlock told the council that the person who owns the property where the town's water wells are located does not want to sell the property to the town at this time. Instead, he said the owner wants to enter into another five-year lease, raising the yearly payments from $500 to $1,000.

Nelson said he thought Morelock should review the proposed lease, and Guerin said he wanted to see a copy of the plat for the property. Matlock said he would e-mail the owner and tell her the lease is being reviewed by the town's attorney and that the town still would like to buy the land.

The council gave Matlock permission to sell the town's 1970 International flatbed truck at an auction next month. Matlock was also directed by the council to begin getting resumes and hourly rates from engineering firms that might be interested in possible work on the town's water and sewer systems.

Matlock reported that the town is expected to receive another $44,000 in federal emergency funds for a storm that hit last May. He said the money will mostly go to the town's electric department, but that some will go to other departments as well.

Asked by council member Bob Weber if he had gotten copies of Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards yet, Matlock said he had not. "I think we're going to have to start following regulations, Mel," Weber said, "... or else (the town) could get in trouble."

Guerin suggested that Matlock begin tracking his department's fuel consumption like Baker does for the KPD. He also he thought the town should be keeping maintenance records for town equipment, if it's not already being done.

Nelson reported that during a recent power outage, a town resident who's on an oxygen machine was without power all night. He said the town needs to make sure dispatchers keep proper records and forward information about utility customers who are without power.

Baker told the council that dispatchers are often overwhelmed during power outages due to the high number of calls. Nelson said that was not an acceptable excuse. Baker invited Nelson to come to the dispatch desk during the next power outage. He said the town should have someone from the utility office helping out. Trump asked the council's utility and office committees to look into this issue.


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