WARSAW — The first order of business at the Monday, Nov. 16 Warsaw Common Council meeting was the oath of office administered to Ron Shoemaker, newest member of the common council. Shoemaker was elected Thursday evening, Nov. 12, at a Warsaw Precinct 2 Republican Caucus to fill the unexpired term of the late Charles Smith, and to fill the vacancy for the next four-years.
The topic for the evening was snow removal. There were moments, near the end of the meeting, the atmosphere could have melted snow. There was an indication should Rick Helm’s request not be resolved, litigation would take place.
While the council passed ordinances against contractors and private residents pushing snow out into travel portions of the streets from private parking lots, driveways and sidewalks and prohibiting any one from driving through windrows placed on downtown streets to be cleared, several more ordinances were proposed by Helm.
Helm’s presentation was on the other spectrum of the snow “telescope.” No action was taken on his proposed ordinances.
Helm spoke regarding snow being piled in residential areas blocking driveways each year, in particular, his area of Sunfish Drive.
Helm stated last spring he came to the town with the situation and it didn’t work. “Where it was left was, frankly, some of the things that happened, in my perspective, will happen again … it will probable end up being Judge Reed (Kosciusko County Circuit Court Judge Mike Reed) being asked to determine who is right and who is wrong. I’d rather not do that.”
It was after this comment, city attorney Mike Valentine boldly asked “Are you threatening litigation? Is that what your doing? I want to know what you are doing with this council? Are you threatening litigation? Because that changes the way we move.”
Helm stated he was there to present and discuss ordinances and “I already told you last spring that was the ultimate step if we can’t resolve this. I don’t know why you’re being so belligerent about this Mike, because we had these discussions and I heard nothing back.”
Helm presented aerial photographs of where snow was being stockpiled. “There’s not enough room at the end of the cul-de-sac to stock pile snow, without doing what happens regularly, it’s stock piled at the end of my driveway.” He suggested alternate ways to plow taking the snow to areas where there are a “multitude of places to plow the snow so it won’t interfere with people’s driving.”
Mayor Joe Thallemer asked if these were the same ordinances he presented last year, which they were. “I’d like to think we can take care of it without ordinances,” stated the mayor.
Earlier in in the meeting the council held lengthy discussions concerning the ordinance prohibiting placing snow in travel portions of the street. A phrase was removed requiring advanced authorization. It was noted numerous times the ordinance is more geared toward contractors and private individuals who place large amounts of snow in the streets, which are safety issues. Instances of vehicles being damaged from hitting these piles have been reported.
The ordinance did pass 5-1, with Shoemaker voting against the ordinance, feeling the ordinance wording should be tightened.
The second ordinance, making it unlawful to drive any vehicle through snow placed in the street by the town for removal passed unanimously.
During other business:
- Approved the transfer of $28,000 to purchase a used vehicle for the building and planning department to use while keeping the current 2001 Jeep Liberty for the prospective code enforcement inspector. The current vehicle is not a reliable everyday vehicle and will be replaced in the future.
- Approved a resolution authorizing the renewal of the City-County Athletic Complex lease with R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company.
- Approved, with a vote of 5-2, the second reading of the elected officials salary ordinance, with a 2 percent pay increase for the mayor, clerk-treasurer and city council members. As on the first reading, Jeff Grose and Diane Quance voted against the ordinance.
- Approved the Comcast franchise fee of $13,737.60.