SYRACUSE — Syracuse Town Council President Larry Martindale’s first order of business during the council’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, April 16, was to proclaim April 26 Arbor Day in Syracuse.
The council also approved an additional appropriation moving $20,000 between the cummulative capital improvement fund to professional services.
Tax abatements for PolyWood, PW Reality and Driven Innovations were also approved. Polywood has had a tax abatement since 2015, PW Realty since 2013 and Driven Innovations just started its tax abatement.
In department reports, Mike Noe reported he toured the Travel Lite facility in the industrial park and he thinks it makes a good product. Noe also read a press release regarding the flood control device into the record (see related story).
In the public works report, Noe told the council a new influent gate from the original project will be in tomorrow and installed soon. The foreman will be retiring in a few months. Noe will be taking applications and is looking to hire someone with certifications and lab experience.
Craig Fannin and David Menefee will be attending a seminar needed to pass their waste water exam. Noe will be taking the exam for water in June.
A new pump was ordered for the sludge pan as the current one is 32 years old. On the water side a pump was ordered for the humidifier.
The street department has started concrete work, curbing and done some landscaping around the wastewater treatment plant. Repairs will also be made to the town pier. Sidewalk work will begin on SR 13 and Main Street in the next few days.
Police Chief Jim Layne requested the council approve Public Employees Retirement Fund since there is enough money in the budget to cover all town employees. Noe noted an employee decided to stay on an extra 12-18 months so he could qualify for P.E.R.F.
Councilman Bill Musser asked when would it go into effect. Layne said paperwork needed to be processed and a retirement board needed to be set up. Musser volunteered to sit on the board. P.E.R. F was approved by the council.
There was one ADA complaint. At the municipal pier, the sea wall has fallen and tilted so when the pier was installed it’s crooked. People attempting to walk on it can either fall into the water or trip on the concrete. Noe said it would be repaired.
With the warmer weather, the parks department is busier as well. About 60 middle school students participated in a night egg hunt Friday night, April 12, while the traditional egg hunt for younger children was held April 13. A geo-caching egg hunt will continue until Tuesday. There are 10 eggs scatted around Syracuse.
Thursday and Friday, April 25-26, Arbor Day activities will take place at the elementary school. Once again the town received a Tree City USA and Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation for 2018. Baseball and softball season begin April 20. Touch a Truck will be May 4 and the Farmers and Artisans Market will open May 11.
Musser asked about Rotary Park. An initial plan is available for review at the Syracuse Community Center and on the park department’s Face book page. Another meeting is planned for May with a final draft of the plan set to be approved in July.
Fire Chief Mickey Scott reported there was one fire on Huntington Street and one vehicle fire with damages totaling approximately $51,000. The aerial truck was used on the structure fire as was the airboat, which was used to pull smoke out of the building. Renovation work on both Station I and Station II continue. An open house is planned for noon to 3 p.m. May 18 at Station I.
The department is also working on Safe Haven Baby Boxes. “Our hope is that it will never ever be used, but if its used once, it’s worth it,” Scott said. The box will come into the station’s living area.
The clerk-treasurer’s office will be closed Friday, April 19, in honor of Good Friday.
Martindale reported he recently held a meeting regarding child care in the area. A dozen people showed up and are willing to get involved. Sherry Searles from the Warsaw-Kosciusko County Chamber also attended and is assisting in finding funding resources.