NORTH WEBSTER — North Webster Town Council held a meeting Wednesday, April 15, in the town hall annex. It featured social distancing. All participants sat at least 6 feet apart and hand sanitizer was available to use due to the restrictions in place because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The main orders of business were the passing of resolution 2020-04-15 and the waiving of wastewater penalties to town sewer users for three months. The resolution is effective as of March 16 and adopts the provisions and procedures set forth in Executive Order 20-09 by the governor of the state of Indiana, March 23, as it relates to the Open Door Law, public access counselor, emergency purchases and law enforcement training. A copy of the state resolution was provided as well as the one by the town.
One of the main objectives of the order was to enable town employees to be paid. They will receive regular, full-time pay as approved in the salary ordinance for 2020 for normal hours or work week before the public health emergency, even if their work hours have been reduced.
Any town employee who is unable to work due to exposure to the coronavirus will receive 14 days paid sick leave while in quarantine based upon their salary before the emergency. Additional sick leave may be granted if needed until the employee is cleared for work.
It authorized Clerk-Treasurer Alice E. “Betsy” Luce to modify the hours town hall is open and the hours of her employees under her direct supervision. She can continue to pay claims and obligations without prior approval of the council that are regularly and routinely incurred by the town including employee salaries and bond payments.
She is to make individual inquiry of the council members about any question of a particular claim or obligation. If members do not agree, it will remain unpaid. The clerk-treasurer is authorized to pay all claims allowed by the council and to take other steps to minimally conduct town business.
The resolution also allows Council President Lisa Strombeck to schedule special meetings or executive sessions if they do not constitute a health risk. Council meetings can be held by video or telephone conference during the emergency.
The council agreed to give citizens a break on their sewer bills if they incurred any penalties for three months through July 31, 2020.
Police Chief Greg Church reported on the procedures his department is taking to protect the safety of the public and his personnel. “The good that has come out of a bad situation is that all the county agencies are working together even better than they had before,” he noted. He added several people had brought in homemade masks for the department, which was much appreciated.
Police calls of service numbered 201 for March. The most, 26, were traffic-related. Officers drove 3,840 miles using 312.8 gallons of fuel. They worked 803.5 hours.
Inframark Utilities Manager Jayne Alger gave an update on her department, noting overtime hours had been cut by moving two employees to an evening shift. Work is ongoing on repair and replacement projects.
The next town council meeting was tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, with the location to be announced.