By Liz Shepherd
CLAYPOOL — The Claypool Town Council approved next steps for the building of a home on a vacant Section Street lot during a meeting on Tuesday, June 16.
During the council’s May meeting, Michael Engel inquired about the property at 210 W. Section St. Initially, Engel said he was interested in placing a mobile home on the lot; however, council noted that in the past, someone else had inquired about placing a mobile home there and that the idea was met with uneasiness from neighbors.
In an administrative meeting on June 3, council assembled a list of questions about Engel’s plans for the property. Engel was at the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday to address the council’s concerns. He presented a picture of the proposed residence to council and said the front door of the residence will face South Clay Street.
Engel also said the residence will have a footer board with a cement block foundation.
Several town residents who live near the property were at the meeting for an update. No neighbors showed any objections to Engel’s plan.
“I think it’s a nice home and it’s going to have a permanent foundation,” said Council Member Gene Warner. “It’s going to be a permanent home. I don’t see a problem with it.”
“We can give approval for you to go to the Area Plan Commission,” said Council President Liz Heiman to Engel. “But we need to see surveying results before we do any more.”
Council members approved Engel receiving paperwork to present to the county’s Area Plan Commission in order for the property to get surveyed.
The council also approved the town moving forward with using the Tax Refund Exchange and Compliance System (TRECS) to collect unpaid ordinance violation fines and other fees.
TRECS allows government agencies to collect unpaid bills or fines through pending state personal income tax refunds. The system will allow the town of Claypool to submit any fine or fee that is $25 or more.
“It’ll hopefully allow for more compliance with someone if they decide to not pay late fees or a fine,” said Town Marshal Ben Sanders, who presented the idea to council members. “Silver Lake just signed up on it and there’s 30+ counties in the state of Indiana who are doing it right now, too.”
Chris Hennessy, a business development manager with Fleis & VandenBrink, Fort Wayne, was at the council meeting to discuss grants that could be used to improve streets and sidewalks. Hennessy said Fleis & VandenBrink would create a Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP), which would involve the company reviewing every road in town and determining the cost of potential repairs. The cost for having the company prepare a TAMP is $2,900.
Warner and Heiman both agreed that the grants are worth looking into but said they would table the discussion until the council held a budget meeting.
In other business, council:
- Approved the hiring of Andrew Miller to assist Town Employee Danny Warner.
- Approved Sanders getting a new air conditioning unit for the police department’s evidence room.
- Learned that for the month of May, the Claypool Police Department responded to 204 calls for service. Reserve officers for the town worked a total of 308 hours.
The council’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 21. After the regular meeting concludes, council will talk with town residents about ideas on how to use a $200,000 K21 Health Foundation pledge to make improvements to the town. In September 2019, the K21 Health Foundation made a commitment of $1.8 million that will be distributed to nine of the smaller communities in Kosciusko County, including Claypool. The money must be used for projects that will focus on health and wellness opportunities in the community.