By Liz Shepherd
ETNA GREEN — The Etna Green Town Council approved a procedure for town employees regarding property upkeep follow-up during a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Town employees now have permission to spend up to $500 to hire someone to clean up a property after a 10-day notice is sent to a property owner with an upkeep violation, specifically for weed and cleanup issues. Employees can do this without the council’s prior acknowledgment.
Council Member Jason Hanes brought the topic up for discussion, saying the town’s ordinance on cleanup is not sufficient enough on guidelines for addressing property upkeep situations.
“If we don’t make sure that we have some sort of procedure to go back and make sure it’s done, it doesn’t get done,” said Hanes. “There’s no follow-through. I know that’s extra work for (Wastewater/Street Superintendent Andy Cook), but the thing is I don’t feel like this is helping others who are keeping their properties clean by letting this go on and on.”
Town Attorney Jay Rigdon said the town can either codify its current ordinance or establish a written policy.
Clerk-Treasurer Patti Cook and Hanes will also meet with Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes on Wednesday, Aug. 12, about a contract for police protection in the town. Hanes presented a draft of the contract to Council Members Susan Klinefelter and Keith Claassen. The contract will be voted on at the council’s September meeting once the sheriff’s office has looked at the document.
“The townspeople have been begging for it, from what I’ve seen,” said Hanes regarding police presence in Etna Green. “This is what they want.”
The council also gave Claassen permission to sign a letter of credit. In 2019, the town agreed to act as an intermediary for a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture to Winona Powder.
Rigdon said he was recently in a Zoom conference call with Alan Tio, Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation CEO; and Brian Bailey, Winona Powder president, about the letter.
“They believe they’re going to have everything ready to go by Aug. 17,” said Rigdon. “What’ll have to happen is the town will sign the line of credit for the loan between USDA and the town. Winona Powder will then have to sign the loan between them and the town to cover that debt.”
The line of credit is for $1 million, which would add 16 to 26 jobs locally at Winona Powder.
“With everything I’ve seen, that is such a remote possibility,” said Claassen about Winona Powder potentially closing. “That is why we agreed to go with it.”
The council’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.