By Lasca Randels
LEESBURG — Leesburg Town Council discussed nonpayment of violations at their monthly meeting Monday, Sept. 14.
Attorney Vern Landis said in order to enforce nonpayment, a lawsuit would need to be filed in small claims court.
Landis recommended sending a letter first, letting the violators know that if the fines are not paid within 30 days of the issuance for the violation, a lawsuit will be filed for the amount of the fines plus court costs and attorney fees.
Landis said names and addresses of violators are needed in order to file the lawsuits.
Street Commissioner Craig Charlton said when he issues a citation, he documents this with a license plate but said he does not have access or authority to run that through NCIC for further information.
Landis will be contacting the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office to obtain information as to how to proceed.
In other matters, the meeting began with Council President Doug Jones expressing condolences on behalf of the council to the family of Steve Hearn, who recently passed away.
“Steve was a longtime resident of Leesburg and an advocate and a very active person in the community,” Jones said.
Hearn served as an attorney from 1965-1973 for Reed & Hearn Law Office in Syracuse.
On another issue, Derek Tenney of Tenney & Sons, Warsaw, said in the past month there have been three call-outs for sewer issues. He told council members that wipes, feminine hygiene products and cigarette butts were found in the pod at a residence on Prairie Street.
The flushing of products such as paper towels, disposable wipes and feminine hygiene products is a common problem and one that Leesburg Council has made continued efforts to address. The town has signs available reminding people not to flush baby wipes and other prohibited items as part of the “No Wipes in the Pipes” campaign. Flushing prohibited items can result in blockages in the sewer line, which can lead to a sewer backup into a resident’s home. These items can also interfere with the operation of the grinder station and cause damage to grinder pumps.
In February, Jones said the town is “trying desperately to hold the (sewer) rates down” but said they need the help of the residents to do so.
Tenney then addressed continuing issues with electric locates.
“One on West Van Buren, we did the pole replacement on it. 811 did not locate the electric for that. They located the sewer stuff as far as discharge on the line, but they did not locate the electric,” Tenney said. “I have another one I’ve got to do on East Prairie Street, replacing the wires from the panel to the pump and they did the same thing there. They did not locate electric.”
The town has a contract with USIC Locating Services.
“We have a contract with them and they don’t seem to be fulfilling their obligations,” Jones said.
Council Member Tom Moore said he sent a letter to the company but did not receive a response.
“The confusion comes from their side. They don’t seem to understand that the utility wires coming off the pole going to the grinder pump and the control box belong to us,” Moore said. “They think they belong to the utility company and they do not.”
Moore said it would help a great deal if someone from USIC could attend a council meeting so that council members could address questions to that person directly.
Landis will contact the company to see if a USIC representative can attend a town council meeting in the near future to try to resolve this issue.
In another matter, Charlton suggested that the golf cart ordinance may need to be amended to include dirt bikes and mini bikes.
He said complaints have been made to him about mini bikes being ridden on the streets by children far too young.
“For clarity, we probably should do some work to this,” Charlton said. He recommended adding verbiage to the current ordinance to include motorized vehicles, electric or gas-powered.
“I’m gonna say this and it’s gonna make some people mad, I know, but this should be a common-sense thing,” Jones said. “We shouldn’t have to sit here and do this, but apparently ….”
“The issue at hand, we have a little guy, 7 years old, on a mini bike running through town and about got hit on a couple of occasions and that’s where the problem lies,” Charlton said.
“It’s the golf cart thing all over again but this time a mini bike,” Jones added.
The issue will be revisited next month after Landis reviews state laws related to this topic.
Town Council Vice-President Christina Archer said she is working on a written plan for the K21 Health Foundation pledge walkway and bikeway project and waiting on estimates for the project.
Charlton said trees are going to be a big issue with the project because trees are the responsibility of the property owner. He proposed meeting with residents this winter in order to show them what the town foresees doing.
“That way if they have to take a tree out, it’s their choice. If they want to take a tree out and have it straight, we’ll put that in the drawing,” Charlton said. “Or if they want to go around it, then that’s their decision.”
In other news:
- Trick-or-Treat is tentatively scheduled to take place in Leesburg between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.
- The 2020 Candelaria is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 12.
- The public hearing for the 2021 budget was held. Clerk-treasurer Mike Searfoss said the total budget amount is $264,496.
- A representative from the Area Plan Commission will attend the October meeting.
Town council members would like to remind the public of the following information:
No parking on any street between 3-5 am
Please be mindful of what you flush
Speed Limits in town are 25 mph
No one under age 16 years may operate a golf cart in Leesburg
- Town leaf pickup will continue through the end of November.
- The next regular meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12.