By Martha Stoelting
NORTH WEBSTER — North Webster Town Council had a full agenda for its monthly meeting Tuesday evening, Oct. 20, at the North Webster Community Center. The 2021 budget was passed, a citizen lodged a complaint and Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of Wawasee Community School Corporation, gave a presentation on the tax referendum.
The total budget for the town for 2021 is $1,695,514. The tax rate is .81. With approval, it will be submitted to the state.
Jay Rigdon, local attorney and North Webster resident, represented himself. He and his family live on Ward Lane in town. About half of the street was abolished a few years ago at the request of the North Webster Church of God. Rigdon objected. “When you did that, you assured me that it would not affect our services. But, it has,” he explained.
Brush cuttings were not picked up for two months by the town until he made a fourth phone call to the street department requesting service. He also called town council member Dan Thystrup and received no return call. He was dissatisfied and asked the council what they intend to do about it.
Inframark Utility Manager Jayne Alger apologized to Rigdon. She had confused Ward Lane with Wade Lane and the Church of God with North Webster United Methodist Church, thinking the location was not in the town limits. Council President Lisa Strombeck said, “We will make sure all members of the department know where these and other locations are to avoid this in the future.”
Edington gave the same presentation he had given to the Milford Town Council last week and would go onto to give the Syracuse Town Council later Tuesday evening. The referendum will be on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 3, Election Day.
He highlighted the three key areas of why it is needed. They are funding formulas for public education have not kept up with the cost of inflation to educate students. The state requires referendums for schools to address this. Also more students are signing up for career training courses than available space and finally the school safety issue was addressed. It included additional technology and school officer pay reimbursement.
The council passed the annual inter-local data services agreement without discussion.
During the utilities report, Alger talked about the recent sewer backup off Backwater Road, which had been corrected by 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. It lasted for about 100 homes from Thursday through Tuesday morning. Some of these had service off and on. A valve was replaced and another valve was added at Station B to remedy the problem by AirVac. The council voted to refund residents on EMS W24 Lane, EMS W25 Lane, and EMS W26 Lane for services for that time after a suggestion from Clerk-Treasurer Betsy Luce.
Council also approved the purchase of a new paint striper from Sherman-Williams, Warsaw, for $1,925. Brush pickup will commence as well as leaf pickup. Brush and leaves should be in separate piles. There were no violations for the sewage plant in September.
Officer Candace Smythe reported for the North Webster Police Department. Town Halloween hours are 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. The council approved the closing of East Washington Street for one block from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21. It is for the North Webster-Tippecanoe Township Chamber of Commerce tree lighting evening.
Calls of service for September were 163 with the most traffic related. Officers worked 574.25 hours, drove 3,132 miles and used 248.7 gallons of fuel.
The next meeting of the town council will be held 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the North Webster Community Center, 301 N. Main St.