By Liz Shepherd
CLAYPOOL — Several Claypool residents expressed support for a proposed police contract with the town of Leesburg for traffic control assistance during a meeting on Tuesday, July 20.
Discussions on the subject first arose at a Leesburg Town Council meeting in mid-June. An “Agreement for Patrol Services” contract between the town of Leesburg and the Claypool Police Department states that Leesburg does not have a law enforcement department but desires to have routine patrol and law enforcement activities within the town’s boundaries.
Under the current proposal, Claypool Police would provide roughly 6 to 8 hours a week, or about 384 hours of patrol services a year, to Leesburg at an annual cost of $5,000.
Leesburg would be paying the town of Claypool that amount for the use of the police vehicle, the vehicle’s fuel and Claypool Town Marshal Ben Sanders’ time. Sanders lives in Leesburg.
“That (money) goes strictly to the town of Claypool, not me,” said Sanders about the estimated $5,000 amount. “That does not take away from the 40 hours that I work here (Claypool).”
One Claypool resident said the police vehicle shouldn’t go to Leesburg whatsoever and should be used only in the town of Claypool.
Five residents in attendance spoke in support of the agreement, saying Claypool would make money from it and that it’s convenient since Sanders already lives in Leesburg.
“Essentially, I’m not making a dime off it and it’s done during my off-hours, not my work hours here,” said Sanders. “The only pay I would get out of it is Operation Pullover hours and that’s covered by the state.”
The town also addressed a question about insurance coverage on the police vehicle.
“It’s no different when I take a call from Beaver Dam or for the county,” said Sanders. “No matter where I’m at, it’s going to fall back on Claypool anyway. I go where I’m dispatched to.”
Claypool Council President Benny Stage Jr. said the contract is still in rough draft form and not set in stone since council members have not signed it.
Council Member Gene Warner made a motion to hold an executive session with council and the town’s attorney to go over the contract.
“It isn’t Leesburg hiring him to work up there,” said Warner. “That’s what some people are thinking and that’s not the case.”
In other business, Ken Archer, one of the owners of Someplace Else Saloon, said he and other residents are working on establishing a committee to bring back the Claypool Festival. The town’s sesquicentennial is in 2023.
“We’ve had a lot of people approaching us for one, being frustrated because Silver Lake Days is no longer there,” said Archer. “These small towns are just losing these events. We want to grab a hold of this town, shake it up and get some fun going.”
Those interested in being involved can attend a meeting at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Someplace Else Saloon. For questions, contact Someplace Else Saloon.
Council also said Warsaw Community Church donated $1,000 toward a four-person swing set for Claypool’s park. The cost of the new equipment is $1,053.60.
The town of Claypool’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17.