By Lasca Randels
LEESBURG — Although Leesburg officials had hoped to have a signed traffic control agreement this month with the Claypool Police Department, that contract is on hold.
At the Leesburg Town Council meeting Monday, Aug. 9, Council member Doug Jones explained that Claypool PD is waiting to hear back from its insurance provider.
Under the current proposal, Claypool Police would provide about 384 hours of patrol services for Leesburg each year at an annual cost of around $5,000.
This stems from speeding issues the Town of Leesburg has been experiencing for some time. Leesburg has no police department.
For a period of time, deputies from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office were assisting with traffic control in Leesburg, which town officials said had a positive impact on reducing speeding; however, the sheriff’s office does not have the manpower to keep a police presence in Leesburg on a long-term basis.
“I was hoping to have a contract this month. I have to say this, they (Claypool PD) are doing due diligence on their end and right now they are waiting on information from their insurance company to make sure that this is not going to cause a problem with that,” Jones said. “They’re really doing their due diligence, which is good for both parties so I’m happy for that. I wish we had a contract signed this month, but it’s not gonna happen.”
In another matter, discussion about the town’s sewer ordinance continued at Monday’s meeting.
Council members have had ongoing conversations about clarifying language in the town’s sewer ordinance regarding new connections to the sewer system.
Council President Tom Moore said the ordinance’s current language shows a $25 sewer inspection fee. Moore described that rate as “horribly inefficient and way too low” and said it needs to be substantially higher.
The ordinance also references a $1,000 new connection charge for a single-family dwelling unit but doesn’t specify exactly what the $1,000 covers.
“I don’t like that particular area of ambiguity. I’d like to have that defined because it doesn’t say anything,” Moore said. “It just says okay, you give us $1,000, but what does that get the customer?”
Furthermore, there is no language in the ordinance currently that requires or prohibits the property owner to pay for the new grinder pump.
According to Jeff Rowe of Baker Tilly, who has reviewed the ordinance for the town, more often than not, the owner is the one responsible for paying for the grinder.
“I would like to see definitive language as to who pays for what and what type of pump and control system,” Moore said. “If we’re going to assume the service of that system, I don’t want some control system that we have a one-off of so that our service provider has to have a bunch of special parts on hand.”
No decisions were made Monday regarding the sewer ordinance.
Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCo) representative Suzie Light attended the meeting to extend an invitation to Leesburg to partner with KEDCo. That service agreement would cost the town $5,000 annually.
Light spoke of specific initiatives that are important to Kosciusko County: entrepreneur roundtable, housing initiative and talent recruitment and retention initiative. She also provided information about KEDCO’s small business relief fund, predevelopment revolving loan fund for projects and property acquisition revolving loan fund.
Regarding the housing initiative, Leesburg officials explained that the town is landlocked, which prevents new housing development.
Light suggested the town council speak with KEDCo’s housing expert, Greg Fitzloff, to see what options may be available.
Fitzloff has been invited to attend next month’s town council meeting.
As always, town officials would like residents to be reminded of the following items: No parking on any street between 3-5 a.m. (every day); no burning anything anytime; please be mindful of what you flush; and yard waste is to be placed in town-provided trash totes.
The next regular meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Sept. 13.