By Martha Stoelting
NORTH WEBSTER — North Webster Town Council heard a long time employee had resigned, passed the 2022 budget and appointed an INDOT compliance overseer among other agenda items during its busy Tuesday, Sept. 28, meeting.
Trick or treat hours are from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, and the need for family health insurance for police officers was discussed. It was held at the North Webster Community Center with Lisa Strombeck presiding.
Police Officer Candace Smythe announced her retirement due to health reasons effective Sept. 1, said Police Chief Greg Church. She had been with the department for 26 years. Council members expressed regret in losing her. “She is beloved by the entire community,” stated Clerk-Treasurer Betsy Luce.
The 2022 budget hearing and adoption took place. The total budget is $1,691,314 with the maximum estimated funds to be $464,935. The current tax levy is $459,304. Luce pointed out cuts were made to the budget with a total of about $20,000 less than the maximum allowed. The cumulative fund was not created this year due to the new North Webster Turkey Creek Fire Territory being installed as of Jan. 1.
Representing the town engineering firm of Triad Associates, Rick Pharis outlined the need to appoint an Indiana Department of Transportation compliance overseer. Council member David Waliczek volunteered for the job. Pharis gave out manuals to the council and Inframark Utilities Manager Jayne Alger detailing the infrastructure of the town. He suggested having the compliance report completed by the end of October to meet the filing deadlines for grants to assist with street work.
Council approved an amendment to the Inframark contract addressing overtime and equipment issues. At the request of Church, trick or treat hours were set from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30. He explained in the past if Halloween had fallen on a Sunday, the town chose to have it on a Saturday.
Church also noted the town is still hiring a police officer and applicants can apply at North Webster Town Hall and Police Station, 144 S. Main St. Waliczek asked what needed to be done to keep the department competitive and facilitate hiring. Church replied, “The number one thing we lack that other area departments have is family health insurance.”
After discussion, it was decided council, Luce and Church will look further into how that might be obtained and the costs.
LeAnn Hubbs addressed the council she and her husband, Mark, are considering changing the zoning of the lot they own behind Jiffy Lube from residential to commercial. It might be used for storage units. The council expressed no problems with it but the final decision is up to the Kosciusko County Board of Zoning Appeals.
During department reports, Alger reported some of the vehicles are not in the best shape. It was decided to try to make it through winter with what is available and look at the issue again. Police answered 318 calls of service during August 2021. Most were traffic-related and citizen assists. Officers worked 635.75 hours, drove 4,488 miles using 352.2 gallons of fuel.
In the park board report, Secretary Tammy Waliczek said the park bathrooms will be closed as of Oct. 17. The small tractor used to haul goose waste from the park has completely broken down. It had been donated to the park and it is hoped someone will donate another or make the park board an offer they cannot refuse.
The next meeting of the town council will be 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, North Webster Community Center, 301 N. Main St.