By Lasca Randels
LEESBURG — Doug Jones announced his intentions to resign from his seat on the Leesburg Town Council where he has served for 14 years.
The announcement was made at the end of the regular council meeting Monday, Nov. 14.
Jones’ resignation will be effective Jan. 1, 2023.
“It’s time to let someone else have a chance,” Jones said. “Other aspects of my life have just taken up so much time that I want somebody here who has the time that they can put toward it.”
Jones said he never intended to remain on the council for 14 years. He said he initially ran for a position on the board due to issues the town was facing years ago. Those issues have been resolved over the years, Jones said, and things are now down to a day-to-day management of the town.
“You won’t find a better public servant than Tom (Moore), and Christine is a good fit,” Jones said. “They will continue to do a good job. The board couldn’t be in better hands than with Tom and Christine.”
Both of Jones’ parents served on the Leesburg Town Council in the past.
“It’s been my honor and privilege to serve,” Jones said of his time on the council. “I have the highest respect for this group of people here. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done. It’s been my honor and privilege to serve this amazing community.”
“I hope your replacement shares your enthusiasm for the town of Leesburg,” Council Vice President Tom Moore said. “Because even though I like to tease him, his heart and his head have been in the right spot. He thinks about the town and the town’s future.”
A caucus will be held to appoint Jones’ replacement.
In another matter, Street Commissioner Craig Charlton announced they will be unable to grind tree limbs for a few weeks, as both trucks will be set up for other work.
Charlton said two parking violations and six warnings were issued over the past month. He also told the council that several properties have been identified as being in violation of the revised refuse ordinance and there have been multiple complaints about the condition of an uninhabited property on West Prairie Street.
Derek Tenney of Tenney & Sons provided a sanitary sewer report. Following that, council discussed concerns about the odor coming from the main pumping station.
“We’ve even had complaints from people who don’t live in town about the aroma … the stench … coming from that,” Moore said.
A charcoal filter has been installed as well as an aerator system to help with the issue; however, council members agreed that the odor has been more prominent since the aeration system was installed.
Moore suggested having a representative from the aeration system company attend the next council meeting to discuss this. If that is not possible with their schedule, Moore said, he would be happy to meet with a representative of the company himself at a more convenient time.
“There are sewage pumping stations all over, every place I go,” Moore said. “They don’t smell like this one.”
Tenney will contact the aeration company regarding this issue. Moore and Tenney will also meet to set up a maintenance schedule for the sewer system as far as what needs to be checked and how frequently.
Council also reported that continued sewer violations are causing maintenance costs to rise.
Moore said the town spent $44,321.95 in the past month on sewer-related maintenance.
“We have no recourse but to keep raising the rates as long as our costs keep going up,” Moore said. “So, when that time comes – and it will – when the $73 rate has to go up, you need to remember the people that are … and I’m going to use the word ‘unintentionally’ flushing things down the toilet that they are not supposed to flush. And those items are already listed. So if you don’t care, you’re gonna have to write a bigger check. And I think that’s very unfair to the people who do care.”
Jones said he would go a step further and add that the sewer rate is not solely at the town’s discretion at a certain point, because the bond holder can look at the town’s financials and they have the right to come in at any time and decide that the town is not charging enough and pull the bond.
Council President Christina Archer reminded those in attendance that a sewer rate study was done by consulting firm Baker Tilly in 2022, which led to a recommendation that the town raise its monthly sewer rate by $6.50 per month.
“If you read the newspapers about all the local municipalities in our area, there’s no such thing as using the words ‘if you’re going to have a rate increase,’”Moore said. “You will – you just don’t know when and how much.”
Lastly, town officials would like to remind residents of the following:
- No parking on any street between 3-5 a.m. This applies all seven days of the week. Vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense.
- No burning. Indiana’s open burning laws and rules make it illegal to burn trash and generally prohibit open burning in Indiana.
- Please be mindful of what you flush into the septic system. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, baby wipes, cleaning wipes, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, tissues and trash.
In other news:
- The Leesburg Candelaria will be held Dec. 10.
- The revised refuse ordinance was approved and passed.
- A complete list of town ordinances can be found at www.leesburgindiana.com/information.
- The next regular meeting is Dec. 12.