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October 18, 2012

New store owners question tax
abatement at Versailles mtg.

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer

The regular monthly meeting of the Versailles Town Board on Thursday, October, 11 began with the owners of the new CashSaver grocery store who were in attendance to request a tax abatement, as well as to voice some economic concerns they have over the amount of the abatement they are being approved for.

Eric Rabe, proprietor, and Robert Wood, owner of the property, stated that they were under the impression from a conversation they had with Gary Norman, director of Economic Development, that they would receive a full tax abatement, to include the total property. However, attorney Larry Eaton explained to them that the abatement only applies to improvements that have been made, not the actual building itself.

Rabe and Wood expressed that had they known that they would not be granted a full tax abatement, they would not have spent as much money on the economic improvements that they made.

According to Eaton, a tax abatement ordinarily cannot be granted to a retail business, but if Economic Development finds it to be pertinent, an exception can be granted. The property tax figures that Eaton had did not agree with figures that Wood had. It was decided that the correct figures would be obtained from the county treasurer's office and a special meeting would be called in the near future to discuss the abatement.

Resolution 2012-01 was passed granting a tax abatement to Wood for the improvements on the property. The new CashSaver store opened for business on Friday, October 12, and held its grand opening on Saturday, October 13. The store features a full-service deli and meat department and employs 52 people. It is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In other news, Fire Chief Ben Sieverding reported 59 calls have been received in the past two months. He also said that the new tornado sirens will be delivered in a week and he plans to contact Duke Energy to set the poles needed for the installation. A grant from the Ripley County Community Foundation will cover the installation costs.

Gil Landwehr from the Sports Complex board thanked Kevin Hensley and the town employees for all of their help over the summer months. He said that the blacktop looks great and that they are seeing more persons with disabilities in attendance with the newly created handicapped parking spaces that are now available. The board expressed thanks to Landwehr and the complex board for all of their hard work and dedication.

Town Marshal Joe Mann reported that he has been ordering equipment for the new police vehicle. He expects the car to be ready sometime in mid-November. He is still waiting on paperwork from the finance company to get it plated, as well.

Mann confirmed that trick-or-treat will be held from 5-7 p.m., Wed., October 31. As usual, the department plans to give out candy and glow sticks during the parade, as well as outside the department that evening.

Superintendent Kevin Hensley reported four water leaks. He said that the probation department has been helping out with trash clean up around the square and expressed that that they did a great job sprucing things up after the Pumpkin Show.

Hensley also said that he would like to look into purchasing or leasing a new tractor for the street department. The board agreed to put the old tractor up for sale by advertising it for 10 days and accepting bids at the Versailles Town Hall. It was decided that the minimum opening bid would be around $6,000.

A bid of $5,000 to install new curbs by the Tyson Church and Masonic Hall was obtained, Hensley reported.

Steve Mathes expressed some concerns he had about a tree with a large limb hanging over the end of Main Street. He said he is concerned that the limb could fall on a vehicle while stopped at the stop sign. Hensley said that he would approach the new property owner to get permission to either trim or remove the tree completely. According to bids received by Hensley, it will cost $250 to have limbs removed or $1,000 to remove the entire tree.

Hensley also said that there had been an issue with the computers at the water plant and a specialist from Pennsylvania has been scheduled to come in to take a look at the problem. The cost to get the specialist to the water plant is $3,500. Hensley stated that this was the only option they had to deal with the problem.

The 2013 budget was presented by Kiersten Libby, which was unanimously approved by the board.

Mathes reported that he is expecting a decision any day now on the grant for the proposed walking trails. He also said he submitted an application to the state for signs to be put in place to indicate the direction to the sports complex.

Mathes asked Eaton to follow up with the Versailles American Legion on their request for a right of way behind the town hall. Eaton agreed he would do that.

Jeff Hamm was in attendance and presented a check to the town from the summer softball league. He said 16 teams are expected to play in the next season.

The meeting adjourned at 8:12 p.m. The next regularly scheduled town board meeting will be at 7 p.m., Thursday, November 8, at the Versailles Town Hall.

Versailles Town Board Attorney Larry Eaton, pictured left, talks about tax abatements with Bob Wood and Eric Rabe, pictured right. Wood and Rabe are the new owner/operators of the CashSaver grocery store in Versailles.

Reserve officer arrested; dismissed from position

Wanda English Burnett

According to court documents Steven. F. Williams, 36 of Friendship, was arrested on October 5 and charged with Invasion of Privacy.

Williams was a reserve deputy with the Ripley County Sheriff's Office until that time, according to Sheriff Tom Grills.

Sheriff Grills noted, "He (Williams) was let go when he was charged." He went on to say a reserve has no merit or right to his or her position. The sheriff further added that he does not condone this behavior. He said that Williams had done a good job for the five years he had served with the sheriff's office.

"I want citizens to know we will still provide good quality law enforcement the best we can with what we have." The sheriff concluded by saying, "The sheriff's office as a whole should not be degraded for what one or two people do or how they behave. He (Williams) violated a direct order from me and the judge, accident or not, and his position with the office (was) compromised."

The Affidavit of Probable Cause reads that the victim came to the Batesville Police Department to report a protective order violation on Monday, October 1. The report was that Williams had sent several text messages when he had a no contact order with the victim.

The protective order had been issued by Ripley County Superior Court Judge James Morris on September 20.

The victim provided Batesville Police Department Detective Michael Benjamin a cell phone and the information was forensically extracted from it. There were 40 messages from Williams' phone after the protective order was issued.

When Williams was advised that police knew that he had violated the order, court documents note that he admitted to texting the victim several times. He also said he understood the protective order very well and knew he was not to have any contact with the victim directly or indirectly.

Williams turned himself in on October 5 and bonded out for $550.

To read these and more articles pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local store or subscribe by clicking on the link above or by calling 812-689-6364.

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