The Napoleon Town Board met Wednesday, February 13, at the Napoleon Town Hall. Present were Bill Vankirk, president; Karen Rohlfing, treasurer; John Snyder and Tim Brancamp, board members; and Rod Eaton, utility manager. Town attorney Larry Eaton was also in attendance.
The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance. Rohlfing read the minutes from the previous meeting, which were approved with no additions or corrections. The floor then opened to comments from the public.
Amy Meyer, general manager of Youngman's Marathon, presented the board with a petition that contained more than 500 signatures in support of a town police officer. Signatures obtained were from all areas of the county, not just Napoleon residents. Meyer said that even though everyone on it is not a resident, they still come through or visit the town and are in support of the cause.
This was due to Youngman's Marathon being broken into several times in a short period of time, with the last time an armed robbery.
"The town is more vulnerable than what you want to see or believe," said Meyer. "Nobody is watching. The sheriff said he had someone here in plain clothes, but he is the only one. There needs to be a presence made."
Michael Meyer was also in attendance in support of his daughter, Amy, as well as town residents Annette Adams and Shirley Meyer.
"It isn't just the robberies or break-ins. I'm always finding syringes lying around on the ground in town," Michael said. He also mentioned having to complain to neighbors himself about a boom box being played too loud.
Adams expressed her con cern about someone eventually ending up being shot and posed the question, "What happens when businesses start shutting down here?"
Vankirk explained to Amy Meyer that he is not against having the police here and assured her that he wants safety, too. However, the town does not have the funding for a town police officer. He also said that even if Napoleon did have an officer, it doesn't mean that the perpetrator(s) would be caught or crime deterred, adding that Huck's in Batesville was robbed and they have a 24/7 police force.
Amy questioned the board as to why Holton and other small towns have an officer on patrol and wanted to know how they can afford it and Napoleon cannot.
Attorney Eaton responded by saying that other towns had put it in their budget prior to a freeze, adding that property taxes cannot be raised and riverboat revenue must be used for capital improvements.
"We've been here our entire lives, said Vankirk. "I'm not sure that a police officer is the answer. There are other things we can do. We need to sit down and talk about it - get together with the sheriff's department, state police, excise and see what they can do to help us."
Attorney Eaton suggested that the board meet privately with the sheriff and the state police in an executive session and announce the results at the March town board meeting. Vankirk said that he would contact the Ripley County Sheriff's office and ISP to set up a meeting.
Amy also asked if there was a possible way to get the speed limit in town lowered. Rohlfing told her that she had already tried, but was unsuccessful.
Joshua Lohrum, also a resident of Napoleon, asked the board how he should go about getting his home annexed into the Napoleon town limits, adding that he was told to attend this meeting to pose his request. Attorney Eaton told Lohrum that he is working on it and it should take about 60 to 90 days max.
In new business, the Ripley County Area Planning Commission says that the town must adopt an ordinance concerning flood hazards within the Town of Napoleon, as well as adopt a resolution to participate in the National Flood insurance program. A motion was made to ordain and adopt the resolution and met with unanimous approval. Ordinance numbers 2013-01 and resolution number 2013-01 were assigned.
In other business, Snyder said that he has been working on getting bids together for a new 40'x60' picnic shelter to be constructed next to the basketball courts to be used by residents for picnics and grillouts. He presented lumber quotes from Shriver Lumber and Wigham, with Shriver coming in the lowest at $16,501.00. Wigham's quote was $17,736.00.
Snyder also presented three quotes for labor to build the shelter. The first one was from Comer for $28,485.00. The next one was from Nick's for $25,700.00. Both quotes were for the structure only, not electric. The final quote was from Justin Greathouse and Travis Sullivan, who said they could do it for around $7,000.00, which would include running the electric, but not the electrical boxes. Snyder said that the cost of concrete and labor would be an additional $5,565.00.
The board questioned whether or not Greathouse and Sullivan have liability insurance in the event someone was to get hurt during construction. Snyder said that he would get a hold of them and find out.
The final item of business was the approval of claims. With nothing further, the meeting was adjourned. The next regular meeting of the Napoleon Town Board will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 13, at the Napoleon Town Hall.
CINDY WARD PHOTO
Amy Meyer, seated left, back, general manager of Youngman's Marathon, talks to Bill Vankirk, Napoleon Town Board president, seated, right at the table, about why she feels the town needs its own police officer. Also pictured are Josh Lohrum, right back, who was at the meeting on a separate matter, and Tim Brancamp, board member, seated, left at the table.