A petition with more than 500 signatures presented to the Napoleon Town Council at the March 13 meeting for a town police officer appears to have gotten some squeaky wheels turning.
Amy Meyer, general manager of Youngman's Marathon, created the petition in response to three burglaries and one-armed robbery that occurred in January at the convenience store/gas station. Council had agreed at that time to contact law enforcement agencies to see if any type of collaboration could be done with them to provide unannounced patrols in Napoleon.
Bill Vankirk, board president, told her that he had met with Lt. Noel Houze of the Indiana State Police and Ripley County Sheriff Tom Grills to discuss the issue. Vankirk said that Sheriff Grills reported his deputies have had some overtime and have been spending it in Napoleon. He was told by Grills the town could contract off-duty deputies through the department, but council would have to make the request to commissioners for approval.
Lt. Houze offered to come to a town meeting and present a power point presentation he has for starting a neighborhood watch program. Vankirk said that he will advertise in the local paper once he gets a confirmed date from Houze.
Vankirk asked town attorney Larry Eaton if money in the general fund could be used to contract a police officer for the town or if they could budget for one at the end of the year. Eaton said he feels that c urrently the town does not have enough funding available and raising taxes is out of the question. He also added that due to legislation, the town should count on not having any more riverboat revenue coming in.
Eaton did say the town has the option of raising sewer rates for out-of-town residents, which would generate a little more tax revenue, adding that many of the bigger towns do this. Vankirk said he would delve further into how much money, if any, the town actually has in the budget to be used toward this cause.
Vankirk told Meyer that he has noticed more police presence in town recently, adding he went out on a couple of medical runs and was surprised to see deputies from the sheriff's office show up promptly each time.
Quotes for the newly proposed 40x60 picnic shelter was discussed. Vankirk said he had received a call from someone who expressed displeasure in the way the quote amounts were worded in the newspaper from the February meeting. Some of the businesses supplying quotes were higher than others, because they contained concrete, where others did not.
To clarify, Justin Greathouse and Travis Sullivan's quote included labor, concrete, materials, and electric for $26,701.00. Nick Buening's quote was for $25,700.00 with concrete, but no electric. To add electric, it would be an additional $2,250.00. Comer's quote was for $28,485.00, which included concrete, but not electric. Electric would run an additional $2,250, as well.
Larry Eaton updated the board on the planned annexation. He provided board members with a draft that had two legal descriptions added to it. Eaton asked them to look it over as they would need to present it at next month's meeting for a first reading. Eaton said he would send notices out to the affected property owners after the meeting in April. If adopted, the annexation will take effect on December 31, adding that this was much simpler for tax purposes.
Once the annexation is in place, residents annexed in will have access to town trash pick-up and if they are not on city sewer, will be on that as well. These same residents will also now be eligible to run for town office if they choose to do so.
Tim Brancamp, council member, brought up an issue he had with a town resident over a child four-wheeling while unsupervised on property owned by the town. He advised the child not to ride in the area. Later he talked with a parent who expressed concern about other issues in Napoleon.
Utility Manager Rod Eaton announced that he plans to attend an upcoming half-day class in Columbus. He will soon be required to file sewer readings electronically and this class addresses how to do that. There is no cost for the class.
Other business conducted included:
• Members unanimously voted to pay library dues in the amount of $640 for the year so Napoleon residents can get a free library card at the Osgood Public Library.
• Garbage cans at the park are in bad shape. It was decided to check pricing on eBay, Walmart, etc., prior to purchasing to get the best cost.
• It was agreed to purchase new posts for street signs in town - specifically the newer square ones like the state is using.
In attendance were Vankirk, Brancamp, Rohlfing, Rod Eaton, John Snyder and Attorney Larry Eaton.
The next regular meeting of the Napoleon Town Board will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 10, at the Napoleon Town Hall.