For the first time since the late '90s, the Town of Versailles will be raising sewer rates. No public citizen was present at the hearing, which was advertised and held at the monthly town council meeting on June 13. The rate proposed is a 7 percent increase, which is $2 more on a minimum bill. The minimum bill is currently $15.16. The council looked into other towns of similar size and in proximity and noted, their rates are lower compared to other nearby communities..
They agreed unanimously to the rate; however, users will not notice it on their bill for about six to eight weeks.
Town Attorney Larry Eaton noted during the meeting that the ordinances need to be updated and codified as it has been two years.
There will be improved surveillance at the Versailles parks soon. Versailles Town Marshal Joe Mann investigated security camera costs and presented his findings to the council. He looked at mobile and permanent systems for the Sports Complex and Pangburn park. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of cameras. .
Mann said, "We've had some incidents at the sports complex where bathrooms were vandazlied. They tore up the tin and made a ramp out of it." He looked into internet service set-up at the parks for remote monitoring, but it too will cost.
The mobile units would cost about $1,000 per camera. Council member Steve Mathes recommended purchasing one permanent set, which comes with eight cameras. He also suggested looking into Rising Sun Regional Foundation or Tyson grant for the others. The council agreed. Mann will follow up next month. Mathes also reported that he had a productive meeting with the Gilpins and the Sports Complex Board. They resolved the uniform purchases for the league for next year.
'Tis the season…for yard sales! However, Versailles town leaders don't want to see the signs posted on utility poles or traffic signs. They may be placed on private property. Mann and the council remind the public there is an ordinance that includes a fine of up $2,500 if such signs are placed illegally. Utilities manager Kevin Hensley also brought up that they are mowing several properties that have been abandoned. Notices are sent if residential or commercial property owners neglect their lawns.
Fire house plans
President Sue Meisberger wants to ask the Rising Sun Regional Foundation for $50,000 to renovate the old firehouse. Plans have already been drawn up for potential use by the town police department. A new meeting room and upgraded restrooms were part of the designs. The council will walk through the firehouse and discuss options before the next meeting. Also, Ben Sieverding, fire chief, reported 58 calls since April. The department was denied a grant to help purchase a fire truck.
Utility pole removed
Hensley reminded council that a 30-foot electric pole on North Adams Street needs to be replaced. Duke Energy will set the new pole, but the town will be responsible for the cost of $2,500.
The town will also be responsible for removing and replacing the blue spruce tree there. The tree was put in many years ago to hide the lift station. Affected homeowner will be contacted about the tree replacement.
Hensley also gave a quote for a safety harness for cleaning the lift stations. It has a 50-foot cable, tripod and gas monitor at a cost of $3,600, and council agreed to purchase it through the sewer account.
Versailles Town Council is interested in forming a Mainstreet committee. This is a state program that can help revitalize downtown through various grants. Anyone interested should contact Mathes, or council members, John Holzer, Mathes, Meisberger or town clerk Kiersten Libby.
Requests from citizens
Doug Rump, on behalf of LifeTime Resources, requested the town include a $1,000 donation for the agency. All towns in their county service area are being requested to support the agency. LifeTime Resources provides Catch-a-Ride transportation, one of their more visible services. Council will consider it when they discuss the 2014 budget. A special meeting will be held about the 2014 budget for July 10, at 6 p.m.
Bridget Back with Child Evangelism Fellowship (sponsor of the Good News Clubs in area schools) received permission from the council to have a fundraising walk around downtown, starting and ending at the Tyson Activity Center. It will be Aug. 10, at 3 p.m., and is targeted to adults. A well-known acapella band is also slated to perform as part of the event. More details to come.
The Versailles Town Council meets the second Thursday of the month at the town hall. The meetings generally begin at 7 p.m, and are open to the public.