Council says goodbye, wraps business up

BOURBON — The Bourbon Town Council wrapped up some general business and said goodbye to member Tim Perkins at the conclusion of the last meeting of the year, during this, Perkins’ final meeting in the seat.
He will be replaced by Les McFarland at the January council meeting scheduled for Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.
Before the sentiments were exchanged many items were addressed including signing a new contract with Multi-Township EMS. The annual contract comes with a $39,900 charge to the town, payable quarterly, and as clerk-treasurer Kim Berger explained, without any increase. “You get some people a little opinionated about going from the volunteers we had before to hiring Multi-Township in,” said council president Larry Wattenbarger, “and there’s nothing against the people who did it for so many years, but I’ve had a lot of people tell me that that was the smartest thing we’ve done as a council. They feel a lot safer, especially the older people.”
Council members agreed and unanimously signed with the company for 2011, the fourth year in business for the town.
Insurance rates for town employees were addressed and the council decided to go with Anthem, switching from their current provider Starmark. At the first of the year Starmark’s charges were going to increase 20 percent and though going with Anthem will be more expensive than the policy the town had in the past, it will be only a six percent increase overall. “It will be the same deductibles and co-pay and it covers preventative care too,” assured Berger.
The purchase of a new tanker truck was also discussed, with Berger explaining that a grant the town had applied for to fund the purchase had been denied. “The pumper is a 1966,” she said, “and it doesn’t run for fires; its only used for the parade.” She said Bourbon Township Trustee Roger Schori was on board with paying half the price for a new one from the township budget, as was the practice in the past, and that the fire department at present had $150,000 in its budget to put toward the purchase. It was decided that a public hearing will be held at a later date in this regard.
Councilman Gary Collins shared with the board focus’ of a recent EMA meeting in which EMA Director Clyde Avery spoke about the county getting together to agree on a comprehensive emergency plan. He said that Avery also spoke about each of seven communities in the county giving money toward his salary. “He’s on the low end of the scale,” Collins said. “His income is about $37,500 and he was looking to see if the towns would give $200 or more ... It’s just food for thought.” No decision was made to offer any funding.
Bourbon Police Chief Bill Martin asked permission of the council to see about becoming involved in the job shadowing program at Triton Jr. Sr. High School next year. He said it was noted that there are “a lot of kids interested in law enforcement careers.” It was decided what liability issues would need to be first discussed with the town attorney and the school but otherwise, it seemed like a good idea.
President Wattenbarger brought up a subject argued over at length through recent years between the town and the police department regarding vacation days. He said he felt that the police officers should have five days vacation as equal to one paid or vacation work-week though the police department works six days on and three days off, recognizing that non-law enforcement town employees work a five day work-week with two days off and that there are only seven days in a week.
Councilmember Collins expressed his objection that town employees other than law enforcement are not required to work weekends and nights, and that officers do, and do so without being paid time-and-a-half. Member Perkins said that while that was true, officers received other perks such as “17 extra days off a year.”
“When this was brought up before, and I did the math, it came out that the officers actually work less days,” he said. “The town employees work 260 days and the police officers (with three days off a “work-week”) only work 243 days a year because they are going by nine days and town employees get seven days in a week.” Berger said officers get time-and-a-half for holiday pay and an extra day off for working any holiday shifts.
Perkins said he agreed that to “make it fair” all town employees should get five days vacation for a week worked regardless of their shift, title, or department and the motion was passed 2-1.
Clerk Berger thanked Perkins for his four years on the board and “the service” he’d “given to the town.” Councilmembers expressed similar sentiments, with Wattenbarger adding, “I’m speaking from the heart here. Being on this board is something a lot of people think is easy. In the course of these last four years we’ve had to do a lot of things that weren’t easy.”
“I want to personally thank you for keeping it all on a pretty even keel,” he said.