CULVER — Culver’s Town Council last week joined the Board of Zoning Appeals in honoring 34-year BZA member Pete Trone, who will leave the BZA at the end of this year. Council President Sally Ricciardi presented a plaque to Trone for his years of service to the community not only through his 34 continues years with that board, but as Trone pointed out, his service further back, since his start on Culver’s Plan Commission in 1960.
Trone showed the Council and audience a 1960 booklet printed by the Lake Maxinkuckee Association and containing the first zoning ordinances. He also read the names of those involved at the time, many still familiar for their involvement in well-known and long-lasting local businesses and civic affairs. Trone himself was President.
Thanking the Council, Trone said the town attorney once told him “either I had broad shoulders or was awfully stupid to be on the Plan Commission this long!” He added a humorous quip about the Council doubling his pay, which Ricciardi smilingly said could be arranged (his position, of course, has been as an unpaid volunteer).
The Council approved a request from Culver-Union Township EMS Director Chuck Dilts to pay $2 per hour to EMS volunteers covering portions of other volunteers’ shifts when work or other situations arise, causing those scheduled to delay starting their shifts. Dilts said the scheduled volunteers would still get $26 pay for their 12-hour shift even if they had to begin the shift late, noting he felt the $26 stipend was low enough not to lower it due to delays in starting. He also said the volunteer stipend is less expensive than bringing in one of the department’s paid, part-time staff to cover the hours. He added he felt the $2 per hour would give any volunteers willing to cover those hours a bit of incentive to do so.
Culver’s EMS operates on five shifts per day totaling 35 shifts per week in volunteer hours. A PRN is utilized four to six times per week, Dilts said, with volunteers handling the majority of shifts.
The Council also voted to contract with E&B Paving for $107,845 for Culver’s 2011 street paving projects, as well as a total of $4,000 for grant writer Shannon McLeod of Priority Project Resources to write a grant seeking $40,000 towards a study of Culver’s water systems to discern where improvements are needed, in preparation for a hoped-for project to overhaul those systems in the future.
Council members agreed with member Ed Pinder’s request for more information as to specifics of financial advisory services through Umbaugh and Associates. That firm may handle refinancing of Culver’s sewer bond, which could save the town $16,000 per year for a total of around $60,000 on the bond’s term. Umbaugh’s services, however, would run approximately $20,500. Town Clerk Casey Howard agreed to ask Steve Carter of Umbaugh to attend the Council’s next meeting.
The Council approved purchase of a second leaf collector from Brown Equipment at a cost of $34,000, replacing the existing, 1999 machine, which Town Manager Michael Doss explained has “seen better days.” He said that machine has been breaking down, and explained trade-in value on it was low. Keeping the machine would allow the town to make use of it as a backup, he noted, possibly allowing two leaf collecting crews to run simultaneously.
The Council renewed its annual $10,000 contribution towards the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation, whose Executive Director, Jennifer Laurent, attended the meeting along with Corporation representative for Culver Kevin Berger. Town Attorney Jim Clevenger emphasized the Council should utilize Laurent’s skills in developing economic opportunities for Culver. Laurent noted she’s available to help, and hopes to work with Doss in the near future towards that end.
“I want to be part of what you’ve got going on here in Culver,” she added.
Council member Lynn Overmyer complimented the look of Culver’s downtown, particularly in the degree to which it’s been plowed following recent snowfall.