Bourbon patrolman’s resignation prompts Town Council discussion

BOURBON — Personnel matters were on the agenda last Tuesday night as the Bourbon Town Council met in regular session.
The Council accepted the resignation of police patrolman Ben McIntyre, who is moving to the Plymouth Police Department. Discussion ensued about his replacement and whether to hire a full-time officer or retain a four-person force and supplement with part-time officers. The issues involve budgeting for benefits on the one hand and scheduling complications on the other. The matter was tabled to be taken under advisement.
In other police personnel business, seven applications have been received for the reserve police force — a new program in the department. Home visits, background checks and interviews have been conducted in all but one instance. Five of the applicants were approved pending their completion of a 40-hour reserve officer training program instituted by the department. One applicant was asked to reapply in one year, and the last candidate was in the hospital and could not complete the interview process.
In an unrelated matter, Police Chief Bill Martin requested permission to investigate and order new .45 caliber handguns for the department. They would be paid with funds in his budget set aside for the purpose. He also requested that officers be allowed to purchase their current weapons if they wish. Both requests were approved.
In other action:
Mike Shoda, water department superintendent, reported that a phone dialer and alarms have been installed at the south lift station to improve reporting. He also requested permission to have the department’s trench box cut in to two boxes. The trench box is required by OSHA regulations for the safety of employees digging trenches.
Bids have been received as follows: Fast Times — $4,000; Klingerman — $4,250; and Faulkner — $6,000. The bid was awarded to Klingerman.
• A report submitted by Roger Terry, street department superintendent, indicated that the department will submit press releases to pertinent newspapers reminding Bourbon residents of the town rules on handling yard waste. Terry is also requesting the major purchase of a new leaf machine, since the current unit is 20 years old. The cost of the new unit will be $17,000 to $25,000, of which he has $10,000 set aside in his budget. He will be exploring possible grants to help with the cost. The matter was tabled until a later meeting.
• In an ongoing matter, the alley behind Harmony Press buildings is in need of repair. Harmony Press has offered to pay $2,000 of the costs. Bids have been received for asphalting the alley for $7,490, $11,900, and $9,040. The remaining cost beyond the $2,000 would have to come from the street department budget. The matter was tabled until the next meeting.
• Two town residents appeared before the Council with action requests. Brian Kitch requested a renewal of the tax abatement granted to Bates Corporation for its real estate. The request was granted. Steve Neidig requested a building permit to raze an old barn on his property. The request was granted.
• Code Enforcement Officer Bill Keyser reported on the abandoned building at 208 N. Main St. (the old Bourbon News Mirror building). The owners have 30 days to begin dealing with the property, which expires next week. It was decided that Keyser will write a letter to the owners.
He also reported on the annual business/industry lunch scheduled for May 16 at the Matchett Center. Town and area business representatives are invited to hear a presentation by the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation and brainstorm ways to enhance the business environment of Bourbon. He also announced that in the future, building permits for the entire county will be handled online rather than in each township.
• Also, for the first time, Bourbon has combined with other municipalities to order winter salt through the state at a reduced rate. The salt will also be kinder to the sewage system, since it will contain no sand mixture.
Clerk-Treasurer Kim Berger introduced several items of business. Shells, Inc., which had contracted with the town to help pay for repair of storm drains near its factory, has not made contracted payments. Town Attorney Mark Wagner will write them a letter.
A patron has requested that the town erect a sign stating hours of operation of Westwood Park, since activity has been noticed late at night in the woods near the park. The woods are not town property, and the town has no jurisdiction over them.
Real Services has requested that the town tune the piano in the Matchett Senior Center, since it is frequently used to entertain clients. This request was approved.