Bourbon receives $45k grant from INDOT

BOURBON — Bourbon Clerk-treasurer Kim Berger announced at the November Town Council meeting that the town had recently received a $45,000 grant.
It was the town’s second attempt to gain the funding from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and behind the effort was Berger and Town Council Vice President and local police officer Gary Collins, who hoped to secure the money to build sidewalks.
However, the grant, funded by the 2010 Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) has strict stipulations and can’t initially be used to put sidewalks near the elementary school and along the main route to Triton schools. It can be used to encourage the structuring of plans to do so — as well as for student safety education and paying of crossing guards — which Triton does not have ... yet.
Berger said she hoped the town and the school could work together to get things moving to create a game plan for safety programs and engineering, so if they were again funded next year by the grant, they could get sidewalks built along Thayer Street and other areas to prevent children from walking and riding bikes in the street due to lack of sidewalks.
Bills, ownerships and lawsuits:
• Norma Lemler asked the council to assist her in regard to a unexpectedly high charge on her water bill that she felt was caused by some error. Berger explained to the council that Lemler’s normal usage was around 21 units a month but almost doubled during that one single billing cycle. “When the guys were changing meters they did a final read before installing the new ones and it was a high consumption reading,” Berger told the council, “but if a number was accidentally transposed there was no way of proving that.” After some discussion, and because all her previous and latter bills reflected the 20-unit area usage rather than the 54 units registered that one billing cycle, the council agreed to take an average of her usage and forgive the difference owed. Lemler also brought up an issue from a year before regarding a renter of one of her properties that had gotten a water utility deposit back even though the bill she didn’t pay was later charged to Lemler. Berger explained that because there had originally been a couple living there that later split up, it was difficult to determine who owed what part of the later outstanding bill and that the female’s name was on the account. Since she had requested service at another address in her name after the split and nothing was owed from the previous address at the time, as per town code, the latter bill was the responsibility of the property owner to pay if the tenant did not.
• A property on 202 W. Jackson was once again a topic of controversial discussion. Owned by Brian and Melissa Hill it changed hands within a matter of months to Bridget Baldwin, then Mike Koontz and last month Koontz had asked that the council waive a more than $488 outstanding water bill owed from the time the Hills owned it. The council agreed that the Hills should be pursued for the amount.
The home’s issues went even deeper than that because months prior, when Baldwin owned it, she had given permission to the Bourbon Fire Department to burn it for a training exercise.
The council had been split, two members allowing permission for the burn and the other agreeing with the town clerk that the town ordinance of not burning in town should be practiced. Liabilities were mentioned and documents of ownership were questioned. At that point fire department officials were warned that what little burning they had already done to the property was done so without official town approval, though it had been approved by two members, and controversy ensued. Now, since being pursued for the outstanding bill, Berger explained that the Hills responded by telling her that if the town pushes them paying the bill, they will seek legal action against the town for burning the structure while they still had ownership.
The council, on this subject of the house united, stood behind continuing holding the Hills accountable for the unpaid water bill.
Police issues:
• Bourbon Police Chief Bill Martin looked into an earlier complaint from a townsperson regarding no assistance from police due to a shift change at the time of a call for assistance. He said that a review of a recording of the call showed that county dispatchers (who regularly cover calls for the department when all local officers are on a call or there is a shift change) explained that the caller had said that by the time officers get there, the person vandalizing her business would no longer be there, and when asked if she wanted a county officer sent out, declined. Martin explained that the officers on duty were busy at the time of the call, involved in containing a domestic dispute. Martin said that the local force however, is now making regular, extra patrols of the area.
• Chief Martin also asked about hiring another officer to replace the schedules worked by part-time officers who work in place of regular officers, after the retirement of John West from the force left them one man short. He explained the process of obtaining a new officer would take anywhere from three to six months. Chief Martin also noted that he would like to donate the old video monitoring of the old police car to the local fire department and that the new car was now patrolling the streets. No decision was made regarding hiring a new employee full time.
Other items addressed during the meeting included:
• Town street and water department employees have been facing major several leaks last week that repairing could require them to work on Veterans Day, a designated paid holiday off for town employees. Water superintendent Mike Shoda asked whether the town would be paying employees straight time, time-and-a-half or would reimburse crew members a paid day. The council chose to allow them the following Monday off with pay instead so repairs could be made.
• Dale McCollough requested lines be painted on Lincoln Highway from Beechwood to Elm to assist in safer driving. Town representatives agreed to look into having it lined (by the town or county) before winter hit.
• Roger Terry, street department supervisor, said the town would stop picking up leaves for the year as of Nov. 30.