Census’ Culver numbers could hurt, says Council

Recently-released census figures have come in indicating Culver’s population is down by about 200 persons, a matter which will impact the town of Culver’s funding in coming years.
This was part of the discussion at last week’s regular meeting of the Culver Town Council, during which Town Clerk Casey Howard ran some of the numbers.
The year 2000 census indicated Culver had a population of 1,539, said Howard, while the 2010 poll shows 1,353. Council member Ed Pinder asked Howard if she had any theories as to the change.
“Many people said they never got the questionnaire,” replied Howard. “No one came to door.”
Pinder, who said he also was never contacted by mail or visit, and made a trip downtown on his own to register, agreed. “I think they missed some,” he added.
Council member Ralph Winters noted Culver’s population grew between the 1990 and 2000 census, adding part of the current change may be the number of local homes being purchased by part-time residents whose regular home is out of town or even out of state. He said in years past, the town has requested a re-count (and had to pay for the count from its own coffers), which indeed increased the numbers.
Either way, Howard pointed out that “even only 200 people will hurt us. That’s obviously true with property taxs, but there’s MBH (Motor Vehicle Highway funding), Local Road and Street (funding), the Riverboat fund...it’s (a change of) over 10 percent of our population.”
(See accompanying article for more information on local and county census figures).
In other Council actions, Culver Boys & Girls Club board chairman Alan Loehr accepted a check for $5,000 from the town towards the club, whose annual membership he said is over 350 elementary aged students in the Culver school district, nearly 100 if whom attend the club daily.
Howard praised the impact of the club on her own children, whom she said have attended “from first grade on.
“It’s been a wonderful option for a working parent,” she said. “They get afternoon snack, playtime, homework help...my family has truly benefited from it.”
Audience member Bill Cleavenger, representing Culver’s Plan Commission, informed the Council the Plan Commission held a public hearing and voted to recommend an amendment to the current zoning ordinance as it pertains to the R1 designation in Culver. He explained the existing ordinance lacked a provision for professional corporations or businesses operating in the Residential R1 area, citing specifically the CPA firm operated by the Greason family on West Jefferson Street, at a location which isn’t their residence. Cleavenger asked the Council to consider a public hearing on the matter at their next meeting; Howard said that likely would take place at the March 29 meeting, due to advertising time contraints.
The Council approved revised sidewalk specifications in Culver, at the request of Town Manager Michael Doss, including removal of rebar as a necessity in new curb and guttering, and a change from requiring an aggregate mix to a crushed limestone base, which Doss said is more solid and “tree friendly.”
Council members will consider a request from Police Chief Wayne Bean that his department be allowed to purchase a truck, at a cost of $228,522, in part to aid in officers’ mobility during bad winter weather as has been experienced lately. Bean said the truck wouldn’t be put into the town’s regular vehicle rotation and so would last several years, and no tax dollars would be spent for it (instead it could be purchased using LECE funds). The Council will revisit the matter at its next meeting.
Approved by Council was $2,127 for a technical service agreement for Culver EMS’ defibulators, at the request of EMS Director Chuck Dilts, and $1,140 in annual cost for remote data backups via Stallings Consulting.
Town attorney Jim Clevenger will send a final notice letter pending deduction of pay from a town employee who agreed to pay half the costs of having a tree removed from his property last year. Howard said the town paid the full amount, with Council approval pending payment of the other half from the employee, but payment was never made by the employee. She said the town has called, written letters, and had Cleavenger write a letter threatening deduction from his pay.
Winters updated the Council on a project it had contributed to financially about a year and a half ago, the construction of a Community Resource Center in Plymouth. Thanking the town, he said a contract has been let on the project, which has been several years in the works.
Pinder complimented Culver’s street crews for their work in recent weeks’ snow and ice events. “I look at other towns and other streets, and we just do better,” he said.