Lanesville swears in deputy clerk-treasurer
Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer
Amanda Ballew was sworn in as Lanesville’s deputy clerk-treasurer March 9 at the town council’s regular monthly meeting at the town hall.
Ballew began her new role in mid-February, and her oath was administered by clerk-treasurer Betsy Blocker. Ballew will serve primarily as utility clerk and also act as Blocker’s back-up, amongst other duties. Ballew was previously employed at a tax firm in Louisville and is scheduled to work 36 hours per week for the town.
She said after the meeting that she was still picking up and learning her new job, which includes “a little bit of everything.”
In another matter, town utility supervisor Matthew Beckman said he will attend a water audit course in 2020, as Indiana mandated communities participate in water audits. Beckman said he is researching which firms might be able to perform the review.
“I’m still working out and figuring out who is validating,” he added.
Beckman also mentioned a camera was installed at the town’s plant so it can be monitored for overflow. A high flow was recorded Feb. 16 due to an alternator switch issue that was repaired.
The plant operated near capacity for a time in February due to excessive rainfall, but it did not impact monthly results.
“All of our testing is within parameters of our permit.” Beckman said.
Beckman also said the town received its new truck and is equipping it to best meet its needs.
“We’re still getting it the way we want it,” he said. “It’s going to be put to good use.”
Blocker, as part of her clerk-treasurer’s report, said an entry meeting was conducted with state auditors and they were to convene again March 12 to establish an exit meeting date. Blocker also called attention to House Bill 1165, under review by the Indiana Legislature. She said the bill, which would prohibit a municipally-owned utility administering other than sewer service, from requiring a rental property owner to ensure credit-worthiness of a tenant or accepting responsibility for charges incurred by the tenant), could present an impact on the town.
“If that does pass, it will affect us,” she said.
In another section of her report, Blocker recommended the town look into obtaining a new fireproof file cabinet. A smaller version, with a price tag of about $2,000 would be suitable, she said, as larger models can cost up to $6,000.
She also suggested beginning research on purchase of new computers, which may be necessary in the near future. Blocker cited recent issues with the town’s current computers.
The board also discussed costs for computers could be covered through the town’s special projects fund.
“We will have to do it sooner or later,” Blocker said concerning computer upgrades.
Council president Herb Schneider said he met with Commonwealth Engineering to discuss the Pennington Street extension project. He also shared a drawing displaying property acquisition.
“There’s a lot that has to be done there,” Schneider said.
Schneider also mentioned it is possible the town could apply for a future Community Crossings Grant from the Indiana Dept. of Transportation which, if awarded, would assist with funding the work.
“It’s going to be a win-win,” Schneider said of the project’s benefit for the town and nearby property owners.
In other business, the council:
• Heard Beckman report water loss was 23% for January and 13% for February. He also explained Gehring Underground paid the town for repairs on Lynnview Avenue, which was part of an ongoing situation involving a damaged line. Beckman also said he is looking into installing a phone line at the town’s plant, which would be used for call out in event of an issue.
• Welcomed new wastewater employee Terry Schmelz.
• Received the utility report for February delivered by Ballew. She said 453 bills were sent in February. Two new customer accounts were opened, and one account closed. Fifty delinquent disconnect notices were sent, along with 12 shut-off notices; however, all of those were paid and stand current.
• Approved a mobile phone policy for employees.
• Passed an amendment to the 2020 salary and wage ordinance to correct account numbers.
• Discussed recommendations regarding the employee handbook. (An executive session took place at 5 p.m. on March 12 to further review.)
• Discussed making audit expenses an annual item in the town’s budget, starting with 2021, per Schneider’s suggestion. “If we put it in there every year, at least it’s there,” he added.
The next Lanesville Town Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at the town hall.