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Palmyra council analyzing mosquito spraying options

Palmyra council analyzing mosquito spraying options Palmyra council analyzing mosquito spraying options
Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer

Palmyra’s mosquito spraying may be managed by an outside contractor this year, the town council discussed at its regular bi-monthly meeting June 10 at the town hall.

A former town employee was certified to operate the town’s mosquito fogging equipment; however, in his absence, the council is exploring other ways to continue the application process, including hiring an outside vendor.

“We need to find somebody,” town council president Virginia (Jennie) Kirkham said.

Councilwoman Christall Ingle asked what Corydon and other surrounding towns do, but the council was not able to determine Corydon’s strategy. The council asked Clerk-Treasurer Debra Jones to research how Corydon addresses mosquito fogging and to gather estimates from spraying companies. In addition, Jones said she would ask around for recommendations.

In another matter, the council discussed re-opening its community center, shuttered amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Talks between the town and Life-Span Resources Inc. occurred concerning resuming service of meals at the center. However, that practice was not cleared to commence, per LifeSpan, unless extensive sanitation takes place each day.

It was also noted that none of LifeSpan’s other meal sites have re-opened. The council took no further action regarding the community center’s re-opening but did note frozen meals would continue to be available for pick-up there. It will monitor the situation with an eye toward re-opening the center as soon as it is deemed safe.

“I think we should just bring it up at our July meeting and go from there,” Kirkham said.

The council also discussed several possible equipment upgrades, including purchase of a new pressure washer and mower.

Town employee Scott Griffin spoke about problems with the town’s tractor, which is prone to over-heating, and suggested it consider purchasing a new utility tractor that could also be used for mowing.

“It’s something that really needs to be looked at in the future,” Griffin added.

Ingle asked Griffin to obtain quotes for a pressure washer and mower and bring them to the next meeting.

The council also discussed with Griffin and town attorney Adam Burk-hardt its options for selling some unused items to assist with funding a purchase or the possibility of trading in surplus equipment.

Burkhardt said if the town elected to move forward with the sale of any surplus property, there are guidelines in Indiana code and he would assist with conducting the sale in accordance with statute. He added that he believed there could be some issues with trading in equipment but would research and confirm.

Town Marshal Dennis Lemmel reported he applied for a grant from the Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security. The $4,000 grant, if awarded to the town police department, would provide two AEDs and two body cameras.

Lemmel said he believed it would likely be August before details are available about which departments received the grants.

If his department receives the equipment provided through the grant, it would give them five body cameras while the new AEDs would go in cars. Lemmel said he plans to make use of body cameras mandatory. Currently, body cameras stay in cars and officers wear them when they patrol.

Lemmel also announced he is beginning a new full-time job, which will have him working day shift. He will continue his marshal duties at night and on weekends.

When Ingle asked him about the practice of overseeing school bus travel during the day, Lemmel said he was looking into ways to continue providing that service; however, it would depend on schedules of his reserve officers, which could be expanded if they take on additional staff.

“I’m always looking for a few more good reserves,” Lemmel said.

In other business, the council:

Received a recommendation from Burkhardt that the town was making a reasonable decision in moving forward with the water rate increases, following a 15% rate increase it is subject to on the water it purchases from Ramsey Water Co. (The council voted in March to increase its rates 7% this year and 8% next year to offset the Ramsey rate hike.) “I do like the small increments over time,” Ingle said.

Voted to provide a close-out letter for an Indiana Dept. of Transportation Community Crossings grant it received and put toward paving work.

Discussed new Indiana regulations which no longer allow municipalities to hold landlords responsible for utility bills incurred by tenants. One possibility suggested was the town obtain copies of leases. Burkhardt said he thought that was possible as a means of ensuring there is a vested interest in the property. “As long as we’re consistent with what we do,” Ingle said.

Listened to Griffin’s recommendation the town consider hiring a full-time utility employee, as opposed to the part-time position it is currently seeking to fill. Some discussion also occurred regarding succession planning in the town’s utility department. Ingle said they would look at the future budget and assess if they could fund a full-time role. “At the moment, we only have the budget for a part-time position,” Ingle said.