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Palmyra opens bids for paving projects

Reich honored for years of service
Palmyra opens bids for paving projects
Palmyra opens bids for paving projects
Jeff Reich speaks while being honored during the Palmyra Town Council meeting Thursday evening. A long-time reserve officer for the town police force, Reich recently stepped down and was honored for his service. Photo by Mike Arnold
Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer

The Palmyra Town Council opened sealed bids for upcoming paving work funded, in part, through a Community Crossings matching grant bestowed upon the town by the Indiana Dept. of Transportation in December, during its regular bi-monthly meeting Thursday evening at the town hall.

For towns with populations below 10,000, such as Palmyra, INDOT requires a local match of 25% of total costs estimated on the grant application. Five bids were announced ranging from $54,540 to $93,288.40.

E&B Paving, based in Anderson, and with a local office in Clarksville, was named preliminary low bidder. The council agreed to take the bids under advisement, for additional review and to ensure each submission was complete. Following that process, announcement of the formal contract award will occur, council president Virginia (Jenny) Kirkham said.

“We’ll let you know at the next meeting,” Kirkham told the audience, which included representatives from several paving firms who submitted proposals for the project and were on hand for the opening.

Clerk-Treasurer Debra Jones addressed the council, as part of her report, regarding a purchase of a chainsaw made on a town credit card. Jones indicated the card was signed out for use but was not signed back in appropriately, leading her to eventually cancel it. A bill is now due on the card with an interest charge, Jones said.

Jones said she was not comfortable paying the bill under the circumstances, without a statement from the council acknowledging it would accept any risk.

Councilwoman Christall Ingle requested documentation on how and when the card was signed out and said she would  follow up with the Indiana State Board of Accounts for additional guidance.

Town attorney Adam Burkhardt said he would like to further review the statute, but his initial impression was the purchase of a tool to be used by town employees was likely appropriate. Also, he agreed consulting with the state board of accounts was a reasonable move in the situation.

To allow the bill to be paid, Ingle volunteered to cover the outstanding balance and be reimbursed by the town.

Kirkham and councilman Wyman (Lee) Childers agreed, and the measure passed unanimously.

“I just want to make sure we are doing things appropriately,” Ingle said.

The council also addressed the ongoing issue of a now-vacant mobile home it owns at Buffalo Trace Park. The mobile home is in disrepair and of little value.

Council members previously discussed the feasibility of town employees demolishing the structure, a task estimated to take one or two days, depending on weather and other work. Quotes for roll-off dumpsters were presented to the council for review.

The council voted to rent a 30-yard roll-off dumpster from S&M Nix of Depauw for two weeks at a cost of $430 so the town crew could disassemble the structure for removal.

Police Chief Dennis Lemmel, during his report, acknowledged a matter he has been researching related to dogs running at large in town limits and issues associated with that, including waste on property other than the dog owners’.

State statute doesn’t address that, Lemmel said but added he believes Harrison County’s recently-updated animal control ordinance does. As such, Lemmel said he was expecting Harrison County Animal Control (which recently visited Palmyra) to assist with resolving the complaints in question.

Lemmel mentioned at the Feb. 25 meeting the department’s Crown Victoria was suspected of having an exhaust leak, which he was evaluating. Due to the severity of the leak, Lemmel said he eventually pulled the car from service and sent it for repair.

“Hopefully, in a day or two, we’ll know a little more on that car,” he added.

Also during the meeting, the council honored reserve police officer Jeff Reich, who joined the force in 1993 and stepped down in 2020, for his many years of service.

Lemmel praised Reich for his work and dedication and presented him with a retired badge.

“I learned a lot from this man,” Lemmel said.

Reich also received a large, wooden flag commemorating his tenure, as a gift from the town’s officers.

During the utility board meeting, which followed the regular council meeting, the board revisited another issue from Feb. 25, which involved a customer with a large bill. The council agreed to terms of a monthly payment arrangement for the customer, which she signed. Beginning in April, she will be responsible to pay $314.41 on top of regular monthly charges, until the outstanding balance is satisfied. The utility board will also sign the agreement, which Burkhardt reviewed.

“It looks clear to me,” said Burkhardt, adding the board may wish to consider enacting a leak abatement policy in the future, which he said it wouldn’t necessarily need to do as part of its rate and fee schedule.

In other business, the town council and utility board:

Discussed the town’s salary ordinance, specifically policy regarding health savings account contributions. Ingle said the employee handbook does not address proration; however, the council may wish to rework some of the language to address the topic. No additional action was taken.

Voted to create purchase orders for two expenditures for hydrant replacement and water meter installs, which lacked the orders.

Moved to purchase a two-horsepower grinder pump, new steel doors for the wastewater pump facility, a three-ton floor jack, several additional fire extinguishers for town buildings and vehicles and gravel for the wastewater plant.

Authorized utility superintendent Steven Schmitt to work with an associate, who is interested in removing scrap at the wastewater plant so the site can be cleared.

Heard from Schmitt that the town’s Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management sanitary survey was scheduled for March 15. Schmitt said all documents have been completed and he believes the town is prepared. “I don’t see any issues coming up,” he said.