Milltown approves new police radars
By Chris Adams, Contributing Writer
The Milltown Town Council, at its first meeting of the new year on Monday, Jan. 9, approved the purchase of radars for two police vehicles.
Police Chief Jimmie Vincent said the two refurbished radars will cost $4,790 and will replace a pair of units whose certification is set to expire in February.
“If we install them, it saves the town about $184,” he said, adding the town may be able to sell the old units for parts to the vendor.
Vincent said that without radars, the police department would not be able to issue speeding tickets.
Town manager Jay Smith said the council should look at changing the speeding ticket ordinance so that the town keeps a larger percentage of the fine.
“If we’re going to spend five grand on radars to write tickets, we should recoup some of that money,” he said.
Speeding tickets issued by the town currently are processed through the state.
“We used to do them through the town, but they were so out of date and our ordinance didn’t meet standards, so we couldn’t do it anymore,” Councilman Justin Barnes said.
Town attorney David Hutson said the council last year looked at changing the ordinance but found that its options were limited.
Vincent explained that part of the problem is the town’s fine was just $25, which made enforcement difficult, as the town would actually lose money if a motorist challenged a ticket in court.
“It really doesn’t make sense to take somebody to court over $25,” he said.
Hutson said he would look at possible options again if the council wanted.
“I agree with Jay that the money needs to come here,” Councilwoman Jean Melton said.
Vincent added that it’s not a matter of wanting “to hammer people” with tickets, but, like Melton, he believes if tickets are going to be written, the money should stay with the town.
Following a motion by Barnes that was seconded by Melton, the council voted 3-0 to approve the purchase of the two refurbished radar units utilizing the town’s riverboat fund.
The council also voted 3-0 to spend up to $2,225 from the town’s public safety fund to pay for a couple of additional police department expenses.
At Vincent’s request, $425 will be used to have a vehicle re-lettered, while $1,800 will pay for an annual software subscription. He said purchasing an annual subscription rather than paying monthly will save the town $800.
Joined by Crawford County Emergency Management Agency Aaron Bye, Vincent also told the council that the EMA would like to make the Milltown Police Dept. a secondary EMA location.
Not only would it return the portable EMA generator previously kept in Milltown, but it would also make other EMA equipment readily available to the town, Vincent said.
“I think it would be a good partnership to have,” he said. “It’s not going to cost us anything.”
Bye, who lives in Milltown, said that having a secondary EMA location at the police department also would allow him to respond quicker to disasters.
Bye, however, said the previous partnership between the EMA and town, agreed to by his and Vincent’s predecessors, was done verbally and he would like to have a written memorandum of understanding this time.
The council didn’t take a vote but said it was favorable to the partnership.
The meeting also served as the council’s reorganization session for 2023. Following a motion by Barnes, the council voted to keep the same officers for 2023, with Jerry Mackey serving as president and Melton as vice president.
Bill Byrd again will serve as Milltown’s representative to both the Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission and Harrison County Regional Sewer District boards, while Barnes will continue as the town’s representative to the Crawford County EMA board. Barnes abstained from the vote regarding his appointment.
The meeting also served as the first for new Clerk-Treasurer Debbie Brown, who was sworn in by Mackey. Brown will complete the term of Alicia Lutz, who at last month’s meeting announced her intention to resign at the end of December. Lutz was elected to a four-year term in 2019.
In other matters, the council:
•Was informed by Vincent that his department, partnering with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Dept., provided gifts for 176 children while helping 68 families this Christmas.
•Gave Vincent permission to approach the Crawford County Community School Corp. about installing a walking trail at Baylor Park, which the school owns. Vincent said he is confident that he can get gravel for the trail donated.
“We really need to start looking at making the park something kids can use,” he said, adding he also would like to look at installing a volleyball court.
•Voted 3-0 to allow the Milltown Economic Development Committee to access up to $2,500 of funds donated for economic development in order to purchase needed miscellaneous items.
•Was petitioned by resident John Petrysian to vacate a section of South Street that was barricaded by the town in 1997. He said that, as legally required, he has signatures from adjacent landowners and, using a description from a survey he had conducted, drafted an ordinance for the council to consider.
Since Hutson had not had a chance to review the paperwork, the council took the petition under advisement.
The council’s next regular meeting will be Monday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at the town hall.