MENTONE – After a car recently ran into a fire hydrant, Mentone Town Utilities Superintendent Josh Shepherd learned the town’s hydrants weren’t covered by the town’s insurance.
Whoever hit the hydrant with the car fled the scene, leaving the car at the hydrant, and the vehicle’s owner later reported the car as stolen, according to Town Marshal Jim Eads.
The cost to repair the hydrant, which was cemented into the ground, is $5,200 and now the town must pay for the damage itself.
Shepherd said he was trying to find out how much the town’s insurance would increase if it included all the town’s hydrants. He has to compile a list and get it to Clerk-Treasurer Barb Ross to turn in.
Jill Gross, councilwoman, asked if the hydrants have ever been covered by insurance. Ross said they have not, but most towns don’t cover them with their insurance.
If the cost goes up only a few hundred dollars, Shepherd said it would be foolish not to include them in the town’s insurance coverage.
In another matter, Shepherd said he met with Jim Emans, town engineer, Monday morning regarding the proposal to establish a fee for stormwater drains. Shepherd said that they will come up with a plan to be presented at the June 2 meeting, even if it’s a fee of $1 per house.
“I don’t think people will complain too much if it’s $1 or $2,” he said.
Shepherd also reported the stucco on the former Richard Surface building on Main Street has to be taken off, and probably will cost about $30,000 just for that. The building used to be a dentist’s office owned by Surface. The town bought the building and plans to demolish it.
“It sounds like we’ll need a tent put up around it to take it off,” he said.
The stucco has asbestos in it so it must be carefully removed before the building can be demolished.
Shepherd said the gas service has been disconnected from the building, and two trees have been taken down.
Bottom line, he said the cost may be $50,000. And while that sounds like a lot, if the building falls down one day the cost will be a lot more as well as more difficult to manage.
“We’ll see what kind of prices we’ll get and how much money people will give,” Shepherd said.
In other business, the council:
• Heard from Eads that the police department was approved for a grant for four bullet-proof vests. However, the website was down Monday so he was unable to check to see how much Mentone was awarded. He said he believed they pay 80/20.
• Heard the town picnic is Aug. 2. Any donations may be made at Lake City Bank. Donors should specify their donations are to the Mentone Chamber of Commerce for the town picnic. For more information, contact Randy Bays, who will have more information as the date approaches, according to Council President Tim Croy.
• Heard from Croy that the Day of Caring is Aug. 13. Applications are available in the clerk’s office, but were due Friday.
• Heard donations are still being taken to repair the World War I-era cannon in the cemetery.
When the Mentone American Legion closed, Croy said those still involved went to American Legion Post 49 in Warsaw. Croy said he talked to Post 49’s auxiliary president, Kelly Strand, and a trustee and the Post may be interested in helping repair the cannon. The Post will discuss it in a meeting today, Croy said.
• Reminded the public that May 28 is big trash pick-up day. No tires or electronic devices will be accepted.