MENTONE – Town Marshal Jim Eads will add one reserve officer to his force instead of the two he hoped the council would approve.
In July, Eads told the council he had four applicants for reserve officer, and three stood out but he was having a hard time selecting one. He asked the council to sit through interviews with the candidates and consider approving two reserve officers. The interviews were July 23.
Monday night, at the regular monthly council meeting, Eads asked the council for their feedback.
Jill Gross, councilwoman, said she wasn’t able to attend the interviews.
Councilwoman Shelley Krueger asked about the cost to the town for each reserve. Eads responded there would be some cost for uniforms specific to each officer, and some equipment cost. The town already has weapons for two more officers. While he wasn’t certain about insurance costs, he estimated it would be about $300 per year.
The insurance costs would come out of the general fund, Clerk-Treasurer Barb Ross reported.
President Tim Croy asked if there would be a fee to send the officers to the reserve academy. Eads said there wouldn’t.
With the two reserve officers Mentone has now, Krueger asked if they are filling hours consistently each month. Eads said they were, but one officer’s regular job is changing and he wasn’t sure how that would affect that officer’s reserve hours. Reserves are limited to 16 hours a month.
While she was OK with adding a third reserve, Krueger said she was not sure about adding a fourth.
Eads said there are 168 hours in a week. He and deputy Terry Engstrand fill 80 of those hours.
“I would say one (reserve officer) at this point,” Krueger said.
“We originally told him one, he hired Ed, but Ed didn’t work out,” Croy stated.
Krueger made a motion to approve one reserve officer, and that motion was unanimously approved.
Eads thanked the council.
In another matter, Ross told the council she had a few sewer and water accounts she wanted to adjust off the books that are a year old or more. They totaled about $1,700.
“These are delinquent?” Krueger asked.
“They have been for a long period of time. Or are no longer here,” Croy answered.
Krueger asked if the town should consider raising the deposit for rental properties. Croy said the council could.
“I do get a lot of owners who do pay,” Ross indicated. “It sometimes takes a while.”
She also said people sometimes move into a property and the town isn’t aware of it. “Communication there is not the best,” Ross said.
The deposit now is $100, and Krueger said that seems low.
“I say if you do it, do it for all. People who live here have already paid,” Croy said.
He estimated it’s been two years since the town last raised the deposit amount. If they pay the deposit and then let the town know when they are leaving, Croy said they could get their deposit back if they’re paid up.
He said raising the deposit was something for the council to think about, and then made a motion for Ross to adjust the books, which was unanimously approved.
In other business:
• Gross told Utilities Superintendent Josh Shepherd the people who repainted the water tower did a great job. It looks nice and she likes the color.
“The guys did a pretty good job,” Shepherd agreed.
• Shepherd thanked Creighton for tearing the fence down at the cemetery and hauling it away.
• Shepherd reported he wanted to pursue trading the skid loader in. He wants one a couple sizes bigger than what the town has now, and will take the money out of three different funds.
The current skid loader has about 1,900 hours on it and it’s a 2008, so Shepherd said he’d like to get rid of it.
With the trade-in, Shepherd said he can get the one he wants for $14,000 from Bobcat of Warsaw.
Gross made a motion for Shepherd to pursue getting a new skid loader, and it was unanimously approved.