BAINBRIDGE -- Town council members Bonnie Osborn and Richard Cope expressed concern over the closing of the 73-year-old Bon Ton Restaurant that was put up for auction recently.
"I'd like to comment on the demise of the Bon Ton. I'm representing several concerned citizens who are concerned and want to do something. We're not sure what we can do, but we wanted to bring it to the Town Council's attention," said Joe Hess.
Hess' father Gene opened the original Bon Ton 73 years ago. It burned down a few years after he left the restaurant business. He built the building that the restaurant operates out of now in 1947.
"I don't want to see it turned into apartments. I'd like to see it kept as a restaurant. That would be better for the community," said Hess.
Cope responded by saying, "I won't approve zoning to turn it into apartments. It is zoned B-3 and that means no multi-family dwellings or single residences. If the new owners want to turn it into apartments, I'll vote against it," he said.
Everyone attending the meeting agreed it would be a shame to not have the restaurant that has been a landmark in the town and were hopeful that any new owners would keep the business.
"The Bon Ton has been a vital part of Bainbridge. We all hate to see it go," said Town Clerk Jason Hartman.
Town Marshal Rodney Fenwick gave an update on the computer system and hook-up to the Emergency Operations Center. Both the laptop used in the patrol car and the computer system in the office are up and running.
Fenwick expects the system to be completed and in use early next year.
The laptop will allow police officers to have access to search warrants, out of state warrants, vehicle warrants and will eventually even write tickets.
Fenwick also presented quotes to the council for equipment for the patrol car for $3,960.45. This would include radio system installment equipment, computer base, mountings, system software, digital ID display, programming and a three-year warranty. These fees will come out of the 2009 budget as they will not be put in until next year.
Some discussion took place about changing the job title of the Town Employee to Community Improvement Officer or even All Purpose Employee. Name suggestions were presented to the town council to consider at Wednesday nights meeting.
Under old business, an ordinance for abandoned vehicles and what should be included in it was discussed. Hartman reported that 32 vehicles with expired or no plates have been counted so far.
Council members discussed what should be included in the ordinance concerning trailers.
"Most people don't plate their boat trailers or campers until they are ready to use them so a lot of the plates are expired," stated Fenwick.
Council members asked the town attorney to look into adding something to the ordinance in time for the first reading at the January meeting.
Hartman reported on a countywide animal control meeting that took place earlier this month. He noted that Sheriff Steve Fenwick told the group he was hiring two employees at the first of the year whose job would be animal control
He also offered to have inmates from the county jail do maintenance and upkeep at the Humane Shelter. They would work on a daily basis and would be supervised by sheriff deputies.
"This would certainly help the Humane Shelter. They would have free labor and that will save some money," said Hartman.
The town council decided to table approving the ordinance they have been working on for a few months until they see what the county decides to do.
"I think we should hold off until March to give them a chance to move forward with a plan. If they don't, we'll go ahead and move forward on our own," said Cope.
Council members also discussed the nuisance properties in town. They have contacted County Planner Kim Hyten who serves as the Building Commissioner for Bainbridge. Working with Hyten is the next step in getting the properties cleaned up.
The Bainbridge Town Council meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.