FILLMORE -- Several Fillmore residents voiced objections to allowing the People Pathways to come through the town during Thursday evening's meeting.
"They are coming through. They are coming and there is nothing we can do about that. The best way I see it is to make them help the home owners by putting up a fence," said Council member Wes Terhune.
He also stressed, as did Town Council President Jeff Osborne, that the agreement they were discussing that evening was one saying the town would cooperate with the Pathway development. It was not granting permission to build the trail.
"They already have permission from Art Evans to use the railroad bed," said Osborne.
Resident Kinney Ames told the audience that no one paid attention in the beginning when the People Pathways first started.
"Now, they have the blessing of the state and everybody else. We might as well go ahead and pass this. There is no stopping it now. It's going to go through and you might as well enjoy it," commented Ames.
"It's an invasion of people's privacy. But nobody cares unless you are on the pathway I don't know how much money is being spent. But, it's a lot," he continued.
Joy Marley of People Pathways and Greg Midgely from the National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT) explained that not a lot of money was in the trail.
"It's mostly volunteers and donations. The Area 30 kids who are in the construction class are going to use their equipment to build the path," said Marley.
"I don't want to interfere with any farmers business. We try to be a good neighbor," she said.
Another resident, Tom Cox also objected to the pathway.
"I don't think we need a pathway. There are people who have lost their jobs and can't pay for their electric bills. We don't need a pathway. There is too much going here right now to have a pathway in Fillmore," said Cox.
Marley's response was that one of the purposes of the pathway was to bring business to the area.
Osborn again reminded the audience that they were not discussing allowing the pathway but were talking about an agreement to cooperate with it.
"We're not talking about giving permission. It's an agreement to say we are willing to work with them, It allows us to have input into what they are going to do," he said.
Other residents voiced concerns about safety, property values, a horse trail and not allowing ATVs on the trail.
"We don't need strangers casing our houses. It would only take somebody a few seconds to grab a child out of a yard and be gone," said another resident.
One resident who refused to identify himself addressed the board.
"You people are like a bunch of children. You're supposed to be doing something worthwhile for this town. You have a few people here objecting. Why don't you just go home," he said and then walked out of the meeting.
"We can't stop them but we can barter with them," said Terhune. "We have them put up a fence and a gate on every homeowner's property. We make them help the home owner."
After about 45 minutes of discussion from everyone present, Osborne stopped the comments and said no vote would be taken that night because Council member Alan Jones asked for some changes to the agreement.
Marley and Midgely, who appeared at the December meeting, explained at that time that beyond being a way to connect people to nature, towns, schools, libraries and parks, the trails build and revive livable communities while enhancing tourism and improving business in the areas.
The Fillmore section would be part of a 150-mile, cross-state, multipurpose trail running from Richmond to Terre Haute that includes the People Pathways in Putnam County.
The trails for NRHT are built along or near the former Pennsylvania, Vandalia and electric interurban railway corridors from Terre Haute to Indianapolis to Richmond. These trails are used in many Putnam County areas by ATV and snowmobile riders.
The subject was tabled until next month's meeting.
In other business, the council approved a salary ordinance on the second reading that set salaries for the council, town marshal and deputies, clerk and assistant clerk, sewer inspector and water inspector.
Council member Alan Jones made a motion that the council members not receive monies for their salaries from the water and sewer fund. There was no second on the motion and it died.
Jones signed a waiver not accepting a salary. Terhune and Osborn chose to take the money.
"I spend a lot of time working on things that take away from my own business and feel the compensation is fair," said Osborne.
Sewer Inspector Joe Cash reported that two fire hydrants had been turned off because of leady seals. Cost to repair them is $300 each. The board approved funds for repairs, noting that the hydrants can be turned on in an emergency.
Cash also noted that numerous problems are being found with the sewer system and manholes.
Osborne commented that the town expected to see a loss of about $10,000 when the snow melts and water runs into the sewer system.
The Fillmore Town Council regularly meets on the first Thursday of the month at Town Hall.