FILLMORE -- Fillmore Town Marshal Darrel Bunten received kudos from audience members at a recent town council meeting
During the public comment section of the meeting one resident told the council, "The new police force is doing one hell of a fine job."
Several other residents as well as council members agreed
In May, Bunten was hired as town marshal, replacing Tom Helmer. Chris Helmer was named deputy marshal and Cenon Heim continues as a reserve deputy
Bunten reported to the council that his department worked 136 hours last month and covered 895 miles. They had 10 complaints, 24 vehicle stops and one arrest of someone with a stolen vehicle. Bunten also warned residents about a rash of burglaries that have taken place to the north and east of Fillmore
"If you have anything of value, lock it up. If it has a serial number, write it down. The police can't do much to help you if you don't have the serial numbers," said Bunten
The council members also discussed an ordinance tabled at the last meeting that would restrict the height of outdoor smoke stacks and require a triple wall around them to help prevent the build-up of creosote, making them a possible fire hazard.
"Stilesville has a real problem with them right now and Greencastle outlawed them in town. I think we need to do something before it becomes a problem," said council member Wes Terhune.
He went on to talk about problems in Stilesville and Greencastle with the smoke.
"I'm just trying to keep this from being a problem later on," he said. "I looked into the cost of building materials only for a chimney and you can do it for about $700 with material from Cash Concrete. That doesn't include labor."
Council President Jeff Osborn determined more information was still needed before the group could make a decision.
At last month's meeting, a decision on replacing the water meters in town was tabled by the council. At that meeting, Water Utilities Manager Kevin McCammack talked about a problem with water meters failing and the need to begin a plan to replace them that will satisfy the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).
Most meters are more than 12 years old and should have been replaced over the last several years
"We're going to have to change meters. IDEM says we should have already turned them over," McCammack told the council last month. He was unable to be at this month's meeting
"We need to have a plan and start replacing five or 10 meters a month," said Terhune.
Council members agreed it is a dilemma for the town. They have to at least show they have a plan to replace the meters. No decision was reached.
Osborn told the group that the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns approved the 2009 budget for $61,626. The town had advertised the budget for $99,600
"We're going to have to be careful how we conduct our services and stay within the limits we have," said Osborn
He pointed out that funding for the fire department went from $6,000 to zero, a reduction made by IACT. He added that money the town receives from riverboat gambling would be moved into the general fund to make up the difference for the fire department
"This is more complicated than we thought it was when we thought we had begun to understand it," said Osborn. "We're going to have to make adjustments.
The council voted to hold next month's meeting on Oct. 15 because Osborn would be out of town during the regularly scheduled meeting. It will be at town hall at 7 p.m.