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Monday, May 2, 2016

Council sets the stage to move on abandoned buildings

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ROACHDALE -- Out with the old, in with the new.

At least, that is the goal for many of the topics discussed at the Roachdale regular council meeting on Monday.

Old buildings, old police cruisers, old hiring policies, even old water pumps, will soon be replaced.

The council is moving closer to tearing down some of the vacant, abandoned buildings in town that have become, more than just an eyesore, a hazard.

Town attorney Dave Peebles recommended the board amend part of the Roachdale building regulation codes.

The amendment takes some authority away from the board and transfers it to the town superintendent.

Peebles said this will help protect the town from possible legal action if a home owner objects to the town tearing down his or her vacant, abandoned and dangerous property.

The change puts the town superintendent, currently Greg Poole, in charge inspecting buildings, declaring them unsafe and enforcing the unsafe building law.

The town council will now serve as the hearing authority, essentially an appeals board that the owner can use to plead his case for keeping the property as-is, or to delay the process.

Peebles stressed the importance of changing the code so the council can start to move on the abandoned building problems.

The new process will take longer, but he said it should be worth it.

"We probably need to get this set up," Peebles said. "As the lawyer representing the town on this, I'd like to see (the council) take an extra couple months."

Peebles next introduced a state law that limits nepotism for town employees.

"It doesn't prohibit nepotism," Peebles said. "It just says you have to have buffers."

In a small town it would be difficult to hire no more than one person from a family to work for the town.

The law only affects new hires after July 1, so anyone presently employed will be grandfathered in without an issue, Peebles said.

As it is a state law, the town had few options and passed it by unanimous vote.

That didn't stop Peeples and council member Barbara Scott from joking about the state's heavy-handed control on the issue.

"If you don't pass it," Peebles said, "you're not going to get a budget. Ever."

Council members then turned to Marshal Mike Mahoy, who discussed a new Ford Explorer police cruiser he hoped to have purchased.

The town agreed to trade in his old car, a 2004 Explorer with 152,000 miles, for a new 2013 model.

After the trade-in with Andy Mohr Ford, and after upgrading the new cruiser to police specifications, the total cost of the purchase will be about $29,000.

The town board agreed to the purchase, then considered a policy of buying a new cruiser every five years in the future.

The board then made another significant purchase, agreeing to buy a new water pump, at a cost of about $4,000, instead of repairing an old model, which would have cost $2,700.

A lengthy discussion on the issue preceded the unanimous purchase, the crux of which was a concern for future spending.

Scott and council member Zach Bowers worried that a repaired model, with a new one-year warranty, would break down again and they would end up having to purchase a new pump anyway.

The new pump has a four-year warranty.

Notes:

- The council agreed to a proposal from Wabash Valley Asphalt to repave portions of Rush Street that are in need of repair.

- The town's water tower will undergo a cleaning, beginning Monday, June 18.

- The council agreed to let the vendors for Summer Fest use the town's electricity for the event.

- A public hearing will be held on Monday, June 18 at 6 p.m. in the town building to address increases in the natural gas rates.

- The next regular meeting will be held Tuesday, July 10 at 6 p.m. and the Roachdale council will hear, among other things, updates on moving a hidden stop sign and possible improvements to the basketball courts.



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