CLAYPOOL – Due to the need for a full-time utility and street department worker, the Claypool Town Council voted at its Tuesday meeting to add ordinance eliminating the position of deputy marshal.
“I think that, over the last few months, we have seen that it has become truly necessary to bring on a full-time person for our utility and street department,” said Council President Niki Miller. Due to budgetary restraints, the town is currently unable to afford paying both the deputy marshal position and the utility position. The utility position can be paid from the water and wastewater budget, while the deputy marshal must be paid from the general fund
This proposition met with pushback from the community.
“When I first moved here 12 years ago, kids were knocking down our fences as soon as we put them up,” said Claypool resident Roz Morgan, director of Our Father’s House. “They shot BB guns at our dogs. Today, we feel safe because we know that the marshal and deputy marshal and reserve officers are out there. These guys are incredible. If it would help, I’d give $1,000 to keep (the deputy marshal).
In response, Town Marshal Ben Sanders proposed that the town up the number of reserve officers from four to six to counteract the loss of Deputy Marshall Randy Bays’ position. During the month of August, reserve officers were only able to put in 58 hours, which is down nearly 100 hours from typical months. By adding two additional officers, Sanders feels that they should be able to maintain a similar level of coverage as before.
The council approved the change.
The council was not opposed to reinstating the position should economic changes occur that allow them to afford to pay a full-time deputy marshal in the future. Sanders asked for permission to seek out grants that might pay a large percentage – upwards of 90 percent, he said – of a deputy marshal’s salary, which the council was in favor of.
In other business, Sanders informed the council that Habitat for Humanity had expressed interest in building two new homes in Claypool and asked that the town transfer two properties to the organization. The properties came into the town’s possession via donation.
According to Sanders, “(Habitat for Humanity) would like to help the residents of Claypool first who are renting or need a bigger house. I think it would be a great gesture from the town to donate the properties to them.”
The council gave permission to begin the process of donating the properties.
Additionally, the council approved the closure of Main Street between Section and Calhoun streets on Oct. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. for “trunk-or-treating,” which was proposed to the council by Ken Archer.
“Community members could come out, set up their cars and pass out candy there rather than being spread throughout town,” said Archer. “Someplace Else Saloon will hand out candy and hotdogs, (Claypool United Methodist Church) is discussing having a costume contest and (Claypool Elementary School) and the Lions Club will hand out popcorn.”
Miller stated that she “loves the idea; it contains the activity to downtown and makes it less likely that kids could get hurt.”
The event itself will run from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Flyers will be sent out with the water bills this month.
In other agenda news, the council:
•Approved the 2020 town budget
•Reminded attendees that leaf burning was prohibited; leaves are to be bagged and placed on the curb
•Approved a scrap metal pickup day; the date is to be determined.
•Approved Marshal Sanders’ attendance of the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago from Oct. 27-29.
•Opted to inform a homeowner on Church street that they need to move a building back 10 feet from the road, as it is currently obstructing traffic.
•Asked town attorney Travis Neff to draft a letter to a homeowner on Clay/Section street informing them that the town has the right to take down their fence. This fence currently sits on city property and is hindering access to the town utility shed.
•Approved several ordinance changes regarding abandoned vehicles.
•Heard from Sanders about a new computer for the town police vehicle, which was purchased for $980 dollars less than the initial quote received.
•Decide that a homeowner on Walnut Street would be responsible for cleaning up the weeds on his property, and the town would take care of the weeds near the stop sign and on town property.