Winona Lake Marshal to Retire in April

(Story By The Times Union)

WINONA LAKE – After nearly 40 years in law enforcement, Winona Lake Town Marshal Paul Schmitt has decided to retire.
Schmitt told the town council Tuesday evening that he will retire effective April 1.
Schmitt was named to his current position in March 2006, following a 29-year career with the Warsaw Police Department. Schmitt said he would remain available to the town to make the transition to a new town marshal as smooth as possible.
Each council member took a moment to thank Schmitt for his service to the town, including Denny Duncan, who said after working with Schmitt for a number of years, “You always did a great job for our community.”
Schmitt thanked the council members and the community for all the support he’s received during his time in Winona. He specifically thanked the community for its outpouring of support for Winona officer John Leeper. Leeper was involved in a fatal accident during which a pedestrian stepped into the roadway in front of his patrol car. A preliminary investigation by the Warsaw Police Department indicated that alcohol, drugs, excessive speed or distracted driving played no role in the accident.
“He’s doing well,” Schmitt said, adding that Leeper and the whole department appreciated the community’s support.
The council approved a $16,483 bid by contractor Calvin Bolt for repairs to the senior center.
Town Coordinator Craig Allebach explained that the senior center has been in need of repairs going back to 2000 and 2001 when the town secured Community Development Block Grant funds to replace beams and flooring. Deterioration continued, however, because of moisture problems.
Following a thorough inspection, several areas of concern were identified in a 40-page report complete with photos. The town sought bids on the project and three contractors expressed interest. Only one contractor – Bolt – entered a bid.
Councilman Peter Christos asked if it was permissible for the council to approve the project even though there was only one bid. Town Attorney Jim Walmer said it was acceptable for the council to either approve the bid, or deny it and rebid the project to seek more bidders.
The bid was approved.
Allebach said he believed the repairs could be competed before the park season begins.
Allebach told the council Advanced Disposal, the town’s current trash collector, has offered to provide 94-gallon wheeled totes at no charge. The totes allow Advanced to operate a truck with one man. Approximately 50 percent of the 1,650 pickup points in town would be eligible for the new totes.
Allebach asked permission to put out quotes for trash removal. If Advanced is the successful bidder, the totes could be put into use immediately. If a new vender is selected, the new vendor’s contract would take effect July 1.
The council approved Allebach’s request to seek quotes.
The council appointed Bill Zimmer to the plan commission. Five appointments were made to the Greenway Art Commission. They are: Al Disbro, Amanda Banks, Joy Lohse, Martha Beeson and Retha Hicks. Previously appointed to the art panel were Terry White and Rick Swaim.
Swaim told the council the art panel will meet tonight to discuss the “Bison-tennial” public art project. A donor has agreed to purchase the fiberglass bison at a cost of $2,000. The bison then will be painted to represent Winona Lake and can be placed in different locations to mark the Indiana bicentennial.
Walmer reported that he is working toward a solution for removing the old playground equipment at the park that is being replaced. Walmer said the park board can sell the equipment if it’s less than a $5,000 transaction, the town could sell it if it’s more than that, or the town could pay to have it removed.
Walmer also reported on easements needed to install a sidewalk in the greenway. He said he is not exactly sure where all the rights-of-way are and legal descriptions may be needed. Cost of the sidewalk is $108,000 and is being funded by K21 Health Foundation.
Street superintendent Tom Miler reported his department has taken possession of its new truck equipped with a plow and salt spreader.
Schmitt reported his department took possession of its new police vehicle.
Both vehicles were parked outside the town hall for the council to inspect.
The council also:
• Heard quotes will be sought for repainting, landscaping and roof repairs for the public works building.
• Heard a quote will be sought for a new roof for the fire station. Allebach suggested the town might save money if the two roof quotes could be combined.
• Heard from a resident who said a wall along Sunday Lane at the hill on 9th Street makes it difficult to see. Miller said he already has secured a 36-inch mirror that will be installed on a pole to alleviate the problem.
• Heard a Cookies and Canvas family art event is scheduled March 12 from 2 to 4:30 p.m., sponsored by the parks department.
• Approved claims of $338,829.