Council Considering Increasing Its Size

If a resident request is carried through, the Crothersville Town Council could be increased from three to five members.

Resident Brenda Holzworth had earlier requested the council consider adding to it representative membership to allow for more input and debate into council action.

While the council will continue to consider the matter at its May meeting, council president Ardell Mitchell isn’t sold on public support for the expansion.

“I am not convinced that the public wants this,” he said during last Tuesday’s town council meeting. “Rather than coffee shop talk, we need to see signatures on paper that residents want this.”

He encouraged supporters of council expansion to develop and circulate a petition seeking signatures supporting increasing the number of seats on the town council.

According to clerk-treasurer Terry Richey, county clerk Amanda Lowery reported that Crothersville voters would have to vote on a public question to expand the council in the general election this November.

To get that question on the November ballot the council must pass a resolution approving the increase from three to five members to the county clerk by Aug. 1 of this year.

The resolution should state whether the members of the council will be elected from residence districts, at large, or a combination of both.

“If a majority of voters voting on the public question, vote yes, then you will have 2 new terms beginning January 1, that will likely only last one year,” wrote Lowery. “The existing members of the town council can select 2 voters who fit the qualifications to serve during 2015, until the next municipal election (IC 36-5-2-4.2(f).”

Increasing the number on the council will result in an additional council election being held in odd numbered years. Portions of the council would be voted on in alternating election cycles. Cost of the additional election is expected to be between $2,000-$3,000 paid for by the town every other year, the Richey said.

Mitchell said the matter would be revisited at the May meeting to gauge public opinion on the expansion.

In other matters, the council approved a separation of duties ordinance that allows the council to appoint the office manager. The ordinance came about after former clerk-treasurer Michele Teipen resigned, Terry Richey was appointed clerk who then named Teipen as her first deputy. Richey wants to name Teipen as office manager, a position historically held by the clerk-treasurer. Richey, who is the treasurer for Crothersville Community Schools, only wants to be the town clerk-treasurer, a part-time position.

The separation ordinance officially makes the office manager appointment the responsibility of the town council. The ordinance was approved 2-1 along party lines with Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson voting against the measure. “I think it will be tough to get a clerk-treasurer candidate to run for a part-time salary,” he said. The clerk-treasurer salary is currently $9,500 per year.

In other business:

•The council is considering street paving this summer. On the council street smoothing radar is Dixon Street from Kattman Ave. to Kovener Street, Bard Street from Seymour Road to Preston St., Marshall Drive from Moore Street to US 31, and Main Street from US 31 to Preston.

The town is to seek proposals for the street work for consideration at their May meeting.

•Council members reported that they have heard no interest from Crothersville area residents for serving on a now defunct parks board.

•The clerk-treasurer reported that she continues to gather information from companies to allow the town to accept credit card and electronic payments.

•The council approved traditional street closings for the Red, White & Blue Festival June 12-14. The First Baptist Church was granted approval to close Jackson Street from Howard to Main Streets from 8-11 a.m. on Sunday, June 15, for a special outdoor service. Rain date would be June 22.