Council Disputes Need For New Lease For Town Hall

A discussion of a proposed new lease for town hall from its new owner turned somewhat testy when the Crothersville Town Council met last Tuesday.

Mark Adams, who recently purchased the former Butcher Block Grocery which now is leased as the local town hall, was on hand to seek signatures on a new lease.

Currently, the town pays $600 a month with options to re-new the lease every six months. Adams is seeking a 12-month renewal option and increasing the lease payment to $825 a month.

“We have a lease (for the building). Why do we want to amend our lease if we already have one?” questioned council president Ardell Mitchell noting that the town just re-newed it lease option with the former owners Owen & Linda Sams in early April and is good through October this year.

“But I’m the new owner an you do not have a lease with me,” replied Adams, noting that the building’s other tenant, DJ’s Pizza has agreed to the new lease.

“We have always known that the lease was transferable from one owner to another. It was no secret,” said councilwoman Karen Mains.

“My attorney says you do not have a lease,” said Adams.

“And our attorney advises us that we do,” said Mitchell.

“Are you ready to spend the town’s money to fight this?” Adams asked each council member directly, implying that a lawsuit may be filed.

Each answered that they felt the town had a lease and would fight a court battle if needed.

“I feel as if I am being called out (challenged) by your tone,” Mitchell said to Adams.

No action was taken on the matter.

The Crothersville First Baptist Church asked the town to permanently close Jackson Street from Howard to Main. The church owns property on both sides of Jackson and children routinely cross the street during Sunday services and other church activities.

“We are asking this for the safety of the children,” said church spokesman Gary Allen. “We had one child almost struck by a vehicle recently.”

Allen was advised that the town has never permanently closed and abandoned a street or alley. “There may be utility rights-of-way which could be impacted by a closure,” said Mitchell. “I am hesitant to act on any closure tonight.”

After some more discussion, it was proposed that a cross walk be painted mid-block and stop signs installed.

The council tabled the matter and encouraged the church to continue discussions with the council to work towards a solution.

While the town was hesitant to close a street for a church, they quickly approved a temporary closing of streets for next month’s Crothersville Lions Club Red, White & Blue Festival. The traditional streets were approved to be closed for the event: Preston Street from Bard to Main and Howard Street from Preston to Jackson. The Red, White & Blue Festival will be held June 11-13.

After considerable previous discussion, the council quickly and unanimously passed an ordinance providing for fines for traffic offenses written by Crothersville Police to be paid at town hall and an ordinance establishing those fines.

It was previously noted that when motorists pay a traffic fine locally, no record of the incident is sent to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, a move which will not impact one’s driver’s license or insurability. Money from fines remains with the town’s general fund.

Local fines will range from $50 to $125, depending on the violation. Both ordinances are published as a Public Notice found on Page 8 of this issue. The ordinance is in effect after May 20.

In another matter, the council approved the hiring of Richard Handlin as a new police officer. The hiring returns the force to its traditional three-man complement. Handlin resides in Greenwood and has experience on two police departments.

There were 43 applicants for the Crothersville opening, Chief of Police Vurlin McIntosh said.