The Crothersville Town Council approved hiring a new town police officer when they met Tuesday, April 5.
Jerry J.L. McElfresh II was unanimously approved to be the fourth police officer on the police force.
McElfresh has served as a reserve officer with the Brownstown Police Department and currently works court security for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
McElfresh will be paid $12.50 per hour to start with a wage increase when he completes the Indiana State Police Academy.
While McElfresh got the unanimous support of the council, one local resident/businessman took exception with the decision.
“Why do we need another town policeman?” Danny Baker questioned later in the meeting. “Aren’t three enough?”
Council president Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson explained that with three officers, in order to provide adequate coverage the town has to pay overtime. “We can hire a fourth officer, cut back on overtime, still have adequate police coverage and cost the town taxpayers less,” said Robinson.
•In other town matters, the council heard a report from Greg Sekula, Southern Regional Director of Indiana Landmarks, the new owners of the IOOF building being stabilized at the stoplight.
“We are making progress even though we got started in November, two months later than we had hoped,” said Sekula. The delay was a result of the town not getting a commissioners’ certificate deed from the county when it was expected.
There has been some exterior tuckpointing of the masonry, second floor windows have been replaced, structural work inside includes some new floor and ceiling joists, Sekula said.
“We are now doing store front work with a new roof and guttering work to be coming,” he said.
•Victoria Drake of ARa told the council that the town had received a housing rebilitation grant of $155,750 to help improve seven income eligible homes.
“We have six of those homes ready for you to approve tonight,” said Drake. “We hope to be able to go to bid in May.”
The council approved the six homes by a 5-0 vote.
•Crothersville-Vernon Township Fire Department member Charles Densford was on hand to inquire about transferring the town owned fire station to the new Vernon Township Fire District.
“The transfer of the fire station will occur but we don’t want to put the new fire district in a difficult financial spot,” said Robinson. “The new fire district (which has yet to establish its first budget) won’t receive any tax money until June of 2017. If we transfer the building too soon, how will they pay for property insurance and any maintenance that may come up? I don’t know of any insurance company who will wait six months for their money.”
Town attorney Jeff Lorenzo told the council that a deed could be prepared and ready for their signature in a week whenever they give the approval.
The council decided to revisit the transfer of real estate later in the year after the fire district’s finances are more clear.
•The council approved advertising for proposals eight town streets for re-surfacing. Town street superintendent Chris Mains provided a proposed list. They include Park Avenue from Howard to Main, Mill Street from Kovener to Kattman, Short Street, Bard Street from East to the ball field ditch, Oak Street from Jackson to the bus route strip to Bard, Kovener Street from Howard to Main and Kattman Avenue from Howard to Main.
In a final matter of business, the council agreed to make the intersection of South Kovener, Benhan Ave, and the new Industrial Way extension a 3-way stop.