By Lois Mittino Gray
The Mount Vernon Board of Public Works met the new Animal Control Officer for the city at their January 9 meeting and he is eager to begin work and training for the job.
Police Chief Grant Beloat introduced Colton Givens, the new Animal Control Officer for the department. He requested permission to send him to two training sessions. Level 2 training is in Nashville, Tenn., on February 17 – 21 and deals with cruelty to animals and other common control issues. Level 3 is in Kansas City, Mo., on April 21 – 25 and teaches the tranquilizing of animals. Denny Shaffer, County Health Department, has agreed to pay the tuition for both Level 2-$525 and Level 3-$575. The county has agreed to do this as the ACO is sent out in the county to dart as needed. The board approved permission to use a city vehicle for travel and the city charge card for hotel, gas, and meals.
Mayor John Tucker said that when he joined the police department back in 1972, there was a dog catcher, period. Times have changed and now he is an ‘officer’ with more duties and responsibility to the public, the humane society and the media. Givens will also be going to schools to talk to students about how to properly care for their pets. Board member Brian Jeffries asked if Givens would be willing to cross-train the other officers and he replied yes.
Beloat continued his report by stating “we are now almost up to full staff, it’s been a while since I’ve said that.” Officer Pope has completed field training and is now out on her own. Officer Dockery will be the same within a month or so after completing her training. Korben Sellers will be starting his training at the academy in Evansville on February 3 which will fill the last vacancy. Beloat also named three new reserve officers: Rusty Jordan, Brandon Brauser, and Colton Givens.
In other board action:
• Sewer Superintendent Rodney Givens requested to attend a pumper expo in Indianapolis on February 24-27. He went ten years ago and said it is a good conference for streets, sewers, and septic tanks and would enable him to get CEU’s too. Asst. Street Commissioner Miller and Supt. Moss would like to go and the cost is $50 each if they register before Jan. 24. Permission was granted for all three to attend. In addition, the trio could bring the Vac Con truck in for repairs to be done in Indianapolis while they attend and Street Commissioner Max Dieterle said Miller may be able to bring back their new packer truck as well.
• Supt. Givens then stated he has talked with Kieffer Brothers and Mike Gangstad of the engineering firm BLA about issues with the sewer project. He is ‘fed up’ and thinks everyone needs to get together in one room and resolve this issue as it is ‘beyond talking.’
Board member Bill Curtis agreed. Givens said there is a year warranty, but problems persist including control panel box issues. Board member Jeffries suggested to have a list of all the issues before the meeting as a ‘paper trail is so essential.’
• The board tabled action on the bids for the demolition of 207 – 213 Main Street for one month. The board accepted the lowest responsible bid on 2014 supplies for city use.
• The Mount Vernon Democrat was designated the newspaper for BPW publications as the office is within the city limits.
• Willie Clark, a resident of 825 Magnolia, addressed the board about his recurring raw sewage backup issues into his basement. He has been dealing with this since 1999 and this is the fourth episode. Back in 2003, Hydromax came down and did a lot of work and replaced his sewer lines. Each incident was covered by city insurance. The current backup occurred on December 28, 2013. Supt. Moss came out and the line was sucked out again and the camera was used. On Jan. 29, Supt. Moss brought the camera out. The problem is a lot of roots in the lines.
Mr. Clark stated he contacted the insurance company and an adjustor is coming out tomorrow, but the city has got to do something to fix this permanently. Supt. Givens stated roots are hard to get out but a solution can be put in the line to eat at the roots. He will also contact Layne Inliner to see about re-lining the sewers, but it wont be fixed over night. Supt. Givens also feels that check valves are a good idea. He would like to put a manhole in the middle of that street so they have better access and are working on the problem.
• Board member Curtis would like to talk about speed control in the Water and Main Street area, a pedestrian crossing, speed limits, etc. He thinks they need to be looking at this now as there will be boats in and out of there in spring weather. The turn is tight now and Comm. Dieterle agreed to look at it from the street perspective, and Chief Beloat from a speed perspective.
By Lois Mittino Gray