By Pam Robinson
At the outset of the Thursday, Jan. 17, meeting of the New Harmony Town Council, Mount Vernon Attorney Adam Farrar took the seat typically reserved for Attorney Nathan Maudlin. Shortly after his re-election as Town President, David Campbell announced that Maudlin had retired as legal counsel for the Town of New Harmony. In due order, council agreed by vote to secure the legal services of Farrar at a rate of $165 per hour. Council member Karen Walker was absent from the meeting.
Council called upon Farrar to do legal research not long after his appointment when New Harmony resident Jennifer Blaylock addressed council concerning the New Harmony Parks Board. Although she said she appreciated their work, Blaylock took issue with the authority of the New Harmony Parks Board to act independently of the New Harmony Town Council, the governing body that appoints parks board members. She indicated that state law allowed the parks board limited authority and placed control with town council. She called for council to “regroup” and vote regarding the matter at its next meeting.
Readers will recall that at the December 6, 2012, meeting of the parks board, outgoing president Jeanne Maudlin, the wife of Attorney Nathan Maudlin, read a signed statement declaring the parks board could act independently and authorize the completion of the Colonel Richard Owen Veterans Memorial Trail in New Harmony.
At the November 15, 2012, meeting of the New Harmony Town Council referenced in Maudlin’s statement, council members voted 4-1 to terminate this trail project and return the grant money and the contribution of matching grant money to complete the trail. Town President David Campbell cast the lone vote to go forward with the trail.
In other business:
•The four council members present voted to allow $2,168.87 in account write-offs. Immediately afterward, council voted that utilities for rental properties will be placed in the names of property owners. Council member Don Gibbs cast the sole “nay” vote.
•Campbell announced that John Dailey of Elberfeld has been hired as the new wastewater superintendent and will start work on February 4.
• Campbell announced annual committee appointments: Laura Arneberg was named to the parks board while Jim Norton and David Flanders were named to the Plan Commission.
•Council agreed by consensus for department heads to remain the same as in 2012: David Campbell, gas and cemetery; Don Gibbs, streets and solid waste; Linda Warrum, water and parks/trees; Karen Walker, sewer; and Joe Straw, police, fire and trails.
•Council voted to keep the same meeting schedule: the third Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. in Town Hall.
•Council approved the Keystone maintenance agreement for three programs and backup at a cost of $5,310. Keystone charged $5,080 for its services in 2012.
•Connie Weinzapfel presented documents from the New Harmony Bicentennial Commission and asked council to review the documents and vote on the plan for bicentennial activities and projects at its next meeting. After the meeting, Weinzapfel stated the documents would be released to media once council approved them.
•Council expressed thanks to Boy Scout Troop 386 in New Harmony for their hard work to help clean up Maple Hill Cemetery. Two Scouts, Tristan Bolte and Cade Latshaw, came forward to say members of their troop had attended the meeting to prepare a report afterward and fulfill the requirements to earn a merit badge.
•New Harmony business owner David Flanders announced the election of new officers for the New Harmony Business Associates: David Flanders, president; Jim Spann, vice president; Melissa Williams, secretary; and Chris Laughbaum, treasurer.
The New Harmony Town Council will meet again in regular session Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, at 5 p.m. in New Harmony Town Hall.
By Pam Robinson
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