By Pam Robinson
Already this year, two prominent New Harmony government leaders have stepped down from their offices. Last month during the regular town council meeting, President David Campbell announced the absent Nathan Maudlin had retired as town attorney. This month during the regular town council meeting, Campbell was absent in person and in the roll call of council members.
The agenda held a place for election of officers, namely a council member to fill the vacated president’s office. Presiding as president, council member Joe Straw first asked Clerk-Treasurer Karla Atkins to read Campbell’s letter of resignation dated February 19, 2013: “Effective this day, I resign from New Harmony Town Council.” Adding his signature, David R. Campbell thus left office.
Straw said Atkins had sent a letter to the Chairman of the Republican Party. “David filed under the Republican candidate in 2011,” Straw stated, “and he’s serving his third term, the fourth year. He was into it a year here.” He then commended Campbell for his service to New Harmony.
“I’d just like to say at this time, it’s been a pleasure working with David,” Straw said. “And I’d like to thank him for all the accomplishments that he made possible here for the Town of New Harmony.” Members of the audience punctuated Straw’s statement with applause.
In due order, Straw then asked for the election of a new president. “I’ll make the motion that you take that chair,” council member Don Gibbs stated. With no further nominations, the floor was closed, and council member Karen Walker seconded Gibbs’ motion. When the vote was called, council member Linda Warrum added her voice to the unanimous acclamation of Joe Straw as New Harmony Town President.
In other business:
• New Harmony resident Jennifer Blaylock questioned whether town council had promised to maintain the trail featured in a 2007 grant application, which was denied, or to maintain the trail in the modified 2008 grant application, which was approved. She then said she had spoken with a representative of the Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, and had learned the 2008 application provided the basis for the contract between the DNR and the Parks Board. She stated that the DNR didn’t care who maintained the trail as long as it was maintained. She said if the Town of New Harmony didn’t agree to maintain the trail under the 2008 application, then the Parks Board must finance the maintenance of the trail on its own. She asked if new Town Attorney Adam Farrar would look into the matter, so town council might then make a decision regarding the trail in question. Town President Joe Straw then asked council member Linda Warrum to share her research and answer Blaylock’s concern. “In April 17, 2008, at that meeting, Ray [McConnell] was here and asked council to approve to apply for a grant, of Phase 2,” Warrum said. “He also stated that the town must approve submission of the application and agree to maintain the trail. And we did that. . . .It is public record.”
• Council approved the following ordinances: ordinance 2013-1 setting the town attorney’s salary at $165 per hour; ordinance 2013-2 stating that utilities remain in the property owner’s name; and ordinance 2013-3 calling for water conservation, particularly in time of drought.
• With everything in order, the carriage application of the Apple Blossom Carriage Co. was approved by council.
• Clerk-Treasurer Karla Atkins distributed copies of the Bicentennial Plan dropped off by Connie Weinzapfel. Council was encouraged to contact Weinzapfel with any questions.
• Posey County Commissioner Jerry Walden was recognized in the audience. Walden said he’d been sitting in on meetings throughout the county “to come up to speed on what’s going on.” During the course of his brief conversation with council, Walden said he couldn’t make false promises, but if he could help in restoring a bridge to New Harmony, he would. Walden also mentioned money possibly coming into the county for economic development, including roads and bridges.
• Council voted to void outstanding checks two years old as of Dec. 31, 2012, as directed by the State Board of Accounts. On the list was one check dated Nov. 19, 2010, in the amount of $51.
• Council welcomed new wastewater superintendent John Dailey to the meeting. Dailey said everything is in compliance and will be kept that way. He stated further that in-house testing had started.
• Council member Linda Warrum reported that the water department is cleaning the well, and the pump has arrived. Once the pump is installed, lines will be flushed to help with water discoloration now noticeable in New Harmony.
• Council member Don Gibbs announced that all stop signs and street signs must be replaced by federal mandate. Then, street superintendent Bobby Grider explained the town has no deadline for replacement, but must submit a program for replacement by June, 2014. Grider said the town would need to replace approximately 100 signs and poles at a minimum cost of $15,000 to $20,000 plus labor. Council member Don Gibbs encouraged town residents to provide input on sign color where choice is allowed.
• President Joe Straw reported the helicopter ramp had been poured and used at the fire station, and it worked.
• A member of the audience questioned the 5 p.m. time for council meetings since people didn’t get off work early enough to attend the meetings. President Joe Straw answered that the meetings were held at 7 p.m. until last year. He said the same people have come to the meetings over the past 10 years and working people could usually make the meetings if they wanted to come.
• Carroll Marcus, representing New Harmony alumni, asked if the organization could put up blue and white flags as they had traditionally done on Memorial Day weekend. Every council member spoke in consensus for the organization to post flags as has always been done.
• Council announced a special meeting on Friday, March 8, 10 a.m. for the public hearing on the storm water improvement grant.
• By consensus, council agreed the old medical building, up for sale one year already, should be turned over to a realtor, namely Andrew Wilson.
The New Harmony Town Council will meet next on Friday, March 8, 2013, 10 a.m. at Town Hall to hold the public hearing on the storm water improvement grant. Council will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2013, 5 p.m. at Town Hall.
By Pam Robinson
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