Our Commissioner’s month started in Busco. We held the first of our two monthly meetings at the Churubusco Town Hall on October 5th. It is my hope that we will continue to have at least one meeting per year in Churubusco and one in South Whitley. I was very pleased to see a large turnout for the Busco meeting.
Alan Tio, President of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), was present to tell the board about a request for CEDIT incentive funds. There is a desire to start a consortium of businesses at the intersection of State Road 14 and CR 600 E near Micropulse. The businesses would revolve around the orthopedics industry and in fact the area will be called “The Orthovation Center.” It’s nice to see Whitley County become more diversified and not be so dependant on the auto industry. Here in Churubusco we’re blessed as C & A Tool realized a long time ago that the orthopedic industry is a very important market segment.
Chairman Rethlake reported to the Commissioners that tile has been ordered for the interior stairways in the courthouse and that quotes are being received for window repair/replacement. Additionally, he reported that work is started on repairing the dome of the courthouse.
County Attorney Dan Sigler had a shorter than normal report (or so he thought) about possible ordinances involving wind devices. Whitley County is not pursuing companies to install wind generators as our area is not conducive to mass numbers of the generators. However, there seems to be interest by individuals to install “personal” wind devices so it will be necessary to provide some regulation. Mr. Sigler has contacted other counties and will continue to research other ordinances.
Before Mr. Sigler left the meeting, I brought up the subject of barking dogs and the need for an ordinance. In the two weeks prior to the Busco meeting I had received two calls asking me for help as neighbors’ dogs were barking, resulting in sleep disturbance. It seems that the Sheriff’s department has no ability to investigate barking dog complaints as there is no ordinance. There is an ordinance that takes care of dogs running loose, but not for causing a disturbance by barking. A Busco resident was present and asked that such an ordinance include noise caused by peacocks. It seems that a resident north of Busco raises peacocks but fails to keep them on their property. We were told that the DNR had been contacted for help but they too reported that there was no law or ordinance that would cover peacocks. I’m sure most of you are chuckling about noisy peacocks but honestly, if you’ve never heard them, they emit a very loud and shrill noise. That said I will have to stick with a barking dog ordinance for now in an effort to get some relief. Commissioner Chairman Rethlake assigned myself and Mr. Sigler to create an ordinance. We reviewed a similar ordinance from Noble County and agreed that it’s a simple but complete ordinance so I would guess that we will follow that closely. In the meantime, if you have problems with a barking dog, continue to call the sheriff’s department and make a phone report but remember that at this time there is nothing they can do but log your call.
County Sanitarian Scott Wagner reported to the Commissioners that an out of county well driller had not bothered to contact the Whitley County Health Department prior to installing a new well. The well was drilled only seven feet from a new home instead of the mandated ten feet. It was necessary for the Commissioners to approve a variance for the home owner, who was present, or they would not be able to occupy the new home the following day. The Commissioners agreed to accept the variance on a 3-0 vote but at the same time the board agreed to fine the company $500.00 as this was the second time they had done this and the first time they just received a warning. All Whitley County well drillers are well (good pun!) aware of the ruling so perhaps keeping the business local would be a prudent decision.
Michael Barton, County Highway Supervisor, discussed much of the department’s accomplishments in 2009. Their presence in Smith Township was certainly noticed in 2009. Currently they have milled up CR 450N between Blue Lake Road and CR 800 East. This road will be stone throughout the winter before receiving a double or triple seal in the spring of 2010. I drove this road the other day and it’s a nicer road in stone than it was in the pot hole filled asphalt.
Our second meeting of the month was held on Monday, October 19 where I was surprised with a real nice chocolate birthday cake!!
County Attorney Dan Sigler opened the meeting with his report. He has had little time to review the proposed barking dog ordinance but we will meet soon to finalize it. He did report that finally after several months the Whitley County Consolidated Schools had signed the fuel depot agreement. He also spoke about the previous agreement between the county and the Humane Shelter. I won’t go into that subject here but will prepare separate reports to the Busco News about the Humane Shelter and one on the new recycling contract.
SDS Communications, a local (Columbia City) business, presented a program to the Commissioners about the county telephone system. For as long as anyone can remember, the county has used Sprint/Embarq for phone service and phone equipment. We recently were notified that Embarq would no longer support our equipment as it is outdated. SDS for the past few years has been contracted by Embarq to work on our system but SDS is interested in taking on the total system and selling us updated equipment. They presented a proposal to replace our system. It would be very nice to know your support is two blocks away and as always it would be nice to spend our money locally.
Micheal Barton of the highway department reported that by moving some equipment around at the highway facility they have been able to create an enclosed structure where our salt/sand can be stored. While this is a temporary fix, it’s a step in the right direction. We need to stop keeping the salt/sand out-of-doors where rain and snow can wash part of it away. Additionally Mr. Barton reported that he had found a reasonable solution that would allow a more permanent structure for less than $10,000.00. He was directed to pursue the information and return to us at our next meeting. Finally, he reported that while the supervisor at Huntington County he established a salt and sand agreement with the smaller towns of the county by which the county would provide the material if the towns would store it inside. That seems like a win-win for both the county and towns but unfortunately it looks like neither Busco or South Whitley has such a facility. The winning part for the county is that the county trucks would not have to drive all the way back to Columbia City every time they needed to reload. Hopefully we can keep working together to see if such arrangements can be made in future years.
Mr. Brooks Langeloh was present to request a “vacation of an easement” at Goose Lake. Mr. Langeloh and/or others are interested in reopening the Goose Lake Restaurant. It seemed like a reasonable request so we approved it.
Finally, Mr. Michael Clement, our local representative of the federal census bureau asked the Commissioners to create a proclamation stating that as a group we support the work of the census bureau. Naturally we support the census since most funding is dependent on the numbers created by the census. Hopefully everyone in the county will cooperate and do their part by being counted!! You’ll hear much more about the census as the time gets closer but allow me to tell you how it’s going to work in 2010. The census forms will be sent out in February and March to households. They will ask you to complete the form on April 1, 2010 as that is the “Official Census Date” ( I know, I know it’s also April Fool’s day !) A vast majority of the households will receive a very short form consisting of only 10 questions, NONE of which are financial. I truly do not believe that answering census questions is an invasion of your privacy and I think you’ll agree when you see the questions. Your response is essential for future funding in Whitley County.
Have a great month and look for my articles on the Solid Waste District’s decision to select a new vendor and on the Humane Shelter.