S. WHITLEY: Clerk getting new computers

SOUTH WHITLEY — South Whitley’s town clerk’s office will soon have new computers installed with a price tag of $18,847.97.Town council members reviewed proposals from Preferred IT Group, A Plus Computers and Ricoh-USA and unanimously accepted the lowest quote from Ricoh-USA at Tuesday evening’s council meeting.“We (Ricoh-USA) are also the company that takes care of your (town’s) copier in the clerk’s office,” Gene Meenagh representing Ricoh-USA said. “We (Ricoh-USA) went with four terabytes of storage and more storage allows room to grow. A couple external hard drives could be used with police departments.”Meenagh said the IT Service contract includes 40 hours annually with equals 10 hours each quarter. Included in the $18,847.97 quote is a three-year warranty, server, four towers, laptop and back-up security system.“All 85 to 90 percent of (computer) problems are resolved within 15 minutes,” Meenagh said. “Ricoh-USA has a very technical team and most employees have 15 or more years of service with Ricoh-USA.”Town Council Vice-President Bill Boggs had concerns with the IT Service contract only allowing for 10 hours of technical support each quarter.“If you (clerk’s office) go over the 10 hours in a quarter then we (Ricoh-USA) go to an hourly rate,” Meenagh said. “The hourly rate is $95 per hour if you (clerk’s office) go over the 10 hours quarterly. Four terabytes would give you a lot of space.”Council member Steve Smith questioned Clerk-Treasurer Bob Gould on financing for the new computer system.“We (the town) have money in the police and general fund,” Gould said.The network changeover was approved with the service plan to be adopted at a later date.“The service agreement is separate if you (the town) wish to have,” Meenagh said. “In new business, resident Joe Rex was in attendance who resides on Third Street regarding electrical problems in his home shortly after a severe storm hit the South Whitley area on June 29.“I had transformer damage and it was fixed,” Rex said. “But, part of the electrical is out in the house periodically ever since the storm.” Rex said the town’s electrical department came to his residence and checked the wiring to the meter box.“Your town electrician said I should call an outside electrician,” Rex said. Rex contacted Rider Electric in Columbia City who thought the meter base was malfunctioning which was repaired at a cost of $97.50.“I shouldn’t have to pay Rider Electric,” Rex said. “Rider Electric replaced and I have had no problems since.”Council members agreed to have the town pay $97.50 to Rider Electric.Police Chief Dave Wilkinson reported on Reserve Officer Mark Walter resigning effective immediately.Wilkinson also commented on financing for a new police squad car which was approved by town council members in June.“We (the town) have more than adequate money to buy the (police squad) car outright,” Wilkinson said. “Crossroads Bank wants a lot of hoops to jump through and we (the police department) aren’t in-debting ourselves. We (police department) get state pricing which is $6,000 off the original cost.”Council members made a motion to not finance the new squad car, but to pay from available funds.With a fire on Feb. 18 destroying the historical Kent Theatre, Wilkinson said he has been in contact with Whitley County Chief Building Inspector Craig Wagner.“I figured we (the town) should get moving on this (unsafe building),” Wilkinson said. “The next door neighbor to the destroyed Kent Theatre is quite concerned with winter snow. Craig Wagner wants a letter from the town to move forward with this unsafe (Kent Theatre) building which can be done six months after the fire.”Gould reported on two residents wanting to know if the town could utilize community service work crews for various projects in the town.Town Council President Tony Starkey questioned if community service crews were supervised.“Yes,” Gould said.“They can not operate machinery and can not climb ladders,” Utilities Manager Dennis Eberhart said. “We could use their help during leaf pick-up season.”Starkey advised Gould to provide a work list for community service crews and report back at the next meeting.Current condition of the town’s Christmas wreaths concerns Gould with two allotted for each light pole during the holiday season.“Herman Tool (Pierceton) could refurbish each wreath at a cost of $120,” Gould said. “The bows on the wreaths are in good shape but we need new bulbs.”According to Gould, the wreaths were purchased several years ago at a price of $320 each.“I think we (the town) can refurbish these wreaths ourselves,” Starkey said. Anyone interested in volunteering their time to refurbish the town’s Christmas wreaths should contact Gould at the clerk’s office, or by calling 260-723-5312.“Every (wreath) bulb needs replaced,” Boggs said. “We (the town) want to do this ourselves to save on finances.” In other business, Heyerly’s Meat Market, which closed the end of January, still has a remaining utility balance of $30,000 just for last year alone.“Shawn Imbody (previous owner of Heyerly‘s) thinks we (the town) overcharged him,” Eberhart said. “The meter has been sent in for calibration and Shawn is questioning two years. I truthfully think Imbody was actually under billed from the problems we had in the clerk‘s office last year.”“It’s pretty clear he is protesting the claim,” Town Attorney Greg Hockemeyer said. In old business, Phase II of the waste water treatment facility is moving along smoothly as Project Manager David Harvey with Fleis and Vandenbrink reported on the progress.“The Indiana Department of Environmental Manager (IDEM) granted us (the town) a 40-day extension and approved Change Order Number 3 which is for additional personnel services on-site at the treatment plant,” Harvey said. “I’m here tonight for Application Number 7 in the amount of $361,940 which was submitted in the original application from the contractor Gerig Ottenweller.”Authorized by the state, Phase II includes upgrades to the waste water treatment plant by enlarging the main water inceptor along Water and Main Streets, constructing a headwaters work building, and a new electrical building on an adjacent property. Harvey said the original contract was for $387,000 with 3 change orders which reduced this amount by roughly $89,000.“This is the largest pay-up so far,” Harvey said.Council members agreed with Harvey.“We need no votes, we (the council) are just submitting to pay which was already authorized through the project,” Starkey said.Sub-contracting tree trimming within the town was discussed with quotes received from Aspen Tree Expert Company and Davey Tree Expert Company. Aspen Tree Expert Company quoted a price of $30,000, along with Davey Tree Expert company quoting an hourly rate.Town council members tabled this issue until the next meeting hoping to receive more cost efficient quotes.In conclusion, Starkey commented on an executive session which was held last month.“We (the town council) held executive sessions and are trying to configure responsibilities in the town,” Starkey said. “We (town council) are changing duties and town responsibilities at the next meeting. One of the changes is holding Dave Wilkinson as town manager for town employees and Dennis Eberhart in charge of infrastructure along with the same water duties and other things.”Starkey said job responsibilities will be more detailed with a group leader to report to.“This (new job responsibilities) will be proposed at the next meeting,” Starkey said.The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 28.