Census committee honored

COLUMBIA CITY — Mayor Jim Fleck and the Columbia City Common Council honored census takers at its regular meeting Tuesday night.A plaque was presented to Dick Buchanan, Chairman of the Complete Count Committee of the 2010 Census by the mayor in recognition of work done by those working to get an accurate head count throughout the county.“It (the census) is important because so much of the revenue you make at the state levels depends on the number of people you have,” said Fleck.“The census is extremely important as we determine the cost of services and our taxes.”Buchanan thanked the board for the recognition and gave credit to the eight other members of his committee.The other committee members included Al Anderson, Eddie Beagles, Nicole Penrod, Betty Graves, Amy Crickmore, Jerri Johnson, Jennifer Romano and Mitch Winger.Buchanan and Fleck each told the board that while final numbers won’t be available until at least late December, local estimates of the number of residents who answered the census is expected to surpass the state level of 78 percent.In other business, the board passed on its third reading the salary and benefits ordinance.One amendment was made that included Easter as a holiday in place of a half day each on Good Friday and New Year’s Eve.With board member Nicole Penrod absent, the ordinance passed 3-1, with Walter Crowder voting against the proposal.The board also:• Passed the CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) budget for 2011.Fleck said with the economic climate, projected income from the CEDIT, or County Economic Development Income Tax is expected to decrease by 37 percent, from approximately $400,000 to around $250,000.“This year was a difficult year for all local governments,” Fleck said. “We’re hoping, of course, for a recovery in the economy which would affect the amount of money we receive.”•Heard a complaint from Norris Street resident Carol North who expressed disappointment at having to get rid of a pot-bellied pig on her property.North was told by police that the animal was in violation of the city’s animal control ordinance.North said the pig was taken to a petting zoo.•Heard a report from Terry Wherry, Director of Communications, whose department was hopping Tuesday with weather-related emergencies happening throughout the county.“I have to say we’re still amazed that people still call us when we’re really busy on the phone and ask us why the sirens are going off,” Wherry said.•Heard an announcement from Fire Chief Tom LaRue that the fire department will be handing out candy and light sticks starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday in conjunction with the town’s trick-or-treat hours, which begin at 6 p.m.The candy and light sticks will be issued to trick-or-treaters while supplies last or until the end of trick or treat at 8 p.m.•Heard a report from Electric Superintendent Larry Whetstone that 270 street lights of the 705 scheduled for installation have been installed.Whetstone said residents are still picking up boxes of lights that have been staged by the poles and are taking them home, only to return them later.“If you see a box by a pole, don’t pick it up,” Whetstone said.