S. WHITLEY: Tabs Wilkinson as town manager

SOUTH WHITLEY — The South Whitley Town Council met Tuesday night minus Council President Tony Starkey who was on vacation. Even in Starkey’s absence, the council had a full agenda. Dave Wilkinson, the town’s chief of police, was offered the position of town manager. The council made an offer to Wilkinson to take on the job of town manager in addition to his role as chief of police. The anticipated start date for Wilkinson is Monday. Council member Bill Boggs said, “I think Dave will do a fine job. He already does a fine job as the chief of police and I think he’ll be good for the town.”At last month’s meeting, South Whitley resident Janice Perry submitted a proposal to volunteer her services in transporting stray animals to the Whitley County Humane Shelter in Columbia City. After reviewing her proposal, Town Attorney Greg Hockemeyer gave the council a waiver of claims form.“This is a generic waiver used for volunteers,” said Hockemeyer. “It makes it clear that if a volunteer doesn’t want to sign it, they don’t have to volunteer. If something should happen, it states that the town would be held harmless. This is also open to be used for any other volunteers Janice may utilize.”According to Wilkinson, stray animals are usually claimed by their owners within a few hours, but in the event they are not, Perry would be responsible for seeing the stray is taken to the shelter. Wilkinson asked to discuss the matter with Perry before the council makes an official ruling.Hockemeyer gave council members an update on the bidding specifics for trash collection. After last month’s meeting, Hockemeyer made some changes to the bid specs, but Councilman Steve Smith asked for the bidding options to include bags service and container service, and he wanted to see if there were any provisions for lawn waste to be picked up.In regards to lawn clippings and smaller tree branches, council members said city workers are currently collecting lawn waste, but the task is becoming daunting according to town officials.Veolia Environmental Services, who currently service the town’s trash pick up had representatives at the meeting. They said some research would be necessary to determine if lawn waste could be serviced by the same truck collecting residential trash or if, due to landfill requirements set by the state, a different truck would be necessary.The council decided to include options for the lawn waste collection to the bidding contracts.Hockemeyer voiced a concern over the time frame for bids. Given the meeting schedule and the current contract ending date of Dec. 31, Smith asked Veolia if it would be possible to extend the current contract a couple of months to give the council time to collect and review bids. Veolia representatives said that would be a possibility.Another facet to the new contract, should the council decide to opt for container pick-up, was a phase-in period for the containers. Because the amount of containers needed to be delivered to South Whitley residents would most likely not be available immediately, the Smith suggested that there be a 90 day period to work the containers into the trash service.