Tim Taylor Appointed To Fill Witt Council Vacancy

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Mayor Shawn Cady called the meeting of Witt City Council to order at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22, with the Pledge of Allegiance. Alderman Jay Martin led a brief prayer asking for insight and  discernment for the newly seated council. Aldermen Dave Cearlock, Jay Martin, Lyn Cady, Catherine Cady, Kaitlin Govaia and Tim Taylor, City Clerk Nancy Hughes, Treasurer Sonia Hodson, City Attorney Chris Sherer and EJ Water Cooperative Representative Eric Emmerich were present. There were no visitors present for the public comment session.

Following the Declaration of Vacancy of Alderman in Ward 2 made by the council at May’s meeting, when elected Alderman Timothy Oller was not present to be sworn into his position, Martin made a motion to recognize the vacancy. Cearlock seconded the motion and all voted to accept the vacancy. Mayor Cady then suggested the reappointment of Tim Taylor to the open position.  Aldermen Cearlock made a formal motion to appoint Taylor and all voted in favor with the exception of Alderwoman Govaia who abstained from the vote.   

Emmerich began the water report with a discussion on water replacement valves. EJ Water Cooperative estimates that they can replace valves at a cost of $2,000 per day, plus the cost of the replacement valves, and that the cooperative should be able to replace four valves per day. He requested the board put together a budget for valve replacement. Mayor Cady asked the water and finance committees to meet to determine what the city can afford to put into the project per year. 

Emmerich went on to inform the board that the altitude valve that feeds Irving has been temporarily fixed, but that he anticipates the recurring problem of the valve getting stuck open will continue until it is replaced because it is the wrong kind of valve for the line. EJ Water Cooperative is gathering quotes for a pressure valve to replace the current valve. Martin asked if it was still in the city’s best interest to continue to supply water to Irving. After a brief discussion the matter was tabled.

The council was informed that the USDA-PPG Grant, to help camera and fog out the waste water lines to look for any collapsed lines, has been submitted. They discussed how the cooperative and city will work together to explain the project to residents and what to do when leaks are discovered. Emmerich advised the aldermen to start thinking about ways to address how fixing leaks (that are discovered) will be funded. He went on to explain policy and procedure changes that will go into effect when EJ Water Cooperative takes over billing, which is estimated to begin in August. Residents will be informed of changes, as well as the switch in the current billing procedure.

Treasurer Hodson briefed the council on the city’s various accounts and how she keeps track of and records the funds. The aldermen approved the monthly treasurer’s report. Hodson also presented the annual treasurer’s report. Municipal Utility Tax received for May was $2,255.41.  Fire Chief Don Keiser and Police Chief Scott Wood submitted reports.

Aldermen Taylor brought up a potential agreement with the Lions Club for the city to take ownership of the building. The discussion was tabled until more information has been collected. The aldermen discussed recodification of the  city ordinances. City Attorney Sherer explained the process and why it is necessary, he also advised the aldermen to read through the ordinances to make sure they are tailored to the city. Mayor Cady will gather quotes and present them at the next meeting.

The city received a request to remove a tree located at 316 North Second Street. All voted in favor. The aldermen voted in favor of updating the city’s Mobile Home Ordinance (#2021-06-22A), due to state law changes. Mobile homes (on wheels, not fixed to a permanent foundation) may not be lived in for more than 30 days and may not be hooked up to city utilities. Updates to ordinance (#2021-06-22B), regarding golf carts and other recreational, non-licensed vehicles being driven in city limits was tabled. The aldermen also granted a special liquor license to Witt Lions Club over the dates of Friday, Sept. 3, through Monday, Sept. 6.

Mayor Cady informed the aldermen that three grants have been submitted and the city is in the process of making sure all of the requirements of said grants are in place on their end. He requested that the Finance Committee take on the responsibility of making sure all grants are filled out and submitted in a timely manner, to avoid getting lost in the shuffle, moving forward. He told the aldermen that CTI has found a privately owned property to purchase and is moving forward with their plan to expand their fiber services to Witt.

Discussion returned to ongoing vandalism and serious injuries that recently occurred to a small child at the Ball Diamond as a result of broken bottles. The aldermen all agreed that more lighting and cameras were needed in the area. Officer Woods will put up a temporary camera and the council will look into purchasing permanent cameras for the areas in question.

Mayor Cady shared correspondence he had received regarding the city’s cat and dog ordinances. The current ordinances will have to be eliminated for the Montgomery County Animal Control to continue operating in the area due to cost. No action was taken.

Mayor Cady asked the finance committee to create a budget for the city to hire a part-time police officer to assist Chief Wood.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

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