2017-08-09 / News

Walton Gets New AWD Police Vehicle, Equipment

Public Not Confident in Village Board, Resident Says
By Lillian Browne

WALTON - Walton Police Chief Paul Olsen requested payment of the $35,500.12 bill for the purchase of new 2016 Dodge Durango police vehicle from Robert Green Chevrolet in Monticello at a meeting of the village trustees on Monday, Aug. 7.

The vehicle is being outfitted with radio, radar and other equipment and should be in service within a week, Olsen said.

Trustees also approved the $2,800 purchase of a new patrol radar unit, at Olsen’s request, who said the one in need of replacement is 20 years old and though it is certified every six months, requires that a vehicle be very close before it registers a reading.

Trustees also approved the reimbursable purchase of five bulletproof vests at a cost of $4,817, at Olsen’s request. Four police officers will attend patrol rifle training on August 30 and 31 at a cost of $50 per officer. The training and equipment costs have been previously budgeted for, Olsen said.

In other police business, Olsen reported that four officers were on duty for the annual Car Cruise along Delaware Street on Aug. 5.

During the month of July officers issued 93 traffic summonses, made eight felony and 16 misdemeanor arrests, drove 2,800 miles and used 306.3 gallons of gas. Of the 279 total calls for the month, 138 property checks were made and five terroristic threat arrests were made. Terroristic threats, Olsen explained, are from an individual that made specific threats toward arresting officers, their families and a judge.

In other business, Mayor Ed Snow read a letter penned by a Kraft representative which indicated that the company was not willing to sign a contract with the village for the use of a planned biodigester at the wastewater treatment plant. Based on the letter and the trustees’ promise that the project would not move forward without a contract from Kraft in place, the project has been abandoned.

Snow explained when the project was first proposed to Kraft the company was in favor of it. The initial contract with Kraft called for the usage of 20,000 pounds of whey waste per day. Six months later, Snow said, 3G bought Kraft and after threatening to shut the plant down, told the village it wanted to increase its waste disposal to 40,000 - 50,000 pounds of waste. During the final round of negotiations, Snow said, Kraft asked that the village increase the size of the biodigester so they could discharge up to 100,000 pounds of whey per day. The village refused, Snow said, and the project has been dropped.

Snow said that there is approximately one-half million dollars owed Delaware Engineering for their work on the project to date, for which he is seeking grant funding or other ways to offset the bill so the costs do not fall on sewer users.

Snow has contacted Senator John Bonacic’s office to request assistance with finding a source of payment for the engineering bill. “We are trying a couple of options to recoup that money,” Snow said.

In anticipation of questions about previous statements that sewer users would not have to pay any of the fees associated with the project, Snow said there would not have been any cost to sewer users if the project had been completed. “We kept our word,” Snow said.

Opponents of the project called on Snow and trustees for more transparency in spending, especially for projects of that magnitude. Paul Wood criticized village officials for advertising the meeting for the $8 million bond anticipation note in the legal section of the newspaper rather than at a regular meeting. Transparency, Wood said, is necessary for taxpayers and residents to be fully informed about projects that could have a huge financial impact.

Karen Ingliss expressed her disappointment with trustees and the fiscal irresponsibility on the part of the village. The taxpayers and sewer users cannot afford a half-million-dollar bill, she said. Homes are being bought by absentee landlords and the village has gone “steadily downhill,” she said. The village, she said, “...has become HUD central.”

Her home value is going down while her water, sewer and tax bills are going up, she said. “I’ve lost confidence in the village government.”

Trustee Theresa O’Leary responded, thanking Ingliss for the comment, lashing out, “I’ve never seen you support anything we’ve ever done or to say thank you when something is done. We keep going against the tide,” O’Leary continued, “because the sterling people of this village only ever come to complain. You need to look in the mirror.”

In other village business:

• Maureen Wacha reported that the Walton Chamber of Commerce is hosting a “Meet the Candidates” forum for Walton town council hopefuls on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m., at the Walton Fire Hall on West Street. There are two candidates for the supervisor seat, she said, and three candidates for two council members seats. The final 2017 summer series chamber-sponsored concert at Bassett Park will be held on Monday, Aug. 21 from 6 - 8 p.m.

• At the request of Department of Public Works employee Matt Myer trustees approved the payment of $8,950 to Pittsburg Tank & Tower from Henderson, Kentucky, to inspect and clean the two water tower tanks on the north-end of the village, near White Rock.

• At the request of Bill Brown of Delaware Engineering, trustees approved a change-work order to include bolt and valve replacement on the air compressors at the wastewater treatment plant. The originally approved work came in under budget and the cost of the additional work, $14,800, reflects the amount of money not spent under the original contract, Brown said.

• Trustees thanked Maxine Locherer for volunteering to maintain the flower garden at village hall.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Walton Trustees will be held on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m.

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