The first meeting of the new year for the Washington Court House City Council took place Wednesday evening with all council members in attendance. Besides being the first meeting of 2018, it was also the first meeting for the new council chair, Jim Chrisman, and the two newly-elected council members, Caleb Johnson and Steven Shiltz.
There was also a sizable crowd in the gallery ready to speak to council regarding the upcoming vote on a resolution authorizing City Manager Joe Denen to enter into an agreement with the Buxton Group for the purpose of supplying analytical demographic information to the City of Washington Court House to promote and attract business to the downtown.
With well-detailed demographic information, economic growth can be tailored to needs, wants and desires of the residents living within the city. The payment for this service would come from the tax that residents passed several years ago. The City told the residents the tax money would be used for hiring more police and to encourage economic development in the downtown. This agreement with Buxton would be the third outlay of money for downtown economic development.
The majority of those in the gallery were there to support the resolution and two citizens, Greg Marshall and Kim Johnson, spoke directly to council about the need to move forward with this progressive legislation. Just prior to the vote there was heated discussion among two council members and the audience. Chairman Chrisman brought order to the room and the resolution passed favorably with a six-to-one vote.
In the city manager’s report to council, the majority of the news was weather-related. According to Denen, the “water crew has had an unusual number of main breaks and are hampered in repairs due to the difficulty of digging in frozen ground.”
The street crew received high marks from Denen regarding the difficulty of their jobs. “It is one thing to have two inches of snow in two hours versus two inches of snow over an eight-hour period. Then add ice into the mixture.”
Denen also brought council up to date regarding the city’s new police officers. Alex Rosado was hired in December of 2017 and Austin Blevins will be headed to the 10-week Police Academy course in late January of 2018.
The planning for future Waste Water Plant improvements are going smoothly and approval was given to Denen to bid for sludge removal.
A number of resolutions were adopted by council members. Included in that was the purchase of a step van and an agreement with the county commissioners to provide legal counsel for indigent persons.
The next meeting of council will be on Wednesday, Jan. 24 in council chambers located on the second floor of the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main St., beginning promptly at 7:30 p.m. All council meetings are open to the public.