Westport Town Council

Westport Town Council met on Monday. The council signed the funeral deeds, payroll vouchers, adjustments, and monthly bills.

There was a public hearing on additional appropriations. The first was the cemetery fund for $5,000 to go toward salaries. The next was for police repairs for $8,000 and $5,000 for attorney costs, totaling in $13,000 in additionals for the general fund. These were approved.

There was a public hearing for the PD purchase grant. The state requires this when they are applying through a USDA grant.

There was an update on the Westport Water Projects. They are making progress in all areas. They had a start-up as well as some training last week. They are doing performance training this week and will soon know if they are ready to do a shut down and transfer. Thienamen submitted a pay request for $115,009.85. This was approved. There was an update on the Wastewater projects. The board met earlier this month. They had the 2 contracts ready that were discussed at their meeting. These were approved.

Resolution 2021-6, for ADA compliance, was approved. They must have this plan for INDOT to continue paving roads. This will be submitted to INDOT for approval.

Westport Area Community Building Council came to the board to request support in funding repairs on the community building. They are a not for profit organization. There are several windows, siding, and doors that need to be replaced. These doors will be ADA compliant when replaced. There is also a sagging ceiling in the kitchen and drywall separating. The board will look further into helping them when definitive prices are set.

Ordinance 2021-8, for rental inspections, was discussed. The board opened the floor for public comment. One audience member said that they will not allow trespassers on their property if they pass this and believe that having a deputy sheriff involved is a conflict of interest. It was noted that a deputy sheriff cannot enforce town ordinances. They said that they will sue if someone comes on their property. Another member believes that there are enough agencies that do what the council is trying to do and that it is not necessary. They are worried that the council has a different agenda than just the safety of the town. Another member said that they pay 2% on property taxes and they feel the council is discriminating against rentals. They want to know why they can inspect rental homes but not every other house in Westport. Another audience member agreed that there are many other agencies in place and that it is unnecessary. The operator of Pine Lake Mobile Home Park wanted to let the council know that they are inspected at least on an annual basis by the State Board of Health and they are also licensed with them. They read the ordinance and while they personally have no rentals- they do rent out spaces and noticed that spaces are in the ordinance to be inspected. They were curious on what could be inspected on these empty spaces of land. Another member stated that they are remodeling their house and plan to rent it and will not let them inspect it. They have had the building inspector called on them because of the town and were red tagged and then un-red tagged because they were doing nothing wrong. They also stated that they have been harassed, told they are not a part of Westport, and called names. The town is not setting this ordinance in place with bad intent, but to set a general rule for everyone and improve the standard of living in Westport. There was a motion made to table ordinance 2021-8 on the second reading. This was approved.

The Westport Masonic Lodge came to the board to offer their old building for sale. They hope to be moved into their new building by the end of December and wanted to give the town the first opportunity to buy the old building for $28,000. The council is going to look into it.

All adjustments were approved.

Morgan Schofield


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