Westport Town Council Meeting

The Westport Town Council met on May 13, 2024, at 6:30 pm.

The meeting began with the approval of the April 15, 2024 meeting minutes. The board approved Funeral Deeds, Payroll Vouchers, and Monthly Bills.

A representative came to the board to provide an update on the Wastewater Improvements Project. The 1st and 2nd advertisements were posted on the 9th and the 10th of the month. The pre-bid meeting was held in the Westport Community Building on May 2, 2024. The meeting was attended by six contractors. The official bid opening will be held on May 21, 2024. They will work to review the bids and then verify the information that is provided. They will then create a recommendation letter to the Town Council before the June 10, 2024 meeting.

The Town Council voted to suspend the rules and pass Ordinance 2024-1 on its first reading. This ordinance establishes a donation non-reverting fund. This ordinance will create a fund that will be used for Community Building and can be a landing place for the previous board to put its money and transfer/cash out a pre-existing CD. This will also allow for additional donations or other options for people to give money towards the fund.

The Town Council voted to approve Resolution 2024-6 authorizing electronic funds transfers. This is more of an oversight that has not been documented in the past. This provides a document authorizing the Clerk-Treasurer to pay bills and invoices utilizing electronic fund transfers. The example that was given was the town’s Comcast bill.

Ordinance 2024-2 Additional Appropriations for the American Rescue Plan (ARP) would allow for re-appropriations of $30,000 to be used for a new floor to be installed in the Westport Community Building. This ordinance passed on 1st reading and will be voted on at the next Town Council Meeting for its second reading.

Following the discussion about ARP funding. Russell Wilson, Council Member, asked that the Council consider allotting $30,000 to be pledged towards the construction of 3 new Pickleball Courts. Then the Kiwanis be tasked with raising the other $14,600 that would be needed to complete the project. Some of the Town Council thought this would replace the existing Tennis Court, and others thought it wouldn’t. Council President Mr. Gatewood has asked for someone to come speak to the Council at the next meeting.

Gloria Alumbaugh, Clerk-Treasurer, asked the Town Council to brainstorm ways to increase public communication and social media awareness. She states that many incorrect things are posted online, especially on Facebook and town officials are blocked so they cannot reply to clarify the comment. She mentioned creating videos, weekly check-ins with the citizens, or just a way to interact and deliver up-to-date and accurate information.

The Public Works Superintendent provided his report. He stated that they received a bid to complete the Storm Water Project. Originally the city had allocated $50,000 in their budget for this project. However, the project bid came in at $19,879.65. This will update and tap into the existing drains from Main Street to Westwood Street and West Street by Sycamore Street. He did say that this amount does not include other work that will need to be done by the city such as cutting out asphalt and patching were needed. With those additional tasks in mind, he estimates the cost to be approximately $25,000. The Council did approve this bid. He did also stated that as of June 3, 2024, they will start enforcing the Town Cemetery rules about items that cannot be at the cemetery and when they must be removed. These rules have been in effect since 2019 and have been relaxed.

Town Council President Mr. Gatewood updated the meeting by saying that he signed off on the $592,960.50 Community Crossing Grant and that it is moving along.

Several meeting attendees stood up or raised questions about storm water and the issue of standing water. One attendee named Amy stated that she is concerned about the water running from the new Storm Water Project towards her home and her bridge that is old. She stated, “There is no help for a new bridge.” and, “I am not in town so no one cares.” Amy said that everytime it rains it floods. Another attendee named Walter stood to say that he has water standing on his property almost constantly. The Public Works Superintendent told them that he would look into this and Town Council President Mr. Gatewood suggested that they contact their Decatur County Commissioner. Several attendees in the audience said, “We have and they don’t care. Nothing gets done.” It was reminded that after January 1, 2024, their district would have a new County Commissioner.

Meeting attendee Walter went to the podium to speak and began by thanking the Council for their hard work to get the “tent city” removed. He then asked about what is being done throughout Westport where roofs are caving in, sheds falling, and other concerns. The Council asked if he had a list, Walter said that he didn’t but that he could create one.

An update on George Can’s property was discussed. A Structural Engineer will be visiting the home on Friday, May 17, 2024, at 10 am to determine if the structure is habitable.

Meeting attendee Sandy stood to ask again about an issue she brought to the Council in January. She states that utility workers were moved from a 5-day work week to a 4-week work week. She states that with this move from 2020 until now, workers are seeing increased PTO and fringe benefits and went from working 230 days per year to now only working 167 days. This is a drop from 1,840 hours per year to 1,586.5 hours which is a 13.77% decrease in days earning the same amount of money and getting more PTO and fringe benefits. Town Council President Mr. Gatewood said that he wasn’t comfortable changing or altering the schedule until he has the opportunity to see one year of continuous work. So they can look at overtime, employee retention, employee, and overall how it is truly working.

The meeting was adjourned.

Post Ad 2