Westport Town Council Meeting

The Westport Town Council met on March 11, 2024, at 6:30 pm. The meeting began with the approval of the February 12, 2024 meeting minutes. The council unanimously approved the Funeral deeds, monthly bills, adjustments, and payroll vouchers.

Rachel Runge, Commonwealth Engineering came before the council stating that she is working with USDA concerning the wastewater project. She stated that they are currently in a holding pattern pending USDA approval. Required legal notices will run in the newspaper on March 12th, 14th, & 16th. They will then hold for 14 days for appropriate response time. Then they will be required to publish one more time. After that time Rachel said that she expects that they will be approved and would be moving towards bidding the project.

Brad Speer, Decatur County EMA spoke about the Solar Eclipse. He states that the major concern that is expected is going to be traffic. Brad said we will not only see the individuals who are visiting Decatur County but we will see an increase in traffic from those who are passing through the county during their travels. Brad suggested that businesses prepare for an increase of 25-30% in additional sales. He told a story of a couple who traveled from Columbus, Indiana to Hopkinsville, KY for a Solar Eclipse. Their drive time from Columbus, IN to Hopkinsville, KY was four hours, however, their return travel time was 18 hours due to traffic.

We are hoping for the Sunshine, warm, and no clouds. Brad said looking at past weather patterns for April 8th we have a 30% chance of complete sunshine and no rain.

Brad then spoke about the health consequences of the solar eclipse. He reminded everyone to get glasses that meet the requirements. He compared the intensity of the solar eclipse to the arc when welding.

Brad said that the county has been meeting for 14 months and that they are confident in being prepared. Ambulances and police officers will be stationed throughout the county. Original estimates were to expect 4x the current population. Brad ended his discussion by saying the word of the day for April 8th is going to be patience.

The Town Council then approved the date change of their April 8, 2024, regularly scheduled meeting and rescheduled for April 15, 2024.

The next topic was concerning the property located at 106 S. Poplar Street in town. This property belongs to Trevor Moore. Pictures were presented from the beginning of the concerns for the property and updated pictures from today. The only changes were a grill and umbrella was moved to a different area on the property. The Council members all agreed that they need to begin the clock to determine fines due to no progress on the clean-up.

Resolution 2024-5 was unanimously approved by council members stating that checks paid out that are over two years old prior to December 21, 2023, are now officially considered void.

Discussion about the State Road 3 construction. The council stated that it is their understanding that SR 3 will be closed from the south side of town to the bypass in North Vernon. He warned that many may need to be using backroads this summer. Bryan Gatewood, Council President did mention that he had saw that the goal for the date of completion is Quarter 4 of 2024.

The Council then spoke about the creation of a donation account for future updates and needs at the Westport Community Building. Bryan Gatewood stated that he had reached out to Kenny Marshall, a prior Westport Community Building Committee member, and said that Kenny said that this would satisfy the prior committee to turn over the funds and possibly a CD for the property as this account would be open to the public.

Bryan Gatewood then began speaking about $142,957.48 in grants that need to be spent this year from ARPA. He stated that they need to develop a list of projects that they can complete with these funds. He stated that sidewalks, community building needs, and fire hydrants are all options to utilize these funds but that they needed to get a plan together to be ready to spend these amounts before the deadline.

The Council also discussed Decatur County working on a grant through Eli Lilly for 5 million dollars. This process is being handled by the Decatur County Community Foundation. One of the council members made a statement saying, “I probably shouldn’t be saying this but Greensburg will probably get the bulk of the funding. Bryan Gatewood said that when he and two other council members joined the Zoom call they were acknowledged and felt that Westport being part of the discussion was a large step towards working to get funding.”

Bryan announced to the room that on March 15, 2024, at 3 pm located at Town Hall they will be having an Executive Session concerning litigation concerning George Cann on the property on Range Street.

Pastor Jeff Morre, Westport Wesleyan Church asked permission to have a Palm Sunday March which will last approximately 20 minutes. They will not be blocking off roads or anything. The town council approved this request.

A concerned citizen approached the podium and said that she would like to request the town council to be more transparent to the community. She said that at the November Town Council meeting the council approved the purchase of a new utility trailer for the amount of $9,300. They also approved the sale of the old trailer expecting to bring half of the cost of the new trailer. The trailer was listed for sale on 12/14/23 and was listed as sold on 12/18/24. The trailer was sold to a town employee for $2,000. This was not sold via a sealed bid or any proper sales procedure. The citizen did state that this was completed before the new Town Council members were elected.

The meeting was adjourned

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