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Cannelton leaders accept construction bid

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Utilities chief: Copper thieves risking severe injuries

CANNELTON - Members of Cannelton's board of public works and safety and common council accepted a $1,500 bid for repairs to the city's street-department building at a regular meeting March 10.

The bid from Charlie Weatherholt was the lowest of two received for repairs to a gutter and sliding door.

As The News reported Feb. 25, Mayor Smokey Graves said at a previous meeting rain was entering the building because of problems with the guttering and door. In addition to other problems, the water was causing road salt to cake, according to Street Commissioner Jimmy Maffia.

City Clerk-Treasurer Arvina Bozarth said a city building-repair fund contained enough money to cover the repairs.

On her recommendation, the council authorized spending $3,000 of approximately $7,000 in the city's riverboat fund to help Police Chief Kenny Kellems upgrade his department's vehicle fleet.

"I'm trying to get it up to where it looks and works good and we can be proud of what we've got," the chief said.

The council approved last month $2,000 toward that purpose, which included the purchase of a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria with 81,000 miles from the Tell City Police Department, repairs to air conditioning in another vehicle and the installation of two in-car digital cameras. A family member agreed to repaint a blue car white for free, but the money was also needed for decals for it and another car, eliminating unmarked cars Kellems doesn't feel are necessary in a department the size of Cannelton's.

Maffia expressed appreciation to the Tell City Street Department for providing a load of salt to contend with the recent snowfall, and thanked the Cannelton Utilities Department for providing backhoe support.

"They carried us through the weekend," Graves agreed, commending Maffia's crew, as well, for their response to the snowfall. "You did a great job," he said.

Utilities Superintendent Phillip Ball reported light bulbs in the city's community center had been replaced, a job handled in the past by commercial electricians.

He also reported people have been stealing copper groundings from utility poles, a practice he warned could result in severe injuries.

Fire Chief Jerry Harris said a heater in the old section of the fire station where firefighters meet needs to be replaced.

"It runs constantly to keep the temperature at 60," he said. "I'll bet it's costing a fortune." With temperatures warming, he suggested there's no need to rush, but said it should be addressed before next winter.

He also said he gets a lot of calls from residents asking about burning materials. Bozarth said she'd provide him a copy of the city's ordinance on open burning, which is available online at www.ind15rpc.org.

The Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission Web site lists code books among its offerings, and Cannelton is one of three cities posting its ordinances online. Exceptions are listed in a health, safety and sanitation ordinance posted there, but in general, open burning is prohibited unless attended by a responsible person when and where it does not create an air-pollution problem, nuisance, threat to public health or fire hazard.

Councilman Adam Goffinet suggested the officials examine the possibility of selling timber from property the city owns, such as the old animal-shelter and dump sites along Sycamore Road.

"I'm not sure how much we'll make from this, but every little bit helps," he said, adding that he'd get more information. He stressed he was suggesting selective harvesting, not clear-cutting.

He also suggested changes to the city's economic-development-loan program, and distributed information to other council members, including an application form prospective borrowers would complete.

"I think we can make it more efficient and reduce the city's losses," Gofinet said, suggesting the council discuss his proposal at a later meeting.