Discussion of Deputies Becomes Heated at City Council Meeting

DSC 0099Resident Ron Cobb expressed outrage that the city will only have three deputies.

“When you passed out these fliers, you guaranteed four deputies if the levy passes,” he said, holding up a flier that was distributed throughout the city and which appeared in the New Carlisle News. “Either you’re going to bring four deputies back or you’re going to be a bunch of liars.”

Several council members stated that the money from the police levy is just now starting to come in. City Finance Director Colleen Harris stated that about $30,000 has been received so far.

“We didn’t say when the deputies would be added,” said Council Member Mike Lowrey. “There was no timeline for adding deputies.”

“We keep throwing money away in some areas,” said Cobb. “I know you’re tired of hearing about the [Madison Street] school. We can’t sell it, we can’t give it away. Why doesn’t the city demolish it?”

City Manager Randy Bridge reminded Cobb that it would take $185,000 to demolish the building. “We just don’t have it,” he said.

Bridge said he understood Cobb’s frustrations, but said that his arguments are a bit premature. He suggested that Cobb revisit the issue after the first quarter of 2016. He said that by then the city will have a better idea of how much revenue the levy will produce.

“It was understood by everyone in New Carlisle except for you people that we would have four deputies at the beginning of the year,” said resident Nancy Lubanovich. “We understand what you’re telling us. The problem is that you should have told us this before the election.”

“We will soon get the deputy contract that will tell us how much deputies are going to cost us,” said Council Member Bill McIntire. “Right now we don’t know how much a fourth deputy will cost us.” He said that the major factor would be health insurance costs.

Cobb raised the possibility of using some of the money that the city had been paying from the General Fund to pay for another deputy. Harris replied that the general fund has been tapped too much, and it needs to be replenished. Bridge added that a number of needed projects have been delayed because of lack of funds, and one of those projects is street repair.

Bridge also questioned the $500,000 figure that the levy was claimed to raise. “That would mean that we would have to be collecting a million a year from income taxes, and we’re not doing that.”

“I want to commend the council members for speaking up and saying that you want four deputies,” said Council Member Elect Bill Lindsey. “I didn’t get that feeling a few months ago.”

Council member Rick Lowrey also expressed concern over the deputy situation. “Sheriff Kelly told us that if we cut back to two deputies, response time would not be affected,” he said. “That’s not happening.”

In other action, Bridge reported that he sent a letter to County Commissioner John Detrick requesting $12,500 from the county for the betterment of the City’s park system. He cited needed repairs to the Smith Park Shelter House and old, unsafe playground equipmetn as two examples of “a very long list of needed approvements.”

Council also commended member Dick Zsambok for his 12 years of service on City Council. Monday was Zsambok’s last meeting, having decided not to run for another term.

The next regular meeting of the New Carlisle City Council will be on Monday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Smith Park Shelter House. The public is invited to attend.

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