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Town council reorganizes, sets different meeting dates

January 14, 2009
The Georgetown Town Council met in special session last Tuesday to reorganize for the new year. While the officers stayed the same, with Billy Stewart and Everett Pullen again to serve as president and vice president, respectively, the date of the meetings changed. The regular meetings will now be on the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the town hall.

Following nomination by Karla Perkins for Stewart and Pullen to keep their positions, the council voted 4-1 in favor of each, with Mike Mills casting both dissenting votes.

Stewart nominated Marshal Larry Potts to serve in the position for the remaining three years of the council's term, the maximum length that can be proposed. The council approved 5-0.

Stewart also nominated D.A. Andrews to continue as town attorney for the next year, and the council again unanimously approved.

Other appointments included Stewart naming town public works director Jim Reynolds to be an advisory member to the Floyd County Planning Commission for 2009 and Pullen nominating resident Michael Mercer for a four-year term on the board of zoning and appeals. The council approved each 5-0.

After reorganization, the council later passed its first ordinance of the year. Ordinance G-09-01, titled "Rules, Responsibilities and Roles for Town Council/Town Officials," was approved 4-1, with Mike Mills opposing. The ordinance functions basically as a how-to manual for current and future councils and town officials by providing the duties of each office and other relevant information.

"Without guidelines, you have friction between departments," Stewart said. "This will help future councils to be more effective."

In other news, representatives from Helix Technologies were present to talk about managing the town's Broadband. Helix Technologies is a tech solutions business out of French Lick that provides wireless Broadband service to residents in their area. The business currently has 428 customers and charges $26.95 per month for basic service.

If all goes as planned, Helix will sign a contract this week with Georgetown and take over Broadband service after a notification has been sent out to current customers. Helix will also be a consultant for future purchases or changes made by the town in relation to the Broadband service.

Helix plans to increase the number of subscribers in Georgetown, currently about 60, by effective advertising and incentives. Incentives could include offering a month of free service for current customers who refer new customers to the service.

The contract is not a permanent transfer of the Broadband system but rather a short-term solution to a program that has been losing money the past couple of years.

"It (the contract) will be for a short term and the scope will cover the technical and customer support aspects of the services," Andrews said, adding a small administration fee could be charged of Helix for each customer on the system.

"The system works and the people who have it like it," Stewart said. "The problem is, there's just been no marketing."

After the meeting, Stewart and Andrews provided an update on the sewer plant situation. The town is currently involved in negotiation meetings with New Albany about getting contractual penalties waived that would significantly increase Georgetown's sewer rates after April 1. It is also moving forward with a purchase of a property west of town, though it is slow going, Stewart said, due to a lot of "government red tape."

The O'Brien property will no longer be a viable property for construction this year as Edwardsville residents were successful in delaying the annexation of the property past Dec. 31, 2008, with a lawsuit challenging that the property is not contiguous with town limits. The lawsuit will be heard by Judge Terrance Cody in Floyd County Circuit Court on Jan. 23. But, even if Georgetown wins the suit, the property cannot be annexed until Jan. 1, 2010, since 2010 is a census year and no new property may be annexed in the year prior to a census year under Indiana law.

Stewart was confident the verdict would fall in the town's favor.

"It's an issue of math," he said, adding that the property is obviously contiguous with the town limits.

(Nick Simpson may be reached at 738-4552 or nsimpson@clarionnews.net.)

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