The "three-hour cruise," a phrase made famous in the Gilligan's Island
theme song — actually, it came in unofficially at two hours, 57
minutes, but who's counting? — returned when the Farmersburg Town
Council hosted a lengthy regular monthly meeting on Tuesday.
If you recall, the last council meeting of this length — the record
still stands unofficially at exactly three hours — occurred in Feb.
2020, during its annual reorganization.
Many topics were discussed this Tuesday, most of them at length, by
council members Jerry Baker, Jim Bishop, Woodrow Power and Jim Sharpe.
Council president Baker updated the council about his efforts looking
into plans to enroll town employees in the Personal Employee
Retirement Fund, a state-run retirement plan.
He said he reviewed past payroll records in the timespan from 2015
through 2017, noting former employees and a former clerk-treasurer
having PERF deductions and Health Service Account deductions.
Bishop stated he had served on the council since 2008 and he didn't
recall having knowledge of any town employees being enrolled in PERF.
After a long discussion, again, Baker described the situation as "a
can of worms." No decisions were reached.
If you recall, the council approved opening the town's office five
days a week at a recent meeting. Baker said he has since learned that
the Clerk-Treasurer has jurisdiction in determining office hours.
Clerk-Treasurer Margaret Tuttle said she is in favor of keeping the
office closed on Fridays, as it has been done for many years in the
This topic included plenty of discussion too, leading to a consensus
the council needs to get further clarification from its attorney, Lou
Britton. The council also agreed to follow past guidelines in
contacting their attorney — to keep attorney fees manageable — and
will make this contact by telephone with the requirement that two
council members be in on the call.
On the topic of road repaving through the Community Corrections Grant
Program, Baker said their advisor, HWC Engineering, reports paving is
on hold for now until Indiana American Water gets finished fixing some
water meters that have got buried over the years in the streets in
Baker said that HWC's Brian Fleck has been in town working on streets
for next year's CCGP grant application, saying he had discovered
"three or four" culverts being "not quite up to snuff." Fleck,
according to Baker, requested a town employee walk those roads to be
able and have them properly located so they can be included in the
grant. Fleck also reported one culvert needed to replaced, located on
East and State streets.
Fleck plans to meet with the council on July 6 to review the grant
proposal, which has to be submitted by the end of July.
The council also discussed the status of the former Mickey's Bar and
Grill building, which Baker said Thrive West Central's grant
administrator Terry Jones reported the property is now safe for
The next step is getting clear title from the current owners, which
has been agreed to in principle. To speed along the process, the
council wants to advertise for demolition bids as soon as possible,
but must have clear ownership to do so.
Baker explained Sullivan County Abstract is putting together the
proper paperwork and obtain the needed signatures, then the council
approved to pay the back taxes to get clear title, with the amount not
to exceed $2,000.
The council also approved an expenditure of $11,950 — a bid from G&S
Asphalt — for a new basketball court at the town's park. Also approved
was the park's walking path of 6 feet x 150 feet at a cost of $1,900.
The basketball court is to be paid from the town's local income tax
fund, while town's park board will pay for the walking path.
Baker said the three damaged trees near the Northeast North Elementary
School had been removed, as approved at a previous council meeting.
But as a result, there is no longer a section of sidewalk in that
That led to a lengthy discussion — are you seeing a trend? — of the
sidewalk situation in town, including comments from residents
attending the meeting.
Baker said the council needs to find a solution to this situation as
the town must be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act,
which is a requirement to to receive funding from Community Crossings.
The council also approved increasing the hourly pay rate of a town
employee from $10 to $12 as he has been approved to apply for an
Indiana driver's license. Bishop said he should have been paid $12 due
to that is what is listed on the town's employee salary ordinance.