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Flora to address new legislation concerning tenants’ unpaid utility bills

With the recent passage of House Bill 1347, property owners are now protected from being held accountable for their tenants’ unpaid utility bills. Since the town’s policy has been that property owners are responsible for utility bills, the matter was discussed at the Sept. 3 meeting of the Flora Town Council.

In the new legislation, smaller communities can pass ordinances that place the responsibility for tenants’ unpaid utilities on property owners.

Council President Vince Seward indicated the town has a couple of options, such as establishing an ordinance directing landlords pay the bills or having a form for property owners to sign indicating their responsibility. The council wants town attorney Abigail Diener involved but she was not in attendance at the meeting.

Ladder truck

The volunteer fire department has located a ladder truck to potentially replace the department’s ‘69 model. The truck is on a bid site. Fire chief Todd Trent was not present to answer questions.

Seward reported the current truck is not certified, nor will it meet certification standards. It is also difficult to obtain parts for it.

Seward said he has spoken with firefighters about the need to purchase a new ladder truck. They said the ISO rating is dependent on having equipment that is certified so taxpayers would benefit. With all the old buildings in town, a ladder truck would be beneficial.

Seward said he was unsure of the cost but $30,000 was mentioned. If the old truck is replaced, the new truck will be taller, Seward said, and there will be the additional expense of modifying the station doors to house it.

“That’s pretty cheap for that type of equipment,” Council member Darrell Yoder said. He indicated he was in favor of the purchase.

The council voted to allow $35,000 for the purchase of a new ladder truck by the VFD.

Archery tournament

Drew Godby with the Society of Creative Acronism, (SCA), an international nonprofit volunteer educational organization, requested use of the park for camping and an archery tournament May 22- 24, 2020.

Godby said his group represents Howard, Tipton, Grant, Carroll and portions of Clinton counties. They want to revive an event the SCA had at the Flora park in the 1990s. Godby said there will be between 50-80 people participating in the tournament with maybe 20 tent camping. He said there may also be tomahawk throwing.

According to the SCA’s webpage, the SCA is devoted to the research and re-creation of pre-17th century skills, arts, combat, culture, and employing knowledge of history to enrich the lives of participants through events, demonstrations, and other educational presentations and activities.

According to Godby the SCA has a general liability form which participants must sign.

Council member Jake Adams requested a defined geographic boundary for the event that Godby said he will provide.

The council approved the use of the park contingent on the group’s president approving the plan and a geographic footprint being provided.

Other business

Rachel Runge with Commonwealth Engineers reported the contractors for the water project have reached substantial completion. In coordination with the loan originator, USDA, a substantial completion walk-through is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 11.

The contractors will then have 30 days to complete the punch list.

“We’re still looking to do a public open house sometime in October,” Runge said.

Seward complimented Runge, saying, “you made the process easy for us.”

Currently Channel 2 is a defunct local cable channel. The council voted to suspend payment to the director until if and when the channel gets going again. The director “is on board with the plan,” according to clerk-treasurer Joretta Tinsman.

Resident Jason Teel, 216 W. Capital St., requested consideration of closing an easement west of his house and the next property. Teel said he has no specific plan for the property, however he has been mowing and maintaining it.

The matter will be looked into and discussed at the October Council meeting.

The council decided not to do leveling work at this time on Pavilion I at the park.

The preventative maintenance proposal submitted by Climatek Heating & Cooling was approved.

The plan commission granted a building permit to Brian Beaver for a privacy fence/temporary shed.

There was no police report.

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 7.