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Hawesville City Council; discusses switching banks

The Hawesville City Council met on Tuesday, March 14th. They discussed the possibility of moving the city’s banking activities from First Financial, previously Hancock Bank, to Independence Bank in Hawesville

In an effort to find a less expensive rate on the Visa and Master Cards and lowering or eliminating other banking fees, Hawesville Mayor Rob McCormick said, “We’re looking at moving our monies to another institution right now. We had a presentation that they (Independence Bank) gave us, which was excellent. We will draw points on Visas but as far as people setting-up to pay by ACH, those fees will still apply. They will be the same. No change.

The best thing to do is for people to use a check, and give them a routing number and an account number and that way there’s no charge at all. They can automatically deduct their water bill every month, and there will be no charge to the customer. We’ll have to change it. The customers won’t; it’ll be us.”

McCormick stated that he and Hawesville City Clerk Lora Basham and Hancock County Clerk Trina Ogle had met with people from Independence Bank again after the initial presentation. “It was very productive,” he said, “I feel like we’re moving in the right direction with what we’re going to do.”

He went on to say that the interest rates they will be drawing are “exceptional” with the switch-over to Independence Bank. “We’ve looked at the CDs,” McCormick said. “To cash-in the CDs is going to be very easy because they have no accumulative value. Some of the interest rates are very nice that we’re going to be drawing. We’re actually going to be generating revenue off of our monies. There are no fees at all involved with this bank. None. They treat government entities in a way that they’re very fair. I’m really impressed with that.”

Lift Station Update

Todd Adkins reported that he and city workers are getting ready to start making movements on purchasing 2 pumps and a railing system for the 1847 lift station in Hawesville. There is only one pump running on the lift station currently and it requires two. In addition, the one existing pump is only running at 60 % efficiency. They decided on the purchase of 2 grinder pumps, a different style, because their first choice would take 3-6 months to arrive

There is a small pond downstream from the receiving ditch, and if the lift station went down the sewer would run downstream into that pond. They are trying to get the new pumps and railing system installed before a catastrophe hits the lift station. The pumps have failed on a number of occasions over the last few years and the matter is being handled very quickly. “That lift station is our number one priority,” McCormick said. “Our superintendent and that whole department is on top of things, very well. I thank you all for that.”

Police Update

Councilman Danny Doyle provided a police update. “I’m hoping more people will (show up to these meetings, eventually) and take an interest in your city,” he said. “The police cruiser, preventative maintenance wasn’t done properly on it. I had Cody (Axton, new Hawesville Chief of Police) take it over to Evansville and they looked at it. We didn’t get very good news.”

Axton said, “They told us they wanted to install a roll restrictor on it. It’s kind of shaking the front-end whenever you accelerate or de-accelerate. They said with the roll restrictor it would be a 50/50 shot – it would either work or it wouldn’t, it would just be a gamble we’d have to take. After that, if that wouldn’t work, you’d get into your torque converters and a complete transmission replacement, which is obviously thousands of dollars. So, we are waiting. It wasn’t an issue we felt pressing at that time but eventually it’s going to get to that point if we let it sit.”

Councilman Doyle said his opinion is to take the vehicle to Hardinsburg because they are the best in transmissions and they already have the diagnostic paperwork on the vehicle. “We know what needs to be done,” Doyle said. “I suggest we take it up there, when time permits, to have a look at it and go from there. We’ll bring it back to the council and we’ll discuss which direction we want to go – put more money into this vehicle, or get another one. It served its purpose. It would’ve served us longer if it would’ve been taken care of. I tried to get it taken care of but our other officer didn’t seem to have the time to take it over when it needed to be taken.

Mayor McCormick stated, “I’m of one that doesn’t believe in pouring good money into bad money because it makes bad money very quickly. At some point in time in the near future after we get through with these audits and see exactly what’s there, then we’ll have to be talking about the possibility of a new police cruiser.”

Councilman Doyle said he wants to purchase what is going to last and that he has looked at several different ones. “I’d kind of like to see what could be done with this old one before we have to spend a lot of money,” he said. “That’s my common sense in thinking of it. I think we just need to research and find out what can be done at this point.”

Councilman Justin Basham will be documenting sidewalk & street repair needed

“Me and Councilman Basham (new Hawesville City Council member, Justin Basham) have talked this week,” Mayor McCormick said. “It really thrills me what he’s going to take on. He’s going to take on the streets and the sidewalks that need repair and he’s going to go around through the city on his days off and document what we need to do. Because we do have some municipal road aid that we need to be using to better our city.

Councilman Tracy Johnson inquired about handicapped accessibility on the city’s sidewalks. McCormick said, “Right now, I’m looking at, if sidewalks have to be handicapped accessible, and I believe we have to be ADA compliant now. There are sidewalks that do grandfather-in but if we replace them, we have to make them compliant. I do want to make it be friendlier for anybody to (walk and move around in wheelchairs) on. We’ll get all that answered as we start moving forward. He’s going to go all around the city and drive the roads and see what needs to be done. I know there are some areas that are in bad need of repair.”

Coalition to Improve Downtown Hawesville

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it in 37 years,” Paula Gray said. “It’s a shame. When you come off the bridge you can’t even see what town you’re in in the dark. There’s no light on it. If you have any suggestions on what would look good, or what you would like to see in it and we’ll do it that way.”

Mayor McCormick responded, “Paula we appreciate that and Becky Gaynor has said she’d be on the coalition with you. I can get you that number. She has several people who would like to be a part of that also. We’ve got some gentlemen in town who are willing to be a part of cleaning up some of the yards and helping people, and things like that. So if we start here and move east, we’re going to look beautiful before long. We’ll come back down the street and move west on the other side and we’ll be in shape. I’m just tickled to have Paula. I’ve known her a long time and I know she’ll do a great job.”

County Emergency Services Report

Fire Chief Shane Richards stated: “I have a report for our runs for the first two months of the year. So far, we’re looking at 85 runs for the year. That’s well ahead of our average for the last several years. The number shows 102, that’s because (this paperwork) was printed on the fifth of the month, which included the storm system that came through. That night alone, we made 12 different responses out of our station. County emergency services responded to over 40 calls during that one night. Even without that, we’re on-pace to be very busy this year already.

We had 3 grants that we turned in for the fire commission for replacing our AEDs that we have in the station. We got denied for that grant. We had one turned in to replace our 4-gas meter, what we use for carbon monoxide detection, etc. That was denied as well. The last grant was for our battery combination tool, which will supplement the tools that we just got last year, and we were denied for that grant. So, three up and 3 down with the fire commission this year

We actually turned in one today and went for a Division of Forestry Grant, which is a 50/50 split grant. That got turned in today and we’ll, hopefully, have some news in on that. That would go toward replacing some of the things we’ve lost during the crash and replacing some of our brush firefighting equipment.”

McCormick asked if there is anything the city could do, as they continue to get denied on these grant monies. “As of right now, we don’t have anything on this end that would be open yet. When those become available we’ll give you all a call,” Richards said. McCormick said the council will be glad to help.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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