CENTER POINT -- The Center Point town council conducted its monthly meeting Tuesday to discuss current town issues.
While multiple topics were broached, the bulk of the discussion was an issue that many Clay County citizens are currently facing: Water.
The meeting began with town attorney Eric Somheil reading an ordinance that outlined a 167 percent increase in the town's water cost. The increase is being enforced by the city of Brazil, which is mandating increases in the towns of Harmony, Carbon and Knightsville in addition to Center Point.
While the increase comes off alarmingly high, one county citizen suggested that the town engage in even larger spending to ensure long-term improvement in the town's water. Wrangle Thomas suggested to the board that further spending measure be taken to assure a long-term improvement to Center Point's 42-year-old water system.
"If we don't rise above the standard now instead of just meeting it, things won't work out down the road," Thomas said.
Town Board President Roy Smith said Thomas' idea was something the board would definitely have to look into, but said the idea "was not even at the planning stage," due to underfunding.
The town is also working with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) on what Smith called a "routine inspection" of the town's water supply. Through IDEM, the town is also trying to develop a position for an operator to run the newly revised water system.
IDEM has a test that hopeful applicants can take in order to obtain the position. The test will be taken by water superintendent Brad Barrett in either May or November, which are the two months which the test is made available. Smith is also planning to take the exam as a "fall-back plan."
In addition to being a potential backup water operator, Smith said another reason he is planning to take the test is that he, and the rest of the board, may be more thoroughly educated on water issues so they will be applying more than second hand knowledge when water issues arise.
The board also discussed plans to create the position of a Parks Secretary. County Commissioners Jack and Steve Withers said that caps were being placed on town parks and the state would no longer fund the parks by 2010. Smith said a plan was being worked out where incorporating towns will be contacted to see about making the parks
city funded. The board is not currently aware of who owns the property at this time and is looking into the matter.
Meanwhile, the board passed a motion for the creation of a public donation fund. This gave the town permission to accept public donations from town citizens for various functions around the community, such as supplying gas cards for the Town Marshal. Clerk/Treasurer Roger Campbell said he knew it would be a struggle to get donations due to the rough conditions of the local economy, but was hopeful people would give what they could.
"We obviously can't twist people's arms," Campbell said. "But with this motion, we can at least accept them."
The March meeting has been moved from its normal time, which is the first Tuesday of the month, due to a conflicting work schedule for Smith.
The meeting will take place at Town Hall Saturday, March 7, at 9 a.m.