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Board addresses concerns with marshal program

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

(Photo)
Roy Smith
Dictating the role of the town marshal created quite a stir during a meeting of the Center Point Town Board on Tuesday.

When discussing the town's budget, Clerk-Treasurer Roger Campbell struck a nerve when he announced $7,500 was being dedicated to non-salary expenses for Town Marshal Ken Wilkins.

Town resident Ron Moon was adamant in stating he did not support any funds being streamed into a fund for a program he felt was unworthy of financial backing.

"I opposes any new money for the Town Marshal," Moon said. "The program is worthless. I see it as a joke."

Much of Moon's outrage was provoked buy what he felt was a shabby appearance record by Wilkins, saying he never saw him in town, most notably during period of time when Wilkins was in Florida. Board President Roy Smith came to Wilkins' aid, stating he was there working.

The position of Town Marshal is part-time. Wilkins was not present at the meeting, as he was busy with his other job with Honest Abe Roofing.

Moon completed his addressing of the board by saying he wanted to see a local program for people to elect the Marshal in a judiciary manner, and if the board chose to proceed with the budget as it stands, he had enough signatures from townsfolk to prevent them from doing so.

Smith said Moon needed to present a petitions with at least 10 signatures from townspeople before any action could be taken. If he presents the signatures, the case will be taken before the Department of Local Government Financial Committee for a public hearing. However, Smith said he was skeptical Moon was able to acquire that many.

Moon then abruptly departed, but the discussion continued on for several minutes afterwards.

Smith said a big problem was that people were too broad in their complaints of the marshal. Smith was visibly upset about some of the complaints and was rather flip in some of his responses, saying the council received a great deal of complaints by residents upset he was either doing too much or not enough to combat local crime.

"Most of these arguments are circular," Smith said. "He's either doing nothing or doing something bad. It can't be both."

One specific gripe Smith had was with parents upset about their teenage children being given speeding tickets late at night, with parents who implied the marshal should have better things to do. Smith countered this argument by saying he thinks people should be grateful to have someone monitoring late-night activity, as it is a time which creates a high rate of crime.

In addition to having Wilkins serve his post, the town has also set up testing for residents Bram Sanders and Dustin True, who they are hoping to appoint to the position of reserve marshal.

Smith closed by saying he "wasn't in favor of having or not having a marshal either way." He did seem however, to believe having one served a valuable purpose, and if Center Point was going to go through with keeping one, they needed to make sure whoever held the position had all available assets to assure he could do the best job possible.

"If we're going to have (a marshal) we need to have one to the best of our abilities," Smith said. "This means we need to spend more money on it."

The board will approve the final budget at a public meeting on Oct. 20 at Town Hall.

Also discussed at the meeting was the appropriation for loan money, paid for by the state, in a fund which would pay back the town a percentage of relief not covered by FEMA during the flood of 2008.

Amy Miller of Conservation Grants Management, Greenwood, was on hand and presented the board with documents to sign which would give them an additional $6,032.52 in relief. Miller said much of the documentation presented to the board was to make sure "all the I's were dotted and T's were crossed."

Miller said she was expecting to receive a letter of award within the coming weeks.


Comments
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mabey you can get barney fife

-- Posted by nobob on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 10:08 PM

If the man is handing out speeding tickets then it sounds to me like he is doing his job. At least in that respect. Sounds like those parents should be glad he gave their kids a ticket instead of complaining about receiving one. It's good to go to bat for your kids but when they do something that is against the law then they should be punished.

-- Posted by Jed on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 6:16 AM

What, non-salary expenses is the $7,500 for? That amount does not seem high for upkeep, payments, and fuel for a car for a year.

On the issue of law enforcement, I would rather my child tell me that he had been ticketed for speeding than an officer tell me that my child is dead.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 1:19 PM


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