The Exeter Village Board met on Tuesday, February 9 in the village library.
After approving the minutes and invoices the board invited Friend Police Chief Shawn Gray to discuss the proposed police contract between the two villages.
Gray explained that under the proposed contract officers would be present in Exeter at least 20 hours per week at a cost of $25,000 per year plus half of training and equipment. Gray added that Friend is still trying to hire another officer as a current officer has interviewed for another job. They also recently hired Grady Hampton Smith who will attend the police academy in May.
Chairman Alan Michl was skeptical about the number of hours Friend officers will be able to devote to Exeter, “Last year we had the two (officers) and we didn’t get many hours with two. When you go back down to two will we just get half of one still?”
Gray responded that they would “Fill the obligation here (Exeter) first. In the contract, no matter how much is going on, we will still have to come over here.”
Board member Bob Mueller also wanted confirmed that there would be “Twenty hours no matter what?”
Gray again reiterated, “That’s the whole reason behind the contract. It is set in stone in the document.”
The board held a discussion on the options open to them in hiring an ordinance officer versus using the police. Michl asked if the contract would be yearly and Gray explained, “Their recommendation is the first year as a trial period and then work from there.”
It was noted that the contract would include $21,000 for labor and $4,000 for the city of Friend to do paperwork and payroll.
“I like the idea of having police here but that’s a big chunk of change,” added board member Justin Harre.
Mueller asked about expenses in the past five years and Michl responded that there was no expense last year. Clerk Becky Erdkamp noted, “It’s been pretty minimal.”
Gray suggested that several board members from Exeter visit with the Friend council and discuss details. The board took no action but discussed meeting with Friend council members.
Exeter resident John Miller came to the board with concerns about a letter he received from the board. Michl explained to him that the letter was not a bill but to just notification of how much the village has spent so far on the inspection on his property.
Librarian Lynette Trauger gave her report to the board. She noted that the library was closed from March to May and in November and that patronage has been down.
She explained that accreditation for the library has been extended to 2023. She reported that she has completed input on the new software for the book checkout system.
This has been especially helpful during the pandemic as “Patrons can look at what is on the shelves. Everything is on the system and they can see what the book is about.”
She also reported that the website is easy to use and she is currently working on purchasing audio books and large print books because “that is what my patrons are using.”
Despite the coronavirus she was able to still have 38 children’s programs and 11 adult programs and has summer reading all planned for this summer. “We will have everything in the park so I don’t have to limit the number to have inside.”
Trauger also reported that she has applied for a matching grant and hopes to use the funds for a new laptop and additional technology including the possibility of e-books.
The next agenda item was the continued remodel of the fire hall. Michl explained that the old cupboards have been removed and to finish everything the estimate is $10,000.00. The board voted to use Keno funds for the project.
The board also voted to purchase the gazebo, handicap swing and the industrial refrigerator from the owners of the nursing home. The fridge will go in the fire hall and the village maintenance department will move the gazebo and the handicap swing to the grass next to the senior center.
The board reviewed the lifeguard applications and voted to hire Draven Payne, Andrew Vavra, and Savanna Horne as long as they get their lifeguard certifications. Rehires at the pool were Cameran Jansky, Emma Olsen, Jaiden Papik, Anna Sluka and Kate Jansky.
The board thanked maintenance supervisor John Mueller for his excellent job cleaning snow.
Clerk Becky Erdkamp reported that sales tax for November was $9416.57 and Keno for December was $180.75. Erdkamp also reported that the York County Sheriff’s department was not able to deliver the nuisance letter.
The next meeting was set for March 9.