Mayor presents state of the city local news batesvilleheraldtribune.com hp gas online login

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“The city has been working on a long-term water solution for about 10 years. We bought land in Franklin County so we can connect to an aquifer and have the water pumped here. We will be changing from a total surface water system to a blended surface water/groundwater system … to have a guaranteed water source.”

“In 2017, we completed the earthen basin liner replacement, installed 600 feet of slip liner on the north interceptor and completed a flow study for capacity from the north side to the WWTP …. This year, we will conduct a flow study to potentially transfer some of the flow from the north interceptor to the south interceptor.”

“There are 12 full-time members of the police department, with five full-time dispatchers and two part-time ones. Their No. 1 goal is to keep our community and citizens safe. To accomplish this, we will continue to focus on community policing and make drug enforcement one of our top priorities.”

“The fire department has three full-time employees, and we’re in the process of hiring an additional full-time person this year …. We are always looking for volunteers …. but we’ve got to look at how we can transition to a full-time fire department.”

“You’re going to see a whole lot of activity at the fire station this year,” Bettice emphasized. “A new storage/training facility will be built …. The good news for taxpayers is it is being paid for by the volunteer firemen, thanks to their fundraisers.”

The street department will be working on “a major stormwater project this year (on Main Street and Hillenbrand Avenue). Employees also have their usual summer paving projects and “we will be tearing down the former Feller’s Service Station.” That property is now owned by the city.

“Around the city, I’m considered Mr. Safety,” Bettice announced. In 2017, several safety trainings were completed, including snow plow, confined spaces, backhoe/skid steer, heat stress, CPR, lawn mower/weed eater, chainsaw and weekly toolbox talks. More are planned for 2018.

Coalition for a Drug-Free Batesville members “are very much engaged” in prevention efforts. There are also treatment options available locally: Andy Hertel with Better Options, Batesville, has outpatient services; Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based recovery program, meets Thursdays at 6 p.m. after a free 5:15 p.m. dinner at Batesville Christian Church; Margaret Mary Health is starting up intensive outpatient services; and Community Mental Health Center offers outpatient services, and also in-service programs in Lawrenceburg, he reported.

“The final piece of the puzzle is enforcement. If we have people who think they are going to sell their drugs in Batesville, and we come in contact with them, they will be prosecuted. Both the Ripley and Franklin county prosecutors will aggressively enforce the laws.”

The mayor said the priorities of the city’s new comprehensive plan include increasing population, housing and good jobs; continuing to improve downtown; and marketing and promoting the community to achieve these priorities. The plan’s executive summary can be viewed at https://batesvilleindiana.us.

He said, “We need to think about things differently. We need balance within market segments …. We have invested a lot of money to go after the big fish by trying to attract large businesses to Batesville. But I think we also need to address those people who want smaller retail facilities ….

He also noted, “Our water quality is excellent …. (and) the subsurface water we will be getting (from the Whitewater River aquifer between Metamora and Brookville) is different than surface water. It will be hard water, but we will treat it to be soft water.”

The mayor responded, “We don’t have enough money in any one fund to buy it. Also, we don’t know what the yearly maintenance costs are …. and now we’re heavily invested in the industrial park (on Merkel Road) and the shell building. The last thing I think we should do is take our balance down to zero and then find” the city has other unexpected expenses.

“I had conversations with folks in Franklin County, and they are not in a position to buy it either. It comes with a big price tag, but it comes with some benefits, too …. I believe if you can’t afford the price tag, you don’t do it. At this point, I don’t think Batesville can afford it.”