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Pool fill uncovers rust in Roanoke fire hydrants

A rust-filled pool, a street beautification project, new ticketing systems for police vehi-cles and modification of the town's budget were all major items discussed at the Roanoke Town Council meeting on June 2.

Karen Baker, of Oak Park Drive, requested to have her pool filled by the Roanoke Fire Department earlier in the year.

When the request was granted, at a cost to her of the local water rate, the fire department filled her pool with 10,500 gallons of water last week - but the water that ended up in her pool was filled with rust.

The problem was traced to the source of the contaminated water - a neighboring fire hydrant.

Baker said she was willing to make a donation to the fire department for its time, but she did not want to pay for the water.

Fire Chief Chad Taylor promised that the fire department agreed to "take care of" the problem for Baker.

This issue raised the question as to why the water in the hydrant was polluted with rust.

Upon investigation, the council discovered from Assistant Town Superintendent John Hitzemann that the fire hydrants have not been flushed in the past few years, due to the utility and fire departments being occupied with other things.

However, two other pools in the Roanoke area had been filled by the fire department with no reported problems.

"This may be the last year to do it," Taylor said, referring to the amount of time taken to fill the pools, and the department's limited amount of that resource.

Phil Hibbert, from architectural and engineering firm DLZ, was present to discuss when to open bids for construction of sidewalks, repaving and installation of a new sewer system in relation to the Canal Street project. Bidding is now tentatively scheduled for late July or August, with the selection in September.

The council also approved the purchase of new UV filter lights for the town's water sup-ply, with one councilman opposing.

Fireworks will also be provided by the town; that money will come out of the rainy day fund, and will be a budgeted item next year.

Marshal Kip Rupert of the Roanoke Police Department was present to discuss the new "e-ticketing" systems to be put into use in town police vehicles.

The new system uses the bar code on the back of driver's licenses to quickly pull up records and information. Rupert says the state of Indiana will pay for the new equipment, but the department needs new laptops that have enough memory to support the e-ticket system.

Rupert requested $,2450 to come out of the department's "non-vehicle equipment fund" to pay for the computers.

There was also discussion about the purchase of a new vehicle for the department. The oldest of the three squad cars is a 2003 model year with 94,000 miles, which the department would like to see replaced.

Councilman Nick Altman says there is $12,000 currently in a fund for a new squad car, which the department may use. However, that money is supposed to accrue over time as a budget item, but has not appeared on the budget for a number of years. Council President John Stoeckley asked the council to find out during budget meetings in the next month why the item was removed, and how to place it back in the budget.

The Clerk/Treasurer's Office also hired another deputy clerk/treasurer to work a minimal amount of hours in the upcoming month. Councilman Troy Karshner was frustrated by the hiring, because the issue wasn't brought to the council first.

Stoeckley also commented throughout the evening on the current budget. He said the budget will be impacted by $10,000 to $20,000 less income in the next year, and that the council members need to meet with their respective department heads by July 1 to discuss ways the town can save money. Meetings will be held during the second week of July to adjust the budget.