Barry Ritter, public safety consultant for Union County, presented updates to the Liberty Town Council on the state of the county's Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

First up was the new inter-local agreement for emergency communications between Union County and Liberty. The town had funded 25 percent of employee compensation for PSAP under the old agreement. Under the new agreement, the town continues to pay 25 percent of employee compensation and now, if the county needs to make capital improvements to PSAP equipment, the county can ask Liberty to contribute to those expenses, although the agreement does not require the town to contribute any certain amount. LTC voted to sign the new agreement.

Ritter then utilized the new clause in the agreement explaining the extent of the new equipment needed for PSAP. The current radio system was installed in 2013 and has been severely damaged by two lightning strikes. The system is in such bad shape Ritter recently brokered an agreement between Union County and Wayne County. If Union County's PSAP system is to fail, Wayne County will provide communication services for a limited time until the local system is repaired.

The most recent lightning strike netted the county a $92,000 insurance settlement. Last week county commissioners decided to accept a quote of $176,909 offered by J&K Communications of Indianapolis for installation of a new system. The county will need to come up with $84,909 to fund the remainder. Under the new agreement, Ritter asked LTC to contribute.

In addition, the physical location of the equipment has not yet been set in stone. Ritter does not want to install the equipment into the Sheriff's building due to the potential to have to move it again. Ritter suggests building a communications hut at the base of the tower. The tower is on county property but adjacent to town property. Ritter asked to power the hut from the building currently housing the Liberty Police Department, Liberty Clerk Treasurer's Office and Liberty Fire Department. To run power from the jail, it would need to run under the asphalt parking lot and a retaining wall.

LTC agreed to look into having a separate electric meter installed on the town's building to run the communication hut. There was some concern about the town's backup generator being able to handle the additional load of the communications equipment; Ritter specified a 60 amp service. LTC

President Matt Barnhizer will check with the town's electrician on the status of the generator.

LTC discussed how much the town could contribute to the equipment purchase. Barnhizer suggested they could try to contribute the same 25 percent they contribute to payroll expenses. Ritter replied the county would likely appreciate anything the town can contribute.

Also discussed:

LTC signed Resolution 2020-7 to move a certificate of deposit from West End Bank, which has recently been acquired by 3 Rivers Credit Union, to Bath State Bank. State law bars credit unions from servicing municipal accounts.

A resident is undertaking renovations to an inground pool this spring and has inquired about utilizing a nearby fire hydrant to refill the pool. Discussion ensued and town utility supervisor Matt Reuss warned about the multiple issue that can arise from opening a hydrant: damage to the hydrant, damage to the water main, a drop in water pressure could affect water availability to other residents and risk potential contamination of the water supply. 

In the end, the board decided against allowing any special access to fire hydrants. Barnhizer explained that in the few years he has been on the LTC, the board has updated a lot of town ordinances that had not been updated in decades. The board could potentially write up a new ordinance that would adequately protect the town from liability, but it would not happen quickly.

Reuss reported the hazardous tree on Seminary Street discussed at the May 4 meeting has been cut down. He has been working on a new list of potentially dangerous trees and presented five trees that block the view of traffic or a stop sign. Both Reuss and the Liberty Police Chief agreed the trees do pose a safety risk. 

Barnhizer was hesitant to cut down healthy living trees and suggested researching if any traffic accidents have occurred because of the trees. Until more information is available, Barnhizer asked Reuss to focus on dead or damaged trees that are at risk of falling. Reuss agreed and reported he has found 10 to 12 damaged trees that should be looked at further.