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Annexation tops council discussions

By Staff | Dec 10, 2014

At Monday night’s meeting of Middlebourne Town Council, Union Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Aiken questioned council regarding the annexation of Long Reach Federal Credit Union into the city.

Aiken asked council what benefit the town is gaining from the annexation.

“The fact it is located in the area where we will move signs to, we will have tax availability out there from that,” Mayor Charlie Delauder said.

Delauder said the revenue would be approximately a “couple thousand a year.”

“What benefit did the credit union receive from that?” Aiken questioned.

Delauder responded that the credit union is going to build a new building in town and “wanted that property annexed so that they would already be in town when they built their new building.”

“You are on the board of the credit union, aren’t you?” Aiken inquired.

Delauder responded that he was.

“As I understand from a letter written by Mr. Reed (CEO and Manager of Long Reach Federal Credit Union Steven Reed), he was instructed . . .”

“I did not vote on that issue,” Delauder interjected. “I’m very conscious of what I vote on, and I abstained.”

“The last thing I have . . . just something to bring to your attention,” Aiken said. “I noticed that the town approved opening an account with the credit union, and section 844c of the town’s charter requires that the town’s banking accounts be established with an institution that has FDIC insurance. I couldn’t find that to be amended.”

“The account is a clearing account,” Delauder said, adding that it holds a grant of $30,000, “and then it will be paid out to the engineering account.”

“However, the credit union is insured by UCAA, which is the same as FDIC,” Delauder said.

“That’s going to be contrary to your charter,” Aiken said. “I just wanted to bring that to your attention.”

Also Monday, Delauder said the Tyler County Commission’s attorney “asked that we revisit the annexation of the credit union and do it with another code, annexation without election.” Delauder said with this method, the town would have to “redo the ordinance and go for the next three meetings to get it approved again.”

However, Delauder said with this method, the “county commission doesn’t have to have a hearing. It takes them out of the equation.” Delauder stated that originally, the county commission would have to have a hearing, and that this way, “they don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

“By annexing the credit union in, it’s still the credit union’s building. It will be their building no matter what, even when they move into town,” council member Sue Pelikan affirmed with the mayor.

“So one of the benefits of selling it, it would be taxed by the county and the taxes would come to us, by the sale of that property and the city . . . so no matter who goes out there, they would be on the Middlebourne property taxes,” she added.

“When he (Tim Aiken) asked about insured by FDIC, what is it they (the credit union) has?,” council member Vera Henthorn inquired.

“It’s through the National Credit Union Administration,” Delauder noted. “It’s a parallel group with FDIC, except it doesn’t charge as much for insurances as FDIC does.”

“Did we overstep our boundaries in that?” Pelikan asked.

“We will have to look it up and research it,” Delauder noted, adding that the specific matter with insurances just dealt with the account at the credit union and not the annexation.

Delauder noted that the council could do the first reading tonight of the annexation of the credit union property, without election.

In his mayor’s report, Delauder noted that within the past month there had been several sewer problems throughout town. “Most are on the property owners and a couple have been on us. They are both taken care of at this point,” Delauder said.

His report also added that there had been a few water leaks that were taken care of.

In other water and sewage matters, Delauder stated that the town would be drilling an additional test well across the creek from the water plant.

At the Nov. 10 meeting of council, Delauder had informed that the two test wells that had been drilled for the town’s water system would not produce enough water for the town. He stated that the first well near the water plant made six gallons of water in a 12-hour period. The second test well at the city park made about six gallons of water a minute.

Delauder said that when the water treatment plant was built, no one looked at the creek and saw that it was muddy. He said the water tank is 14 feet deep, with 10 feet of it being mud. Because of the mud being treated with a chemical, the town can’t let it go back into the creek. He said the town would have to take it out and take it to the garbage dump.

The new plan would involve putting a device in the bottom of the tank that constantly works along the bottom of the tank and sweeps mud out and goes down into the sewer system. However, the plan to just remove the mud itself would cost $500,000.

In other matters, Delauder commended Middlebourne’s Town Police Officer, Tim Cecil, for his hard work.

“Last week he had a traffic stop that had license from another car, a homemade inspection sticker, a person in the back with a rifle, a quantity of meth, needles, and pipes for smoking meth as well as speeding,” he said, adding the case had been turned over to the prosecuting attorney.

Also in his mayor’s report, Delauder said the town’s dump track has had two doors replaced as well as rocker panels on the cab. He said the doors and rocker panels have been painted to match the truck. The total cost was approximately $1,400.

Council also approved of the treasury report, which included approximately $72,100 in savings, $20,000 of which belongs to the library; approximately $15,000 in an account dedicated to the water program, and approximately $10,000 in a savings account dedicated to the sewer department.

In another matter, council approved using the town’s old gymnasium to install devices to give the town Wi-Fi access. Delauder said this would be free of cost to the town, as long as they allow for signs to be installed at each of the town’s entrances.

Also, council member Vera Henthorn spoke of the town’s EMS and fire department having issues with vehicles parked in their lot.

“They usually have four spots out back to park, and they usually have a couple in front,” Henthorn said. “People are taking the spots, and when they have a call, they can’t get the people and can’t find a place to park. They had an emergency call a couple weeks ago or so, and one of the ones that were working to go in the ambulance had to park way beyond the library and run down there.

“There’s no place to park, and while you are trying to find a place to park, someone is dying,” Henthorn said. adding she thought the EMS was wanting council to help purchase the signs. However, no action was taken at Monday night’s meeting.

Delauder received permission from council to attend a Municipal League Mid-Winter Conference Feb. 1-3.