By Tim Pinkham
LOOGOOTEE — The Loogootee City Council discussed three major issues Tuesday night, but ended up tabling all of them until the Nov. 13 meeting.
Issues raised included golf cart use by minors, residence restrictions for city employees and a water conservation ordinance.
Mayor Noel Harty said a Loogootee woman had requested her 16-year-old son be allowed to drive a golf cart on city streets. The current city ordinance concerning golf carts states drivers must be at least 18 years old.
Harty said he understood both sides of the issue. Younger drivers are less mature and more reckless. On the other hand, if they are old enough to possess a valid driver’s license, he saw no reason why the city should restrict their right to drive a golf cart.
As for city employees, most are currently required to live within the city limits, since their salaries are paid by city taxpayers. However, after five years of employment, city police and firefighters may move anywhere in Martin County within 15 miles of Loogootee. The residency restriction does not apply to part-time workers. Harty said city officials were “hammered” this past year because many of the lifeguards hired to work at the city pool lived outside the city limits.
Councilman Rich Taylor defended the action, saying most of the lifeguards hired had previous experience with the city and had a good employment history.
Councilman John Fraley suggested amending the current city ordinance to allow all city employees with five years of service be allowed to move out of the city limits if they so desire, as long as they still reside in Martin County.
The matter was tabled until November because Clerk-Treasurer Nancy Jones said she first needed to find out the exact wording on the current ordinance concerning residence for city employees.
Despite 8 inches of rain during the past month, Utilities Manager Bo Wilson still supports a water conservation ordinance.
He said this past summer’s drought was the worst he has seen during his 24 years with the city.
Wilson said the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has been pressuring him to have the ordinance approved. The proposed ordinance includes a provision to temporarily suspend supplying water to entities outside the city during a severe drought. This is because Loogootee taxpayers financially support the Water Department.
Taylor said the city would be hypocritical to cut off supplying water to those outside the city while it lost thousands of gallons of water each month during the summer because of a major leak at the city pool.
Harty, who spent years on the city’s Park and Recreation Board before becoming mayor, said a decision needs to be made soon about the future of the city pool.
In other business, Harty said Shop & Taste Martin County will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at the community building, 2664 U.S. Hwy. 50.
Admission will be $10 per person. The event will include samples from local food establishments and information about local businesses.
Tuesday’s meeting was a day later than normal due to the Columbus Day holiday.
The next meeting will also be a day later, Nov. 13, because the Veteran’s Day holiday will be celebrated on Nov. 12.