BUTLER — While efforts to hire Butler's first code enforcement officer have initially proven unsuccessful, two police officers have stepped up to help with the process.
At Monday's City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Hartman said that in the absence of a code enforcement officer, police officers Joseph Griggs and Corey Rowe have volunteered to come in on their off days to focus on code enforcement issues, at least through the first quarter of the year.
The officers will work 6-8 hours per day on code enforcement issues, Hartman said. The officers will be in uniform and use a backup police car when working code enforcement.
“We’re going to give this a try,” the mayor explained. “That was a goal coming in to have somebody hired the first of the year. That’s not going to work out, so we’re going to try this for the first quarter and see how things go from there.”
The officers will be paid from the code enforcement budget.
Hartman had wanted to have a code enforcement officer hired this month, but an interested candidate decided not to take the position.
Assistant Police Chief Matt Traster told the City Council that officers have identified 82 ordinance violations and have written 13 tickets for code offenses.
City Attorney Cedric Hollabaugh said violators will have an opportunity for a pre-trial conference with him to discuss the ticket. Violators would be given time to correct the issue or they could choose to go to trial in Butler City Court.
“The new procedure going forward gives anyone written a ticket an opportunity to meet with me to talk about the ordinances and if they have any questions, about what their rights are,” Hollabaugh explained. “If we don’t reach an agreement, then I schedule them for trial. That’s when they can meet in front of the judge and the officer will be subpoenaed.”
Beginning next month, Butler’s Board of Works and City Council meetings will start one half-hour earlier.
The changes take effect with the Feb. 3 meetings. The Board of Works will meet at 6:30 p.m. instead of the current 7 p.m. The City Council meeting will start at 7 p.m. — or immediately after the conclusion of the Board of Works meeting — instead of the current 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Board of Works members Robert Haywood and Eric Johnson approved the change to their meeting time. Later, by a 4-0 vote, Johnson and City Council members Tammy Davis, Gale Ryan and Bill White approved the third and final reading to change their meeting time.
In other business, citizens interested in filling the vacant District 1 City Council seat have until Monday, Jan. 27 to notify DeKalb County Republican Party Chairman Rick Ring.
The City Council seat became available when Eric Dohner resigned Jan. 3 to accept a paid position as Butler’s Street Superintendent. Ring said the appointment will be made Thursday, Jan. 30.
In a statement, Ring said because District 1 contains only a portion of the Wilmington 1 precinct, no caucus will be held. The appointment will be made, Ring said, after consulting with the Wilmington 1 precinct committeeman and the mayor.
Interested applicants can email Ring at email@example.com or mail a letter to the DeKalb County Republican Party at P.O. Box 167, Auburn, IN 46706.
By a 4-0 vote, the City Council approved a two-year plan for capital improvements using CEDIT dollars.
City Planner Steve Bingham explained that Butler has to submit a plan to the DeKalb County Auditor in order to spend the funds.
Butler will use $71,000 in CEDIT revenues for continued bond payments of the Thompson Block building, now used as Butler City Hall. That bond is due to be paid off Jan. 15, 2031.
The plan also identifies the following expenditures:
- $14,000 for continued unsafe building enforcement and building demolition;
- $10,000 for sidewalk and curb replacement;
- $10,000 for Butler’s share of operating costs with the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership;
- $5,000 for an annual lease payment for Butler’s new street department buildings and storage facilities; and
- $20,000 for Butler’s share of expenses with High Street reconstruction and a new sidewalk on the west side of that street.
Butler’s Board of Works approved a $12,077 bid — the lowest of three bids submitted — from Shetler Construction of LaGrange to install a new roof at the water treatment plant on West Willow Street.