COVINGTON, Ind. — Fire chief Joe Whitaker announced at Monday's city council meeting he will retire at the end of the year. Whitaker has been fire chief since 2010.
Whitaker said the fire department has come a long way since he started with the department 31 years ago. He added there were 16 firefighters when he started and now there are 24 firefighters and a lot more training. He thanked the city and the community for their support.
“I have enjoyed it and I have the support of a good set of well-trained officers,” Whitaker said. Although he is retiring, Whitaker will remain in his role with Fountain County Emergency Management and as the ADA director for Covington.
In other business, city council members:
-Passed Resolution 2013-2 that is an additional appropriation of $12,242 to the police pension fund. The additional appropriation comes as a necessity since Chief Larry Weber retired earlier this year. The same amount has already been allowed for in the 2014 budget.
+ Heard from Carol Freese that the Indiana Canal Society would like to give the city a $2,000 informational sign on the Wabash & Erie Canal. The society visited the area in April and will be back later this month. Lock 36 of the canal was located between Pearl and Crocket Streets just south of the bridge. The lock had a 10-foot drop. Preliminary drawings of the sign should be ready early next and Freese will return at that time.
+ Received quotes and additional information on the sewer lift station upgrade and renovation from water superintendent Greg Myers. Wabash Valley of Terre Haute provided different options including quotes of $52,301.16, $46, 417.11, and $30,411.56. FJF Services of Fowler provided a quote of $48,304. American Pump of New Palestine, Ind., provided a quote of $60,000. Myers said that American Pump wants to tear everything out of the lift station and Wabash Valley and FJF just want to replace the pumps, motors and control panels. Myers said his main concern is the existing panel failing. The control panel has been in operation for 37 years. Council members tabled the decision to review the quotes.
+ Heard from street superintendent Rick Smith that beginning December 4th the city will only be collecting leaves in bags. No more leaves should be raked or blown onto the street. The leaf vacuum is done for the year.
+ Passed a motion have only one a meeting during the months of January, February and March in 2014. The meetings will be on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. Next regular city council meeting will be 7 p.m. Dec. 16.