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Prior to conducting regular business, everyone present at the Geneva Town Council meeting on Tuesday sat in silence for a moment to honor and remember Rosie Puterbaugh. Puterbaugh served as the town's deputy clerk-treasurer for many years until her death from heart surgery complications last Friday.
During the meeting, a public hearing was held on the 2012 budget. Clerk-Treasurer Bill Warren said, "There have been no comments [on the budget], either written or verbal." Likewise, there were no comments during the public hearing.
Another hearing will be held in October, at which time the council will ratify the budget that outlines $553,787 in spending for 2012, approximately $8,000 less than the 2011 budget.
Warren said, "It [the 2012 budget] will be a challenge, and it will still be a challenge this year. But we have to work with what we've got. We can't go into debt."
In other business, Bob Savage of Red Gold was on hand to ask the town to approve a declaratory resolution for the designation of an economic revitalization area upon the application of Red Gold in the amount of $10 million over three years for equipment.
Savage said that Red Gold has no major project on tap right now, but that it has a "long list" of smaller projects. He added that the company is still hoping to have some major projects, and if it does commit to something like that, he will approach the town in the future and ask for an extension. "It's going to be a while before we can make a final decision," he said.
Additionally, Savage said, "Right now, we're not expecting any growth in jobs. We are looking to retain jobs."
A hearing on the 10-year Red Gold tax abatement will be held at next month's town council meeting.
Also on hand at the meeting was Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site Director Randy Lehman, who said the Limberlost Welcome Center project went out for bid on Tuesday.
The project will cost approximately $780,000 to construct, and a pre-bid meeting of qualified contractors will be held on September 15. He added that bids are scheduled to be opened on September 28, and will be awarded shortly after that. "That's not a lot of time to bid," he said.
Ground-breaking for the project is set for October 24. "It's going to be a big deal," said Lehman. He added that more than 400 guests are being invited to the event and that there will be some "big V.I.P.s." Lehman did not reveal names however, because the guests will be present "pending acceptance of their invitations."
In department news, Fire Chief John Patch said that the fire department sustained contaminated equipment while fighting the fire at EPC for nearly eight hours last month. He said that boots, gloves and some hoses will have to be replaced because of the nature of the damage. The department's insurance policy is expected to cover the $6,400 bill.
Patch also announced that five new firefighters have begun training to join the department, which will bring the total number of firefighters in Geneva to 27.
Also at the meeting, it was announced that:
— Fox and Sons is scheduled to begin painting Geneva Town Hall in mid-September.
— Roof work on the Hanni building will begin the first week of October.
— Fire hydrants are expected to be flushed during the third or fourth week of October.
— Trick-or-treating is scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, October 27.