Thefts from vehicles in Geneva on rise

    Geneva Marshall Rob Johnson reported during the town's council meeting on Tuesday that there has been an increase in the number of calls to the police regarding items being stolen out of vehicles.
    Johnson said, "We encourage people to keep their car doors locked" to avoid becoming a victim of this increasingly popular crime. He also said to make sure to report any theft to the Geneva Police Department as soon as possible because, "We will go out of our way to check it out."
    Johnson also reported that there has been an increase in noise complaints, such as people playing music in their cars too loudly. Because there is no town noise ordinance, council members agreed to have Clerk-Treasurer Bill Warren draft an ordinance for review at an upcoming meeting. Warren noted that Berne and Fort Wayne have noise ordinances that are similar to each other and measure noise in footage as opposed to decibels. The Geneva ordinance will likely follow suit.
    In other police news, Johnson said that the Geneva PD is new to the Defense Logistics Agency’s RTD program. According to Johnson, the program is "a way that the federal government takes surplus items, either used and no longer needed, or things that are new and never used, and gives local government an opportunity to obtain the items that taxpayers have already paid for."
    As a law enforcement agency, the Geneva Police Department has signed up and been approved to utilize the program. In order to obtain items, officials look through a virtual website to see what is available. Johnson said, "If it’s something we need, we put in a requisition with the program. The requisition has to be approved by three different levels and we are then sent a form which explains whether or not we have successfully been granted or denied the request. If granted, we have a given number of days to either get the items picked up or shipped to us."
    Johnson added, "This program is not new but we are new to it. The Adams County Sheriff’s Department currently uses the program and the Berne Police Department has used the program in the past."
    Johnson said, "We are in the process of obtaining a 60,000-watt generator [through the program] valued at more than $14,000."
    Additionally, Johnson and Fire Chief John Patch reported that their respective departments have been continuing training. The police department finished mental health awareness training last month and will move on to firearms training this month. The fire department just completed rope training.
    Patch also reported that the fire department roofing project is coming along nicely. The framing has been done and the steel has been ordered. Warren added that the snow and ice guards "should minimize the potential for leaks in the future."
    In other business, a pre-adoption hearing on the 2013 budget was held. The advertised budget amount is $715,767. A budget adoption hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2.
    While discussing the budget, a concern arose regarding the rising cost of benefits for town employees. Warren said, "Health insurance is a concern. We'll have to watch it and see if we need to possibly make adjustments in the future." In the meantime, however, Warren said, "We will continue to look for ways to reduce costs so we can continue to pay benefits."