By Carol Kinsley

 At the Blades Town Council meeting on Sept. 12, the second reading of a proposed ordinance establishing contractors’ licenses and fees again elicited a heated discussion. Town Administrator Lisa Marks read only a portion of the long document, providing a clarification that “landscaper,” in this case, meant architecture and design rather than lawn mowing and upkeep. 

Vice Mayor Michael Smith, however, questioned whether a maintenance contract purchased for an HVAC system, for example, might be construed to require licensing by the repairman. Marks explained “install or repair” would require a contract. “The purpose of the ordinance is to protect town residents,” she added. 

Under the ordinance, contractors — “Any person, firm, corporation, or jobber engaged in building, altering, repairing, remodeling, constructing, and/or maintaining of buildings or engaged in any other type of construction, including but not limited to paving, curbing, and sidewalk installation or repair, plumbing, electrical, landscaping, or other types of maintenance or construction” — would need a $100 license and liability insurance listing the town of Blades as the certificate holder. Furthermore, “the Town Administrator and/or his/her designee shall have the authority to make or have made all inspections and investigations reasonably necessary to enforce this chapter and to perform inspections in order to ensure that the construction, maintenance, or other work is in compliance with all applicable building, safety, zoning, and other city codes.” 

The ordinance will have a third and final reading at the October meeting, after which the council will vote. 

The police department is advertising for new officers and is also looking for a part-time clerk. To qualify for special funding, applicants for the clerk position must be at least 55 years old and unemployed for the last six months. Training is available. The town is also looking for a new employee for the office who meets the same qualifications. 

A new Tahoe purchased for the police department is getting lettering and equipment. Meanwhile, Hertrich notified Chief Martin Willey that the Ford F150 Police pickup he had ordered while still working for the town of Wyoming was available. The dealership offered a good price and a USDA Rural Development grant will cover 30 percent of the cost, explained Police Commissioner Donald Trice. The chief’s present vehicle will be offered for sale when replaced, Trice added. Trice thanked Chief Willey for doing “a real good job” so far. 

Water Commissioner Nancy McAdams reported work at the water treatment plant is all completed except for the paperwork. “We are still waiting for parts” for one of the pumps, she said. 

A resolution was approved in support of an Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails Grant which will provide new picnic tables for the park, some of them handicap-accessible. 

Parks and Cemetery Commissioner Pierre Gaither said he is working with Chief Willey to replace security cameras in the park. 

Details on two matters resolved earlier were provided as information only. Mayor Robert Atkinson commented, “It has taken years to extend town water down Route 13 and across the highway. Every time I thought it was resolved, something came up to delay it. This extension will double the size of the town if developers do what they should do.” 

Town Administrator Marks said, “We were at the point that we needed a council vote so we can move forward. The faster we get going, the better.” 

After an executive session following the June town council meeting, the council resumed the regular meeting and approved a motion to extend water across Route 13 to i.g. Burton and the Print Shack Inc., and to extend the line an additional 500 feet, ending with a fire hydrant. 

In that same meeting, the council voted to give each town employee a $1,000 bonus, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021(ARPA), and to give town employees a weekly $20 cost of living raise, effective July 1, 2022. 

Questioned on whether the town had any plans to do anything for children at Christmas, something the late Joseph McCabe Sr. and his wife and son had spearheaded for some 18 years, Willey responded, “The police department will take that and run with it from here on out.” 

Marks said funds remaining from past years would be given to the “Bless the Children” campaign. 

Trice noted that McCabe’s garage was “absolutely stuffed with toys” when he passed away, and these items would be given out this year.