NEW HAVEN — Since the tragic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., school security has become somewhat of a hot topic, and the Town of New Haven is looking into the possibility of assigning a police officer at New Haven Elementary School.
During the most recent council meeting, Mayor George Gibbs, along with Police Chief D. L. Hardwick, said they would be attending the next board of education meeting to discuss this idea with board members and to see if this possibility or any other ideas are already being considered.
Gibbs said the principal of New Haven Elementary, as well as several teachers, have been approached on the idea and where in favor of having an officer present, as well discussing several other positive opinions from other New Haven residents.
Gibbs said this idea was still in the early planning stages, but listed several possible benefits an officer could provide at the school. In addition to the increased security, Gibbs said the students could become more comfortable being in the presence of a police officer and it would allow them to build a relationship, since children can often be intimidated and afraid to talk to police officers. Gibbs also said if the officer would be from the New Have Police Department, it would also provide the town with another officer when school was not in session.
Also at the council meeting, it was announced that Recorder Roberta Hysell is working with the local fire department on a burning ordinance for the town, which is expected to go into effect before spring. Gibbs stated the ordinance would simply define when local residents could burn, saying it would reflect what local law enforcement have already been enforcing, which was based on mandates from the state. The ordinance would also help provide locals with the proper burning information and would serve as another backup for the fire department and law enforcement when enforcing these rules.
In other council news, Jack Ramsey with the Street Department stated the work to repair the caving in of Layne Street would be held off until spring. Gibbs said there had been some gravel placed on Layne Street temporarily, and explained the work was being held off until spring in order to allow contractors to properly dig up the road and make the necessary repairs that can’t be done in winter. Gibbs said this would also allow the ground to be drier and would prevent the ground from settling as much after the repairs were complete.
Also concerning the street department, council members discussed confusion regarding resident addresses on Allendale Court. According to the minutes, Gibbs will speak with 911 employees on this matter and then contact the residents.
Council members also discussed a drainage problem on Roush Drive and the surrounding streets, addressing a question if the town could place its two remaining drainage boxes on Travis drive as well as clean out boxes that are elsewhere. Council asked that this matter be looked into, as well as an estimated cost for the piping that would be needed if the two drain boxes were installed.
Concerning employees, Patrolmen Cole Johnson and Kyle McCormick were reported to have been with the police department for one year on Feb. 13. Council made a motion to offer the two officers holiday and vacation time, but not insurance, with a first from Councilwoman Sarah Gibbs and a second from Councilwoman Amy Ferguson. It was also announced that Jason Van Meter’s 90-day probationary period has ended. Councilwoman Gibbs made a motion to hire Van Meter full-time, including holidays and vacation time, but no insurance, with a second from Councilman Jim Elias. Both motions carried.
Concerning wastewater, council said they had received one estimate for a step bar, mud flap, and a pipe vice for the new sewer truck. Council decided to wait for more estimates before a decision is made. Concerning the police department, a motion was made for Stephen’s Auto to tune up the police jeep, with a first from Councilwoman Jessica Howard and a second from Councilman Elias. Councilman Elias also made a motion to close the safety deposit box at City National Bank, which will require a one-time fee of $250, with a second from Councilwoman Ferguson. Both motions carried.
Public speaker Terri Roush, owner of The Hut, was also present to discuss a noise complaint that was made against them. Mayor Gibbs said he would look into the situation.
The following building permits were also presented to the council: permit 722, to the Church of God to replace missing shingles; permit 723, to Brenda Merritt to replace a roof. Concerning permit 722, council stated a permit was not needed to only patch certain spots on a roof. A motion to accept permit 723 was made by Councilwoman Howard with a second from Councilwoman Gibbs. Motion carried with one abstention due to being on the zoning board.
The minutes from the previous meeting were read and approved with a first from Councilwoman Gibbs and a second from Councilman Elias. The financial report was also read and approved with a first from Councilwoman Howard and a second from Councilwoman Ferguson. Both motions carried.
In addition to Mayor Gibbs, council members present were Jessica Howard, Kenneth Vickers, Jim Elias, Amy Ferguson, and Sarah Gibbs, and Recorder Roberta Hysell.
The Town of New Haven Council will meet again at 6 p.m., on Jan. 24, at the city building.