Haskins and Staats receive Key to the City

Suzette Lowe

The Ripley City Council was opened in an unusual way, with a story read by Mayor Carolyn Raider. The moral of that story lead into a presentation.

The mayor shared the speech by college baseball coach, John Scolinos, in which he asked a room full of baseball coaches if every home plate measured the same 17 inches. He went on to stress that even if a player has trouble with the size of the plate, the standard never changes, the expectation never is lowered.

Mayor Rader then presented the key to the city Amy Haskins and Wendy Staats from the Jackson County Health Department.

“These two people, through a terrible pandemic, have never lowered their standards, never cut corners, never changed the plate from 17 inches,” said the mayor with emotion. “They had to fight people like me at times to get things going the way they should be. I have the highest respect for them and for their staff.”

Staats spoke briefly saying, “In every situation, even if it took convincing, I was never treated with anything but respect by the mayor. Our whole goal is to work with everyone to protect our community. This pandemic is something we’ve been planning for almost 20 years since we wrote the preparedness plan.”

Several other items were voted upon or reviewed in the meeting lasting well over an hour.

The purchase card policy for the city was discussed. This allows employees to purchase city-related items directly without a payment and reimbursement procedure. Several questions were raised. City Clerk Tom Armstead will present the policy for review and approval at the next council meeting.

In the report by city water officer Jim Mitchum, council was informed that the Ripley water plant is not connected to the internet in any way. No changes can be made by anyone hacking into the system as happened in a recent incident in Florida. He also reported the water loss for the last period was seven percent.

In a review of goals set by council in January 2020, the mayor pointed out that 12 of 14 were completed, including the replacement of sidewalks and lights on South Court Street and the purchase of 72 acres of land adjacent to Walmart.

In other business, council members Carolyn Waybright, Danny Martin, Rick Buckley, John McGinley, Bryan Thompson and City Recorder David Casto:

• Learned that city attorney Kevin Harris is continuing to contact someone regarding the sidewalk project leading to Walmart

• Learned from Chief of Police Brad Anderson that the new traffic pattern at the beginning and ending of school at Ripley Elementary continues to work we

• Reviewed a number of grant proposal ideas from Tiano-Knopp Associates

• Had the second reading of Article 143 regarding the beautification committee, with the addition of one council person always being a member

• Approved the appointment of Rev. Ford Price, Janet McCauley and Tina Cottrill as board members for the Sokolow Fund whose purpose is to help those in need within the city

• Authorized mayor Rader to sign an agreement with the Western Conservation District in the amount of $2,200

• Approved an increase of $6.73 per hour for Chris Pecka

After going into closed-door executive session from 8:21 p.m. to 8:45 pm for personnel issues, council adjourned with no further action taken.

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on March 2 at the municipal building.