Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer (R) gives Warsaw Police Department officer Justin A. Lewis (L) the formal oath of office Friday morning during the Board of Public Works and Safety meeting. In attendance for the swearing-in ceremony were Lewis’s family, wife, Police Chief Scott Whitaker and other members of the WPD. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer (R) gives Warsaw Police Department officer Justin A. Lewis (L) the formal oath of office Friday morning during the Board of Public Works and Safety meeting. In attendance for the swearing-in ceremony were Lewis’s family, wife, Police Chief Scott Whitaker and other members of the WPD. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Christmas Countdown isn’t until Dec. 1, but planning has already began.

The event is a reminder for the public to shop locally, and is tied in with WRSW’s Ornament Smash Kickoff.

Since downtown events coordinator Paula Bowman had laryngitis, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer talked about the event at the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety meeting Friday. The Board was asked by Bowman for some road closures for the Dec. 1 event.

“This is an event for some businesses in the downtown who are working with WRSW to help kind of kick off their ornament smash and to also light a Christmas tree in the downtown,” Thallemer said.

The event is 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1 around the new courthouse plaza, but the roads will be closed from 3 to 10 p.m. The road closures, which the board approved, will be Center Street from Indiana to Lake streets; and Buffalo Street from Main to Market streets.

According to information provided by Bowman, other activities during the event will include ticket giveaways with local band Pick Slide; Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus arriving in the WIOE helicopter; Optimist singers leading carols; a Menorah-lighting ceremony; Latino Pasada; Indian lighting of the lamp; hot chocolate and s’mores; the tree lighting and a make-it-and-take-it gift room for children.

Sponsors are being sought with registration forms and checks to Bowman on or before Nov. 1. Sponsorships begin at $100 and go up to $1,000 for everything from advertising to Christmas tree lights. They can be sent to Latte Lounge/Cave on the Square, 108 N. Buffalo St., Warsaw. For more information, call 574-376-0233.

Before the meeting, Bowman also said the Dec. 6 First Friday will feature ice sculptures. Sponsorships for those are $300.

In other business:

• Thallemer gave the formal oath of office to Warsaw Police Department officer Justin A. Lewis.

Thallemer said, “This is always a pleasure and an honor to bring another dedicated, trained officer into the ranks, supported by his family, supported by the rest of the department. Again, I’m always awed by your desire to serve the city in that capacity as an officer. ... I appreciate your willingness to serve our community in that capacity.”

• The board approved a pay application for $649,127.60 for construction concerning the Airport Industrial Park sewer project. The project is expected to be completed around August.

City Planner Jeremy Skinner said the pay application was reviewed by himself and Wessler Engineering. It’s a Redevelopment Authority project, paid for by bond proceeds.

• Approved an agreement, notice of award and notice to proceed with G & G Hauling & Excavating for the Tech Park lift station for $116,288.

Skinner reminded the board that at the Oct. 4 meeting, bids were opened for the project and G & G had the low bid.

He said, “This project, we’re hoping to get started as soon as possible because Greenmark will be the end-user of that lift station and they are set to open and currently using water facilities, so the sooner we can get this Tech Park lift station up and running, it will prevent us from having to do routine maintenance and pumping of their system till we get it up and running.”

He said it should take about six weeks from start to finish, so hopefully it will be completed this year.

• The board accepted a $22,000 railroad pavement marking grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation’s fiscal year 2020 Railroad Grade Crossing Fund.

The markings will be done in the spring at all the railroad crossings in the corporate limits of the city, including Bronson, Maple, Scott, High, Indiana, Buffalo, Lake, Washington, Union, Lyon, East Arthur, East Fort Wayne, Main, East Center, East Market and East Pope streets; Zimmer, Ranch and Dogwood roads; and Winona Avenue.

Street Superintendent Jeff Beeler said the markings are the “RXR’s that are on the ground.” He said the city did the grant four years ago and replaced them then, but through the winter and different projects they faded or got worn out.

He said it’s a 100% reimbursable grant and the money is already allocated to paint the markings. The street department will spend the money and INDOT will pay it back.

• The board approved a contract for $22,000 with WJ Carey to install a gutter drainage system in the city hall basement. The project encompasses the removal of about 70 feet of exterior wall, ceiling and flooring.

Human Resources Director Jennifer Whitaker said it was a pretty big area, “It actually kind of starts at our server room and goes all the way down to the room with the clerks.”

• The board approved a contract between Parks and Recreation Director Sheila Wieringa and Oakwood Cemetery for her to redesign the cemetery’s existing tour and informational books. The contract is $1,200, but not to exceed $1,500. She will do the work on her own time and will document her time in her billing to the cemetery.

• The board approved for Wieringa to apply for a Kosciusko REMC Operation Round Up grant for $1,500 to help support the Parks Department’s annual family carnival; and for a grant with the Kosciusko County Community Foundation for $5,000 to help support the Central Park Concert Series.

• The board approved an annual service agreement between Pro Air Inc. and the Warsaw Police Department and Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory. Pro Air provides maintenance on air tanks for the two departments. Cost is $1,220 for the WPD and $2,440 for the WWFT.

• The board approved the annual interlocal agreement between Kosciusko County and the city for maintenance fees and access to records management server for $30,000, as requested by Police Chief Scott Whitaker.

• Heard from WPD Chief Scott Whitaker that Jack Marshall, the WPD’s part-time parking enforcement officer, is leaving the department to spend time with his wife. His last day was Thursday. A full-time parking enforcement officer has been hired.