MENTONE – The condition of storm sewer pipes and an after-hours ordinance at the park and cemetery were topics of discussion at the Mentone Town Council meeting Wednesday.

James Emans, town engineer, said he wanted to update the Council on the investigation he was doing with Utilities Superintendent Josh Shepherd into the condition of the 24-inch storm sewer south of Washington Street.

A couple weeks ago, they didn’t know anything on the condition of that pipe. Shepherd got hold of Bob Frame Plumbing Services Inc., South Bend, and had them try to clean the pipe. The condition of the pipe was learned at that point, Emans said.

Emans said that pipe is downstream of 315 feet of pipe in an alley between Franklin and Walnut streets, south of Monroe and north of Jefferson streets that was recently fixed.

Emans told the Council tree roots go into the pipe south of Washington street. Due to the alignment of the pipe that goes through three private properties, Emans said he doesn’t know if the town has an easement to get into the pipe.

Emans suggested abandoning that line and creating a new line on town property.

He said he is not comfortable that the pipe could be cleared without a section of the pipe being removed and replaced. He also said an implied easement isn’t always effective on a pipe because the pipe is in the ground and no one sees it. The town probably has the right to be there, but if they could get away from being on that private property, he’d feel better about that.

Emans estimated a new line at about $160,000. He said to remediate the current pipe line, he estimated  at least $50,000.

Emans said he believed the pipeline south of Washington Street is the same era of pipe that was fixed in the alley between Franklin and Walnut streets. Emans said he feels comfortable the town would have to line the entire pipe south of Washington Street to keep it intact.

He said he’s not sure if he’s looking for an action item from the Council Wednesday, other to let the Council know what could be done to open up the pipe was done. He said the problem is not fixed.

Shepherd said he would like to put in a structure that would provide easier access to the line because it’s going to have to be put in regardless to do work due to the issues with pipeline. If the structure is put in, maybe they wouldn’t work on the actual pipeline until 2023.

The Council approved for Shepherd to get quotes for putting up the structure.

In other business, town attorney Andrew Grossnickle presented a draft of an ordinance governing public conduct in parks and cemeteries in Mentone.

Issues of people loitering at the park after hours was brought up at the Council’s June meeting after Town Marshal Jim Eads talked with Grossnickle about the issue. Council President Jill Gross said she also had complaints on the same issue.

Wednesday, Grossnickle said he modeled the ordinance after some other ordinances he found. He took some liberties with some things, such as if someone continually defies the ordinance it gives the Mentone Police Department the ability to kick the person out of the park for the rest of the season and/or out of the cemetery for 90 days. It also allows the police department to issue a fine of $100.

Eads said the only thing he would change in the draft is the section about the hours of operations. Grossnickle said he took liberties with that as well.

The draft states that between Oct. 1 and April 30, all park grounds, cemeteries and facilties owned by the town of Mentone will not be accessible to the public between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. From May 1 to Sept. 30, all park grounds, cemeteries and facilities owned by the town will not be accessible to the public between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Grossnickle believed it’s the way Warsaw did theirs.

Eads said he would like to change that section to have the cemetery and park closed between sunset and sunrise. Grossnickle said he could do that as long as Eads thought the police department could enforce that and back it up.

Grossnickle said he could make that change and another change the Council wants and present the ordinance to the Council at its Sept. 7 meeting for approval.

Also, the Council:

• Approved the town’s comprehensive plan.

• Approved Grossnickle to work with Beth, Cale and Tim Thompson with BBQ on Broadway on an alley vacation request.

Tim said they want to vacate the alley between a property they own and the Bell Memorial Library to have a little more room on the property.

Shepherd voiced some concern because there were some utilities, such as a water main, in that alley. He said he would need access to those utilities.

Grossnickle said the concern that he would have is the utilities would be on property someone else would own, but suggested an easement could be possibly reserved. Grossnickle said a petition would have to be submitted to the Council, neighbors would have to be notified and a hearing would have to be held over the vacation.

• Heard from Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation CEO Alan Tio and Business Development Partner Greg Fitzloff about KEDCO’s initiatives, including housing and employment.

• Learned from Tim Croy that the red trash cans from Apex are supposed to be placed in the road away from cars.

There have been some issues where people have put the cans in the road, but have blocked them with their cars so trash collectors have to move the cans in order to pick up garbage. There are also some residents who put extra garbage bags next to the red trash cans.

Croy said at some point in the next couple weeks, Apex will stop picking up trash bags that are not in the red cans or cans that are blocked by cars.

• Approved a resolution for Clerk-Treasurer Amanda Yaprak to pay bills electronically.