2013-05-02 / Front Page

Gosport Councilwoman Proposes A $500 Salaried Town Marshal Post

Hydrant Rental Fees Must Still Be Paid By Town To Water Utility
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

The Town of Gosport continues to be patrolled periodically by officers with the Owen County Sheriff ’s Department, but one member of the Gosport Town Council would like to see at least a part-time town marshal hired in the near future.

During a work session held Tuesday evening inside Gosport Town Hall, councilwoman Jamie Neibel proposed a preliminary plan of action to provide the town with its own police presence.

Her proposal for a new town marshal hire includes a 2013 salary of $500, breaking down to just $41 a month for 40 hours each month, without benefits. The town would provide a patrol vehicle with insurance, a bullet-proof vest and either a uniform or clothing allowance. The applicant must have previously completed the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

“It’s a tremendous cut, I know, but hopefully we are operating under the premise that we will have a better budget next year,” Neibel said. “So if somebody would take that, they would be on for the next year and hopefully be able to take their full salary, but it will kind of be a charity case for the remainder of this year.”

While councilman Chad Gates showed interest in the proposal, he insisted the town ensure that at least one its three police vehicles is in running condition.

Council president Donnie Hall made clear his position to not consider the hiring of a town marshal until the town has paid eight years’ worth of hydrant rental to the town-owned and operated water department. A previous town council had proposed a local ordinance eliminating the town’s hydrant rental fee, but the ordinance was never signed, leaving the town obligated to pay $9,300 annually. The town is currently eight years behind on that payment and owes its own water utility a grand total of $74,400.

Hall said when the council received word at the end of 2012 that its proposed $146,000 budget was cut by the state to just $75,000, council members should have gone back over the budget and cut each line accordingly, but failed to do so.

Hall noted that expenses for the Gosport Police Department, when the town had a full-time marshal, totaled approximately $52,000 annually, including the marshal’s salary of $24,960. He said outside of salary costs, the town would pay approximately $1,000 each month for expenses such as insurance, gasoline and a telephone line.

Hall also proposed the town return six of its eight federal surplus loaned firearms and request two long guns be transferred to the Owen County Sheriff’s Department, however, neither Neibel nor Gates indicated they agreed, noting a future marshal may find a need to keep extra firearms.

The Gosport Town Council will meet again on Tuesday, May 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Gosport Town Hall.

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