By KATHY CARVEY
LARWILL – What a difference a month can make. Last month Ralph Fitch, owner of a condemned home at 202 North Center Street argued with Larwill council members about repairs and sewer bills. This month, Whitley County Building Inspector Craig Wagner was able to tell the council that significant repairs have been made to the home.
“There has been significant progress on the (work) order,” Wagner said. “The majority of the order has been taken care of.”
Wagner listed the improvements, including new floor joists to replace the rotting floor, extermination treatment for powder post beetles, new basement steps, new plumbing and electrical systems, and filling in an open cistern in the basement.
Heat in the home is still a problem, though. According to Wagner, lack of a permanent heat source was the problem that originally led to evacuation of the building; tenants were attempting to heat with space heaters, overloading the electrical system.
Wagner also said that if rented, the home will now be for a single-family. Formerly, Fitch had two tenants, although according to his daughter Kristina Osterman, the renovated home may not be rented. This concerned councilman Rick Flauding.
“If it’s not rented, what will happen?’ Flauding asked Osterman.
Osterman replied that Fitch may possibly sell the home and Flauding took issue with that.
“I want no possibilities. Either it’s sold or completed as a rental by the next meeting,” he said. “We have dragged it out long enough.”
The council had advertised for demolition bids on the home and opened them at the meeting. They decided to take the bids under advisement and give Fitch a little more time to finish the work. If not completely satisfied, the council reserved the right to act on the demolition.
Flauding summed up, “bring it up to complete rental specs by the next meeting and the bids stay open.”
Additionally, Fitch will be responsible for any costs incurred by the town because he did not complete the work order on time.
In other business, a new sewer ordinance was introduced for a first reading. Voting will take place at the February meeting. Several ordinances were passed: funding for the Whitley County Humane Shelter at $435 for 2011; the 2011 salary ordinance with no changes form last year; and CEDIT expenditures of 55% on town infrastructure, 25% on wastewater system maintenance, and 20% with the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.
Bids for garbage service were opened and taken under advisement to give council members time to study them.