Columbia City Council holds brief meeting; department heads report

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COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City’s Common Council held its regular meeting March 14 with nothing on the agenda, however, the city’s department heads provided reports to the council.
• Fire Chief Tom LaRue said the fire department will host a graduation for its fire academy students from Columbia City High School in June. Whitley Counties fire chiefs and the students’ family and friends will be invited.
  • Electric Department Superintendent Shawn Lickey reported that there was a small power outage due to last week’s weather. “We split up and get everyone’s power back on in a respectable amount of time,” Lickey said. “It wasn’t great working conditions. I was one of the first ones in the bucket, and it was hard to grab the wire because of the wind.” Lickey said the electric department has started street lighting projects in various subdivisions.
  • Water Department Superintendent Mike Shoda said the power outage allowed him to test his generator and he was able to make a few adjustments. He also reported that a new waterline that leads to Irish Glen has been charged. After water testing, the subdivision will receive water from the new line.
  • Park Director Mark Green said baseball teams have been drafted for the park league, and softball teams will be drafted next week. Opening day is April 22 for baseball and softball. The park will also host a 5K this weekend, put on by 80/20. Green also spoke about the parks’ bathrooms, which should be open soon. “Not all of them can be open year-round, and we aren’t able to open them for a few days when the weather gets nice,” Green said. “Hopefully we can open them for the year sometime in the next couple weeks.” Green said the park is hiring concession stand employees. Those interested can apply on the city’s website, columbiacity.net.
  • IT Director Terry Wherry said the police department’s new dispatch software is up and running. “Everyone is really embracing it. The officers are adjusting very well and the dispatchers are excited about what it can do,” Wherry said. He also noted that he is interviewing two people for the vacant GIS position.
  • Street Department Superintendent Kelly Cearbaugh said his department worked to clear snow and ice from the recent snow storm. He also noted that the leaf pile has been ground up and is free and available to the public. It is located in the back of Morsches Park.
  • Mayor Ryan Daniel said the windows in front of the Clerk’s Office will be renovated soon to improve security. He also congratulated the many people from Whitley County who are receiving 40 Under 40 awards from the Fort Wayne Business Weekly.
  • Councilwoman Jennifer Romano said the ordinance committee met and is reviewing many ordinances.