Council approves development plan for Charles Tyre Flooring warehouse on corner of West Green and South Cass streets.

Monday night’s Middletown Council meeting started with the swearing in of Councilman Andrew Chas who won the special election on May 15.

Chas defeated three other candidates who were also were seeking to fill a 10-month term on town council after Councilman David Fisher resigned in March after questions were raised about Fisher's residency.

Mayor Ken Branner administered the oath of office to Chas who then took his seat on council after being congratulated by Branner and the three council members in attendance: Vice Mayor Jim Reynolds, Councilman Jason Faulkner, and Councilman Robert Pierce. Absent from the meeting were Councilman Robert McGhee who was attending a funeral service, and Councilwoman Robin Burgess who’s recuperating after a fall.

New police chief gives first report

New Middletown Police Chief Dan Yeager gave his first report to council after replacing former chief Hank Tobin who retired last month.

Yeager said in May the department received 1,028 calls for service, resulting in 71 arrests and 158 criminal charges. Among the arrests were five for heroin. Yeager said the department also responded to two heroin overdoses.

Yeager gave details about several burglaries in town, and a shoplifting incident that turned into an assault at Home Depot when the thief pulled a knife on the store's loss prevention officer.

He also reported a rash of graffiti incidents around town.

Development plan for flooring warehouse

With no dissenting votes, council approved a minor land development plan from Charles Tyre Flooring to build a 2,400 square-foot warehouse next to the company’s building on the corner of West Green Street and South Cass streets, less than a block from Town Hall.

Engineer and construction manager Ed Ide said the project would require the removal of about 1,200 square feet of blacktop at the site. Three parking spaces would be required on West Green Street, and four more in a public sharing plan with nearby business Environmental Testing, Inc. A new concrete sidewalk would be added on South Cass Street. On West Green Street, Ide said the bricks will be taken up and then replaced.

Vice Mayor Jim Reynolds asked why the bricks were going to be taken up and then put back.

“We have to look at the base under the bricks to make sure it’s OK for vehicles,” said Ide, because vehicles will be entering the site by crossing the brick sidewalk.

The project had been approved by the town’s Planning and Zoning Committee, and now it needs the fire marshal’s OK.

Workers comp plan offers savings

Council ratified an agreement with DeLea Founders Insurance Trust (DFIT) for a workers compensation self-insurance program that should save the town “a considerable amount of money,” according to Town Manager Morris Deputy.

Branner said about 19 or 20 municipalities formed DFIT.

“The state wanted to increase workman’s comp 40 percent and then changed it to 23 percent,” he said. “By joining DFIT, we actually saved 20 percent instead of facing the 23 percent increase.”

Water tank management bid

Also without dissent, council members approved the low bid of $314,537 from Southern Corrosion for water tank management. One other bid was received and it was about $1,000 more. Deputy recommended the bid of Southern Corrosion.