Paw Paw council appoints Curry, Pritchard to fill empty seats

Paw Paw’s town council are, from left, George Curry, Earl Meyers Jr., Sherry Rowzee, John Pritchard, Angie Newlon, Mayor Darlene Abe and Recorder Jeff Palmer.

by Kate Shunney

Paw Paw’s town council rounded out their numbers on Tuesday, August 3, appointing two residents to fill council seats left empty after their June municipal election.

The town ballot was two members shy earlier this summer, and those who were elected got the job of picking who would serve alongside them.

John Pritchard, who ran for mayor in the June election, was appointed to the council, along with George Curry.

Council members heard from town residents who had expressed interest in the council positions during a special meeting at 5:30 in Paw Paw Town Hall. They then went into closed session for a short period of time, then came back into open session to vote on the appointments. Town Recorder Jeff Palmer swore in Pritchard and Curry, who immediately took their seats on the council for the town’s regular August meeting.

During the monthly meeting, council members voted to let RK&K Engineering move ahead with testing the town’s sewer lines for stormwater inflow and groundwater infiltration (I&I) to see where extra water could be filtering into the sewer system.

“That’s not good for the plant,” said John Cole, an RK&K engineer who attended the meeting by phone.

Council voted to have the company do smoke testing to find leaks, and later to do flow testing when it starts to rain again. The study will cost $68,100 and take place over six to eight months.

The work is being done as part of the town’s sewer system upgrade project. That project will update the wastewater treatment pond and replace lines in the upper part of town.

In other business, council members approved a request from Town Manager Ron Davis to let the Paw Paw Public Library add several features to the new gravel walking trail near the boat ramp area of town.

An anonymous donor will pay for four concrete benches at the trail, Davis said. The library received a $3,500 grant from the Seely Foundation to fund youth-related projects. They would like to install a Little Free Library kiosk and a bench near the trail for people to borrow and share books. They would also add a flagpole and a volleyball net for public use.

Paw Paw Police Chief A. Thomas reported his department’s statistics for May through July. Officers made 35 stops and five arrests, including two warrant arrests, two drug felonies and a misdemeanor breaking and entering an automobile. The department had 37 calls for service.

Chief Thomas said a new cruiser is now in service and the town is borrowing a 2012 Charger from the Town of Bath, who is willing to sell the patrol car for $1,500.

Council members approved several business licenses, including Brawner Group K-9, a dog training business, and for two out-of-town contractors working inside the town limits.

Multiple building permits were discussed, and council members debated whether interior renovations require a property owner to seek a building permit from the town. Paw Paw officials said they may want to clarify what level of construction or demolition work needs a permit, and what doesn’t.

Ron Davis reported to council members that the town has received a first payment of American Rescue Plan (ARP) federal funds of $67,000. They expect to receive a second payment at the beginning of 2022, Davis said. Those funds are specifically to be used for infrastructure projects like water, sewer, broadband and public upgrades.