CAMDEN — Village Council accepted donations, applied for grants, and discussed concerns related to the Camden Police Department at its monthly meeting Feb. 20.
Council member Judy Michael moved to hire Eaton-based civil engineering firm Kramer & Associates to apply for $100,000 and $341,000 critical infrastructure grants through Preble County. The larger grant, in conjunction with approximately $90,000 in funds from other sources, is expected to pay for street, curb, and drainage improvements along Camden St in the village.
The smaller grant will pay for drainage improvements on E. Central Ave., a project expected to cost approximately $206,000.
Council voted unanimously to approve both motions. Kramer & Associates will also handle the engineering work on the street improvement projects if and when the grants are awarded.
Council members also signed a letter accepting the donation of approximately $35,000 worth of playground equipment to the village by The Tyler Richardson Foundation. Foundation president Shane Richardson appeared before council in January to offer the donation.
“We want to continue our commitment to putting money into the parks in our son’s name,” Richardson said during the January meeting. Richardson and his wife started the foundation after losing their two-year-old son in 2006, according to the group’s website; the foundation has donated over $150,000 so far, according to Richardson, including funding college scholarships and purchasing a fire engine for the Somerville Fire Department.
Mayor Karen Moss thanked the Richardsons for their donation, and suggested holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony once the new equipment is moved into a local park.
“It’ll be a great way to do something in your son’s honor, and have some chocolate for the kids,” Moss said.
Sgt. David Stemp requested permission from council to purchase two new vehicles for use by the Camden Police Department. The vehicles, both Chevrolet Tahoes, would be purchased at a cost of approximately $55,000 each and leased through G.M. Financial.
The department currently has five vehicles in service, according to Stemp, and typically purchases a new one every two years; one of the department’s current vehicles, a 2011 Crown Victoria, is about to be retired.
Council member Kelly Doran suggested purchasing one vehicle now and the other “in a couple of years.” Mayor Moss tabled the issue, saying she needed to speak with Chief Matt Spurlock.
A village resident brought concerns regarding the behavior of Camden Police Department officers to council during its Feb. 6 meeting, stating that officers had driven by her house repeatedly, and had also approached her child while standing outside her place of work. Mayor Moss questioned whether council had dealt with the situation appropriately during the Feb. 20 meeting.
“We did not handle that correctly,” Moss said. “We heard complaints that had never been to the chief. When I spoke to him, the chief said ‘I know nothing about any of this stuff.’”
Moss indicated that, in the future, council’s first question to residents expressing concern about the police department should be whether they’ve spoken to Chief Spurlock, unless their concern deals directly with him.
Camden Village Council meets the first and third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at 74 W. Central Ave.