Record Herald Writer
Courtesy of the Record Herald; Printed 5.12.13

TIPP CITY — On May 6, Tipp City Council authorized the spending of more than a million dollars, approved the donation of a surplus fire truck, and renamed the the police station.

The Tipp City police station will now be known as the Davidson Building in honor of former Police Chief Tom Davidson, who passed away April 23 after a long battle with cancer.

“This is an appropriate tribute to a wonderful man,” Mayor Dee Gillis said.

The resolution renaming the station will take effect May 16.

Council voted Monday to rename the building after Davidson in recognition of his 22 years of service to the city. Davidson had planned to retire April 30 and was honored at the April 1 meeting with a proclamation commending his service.

A bronze eagle, originally purchased by Ron Re to commemorate the chief’s retirement, will soon fly over over the station in honor of Davidson and all the men and women of the Tipp City police. The statue will be placed atop a pole in front of the police station.
Re suggested using one of the old decorative Main Street light poles.

Council also approved the donation of a surplus fire pumper to a Kentucky community in need. Earlier this spring, the council amended the city’s code of ordinances to allow for the donation or sale of surplus property without public auction.

Council president John Kessler called it “the Christian thing to do.”

The Oneida Volunteer Fire Department in Clay County, Ky., serves one of the poorest communities in the United States. They have two fire engines, one of which is 40-years-old and in bad shape.

Michael Whitby, a Tipp City EMT and member of the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters, asked council to consider donating Tipp’s 35 year old fire pumper to Oneida in March.

“We have a duty, whether that be a Christian duty or just a duty to another city, to show our support,” councilwoman Katelyn Berbach said. “We have a chance and an opportunity to help another city.”

Councilmen Bryan Budding and Mike McDermott voted against donation. Budding suggested putting the truck up for auction, then raising money to make sure the city won the bid before gifting the truck to the Oneida fire department. Just giving the truck away, Budding said, would look like “theft by government.”

“That belongs to the taxpayers of the city,” he said.

Budding offered to kickstart fundraising by promising to shave his head. He said he would shave his head if people donated enough money to buy the surplus pumper from the city and give it to the Oneida fire department.

Another surplus equipment, a 1995 dump truck, will be sold to the village of Covington for $13,000.

Council also authorized the purchase of a property 301 N. Sixth Street for $600,000 for the future home of the electric utility facility. Electrical distribution is a $15 million a year operation. The city buys it off the market and distributes it to Tipp residents from the utility center.

The city plans to keep the slab and steel frame of the structure currently on the property and rebuild around it. Later this year, the city will hire a firm to design the new facility.

The current electric utility facility at 201 N. First St. was built in 1917 to house generators and keep them cool. The 96-year-old building, now housing people and distribution equipment, is in bad shape and hard to heat.

In other business, the Dow Street reconstruction project is moving forward. Council awarded the construction bid to CK Excavating for $694,485. Because the lowest bid exceeded the city’s projected costs for the project, a resolution appropriating an additional $219,000 and an advance of $150,000 from the general fund was approved.

Construction on Dow Street will begin when school is out in June and is scheduled to be completed before the end of August.

The police department will soon be changing their scheduling, moving from eight hour shifts to 12 hour shifts. Council discussed the change during the study session and gave their approval.

Shifts will be split into four different crews with four patrolmen and a sergeant in each. Officers will work two 12 hour days, followed by two days off. Every other weekend will be a three day weekend. On the current schedule, sergeants could sometimes go months without a weekend off.

“We’ll know pretty quick if it works or not,” acting Police Chief Sgt. Eric Burris said, though he expects there will be some “growing pains” as the officers get used to the new schedule.