Welfare to Work program benefits Versailles

Wanda English Burnett

The Town of Versailles will be getting some extra help, but they it won’t be reflected on their payroll.

At the regular meeting of the town council June 11 Marshal Joe Mann introduced Michelle Sanchez with Arbor Education and Training/Impact. She explained about the Welfare to Work program saying the town can benefit from people who need to work a certain number of hours to keep getting government assistance.

“People are required to work if they are receiving welfare dollars,” she explained to the council. Her job is to find work for these people. One person has already been assisting the marshal through various work projects and others are ready to be placed.

The council agreed it was a great program and said they could use several people to help with cleaning up the town and more. Sanchez will match clients with the needs of the town.
Sanchez noted that the program is a benefit to the employer (must be non-profit) as they gain the services of an additional person at no cost. The client gains work experience and benefits from positive role models in the workplace, increasing self-esteem. “They (clients) are learning job skills,” she noted.

One of the goals of the town council is to keep the town clean, paying special attention to run down properties. Resident Wayne Miller attended the meeting to thank the council for their efforts near the Pangburn Park area. He commended the police and town utility departments for their work there. He reported some properties that had questionable living conditions, and also volunteered to help clean up a brush area near the park.

Council member Dee Dee Benkie thanked Miller for his “community activism” saying he was exactly the kind of resident they need in the town. She also complimented the police and town utility departments for their work saying they are doing a “wonderful” job.

In other business:

• Requests from LifeTime Resources and Safe Passage were put on hold until the budget hearing meeting.

• Assistant fire chief Jamie Vest gave a report for the fire department saying they responded to 38 calls last month including a house fire, and a vehicle accident that required extrication. He said the new building project is progressing on schedule.

• The issue of the clock in the courthouse tower not working was again brought before the council. County employee Johnnie Lohrum said he had tried to fix the problem, but couldn’t. The council thanked him for his efforts and will look into the situation.

• Approval was given for Street Superintendent Kevin Hensley to purchase a laser for laying pipe for $1400.

• The council unanimously approved the purchase of a high pressure sprayer for the sewer department for $160.

Versailles Town Marshal Joe Mann gave his report, saying things in his department were running smoothly. He reported: 5 accidents investigated; 13 citations issued; 48 warnings issued; 25 citizens assisted; 8 fight and battery calls; 2 theft investigations; 6 drug/alcohol investigations; and 29 other complaints for the past month. There were 3 warrants served; 4 arrests made; and they assisted other departments 12 times. There were 5 special details for the month.

The subject of trimming the cherry trees around town was brought to the council. Louise Mitchell asked if she could trim the ones by her property herself. John Holzer said anyone who wants to trim them can do so. Also, it was noted that perhaps they could use some of the Welfare to Work clients for that job.

A special meeting was set for June 16 at 10 a.m.

All council members were present: DeeDee Benkie, John Holzer, and Sue Meisberger, along with Kiersten Libby, clerk treasurer, Joe Mann, marshal, and Kevin Hensley, street superintendent.
The next regular meeting of the town council will be held July 9 at 7 p.m. at the town hall.