The Andrews Town Council was approached by a local business owner with a preemptive request for financial assistance during its meeting on Monday, Aug. 26.
Chuck Miller, the owner of Miller's Pub, in Andrews, inquired if council could provide him with any funds to help demolish the building housing his business on 21 N. Main St. in the event that the structural engineer who inspected the building on Friday, Aug. 23, recommends that the building be razed.
The building's structural integrity was called into question when Jim Greeson, the state fire marshal, and the Huntington County building inspector reviewed of the property and suggested to Miller that he hire a structural engineer to definitively determine its level of safety.
Though the engineer's official recommendation was not known at the time of the council meeting, the engineer did suggest to Miller after the inspection on Friday that he vacate the property. Miller agreed with the suggestion and left the building, which is also his residence, the same day.
The engineer's report was expected soon and Miller informed council that if the engineer recommended demolition, he would not be able to afford it.
"We're going to contact both our attorney and the state board of accounts to determine the legality of the town providing financial assistance to the business owner to demolish the property if that is what the structural engineer's report suggests we do, and we'll wait until we hear from both of those entities before we go any further with it," said Clerk-Treasurer Bill Johnson.
Councilman Ray Tackett voiced his support for Miller during the meeting.
"He's been here a long time, that building's been here a long time and we need to try to help him save it or tear it down," he said.
Community members in attendance also expressed their support for Miller.
"As much as he's given to the community, it's time for us to give back," said Julie Newsome.
Also during the meeting, Cathy Johnson, of the Andrews festival committee, asked council if the committee could use either the town hall or the community building as a meeting place. The council approved use of the latter.
Johnson said the committee's first meeting in the community building would be Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.
Johnson also informed council that the committee was interested in moving the festival back downtown and was granted permission to do so.
Next year's festival will be Aug. 23 and 24, Johnson said. She noted that the committee would like to hold a fund-raiser for the festival on the first weekend in November.
Fire Chief Tom Wuensch notified council that the relay on the town's tornado siren was malfunctioning and that the county would be unable to trigger it in the event of bad weather. Council decided that the current relay would be fixed and that another one would be purchased to serve as a backup unit.
In other business:
Council narrowed down the list of applicants for the town's reserve police department from 19 to five and submitted the names of those individuals to Town Marshal Curt VanOver for background checks. Three of the final five will ultimately be accepted as reserves.
Bill Johnson said that construction on the Andrews-Dallas Township Public Library expansion project would begin next week with March as the projected month for completion.
Johnson noted that a letter from the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development (DCD) had been received, informing council of plans to change the boundaries of the town's zoning authority. Johnson reminded council that the DCD would have to approach it with an ordinance, which it could either accept or reject, before anything could happen.
Wuensch, who organizes the town's mud bog, was granted permission by council to use the same land next year that this year's mud bog took place on.