Georgetown asked to pay for full time drug officer

Gtown CouncilBy Wayne Gates –
The Brown County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force is asking the Village of Georgetown for a full time officer.
Brown County First Assistant Prosecutor Zac Corbin and Brown County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force Commander John Burke spoke to council at its August 11 meeting.
Corbin began his presentation by pointing out that Brown County had the highest unintentional drug overdose rate in the state for the third year in a row.
Corbin also pointed out four recent cases where drug crimes had impacted the village.
Following a question from council about funding sources for the task force, Burke said that the state has provided $12,500 so far and that grant funding was another source of revenue for the task force.
Corbin stated that if the village committed a full time officer to the task force, it would still see benefits from its officer.
“That officer would still be working the majority of his cases in Georgetown because that’s the territory he knows,” Corbin said.
Georgetown has already committed to providing one officer to the task force for 16 hours per week.
Members of council and Mayor Dale Cahall all expressed support for the goals of the task force, but the discussion then centered on the financial commitment of providing a full time officer.
Cahall pointed out that the services of that officer would have to be replaced to serve the needs of the village and called the idea “a six figure commitment”, once payroll, insurance, schedule coverage and other issues were taken into account.
Council agreed to forward the matter to the Emergency Services Committee for further discussion.
Council also discussed the idea of paying EMS workers to staff the firehouse during the day.
During the public comment section of the meeting, visitor Bobby Armour said that his mother had recently fallen in the village.  Armour expressed sympathy for the general EMS manpower situation, but said that the residents deserved prompt service when its needed.
Georgetown Fire Chief Joey Rockey addressed the situation, telling Armour and council that multiple runs, especially during the day, were stretching the volunteer system in the village to the limit.
Council agreed to discuss the matter further, beginning in the Emergency Services Committee.
Council also approved a bid to pay $138,731 to Brown County Construction of Aberdeen to pave four streets in the village.
The contract includes work on Main Street, West Fork Road, Fairway Drive and Lakewood Lane.
During the administrators report, Administrator Art Owens said that the village was hosting a developers day on August 29.
“We are going to have some developers (from greater Cincinnati) come out and show them some of the properties we have and see if we can’t spark some economic development in the village,” Owens told council.
The meeting will be held in the Gaslight Theater from 12-2 p.m.
Owens also said that the sidewalk replacement project on commercial row should be complete within the next week and that the last three backstops had been replaced on the baseball fields in Kathryn Hanlon Park.
In the police report to council, Chief Robert Freeland reported that there were 543 calls for service since July 11, with 60 Mayor’s Court citations written for both traffic and criminal offenses.
Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.