Batesville City Council receives report on what 1.5 million Christmas lights can do

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During the Christmas holidays, over 1.5 million Christmas lights were brought to life in Riverside Park during the city’s White River Winter Wonderland. The number of lights was contained in a report the Batesville City Council received at last night’s meeting.

It was also noted that 19 businesses contributed to the display with just under $19,000 donated for the lighted displays. There were 85 scenes, or groupings, of lights.

The report said an estimated 43,700 mobile visits were made to view the displays and that count was only made during peak hours — 5 p.m. to closing time. Visitors came from several counties to see the work of the city crew, and no thefts or vandalism of the displays were reported.

The report also showed that $25,411 was collected in donations during White River  Winter Wonderland, and the White River Express train brought in almost $24,000 in ticket sales. Just over $5,100 in concession sales were reported, however an anonymous donor donated all concessions so the stand had a 100 percent profit.

In other council action, members heard a report from the salary committee which recently reviewed the salaries of the three elected city officials: mayor, city clerk, and city attorney. Tommy Bryant, commission chairman, said data were reviewed from different cities around the region in similar size to Batesville. This is the first time in two years the committee has reviewed and proposed increases to the elected officials’ salaries.

The officials were basically given $3,000 increases in salaries: the mayor to $75,000 per year, the clerk to $58,000 per year, and the part-time city attorney to $35,000 per year. An ordinance to make the increases official was passed by the council in a unanimous vote.

The third and final reading of the ordinance to amend residential curbside waste pickup ordinance was voted to be read again by title only. It was noted again that time will be allowed for residents to familiarize themselves on how to properly abide by the ordinance and that this system of waste pickup is used in many other cities throughout the state. (To read more about the amendment, click here.)

In other business, Batesville Montessori’s Monica Stjohn (right) and Samantha Tate (center) presented a check for $1,000 to Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh (left) at the meeting. Batesville Montessori made the gift after their White River Wonderland 3K and Fun Run, a portion of which ran through the Christmas lights display at Riverside Park. Stjohn thanked the city and all other involved organizations for their help in making the race possible. The fundraising event was held in late November of 2018.

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It was also noted that the monthly meetings with the mayor will resume on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Best Dam Steakhouse (formerly Josie’s Steakhouse).

After the meeting, members went on a tour of the new police station in the former Dowell Transport building on Industrial Drive with Batesville Police Chief Alan Cockrill. Cockrill noted he hopes to have the move from the department’s current headquarters on Central Avenue to be complete by Feb. 20.

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