Frankford’s Presley gives State of the Town address

At the Jan. 4 Frankford Town Council meeting, Councilman Marty Presley opened up the session by giving a “state of the town” address, focusing on some of the positives in town.

“We’ve gone through several council members; we’ve gone through a new town clerk. We’ve gone through a brand-new police department. We’ve gone through a lot of changes,” he said. “And if the only places that you ever receive your news is in conventional media and you only see the snapshots you would think, ‘Oh, my God — Frankford is in turmoil. It’s a lost cause.’

“But if you condense it down and look at some of the good things we’ve actually accomplished over the last year, there’s some really good things being done, and we’ve really set the stage for accomplishing some good things moving forward.”

Presley also mentioned the hiring of Cheryl Lynch as the town’s new clerk, following the resignation of longtime employee Terry Truitt.

“Last year, we got a completely new administration. .... Everyone in this room knows how the administration we had up until September did… It was their way or the highway — nobody’s opinion really counted. If you remember, they used the police force as a hitman. They would sit in the back of the room and, if you try to express your opinion, the hitman would basically escort you out of the room or tell you to shut up, in not so many words. That’s changed.

“We have Cheryl manning the town hall these days. If you going in with a question or you are going in with a problem, you get treated with respect and you get treated with dignity, and you’re certainly not brushed off.”

Presley also mentioned the numerous committees the council has started in the last year, including pension, town manager, budget, charter, and human resources committees.

He praised recently resigned councilwoman Liz Carpenter for her dedication on the human resources committee.

“Going forward, we’re going to have employment contracts, are going to have a town handbook — what’s expected of the town council and the town employees — we’re going to have a myriad of all the different documents and forms that all the other businesses and all the other town governments abide by,” he said. “To be quite honest with you, it’s gotten us in a lot of trouble because we haven’t had these policies in place.”

He added that the hiring of Police Chief Michael Warchol has been a wonderful decision.

“We have a brand new police force. As I said before, it doesn’t take too long to look back and realize how the chief of police in this town treated residents,” said Presley. “They don’t have that anymore. Mike has done a very good job. I think we are so much further ahead in the game with our police force than we were this time last year.”

He noted that the Town’s new website has gone live, and that, although it is not fully operational yet, they hope to have agendas and other events posted there for citizens to access. He added that the Town also hopes to add a feature where property owners can pay bills online.

Presley said some of the greatest highlights from last year were the Frankford Fall Festival and Christmas in the Park.

“Christmas in the Park, in my opinion, in the 13, 14 years, and, I think, the 25 years my wife has been here, was probably the best event we’ve had, as far as the community coming together. Opening night, we had somewhere between 700 and 1,000 people show up,” he said. “We only have 700 residents, and we had more people show up in the park than we do residents.”

He said he was pleased to see how hard the people of Frankford worked to put on the two events.

“That was the most heartwarming thing… To see the community come together like it did. A lot of people put in a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money to pull it off.”

The council went on to acknowledge those involved in Christmas in the Park, presenting certificates of appreciation to representatives from the United Methodist Church, Frankford Antioch Church, the Father’s House, Frankford Presbyterian Church, the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company and Frankford Volunteer Fire Company’s Ladies Auxiliary.

“Thanks to all the organizations that participated. I know it’s been a discussion for a couple of years, having Christmas at the Park,” said Robbie Murray, who spearheaded the event. “The Christmas at the Park just blew our minds away. We thought going in Nov. 28 that we would have 300 people. If we hit 400, we would be doing high-fives and dancing.”

Murray said he was also pleased that, throughout the events, there was never an issue in the park. Instead, Warchol was able to attend and simply socialize with citizens.

As for the future, he noted that they plan to continue planning family-friendly events.

“Rumor has it that there’s a large bunny that hops around in April and likes to hide eggs. So, there’s potential there for an Easter egg hunt,” he said. “Thanks again, because it wouldn’t be possible without your help.”

Residents warned

to lock vehicles

During the meeting, Warchol warned citizens that there had been a lot of intrusions into unlocked cars in driveways.

“I cannot impress enough — lock your cars,” he said.

Warchol stated that the department has an idea of who the culprit is and is working on obtaining evidence with which to file charges.

“We have people who are here that are bored and are looking for something to do, and unfortunately, this is it.”

He also informed the council, to follow up on December’s meeting, that the department was able to procure a used speed sign, free of charge, from a law-enforcement surplus program.

“It’s not going to do the traffic surveys we need, but once we get it up and running, looking a little prettier than it is, it’ll give us something to put out there to show people exactly how fast they’re going,” he said. “As we talked in previous meetings, that’ll slow the honest ones down, but it’s not going to slow the chronic speeders down.”

He noted that the unit would’ve cost the Town approximately $5,000 new.

Warchol reported that he is also in the process of setting up a Frankford Police Department Facebook page.

“I’m going to use it to let everyone know what we are doing, but I would also like to use it for anyone in town who hears of anything, sees something and are unable to get in touch with me. Just put it on there. We’ll use it as kind of our crime watch for the town. It’s only going to be as good as the help I get from everyone in town,” he said.

He also said he hopes to sell some of the department’s vehicles through, set up an extra patrol list for residents who leave their homes on vacation and institute a “Coffee with a Cop” quarterly meeting.

“I welcome anyone to come in and have coffee with me and tell me what your issues are. I’ll do whatever I can to fix them. And if I can’t fix them, I’ll tell you. I want that open communication with everyone in town.”