As many as five police officers came to Fountain City Town Hall on May 2 to help keep order during a Town Council meeting. Council members mostly talked with each other, but after several minutes of heated exchanges during its meeting, the council stopped one resident from continuing to speak.

David Oakes said he was there to talk about water service and about a confrontation between him and the town’s water and sewage supervisor, Charles “Chase” Tice. On April 4, as Oakes spoke about his water being shut off, Tice threw a set of keys at him and left the room. Oakes attempted to follow him and Town Marshal Carey Martin got between them.

A video of the April incident, recorded by WCTV, had been shared on social media. Since then, town hall had received threatening messages, according to Trina McGuire, clerk-treasurer. Police from other agencies had promised to be nearby during the May 2 meeting. Two sheriff’s officers sat with Martin during the meeting. After the meeting, two other officers were seen in Martin’s office.

On May 2, the council announced that it had conducted an executive session on April 7 about the incident and had suspended Tice for three days. Tice then resigned.

During a period for public comment near the end of the meeting, Oakes addressed the council. Oakes called the town’s three-day suspension of Tice “absolutely ridiculous.”

Then he said he wanted to discuss the shutting off of his water on March 28, saying it was because of “incompetence or you guys just don’t like me.” Council president Shane Shroyer said the council could not discuss the water service with him since the water bill is not in Oakes` name. Oakes said that’s not how things had been done until after the incident with Tice.

McGuire said the town had discovered a mistake made by the contractor who put in the water. Apparently, the water meters to Oakes’ home and another water customer had been switched, resulting in Oakes’ water being shut off. “We reversed the mistake,” McGuire said.

Oakes and council members continued to exchange accusations and express disagreement over the water situation. Eventually Oakes was told his five minutes of speaking time allowed by council policy had elapsed. He vowed to return to future meetings to continue his comments.

After the meeting, Shroyer confirmed that Tice had resigned. Town water and sewage operations are being run by a certified operator for an interim period, he said.

In other business, Beth Conway, an historical interpreter at the Levi and Catharine Coffin House State Historic Site spoke about several upcoming activities. The site will be conducting walking tours of historic Fountain City on the first Saturday each month during summer. It will also have cemetery tours in July and October.

It also was announced that townwide yard sales will be June 3-4 and a town clean up, June 10.

The council’s next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, in town hall, 312 W. Main St., Fountain City. The public may attend.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 10 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.