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Monday, March 1, 2021
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  • Council President Jerry Bragg called the meeting to order with a reminder to silence mobile devices.  He then led the opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.  Councilman Ohmer Miller was absent from the meeting. 

     Minutes from the December and January meetings were reviewed and approved.  Clyde Compton motioned to pass the December minutes, with Ed Johnson seconding.  Ed motioned to pass the January minutes with John seconding the motion.  The motions for both months passed 4 -0.

    Claims were presented an approved with no changes.

    Steve Robertson from Strand & Associates them presented the Community Crossing Matching Grant (CCMG.)  He presented a list of four potential contractors for paving work. They were all companies Stand had worked with in the past and who have done work in Hope.  Globe out of Westport was the only company called out by name.  Mr. Robertson reminded council they would need to send out requests for bids to at least three companies.  The deadline for quote submission is March 10th.  Quotes may be submitted in person or by email.  Scott Andrews will review all the submitted quotes to make sure the meet the grant guidelines.  April first is the grant deadline for the contractor’s signature.  The paperwork is due to INDOT by April 8th.  The contractor will have until August to complete the work.  Steve commented that the scope does include the recent changes to Brookside Drive.  Councilman Compton asked if the paving would adjoin the last paving at Schafer Drive.  Mr. Robertson affirmed it did.  Clyde then suggested sending out quotes to all four contractors on the list provided by Mr. Robertson.  Council agreed. 

    Steve Robertson then presented the Downtown Revitalization Grant Project Pay application in Eric Frey’s absence.  The final pay application for the park project must be submitted by Thursday to Trena Carter of ARA’s office.  $13,841.20 has to be submitted this week to get reimbursement for the full $20,494.00.  Trena needs a final payroll report.  $3,642.80 is coming from local funds, and Mr. Robertson suggested the town withhold this amount until the work is complete.  The wayfaring signage still has not been installed.  Mr. Robertson stated the reworked brackets from Indiana Custom Fab are ready; they are just waiting on the Poole Group to install them.  There are also two streetlights out.  Vectren and Poole Group have been contacted to get them repaired.  It should not be an issue as they have a warranty.  The new grass is also a warranty item.  The contractor does have a bond the town may charge if the lights are not fixed. 

    Mr. Robertson also brought up that Strand and Associates have an annual continuing services agreement coming up due.  He will present it at the March meeting.  It takes care of preliminary paperwork, and while it does not lock the town into using Strand it makes the processes easier and cheaper. 

    Susan Thayer Fye then moved on with the Main Street update.  The reports have been filed for the $10,000.00 grant from the Columbus Visitors Center Grant and the $75,000.00 grant from the Heritage Fund.  She also filed the report for the $25,000.00 Custer Nugent Foundation.  Everything has been filed regarding the Downtown Revitalization Grant except the final report for OCRA.

    Susan gave a recap of Groundhog Day, which was virtual and held at Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators this year.

    Susan then shared the Main Street of Hope Organization had signed the paperwork to continue their partnership as a state sanctioned Main Street community. 

    She then went over $15,000.00 Main Street promotional grant local businesses owners had asked her to apply for.  Funds would be used help set up websites and online sales capabilities. 

    She also asked how the town wanted her to proceed with finding the replacement for her Executive Director’s position and whether or not they wanted to be involved in the process of finding a replacement.   No response was given. 

    Jerry Bragg then moved on to the next item on the agenda, 2021 boards and committees.  The planning commission ordinance states the President appoints three town officials, with the other members being citizens.  The two citizens should be one Democrat and one Republican.   With this revelation John Walstad would be able to stay on the planning commission.   The police oversight committee still needs one person, a resident. 

    Mr. Bragg then moved on to the town manager position.  The town lawyer Scott Andrews had provided council with an updated version of the job description.  Clyde felt like it covered everything spoken about at the council’s executive session to discuss the job description.  He motioned council start taking applications.  Compton suggested advertising the position on Need It, HSJ Online, and the Republic.  Applications would be accepted until March 31st.  John seconded the motion and it was accepted 4 -0.

    Scott Andrews then presented an amendment to the trash and junk ordinance.  Council had talked about increasing the fee.  The fee is currently $25.00 per day until cleanup happens.  The amendment includes this fee and any court costs, attorney fees, and the filing fee.  This would also include interest.  The amendment was presented for the first reading.  Clyde motioned to move ahead with it.  Ed seconded the motion.  It passed 4 -0.

    Council then moved on to new business.  Billy Kirkham from North Point then presented the Health insurance renewal via phone conference.  This year’s current plan renewal came back high with a 22.5% increase.  Since it was so high he also took the liberty of quoting out new plans.  He found a plan similar to the current plan with only a 5.3% increase in cost and a lower deductible.  The plan deductible would be at $2,800.00 versus the current plan’s $3,600.00 deductible.    The plan is a Chamber plan so the town would have to join the chamber of commerce.  Diane asked about the chamber fee.  It is a one-time fee of $499.00 and $1.99 per employee.  The renewal would also move to October first instead of March first.  Even with the new fees, the monthly insurance bill would still be lower.  Ed motioned to accept the new plan presented, and Clyde seconded the motion.  It passed 4 – 0.

    Jason Eckart then came before council with a park request.  As the chairperson of Main Street’s Cruise-In committee he asked for permission to use the park for five cruise-in events.  He stated last year's cruise-in account balance began with $1,800.00 and ended with $900.00.  His goal is to make the event self-sustaining.  He remarked the event brought a lot of people to Hope, with attendees from as far away as Tennessee and Chicago.  Last year he has purchased $200.00 worth of dash plaques with the remaining money going towards the bands.  The band cost $400.00 for each cruise-in.  He admitted last year was a difficult one with COVID, but asked for permission to use the square and bandstand again as long as there was not a change in the gathering size mandated by the Governor.  Our current county status stands at yellow which allows for gatherings of up to 250 people.  Eckart did not feel the crowd size exceeded that at any one time during the previous year’s cruise-ins. He stated he would return again before May with a more concrete plan to shut down the streets.  Ed remarked they drew a nice crowd.  Clyde stated the cruise-ins automatically got at $2,100.00 budget each year.  Clyde motioned as long as they stayed with state guidelines the cruise-ins continue.  John seconded the motion and it passed 4 – 0.

    Jerry Bragg then moved on to the shelter/house and park use guidelines.  The park gets a lot of use in the summer.  People need to take their trash away after the use the park and clean-up.  There is now a $5.00 key deposit in place.  Bragg suggested raising the deposit to $25.00 for township residents, more if they were not township residents.  Clyde suggested making the deposit the same for everyone and asked who was responsible for making sure the trash was take off.  Trena Carter suggested the fees go towards Jeff Yarnell taking the trash off after the weekends.  Jason Eckart asked when the grass would be open again. David Clouse said the contractors would be back in February or March to re-seed the new grass.  Eckart stated he felt the space should be free for the public to use.  Right now, the public gets the key from the police department, and return it to the police department when they are finished.  There was discussion on installing a camera so they could see who left trash behind.  Matt Tallent will look into camera systems.  He did state they would need a higher bandwith internet on the square to host cameras.

    Diane Burton then presented the Animal Control Services agreement with the Humane Society.  The agreement remains the same as in past years, $48.00 per animal.    Ed motioned to accept it, Clyde seconded the motion.  It passed. 4 – 0.

    Clyde Compton then moved on to the next item on the agenda, Edit requests.  He had a meeting with Susan Thayer Fye of Main Street regarding the executive director’s salary.  It was set at $9,600.00 per year.  The previous year was $10,800.00, but it was reduced due to the park project being finished.    Compton stated the only thing the town had to do with Main Street was the funding. No one was sure who would take the position at $800.00 a month for twelve months.    The Edit committee would not pay out the funds as a lump sum since they did not know who would fill the position and whether or not they would fill the hours required.  They set the reimbursement cost at $15.00 an hour with the cost not to exceed $9,600.00 in the course of a year.  They would also request a timesheet and a monthly report from the new executive director.  The report would help Edit decide if they wanted to fund the position next year.  Edit voted 4 – 0 to accept under those terms and it passed 4 - 0.  The Edit committee does not want to be involved in choosing a replacement. 

    David Clouse then moved on to the Davey Tree Quote for the 2021 treatment of trees in the park.  It included dormant oil to retard pests.  Fertilization takes place every other year.  The cost is $2,112.00 for the dormant oil and $2,415.00 for fertilizer with a cost of $4,525.00 for the 2021 season.  The quote is cheaper than last year, as the ash tree treatment applied last year was more costly.  Ed motioned to accept the quote, Clyde seconded the motion.  It passed 4 – 0.

    It was then time for questions and comments.  The only question was from Clyde.  He wanted to know how the town’s salt reserves were.  David said they would last the rest of the year.  When he wrote that report it was snowing every other day. 

     



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