Hope town council meeting 09/15/20

The meeting was called to order with a reminder to silence cell phones, the opening prayer and the pledge of allegiance. 

2021 budget public hearings packet was presented by Diane Burton. 

Budget amounts recommended:

Rainy day $142,000.00

General fund $588,819.00

Maximum estimated funds to be raised $335,471.00

Local roads and streets $60,000.00

Motor vehicle highway $66,213.00

Cumulative capital improvement $25,000.00

Cumulative capital development $96,00.00

Matching estimate funds to be raised $19,368.00

Economic development $294,760.00

Riverboat $15,000.00

Public state fee $14,500.00

Total $1,302,292.00

The next budget hearing will be held Oct 20th at 5:30.

Approval of August minutes was the first item of the agenda.  The minutes passed unopposed.

Motion to approve claims was made and passed unopposed.

Old Business began with Tony Akles of Strand and Associates presenting a possible Community Crossing grant for paving Aiken Street and Shafer Drive. The initial grant application is due October 24th.  Motion to apply was passed unanimously.  The amount required was uncertain.  Somewhere in the $80,000.00 to $150,000.00 range.   Recommended updating the town’s asset management plan every year to be edible for funds.  The plan must be updated by December 1st to be eligible for Community Crossing Projects next year. 

Updates on Downton Revitalization Project came from Mr. Akles again.  There was a construction progress meeting last week.  Some light poles are up.  RC electric is waiting for complete installation of the new poles before calling Duke to put in the new electric meters.  The North side and West side poles have been installed and they are hoping to be lit up this week.  There has been a delay in the arrival of a cable from a sub-contractor.  There was also a delay digging out a light base by the library.  It was unable to be dug by hand.  The poles on the inside of the square will be taken out and replaced after power has been restored to the poles on the exterior of the square so the whole square is not black at once.  The concrete is progressing. 

Tony then presented pay application number one for $94,492.00.  Clyde made a motion.  It passed unopposed.

The neighborhood watch sign north of town on the historic district signpost was removed.  Marshall Tallent confirmed it will be placed back up.  There is a sidewalk on the south side of the square that needs three sections replaced.  It is a trip hazard.  Estimate is 700.00 to replace.  Clyde motioned to replace it.  The motion passed unopposed.   There was discussion on installing a barrier so no one can drive up on the curb and crack it again.  Options for closing off the access road to the shelter house when not in use were also discussed. 

Susan Thayer Fye discussed the existing eight round concrete planters and staining the new planters and the existing planters the same color.  The existing ones are chipped and need refinished.  Susan presented a red brick color recommended by the Main Street Design committee to accent the historic red brick buildings in the square and the existing brick planters.  Other color choices could be white, black or green.  Yellow in honor of the Yellow Trail museum was discussed but not popular.  Clyde asked how much it would cost to refurbish the existing planters.  David Clouse said the planters would need sand blasting because they were so chipped and peeling.  It was asked who would be painting the planters and who would be responsible for the cost.  The cost for refinishing the round planters was not included in the grant.  Ohmer discussed purchasing kits to refinish the existing planters.  The age of the planters was discussed. Removing the horse troughs from the park was discussed.  Susan brought up the pads were created for rotating art and sculpture that has been but that plan has never come to fruition.  Replacing the eight round planters with three more rectangular planters was discussed pending cost. Susan will research cost options and present later. 

Tony Akles reviewed the new construction schedule with an extension and completion date of October 9th.  The first extension was for a completion date of September 4th.  The reasons for being behind schedule were reviewed by a representative from corporate.  COVID has been a contributing factor in the delays. The concrete sidewalks are 80% completed, with four pours away from completion.  There will be two pours this week and two next week.  Getting enough concrete at the appropriate time with enough time to cure before application of the special finish has been an issue.  Crew size was also reduced to reduce the likeliness of spreading illness within the company.  Crews from other sub-contractors also worked staggered hours not wanting to be exposed workers from different company crews.  Delivery on materials has also been held up by COVID shutdowns.  The contractor also shut down for three weeks during the Governor’s mandate.  They have had confirmed cases in their company and had to quarantine employees.  He claimed that sub-contractors and suppliers have been selling materials they don’t have access to because of shut downs.  The rest of the light poles will be pulled next week.  Landscaping will only take a few days.   The pole bases and the bases for the park benches should be in by Wednesday of next week, allowing for the completion of landscaping.  There has been a delay on anodized aluminum hand rails from a company in Indianapolis.  There is an option to make them out of stainless steel instead.  Delivery on components of the light poles has also been delayed.  All the poles have been delivered, but not the bases.  Ohmer asked if there were any specific items they were having trouble obtaining.  The handrails are the only current delay.  Mr. Miller asked for the completion date again.  October 9th was given.  The benches are currently being reworked at the fabricator.  Next Tuesday bench foundations will be started with the half moon brick paver areas.  All other pavers have been installed except those.  Mr. Miller also asked if any damage was done to the new surfaces at the event over the weekend.  A bicycle was driven over the new concrete.  Tony stated no damage was done.  Ed Johnson complimented the workers for being there every day and staying on task.  Clyde asked about the light on the top of the flagpole.  A bucket truck is being brought in to fix that.  Clyde also asked about the wayfaring signage on the four corners.  It is complete, but it must be picked up in Cincinnati.  Jerry Bragg asked for confirmation the only thing that would cause delay is the hand rails.  Clyde brought up the notification of the state for the ribbon cutting ceremony and needing to know a firm completion date for that.  He was assured the extension lies well within the timeline deadline for the completion of the grant.    Tony will work up a change order for the extension.  A motion was made for the extension.  The motion passed. 

Susan Thayer Fye of Main Street asked about the Studebaker car show on Saturday September 26th and the suffragette rally.  Community members are wanting to do a community yard sale in their own yards that weekend.  Jerry stated that any large events that could draw a crowd like the cruise-ins and the Studebaker car show must be ran through the health department.  He reiterated nothing must take place inside the square until everything is done; everything must be outside of the square.  The yard sales are fine, just no events inside the square.  Events must follow health department regulations and masks should be worn.  Diane asked if the bandstand could be used for bands to set up.  Council responded that no one was to be in the square after what happened Saturday.  Somebody may get hurt and sue the town.  Susan then brought up the next cruise in on October second.  The Student Fund of Hope’s event that night has been cancelled due to the number of possible attendees under the current COVID orders from the Governor.  There was a motion to cancel the previous motion shutting the square down for the movie night.  It was passed. 

Ed asked what could be done if council shut the square down if kids were caught on bicycles or congregating in the shelter house.  Matt stated there were no trespassing signs up and citations could be issued.  David Clouse pointed out the wording of the motion should be park, instead of the square as the playground remains open. The motion to close the park except for the playground passed. 

Matt Tallent stated that in the past when a community yard sale was held the yard sale permit fees were waived.  He asked if the council wanted them to be waived for this community yard sale.  Clyde said to waive it and made a motion.  It passed.

Andy Klipsch gave an update on the Hope Rising service on this Saturday the 19th at 1:00.  It will be held in the empty lot between the Swiss Maid and Willow Leaves.  Council members were invited to attend for a prayer of blessing over the town leaders.  The police and fire chiefs, town clerk and town controller were also invited.  There will be music after the prayer.  The service will end at 2:00. 

Pastor Ed Cottrell shared about the clean-up portion of Saturday’s event.  The three trash collection dumpsters at the utilities building will be open from 8:00 am until noon.  County recycle trailer will be there as well.  First Financial already has containers out for document shredding.  The four larger churches in Hope will be splitting up the town into sections for trash pick-up.  Main Street will be at the site for collection to unload.  As the church groups goes through the town they will also pick up litter and pray along the way.  There will box lunches available at noon from local food establishments.  No paint solvents, tires, propane tanks, large appliances, TVs or computers will be accepted.  The pastor has a contact for next year for tires and large appliance pickup.  The food pantry and blessing boxes will have containers and shopping carts available for donation.  The utilities office will also be a drop off location for food donations.  Nellie asked who was paying for the box lunches.  Pastor Ed clarified they will be available for purchase.  They are not provided by the event organizers.  He thanked the town for purchasing the dumpsters.  Clyde wanted to recognize the bank for providing the shredding as  First Financial is covering the cost for the shredding containers.  Clyde posed that the town council match the donations taken in for the food bank up to a thousand dollars.  A motion was made and passed 5 -0. 

Council President Bragg then moved on to new business.  Resolution 2020-06 from Diane Burton to reduce four infrequently used funds for a budget resolution.  Ed motioned to approve and it passed 5-0. 

Diane then mentioned a conversation she had with David Clouse and Debbie about it being time to reopening just the drive through at the utilities office with a protective shield in place.  Clyde motioned they open it again and it passed unopposed.    

20-33 executive order from the Governor extends the prohibition on evictions, foreclosures and the disconnection of utility services.  There are approximately seventy-nine households currently behind on their utilities payments.  Setting up a six-month payment plan was discussed.  There is normally a finance charge associated with a late account.  David suggested starting with a letter giving a shut off date unless customers in arrears agreed to sign up for a payment plan.  Ohmer suggested waiving the penalty for this period.  There was a discussion over those who are abusing the order hoping their bills would be excused versus those household who are really hurting and in need.  The utilities off will draft a letter for review by council regarding the shut off process.  The trustee’s office and health and human services were brought up as resources.  Utilities will not be shut off until the governor’s next decision is made.  Council motioned to approve the six-month repayment option for individuals subject to review of the letter.  It passed 5-0.

There was a discussion of improvement to the pumping stations. 

Matt Tallent asked the council to be thinking about Trick or Treat hours for this year and what the town will like to do next month.  Ohmer recommended people only attend safe places like trunk or treat or family members houses.  Ed shared he believes the museum will be doing night at the museum, but in a different manner this year. 

Jerry Bragg presented a handout with new picnic tables since the town was putting all the beautification work into the square but still has the old picnic tables.  He asked for picnic tables that would be affixed to the ground.  Different table shapes and placement options were discussed. 

The meeting was adjourned.