Jerry Bragg called the meeting to order with a call to silence all mobile devices, followed by the opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. 

The 2021 budget was adopted as previously proposed under Ordinance 2020-05 with no changes.  There were no public comments.  The motion to approve the budget passed 5 – 0. 

The minutes from 09/15/2020 were reviewed.  Ed Johnson motioned to approve them; Nellie Meek seconded the motion. The motion passed 5 – 0. 

Claims were submitted for approval.  Ohmer Miller motioned to approve the claims; Clyde Compton seconded the motion. It passed 5 – 0. 

Old Business began with Susan Thayer Fye giving an update on the Downtown Revitalization Grant Project.  An official ribbon cutting is scheduled for October 21st on the west side of the square.  Pastor Ed Cottrell had been added to the schedule for an opening prayer.  There were no objections to the addition.  Susan moved onto a possible plaque to commemorate the major contributors.  She had estimates of eight hundred to twenty-five hundred for a plaque, with the cost depending on the level of weatherization and number of names included.  Nellie suggested the matter be tabled until the next meeting and asked for the plaque information to be summarized in an email.  Ohmer Miller remarked he did not feel a plaque was necessary.  The town does not need a plaque for everything.  He posited putting up a plaque would set a bad precedent.  Clyde Compton, Ed Johnson and Nellie Meek also ultimately decided no on the plaque. 

Susan then stated the Hope branch of the American Legion would like to put up a POW/MIA flag in addition to the American flag already in the square.  They were very pleased with the new lights illuminating the flag.  The existing American flag is 5’ x 8’ and they would like to add a slightly smaller 4’ x 6’ POW/MIA flag.  Town Hall already has a state flag flying.  Ohmer asked if it would be more work for David Clouse.  He said it would not be as the pole is already set up to fly two flags.  A motion was made to add the new flag, and it passed 5 – 0.

Susan then moved on to the removal of old items after the completion of the downtown project.  The yellow cigarette butt disposals have been removed to the utilities office to be used for large town events, but the found concrete planters remain.  She asked if a vote was needed to remove them.  Clyde said to trash them.  Nellie had no opinion.  Ed remarked it would clean up the square if they were removed.  David Clouse said to wait until the flowers in them died.  

The matter of the ugly horse troughs on the four concrete pads in the square was then brought up. 

The original purpose of the pads was to have the C4 classes display art there on a rotating basis.  Susan was unsure if the arts council funding for that program remained.  She proposed asking the Art Guild to manage possible art to display there. 

Susan then moved on to upcoming Hope events.  The Yellow Trail Museum will host a Sunday Social on Sunday November 1st to highlight area veterans.  The museum will also hold Night at the Museum on Friday October 23rd.  November 28th will be a celebration of Small Business Saturday with the Student’s Fund of Hope hosting a craft fair Saturday and Sunday November 28th and 29th.   Main Street of Hope will be hosting the Christmas Decorating contest again this year in December. Area residents will be able to earn the leg lamp trophy and bragging rights.   

Council then moved on to the fencing amendment.  Matt Galbraith suggested a provision to the amendment that a fence must be maintained after it was erected along with a penalty for violating the provision.  Ohmer asked how you would define fence maintenance.  Galbraith said if a fence needed maintenance it would mean something was structurally wrong with the fence, not just paint colors or something like that.  Scott Andrews suggested the provision to the ordinance be modeled after the rubbish and trash enforcement ordinance. 

The last item of old business was the old yellow and brown benches.  There are six of them.  Diane Burton has had a party express interest in three of them.  Dave asked if we needed to open them up for public bid.  Scott will check on the requirements for disposal.  Council agreed to sell them.  A price of fifty to one hundred dollars was discussed.  Ohmer motioned to give David the latitude to sell them at a price to be determined after Scott’s research.  The motion to passed 5 – 0. 

Council moved on to new business.  The first item on the agenda was a park request from Susan Thayer Fye for groundhog day on Tuesday February 2nd.  The bandstand has been used for the ceremony every year.  She asked if participants could be inside the square or if they needed to stay outside of the square.  She also asked for at least four parking spot s to be blocked off for TV news crews.  If the high school band was available and willing to participate would they be able to play on the bandstand?  Clyde did not know what the virus would be doing and stated the bandstand was closed to the public.  Ed Johnson remarked there was no harm in planning the event like it would happen and canceling if matters got worse with COVID.  Nellie pointed out that had not happened with events in the past. Ohmer asked how much time was needed to plan the event, and suggested the park use to be contingent on the condition of the park and council hold off until January to make a decision. 

Jessica Brown of the Yellow Trail then came before council to ask for a park request for Christmas of Yesteryear.  She stated things would be different this year due to COVID. The historic character sketches would be different due to social distancing.  It would not be possible to have the carriage or wagon rides with large groups of people, so she asked for Harrison Street to be closed so the characters could rotate through while the audience stayed still.  Chairs would be set up for the audience to allow for social distancing.  The museum board also felt like social distancing inside the chiropractor’s office would not be possible since it is a small space.  They did not want to have groups of children there waiting for Santa in close proximity, so Santa would see children outside this year.  Instead of sitting on his lap they will tell him their Christmas wishes from a distance, or write them down and place them in a stocking or mailbox.    There would also be no cookie decorating inside the museum and no bake sale since they would be hard to hold in a stringent sanitary fashion. She mentioned local businesses were already on board with hosting it and stressed no one would be inside the square, everything would be set up on the sidewalks.  Council approved the request 5 – 0. 

Jerry Brag then moved on to the approval letter that had to be signed by council for the new fire truck financing. The town would have no liability by signing the letter, it was just and formality. It was passed 5 – 0.  

Ernie Stone then came before council.  He opened by saying the town better hold groundhog day, as that was when he married his wife and it was cause for celebration.  He then moved on to the water drainage system at his trailer park on Aiken Street.  He showed council pictures of a fence on the north side of his property that was falling down.  When he was inspecting his fence, he noticed a water drainage issue.  The fence was just built in April.  The ground there is so wet the concrete for the posts will not harden.  The fence then started to lean.  He asked council where the existing drainage line is.  He dug 7’ looking for it and failed to find it.  He asked when it was constructed and how much it cost as he has paid thousands toward it through taxes.  He has never seen any work done on it.  He would like to install a new drain into the existing drainage system and needs to know its location.  David Clouse replied the tax is for the stormwater assessment.  It was to pay for the projects like replacing the stone pipe on Washington Street.  Mr. Clouse then suggested the fence posts were not tall enough to support the fence, and a new drain would not help the matter.  David has not seen a map of the existing drainage and does not know if a drainage tile exists.  Tony Philyaw then stated he wants to install a French drain and they will need to know where the closest storm line is so they can tie into it.  David sated the closest sewer drain is on the south side of the Conrad Taul place.   A discussion on storm drain funding followed with the suggestion to check with Trena Carter for possible grant funding as drainage is admittedly horrible in this area.  

David Clouse then presented the Neptune 360 system.  It is software that goes along with the new meter reading hardware.  The software costs three thousand five hundred dollar with a five hundred dollar set up fee.  The software cost is annual and the set-up cost is a one-time fee.  The program will work with new requirements coming in January 1st.  Windows will no longer support the old meter reading program.  The equipment is already in hand and they just need training for it.  The new software will cut down on reading time and will support mobile phone use.  Nellie Meek asked David about cost saving measures for the water, since it is already so expensive.  He replied there was really no way to lower the water cost as it is purchased form Eastern Bartholomew Water Corporation.  The town would have to do a study on a well field to establish our own water supply.  This new technology has found leaks and has resulted in cost savings there.  Main breaks are also down since the water project happened.  Both the water project and cost increases by Eastern Bartholomew caused a raise in the water cost at the same time.  Clyde recalled an aquifer five miles outside of town towards Shelbyville.  Ohmer pointed out the cost of a new water system would really raise water prices with such a system running millions of dollars.  Ed motioned the town purchase the new software system, with Clyde seconding since the old software would no longer be supported.  The motion passed 5 – 0. 

Wastewater pump impellers for the Goshen Meadows lift stations were presented by David Clouse.  Equipment is needed to grind up the personal wipes that are clogging sewer lines.  Two units are required at a cost of two thousand seven hundred and five dollars each for a total sum of five thousand four hundred ten dollars.  They do come with a sixty-day guarantee.  If they do not solve the problem they can be returned.  Ohmer motioned to purchase the units, with Nellie seconding.  The motion passed 5 – 0. 

Diane Burton then brought forward the 2021 salary ordinance which needs passed by December and proposed a two to three percent raise.  There was then discussion over what Columbus and Bartholomew county had done this year.  Clyde noticed the utility clerk was underpaid in comparison to part time employees such as the dispatcher and clerk treasurer.  He suggested the utility clerk’s pay be raised to a commensurate level.  Nellie brought up she questioned the level of pay for the utility clerk last year.  Diane stated the rates for pay came from a market survey in 2016.  Ohmer stated he would like to see the utility clerk’s pay revised and resubmitted.  Clyde motioned two percent raises across the board, but bring the utility clerk’s level up to match the part time employees. Ed seconded the motion and it passed 5 – 0. 

Clyde Compton then presented an Edit request from HSJ Online submitted by David Webster.  A total of six hundred twenty-five dollars was requested to cover weekly town updates and Facebook boosts for events.  The edit committee approved the request the request 5 – 0 at their meeting.  Ohmer expressed concern over giving a business money, asking why they were receiving edit funds.  Nellie pointed out that HSJ Online is a not for profit.  Ohmer said edit money was for town use.  Clyde point out HSJ Online has secured a large portion of their own funding through advertising and fundraising and were asking for less than half the amount requested last year.  The previous edit request was two thousand dollars.  The council then voted, with Ohmer being the only member voting no. 

Matt Tallent then presented the Barb Johnson Memorial to honor her immeasurable contributions to the town, the school and maintaining the history of the town.  He would like to see road 775 East behind Hauser designated the Barb Johnson memorial road as this is the road that leads to the one room schoolhouse. The road would not officially be renamed, but a memorial would be placed at both ends of the road.  Nellie pointed out the opposition to plaques broached earlier in the meeting, but the contributions Barb made for the museum, giving the examples of Little Hoosiers, Christmas of Yesteryear, the booth and Pioneer Days at Heritage Days, went above and beyond the average citizen in service to Hope.  She gave of both her time and money in service to the community.  Ohmer asked what the signs would say. Clyde broached the matter of the last two donations made as a memorial.  No one has yet seen a memorial materialize.  It was revealed the money donated for Dr. Sweet’s memorial fund is still in a Main Street account, awaiting approval from Dr. Sweet’s widow Sherri.  A plaque will be placed on the new bench closest to Dr. Sweet’s old office, with fund money going towards reimbursing the town for the cost of that bench.  Jerry brought up the possibility of a plague in the shelter house to honor prominent citizens such as Merrill Clouse, Don Dillman, Charlie Biggs, and Barb Johnson.  Council pointed out that not everyone can get a plaque. 

Tallent them moved on to more new skateboarding signs that will be going up in the square.  Clyde suggested a sign with the universal no symbol for skateboards for those who can’t read or understand English.  Ohmer was concerned about people violating the no use of the park order and congregating in the shelter house.  Tallent replied he had twelve no trespassing signs to put up after the ribbon cutting to make the no use order more visible.  No one will be able to claim they did not see the signs.  Diane Burton asked if council motioned to go with the first no skateboarding sign.  They replied yes and the motion passed 5 – 0. 

The meeting was adjourned.