April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Town Council approves new ordinances

By HSJ Online [email protected]

The Hope Town Council gave its final approval to two new ordinances last night and gave first approval to a third.

The council finished its work toward revamping the rules concerning the Town Square and shelterhouse use, as well as how to enforce violations of town codes.

The shelterhouse/Town Square ordinance lists various items and activities that must be approved by the Town Council before they can be used in events on the square. That includes things like fireworks and bounce houses. The intent is to restrict dangerous activities until participants can show they will be properly insured and the town protected from liability.

The final version last night included the use of firearms and a general clause that gave the council the right to enforce unforeseen "dangerous" activities, said Cindy Boll, the town attorney.

However, Councilman Ohmer Miller suggested the "dangerous" blanket category be expanded to include "inappropriate" activities, giving the council more leeway. The other council members agreed.

The proposed abandoned vehicle ordinance modification, refined the criteria for declaring a vehicle on private property as actually abandoned, as opposed to simply being worked on. Prior to the proposed changes, town police would have to estimate the value of a vehicle to ensure it was worth less than $500, to meet one of the criteria. Town manager J.T. Doane explained that the proposed changes would ensure that the police aren't put in the position of having to estimate car values or know the Kelley Blue Book price of a vehicle.

Instead the proposed new ordinance declares abandoned vehicles as those which are those that are partially dismantled, not operating, wrecked, junked, or otherwise not operable, or not properly registered.

That ordinance will return next month for final consideration by the council.

In other new business, the council:

  • Approved the use of the Town Square for Hope Heritage Days from Sept. 23 to 25th and for the Bartholomew County Public Library Hope Branch's Goodies Goblins and Ghost Stories event on Oct. 21st.

  • Approved requests for funds from Economic Development Income Tax revenues including a proposal from Main Street of HOPE to add wi-fi and Internet access on the Town Square, a proposal from Hope Heritage Days for $20,000 to provide entertainment and fireworks during the event and a request from Heritage of Hope Inc. to help pay for utilities and rent at the Larry Simpson Building. The building houses the Hope visitor's center satellite office, Main Street of HOPE, Heritage of Hope, HSJ Online and the Hope Art Guild. Although Heritage of Hope had requested up to $21,000 for utilities and rent, the EDIT committee recommended approval only of actual, submitted utility bills and a smaller amount of the monthly rent, Council President Clyde Compton said. He estimated that would come in much lower than the requested amount.

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