April 26, 2023 at 6:50 a.m.

Town Council Meeting Notes 04/18

By JESSICA DECKARD | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

The meeting opened with a public hearing presented by Victoria Bechert of ARA. She read the following statement:

“On or about April 28, 2023, the Town of Hope intends to apply to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs for a grant proposal from the State Community Development Block Grand (CDBG) Wastewater / Drinking Water Program with final applications being due June 30, 2023. This program is funded by Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended. These funds are to be used for a community development project that will include the following activities: Upgrades to the wastewater grinder at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and installing a new force main that routes directly from the Goshen Meadows Lift Station to the wastewater treatment plant facility. This will alleviate capacity issues at the Moravian Lift Station. In addition, these improvements, the force main that serves Miller’s Merry Manor is to be rerouted to discharge into the gravity sewer system in the Goshen Meadows lift station service area. The total amount of CDBG funds to be requested is $600,000. The amount of CDBG funds proposed to be used for activities that will benefit low to moderate-income persons is approximately $355,560. The Applicant also proposed to expend and estimated $182,135 in non-CDBG funds on the project. These non-CDBG funds will be derived from the following sources: Town of Hope ARPA Funds.”

The public hearing was then closed.

Ohmer Miller then opened the regular town council meeting with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance. Council then approved minutes from 02/21/23 and 03/21/23. Herby Asher motioned to approve with Ed Johnson seconding. The motion passed 5 – 0.

Council then moved on to the approval of claims. Herby Asher made a motion to approve the claims. John Walstad seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

Council then moved on to old business and the CCMG (Community Crossing Matching Grant.) Steve Robertson and David Clouse met with the contractor. They will begin work after school is out. They will require a week for concrete work and three to five days for milling and paving. Robertson reminded council the second round for the Community Crossings Grant opens July 5 and closes July 28 with crack seal now being eligible. Ohmer miller asked about that process. David Clouse asked if you could also do sidewalks and crack seal.

Victoria Bechert of ARA then gave and OCRA (Office of Community and Rural Affairs) wastewater grant update. The grant proposal is due next Friday, April 28. It will be submitted on Thursday the twenty-seventh. She asked people to fill out the Facebook survey. After the proposal is submitted to OCRA they will give feedback before the final version of the proposal is due on June 30. Ohmer asked if the survey was anonymous. Victoria replied it was, the respondents could skip over the section asking for their name and address.

Jason Eckart then moved on to the town recycle dumpster. He could not find a cheaper price on a dumpster than what the town was currently paying. Jason left it to the council to decide if the dumpster stays or goes. Shanon Pitman asked if the town could keep it for a year. Diane said the money for EDIT funds pays for the dumpster, so the money is there if that is what the council wants to use it on. Ohmer asked how much it would increase in the future and asked if the council needed a work session for the matter. Ed commented he did not want to spend $25,000 on it but didn’t want to see it go away. Herby Asher did not want to take away the service if it was dumped weekly and currently being utilized. A work session was set for 5:30 p.m. May 3 to further discuss the matter. Steve Robertson asked about switching it to residents. The cost would be $17 per month and 300 people must sign up. He suggested supplementing that amount and helping individuals pay for it. Herby Asher felt recycling should not be forced on all residents at a cost of $9 per month.

Jason Eckart then moved on to the utility rate ordinance first reading. Ordinance number 2023-3 for sewage and 2023-2 for water. Town lawyer Scott Andrews had read over the legal language. The ordinance was based on Krohn & Associates’ findings and would have an annual increase of three percent for water and sewer. Eckart sought town council approval, then there would be a second reading of the ordinance. Shanon Pitman asked if the three percent increase can be delayed if it is not needed. The increase would drop off after the fourth year for another rate study. Diane says the ordinance and rate increase can always be amended by ordinance if not needed. Jason Eckart asked Scott Andrews if they would have a public hearing at the May 3 meeting. Andrews did not recommend it as that was such a short turnaround. The first reading of the ordinances passed unanimously.

Council then moved on to new business. Two Hauser students gave economic development presentations. Bronwyn Newcomb’s presentation focused on maintaining the town’s image and supporting small business. Her wishes for Hope included a coffee shop, a bakery, a farm supply store, a bigger general-purpose store such as Target, a clothing store, a Taku steakhouse, a Planet Fitness, a co-op to teach about gardening farming and healthy foods. She then spoke about empty spaces to place these businesses. Amanda Steward presented next. Here theme was “Reconstructed Hope.” She wanted to get Hope more publicity. She is from Shelbyville and had never heard of Hope before attending Hauser. Businesses she wanted to see in Hope included a dog groomer, a landscaping company, and more food options. She mentioned an old school diner, an IHOP, a Main Street Café, a coffee and bakery shop to give students somewhere to gather after school.

Matt Tallent was next on the agenda with the animal use agreement for the canine on the police department. The agreement must be signed every year. Ten dollars covers food, and vet bills paid by Officer Rick Everroad. Ohmer asked how often the canine went out. Mat said quite often, even the State Police use him when they are in our area. Ed motioned to approve the agreement. John Walstad seconded the motion. It passed 5 – 0.

John Zielger then appeared before council on behalf of the Yellow Trail Museum to request park use for the museum’s annual Old-Fashioned Independence Day on June 30. He asked for the North and East side of the square to be closed to traffic for the fireworks. He also requested permission to use the chairs and tables in the shelter house for people to eat. He also requested permission to use the sound equipment until the end of the fireworks. Ohmer asked about previous issues with debris from the fireworks and asked if they could be set up further back. Herby Asher made a motion to approve the park use request and John Walstad seconded it. Ed abstained from voting. The motion passed 4 – 0.

David Miller with the Hope Library was next on the agenda with another park use request for a summer reading kickoff event on from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 17. The event would kick off the summer reading program and would include snow cones, crafts and activities and the band Highway 46. Ed motioned to accept the request and John Walstad seconded it. The motion passed 5 – 0.

Council then moved on to EDIT requests. The first request was to increase the money for Old- Fashioned Independence Day from $6,500 to $8,000. The $1,500 cost increase was due to the rising cost of gunpowder. The EDIT committee had already passed the request. Walstad sought a second to their motion. Ed abstained from voting and the motion passed 4 – 0.

The second EDIT request was from Main Street of Hope for flowers around the square and a gardener to take care of them. The cost was $7,750. Ohmer asked David Clouse if the gardener did a good job. David replied he did. Shanon Pitman asked what the cost was last year. This year’s request was up by $500, $250 more for flowers and $250 more for the gardener. The request was accepted and passed 5 – 0. Diane Burton asked John Walstad if he was going to request a motion to make the cost for fireworks and flowers a general budget item. Eight thousand dollars each would be budgeted for the fireworks and the flowers. Herby Asher made the motion with John Walstad seconding it. It passed 4 – 0 with Ed Johnson abstaining from voting.

Diane Burton then presented a meter agreement for 14275 E 600 N. The water tap would cost $1,000 and the sewer tap would cost $750. Ed made the motion. John Walstad seconded it. Ohmer miller asked if that cost would cover it at the current rates. The motion passed 5 – 0.

Jason Eckart then presented a request for new utility equipment. There is a new assistant utilities superintendent coming in June and the USDA grant for equipment is not available until October. Eckart asked for a new utilities truck, a street sweeper attachment for the Bobcat, and a dump trailer. Right now, the department has no truck reliable enough for the new employee. He requested permission to find a used truck until a new truck comes in and is approved. He would like to use up to $22,000 in ARP funds to find a used truck. Shanon Pitman asked when the new employee was coming on. Eckart replied June 1. Ohmer asked if the Sheriff’s Office were recycling any trucks. He also asked if there were any in Columbus available from the Highway Department. Jeremy Adam’s truck will be the next to be replaced. Ed asked how much we got out of the dump trailer. Herby Asher asked if they could get a good truck for $22,000? Eckart said he was looking for a small truck such as a Colorado or Sierra to replace the aging S10. Shanon Pitman made the motion to approve the truck purchase and Herby Asher seconded it.