August 24, 2023 at 6:35 a.m.

Town Council Meeting Notes 08/15

By JESSICA DECKARD | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Council President Ohmer Miller brought the meeting to order with a reminder to silence electronic devices. He then led the opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Approval of minutes from the 06/20/23 meeting was first on the agenda. John Walstad made a motion to accept them, and Shanon Pittman seconded it. It passed 4 – 0. Councilman Ed Johnson was not present.

Approval of claims was next. Herby Asher made a motion to approve the claims. John Walstad seconded it. It passed 4 – 0. Councilman Ed Johnson was still not present.

Steve Robertson with Strand and Associates then presented the CCMG (Community Crossing Matching Grant) final report. The final bill for 2022-02 was $124,612.47. This was $6,088.13 under the original quote of $130,700.60. Steve asked for a motion to approve the final bill. Shanon Pittman made the motion and Herby Asher seconded the motion. Robertson noted Union Street went over from the original estimate. It required more patching, but West Drive did not require as much patching as anticipated. The motion passed 4 – 0. Ed Johnson was not present for the vote. Robertson then moved on to the striping on Hauser Drive. His recommendation was not to do it. It was done by the county. It will need maintenance every two to three years. John Walstad saw it as a safety issue. He stated it had been that way for a long time. David Clouse replied, the county had only done it last year. They accidentally carried on over nine while they were striping 600 N. Jason Eckart pointed out the extra $3,500 on Seminary Street. This was for fixing the drain that was low. It was raised up and repaired. It was not a part of the CCMG grant, the repairs were just carried at the same time.

Matt Tallent then presented a quote for Flock safety cameras at State Road 9 and 500 N. The quote for installing one camera south of town was $6,650. The camera cost $3,000. Installation was $650. Two-year contract fees were $3,000. The money required for the purchase is available in the public safety funds account. Jason Eckart asked about installing one on 600 N. Tallent would like to see one there eventually. Shanon Pittman made a motion to approve the purchase. Ed Johnson seconded it. The motion passed 5 – 0.

IDOC (Indiana Department of Corrections) sidewalk repair was next on the agenda. Jason Eckart shared a sidewalk at the post office had been repaired. Gaith Comstock, the Assistant Utilities Superintendent, assisted with the repair. The IDOC crew could only assist on Friday until noon because of the heat advisory. He estimated the cost for fifty-three feet of sidewalk was $1,250. This came in well under his $1,600 estimate. The crew will be coming back twice in September. Eckart asked to do two more smaller sections of sidewalk. He would try to keep it under $1,000 monthly. Shanon Pittman asked what locations they would be repairing next. Eckart had two spots on the east side of Washinton that need repaired. He wanted to focus on two or three squares of sidewalk at a time. Ohmer felt that anytime Jason can get them to help it is to the town’s benefit. Herby Asher agreed. Shanon Pittman asked if the crew could be split up since the first crew was too large. They could not since that would require more guards.

Aaron Van Pelt then presented the town employee’s medical insurance renewal. His recommendation was to stay with the current plan. Anthem only had a three percent increase. He did not shop with that renewal rate and recommended they stay with the same plan. He did ask to take over as agent of record for the dental and vison plans through SIHO. The medical renewal is October 1 and the dental and vision renewal is December 1. He would like to work on lining up the renewals for next year at the same time. Jason Eckart recommended we go with him as an agent as all the other reps did not show in person for the last meeting. Ohmer Miller asked for a motion to change the agent of record. Ed Johnson made the motion. Herby Asher seconded it. It passed 5 – 0. Herby Asher then made a motion to accept the renewal. John Walstad seconded it. It passed 5 – 0.

A new electric outlet for Norma Park was next on the agenda. John Marquis had made the request, but he was unable to attend the meeting. He uses Norman Park for services. There is currently no plug-in power for the shelter house. John asked if the town would put in a 100-volt outlet. J.P. Electric quoted $200 to install a weatherproof two-outlet set up on one of the poles. There is already power ran there for the cameras. Shanon Pittman remarked it would be good for crockpots for pitch ins. Herby Asher made a motion to approve it. Scott Andrews cautioned that the town really needed three quotes to proceed. The motion was changed to approve the lowest quote at $200 or below. Shanon Pittman seconded the motion. She also asked if we should just get one plug or if we should get a four-plug outlet. Jason was concerned about how many circuits that would require. The motion was changed to four receptacles in one big plug not to exceed $300 for a four receptacle GIF protected outlet. It passed 5 – 0.

Dave Miller was next on the agenda with a park request for the Goodies, Ghosts and Goblins event to be held on Friday October 27 from 5 – 8 p.m. He asked for permission to use the south side of the square for trunk or treat. He asked for the parallel and middle parking spots to be blocked off. Shanon Pittman asked if that would affect Students’ Fund of Hope. Miller said not, he had been in contact with them. Shanon Pittman made a motion to approve the request. John Walstad seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

Jeff Yarnell had another park request for the Community Center’s Krist Kindle Markt. Last year there were five sheds placed in the parallel parking spots on the south side of the square. He asked for the sheds to remain up for two weekends. December 1 and 2, and December 8 and 9 from 4 to 9 p.m. He will decorate the sheds more this year. He also wants to have horse drawn carriage rides and Christmas caroling for a few hours each night. He would also like to have a Christmas tree decorating contest for kids on the sidewalk from the south side of the square to the shelter house. Ohmer asked about building on the square for a week being a problem. David Clouse asked for them not to be placed in front of the town’s decorations this year. Yarnell asked for six or seven sheds this year. Ohmer said six was plenty for this year. Herby Asher noted leaving the lights on would draw attention to them. He suggested putting the lights on a timer. John Walstad motioned to approve the request. Herby Asher seconded it. It passed 5 – 0.

Clerk Treasurer Diane Burton presented the 2024 town budget recommendations next. There will be a public hearing on September 19 at 5:30 p.m. and a budget adoption hearing on October 17 at 5:30 p.m. She noted her DLGF (Department of Local Government Finance) approved budget does not include water and sewer. Her recommendations and changes from 2023 included a salary increase of 5 percent. Paying the town manager 70 percent from EDIT (Economic Development Income Tax) and 30 percent from general water and sewer. The town manager is currently paid 100 percent from EDIT funds. She also recommended the town marshal be paid 10 percent from EDIT funds and 90 percent from general funds. There was an overall increase of 10 percent. Health insurance was bumped up. As well as gasoline and LVH. There was a savings plan in place from 2018 when saving started for a new town hall. She recommended this continue. There was $70,000 set aside for sidewalks. She noted the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds currently in project pockets will have to be used in the coming year. She noted both Old-Fashioned Independence Day and flowers for the town has been increased to $8,000 each as previously approved. She had also lowered the riverboat tax. Nothing had been received yet and that funding has proved to be unreliable lately. The general fund increase was $20,551, a four percent increase from last year. The maximum levy of four percent was requested. Jason wanted to see a detail of what the fire department spends as the increase there was a lot of money. Herby Asher agreed it was a lot of money and he would like to see their budget.

Jason Eckart then presented the solar eclipse celebration. April 8, 2024, is the date. The eclipse will be two and a half to three minutes in length. Matt Tallent shared that in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 2017 they called themselves Eclipseville for the day. They were nearly over run for the day. A population increase of 160,000 people is expected in Bartholomew County. The town, Main Street and the library have been planning an event to celebrate the eclipse and welcome visitors. They would like to close the town square and the streets around it for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. April 6 through 9. They are expecting between one and three thousand people in the town. David Miller will have an education and fun event. Music will be on the bandstand. Main Street and Students’ Fund of Hope will also host events. John Walstad asked if there would be food trucks. Eckart replied there would be, and the local restaurants would be participating as well. Ohmer asked what a solar eclipse is. Tallent replied the shadow of the moon will totally black out the sun. We will be in the total eclipse area. The full eclipse will the from 3:06 to 3:09 p.m. The total eclipse process will start at 11 a.m. and last until 4 p.m. Tallent said there would be campers wanting to stay and get entertained. Rushville is selling camping spots for $500 each. Shelbyville is planning a weekend long event. Johnson County is doing a beer and wine festival. Conne K-B shared the themes are “Total Eclipse of the Hope” and “I Totally Blacked Out in Hope.” Shanon asked about the two different locations around the square and out at the Gathering Fields. RV parking could be a big money maker. Dave Miller said there will probably be in town whether we have an event or not so we should capitalize on it. Shanon asked how many people were in town for Heritage Days. Tallent encouraged the town to get things set up so the town could advertise on a state website. Shanon motioned to proceed with setting up the event. Herby Asher seconded it. The square would be closed from Friday evening for setup through Tuesday for teardown. It passed 5 – 0. Herby asked when the meeting are. Tallent said the Monday before town council meetings at 6 p.m. at the library.

Hauser Drive was next on the agenda. Jason was asked to get information on striping the new pavement on Hauser Drive. He spoke with Randy Simms to see who he used. Triple AAA Striping was who he called for an estimate. To layout and install the striping and stop bars is $4,035. To layout and install thermoplastic is $7,215. Thermoplastic is more reflective and will last seven years. Eckart felt like it should be considered for safety at the school. Ohmer would rather see a sidewalk since people walk there prioritized over the striping. Shanon agreed. Eckart replied there were plans in the works for a sidewalk there. Ed remarked there had already been several accidents at Hauser Drive and State Road 9. Asher asked about the cost of maintaining it. Eckart said Robertson had stated they would need to be redone every three years. Asher did not feel the need to do it as it had only been recently done by accident. Ohmer asked what the policy was for fatalities at a site before a caution light is put in. Tallent replied INDOT was contacted after accidents there and would come and do a study based on traffic. It has been found there is not enough traffic there to warrant a light. Installing a roundabout and sidewalks in front of the school was also discussed. Striping could be revisited when the intersection at 600 was redone in 2025 by INDOT. Eckart said this plan doesn’t mean Hauser Drive shouldn’t be striped. Shanon motioned not to stripe Hauser Drive as there are other safety projects the town should put energy and money in. John Walstad still wanted to see one yellow line there to slow traffic down. Shanon asked if there was a problem with speeding. Tallent stated there was not a lot of speeding there. The issue was with kids crossing and walking early morning in people’s yards. Ed Johnson said he would like to see a stop bar there. Ohmer stated he did not see the council was willing to stripe at this time.

Town Clean-up day on September 9. Hosted by Main Street. In the past the town has paid for dumpsters to be placed in the utilities department parking lot. They were paid for by EDIT Funds. Clean up day has not happened in a few years. The next EDIT meeting is not until after September 9. Jason asked the council to consider paying for the dumpsters to proceed with clean-up day. They want it to happen before Heritage Days. Ohmer asked for the cost. Eckart said he thought it was $2,100. Herby Asher felt maybe a business would like to donate to help cover the cost of the dumpsters. Shanon asked if there would also be on the same timeframe as the heavy pickup for trash. It will not be. The next heavy pick-up day is September first. Herby asked if there could be a special meeting by EDIT to approve it. A motion was made to approve dumpsters not to exceed $2,500. Ed suggested they have Cummins come and help. Jason replied they were. Shanon seconded the motion. It passed 5 – 0.

Matt Tallent then presented a resolution for a 2017 Dodge Charger surplus police car. He submitted a letter to the County Commissioners. It has been accepted by them. A resolution accepting the Charger must be issued back to the County Commissioners and then the title will be received. Ed made the motion. Herby seconded it. It passed 5 – 0.

Council then moved on to other discussion. John Walstad asked if there should be a clean-up day a week or so before the eclipse party. It was decided after it would be better.

Ed Cottrell then shared the fire department had purchased a Lucas device to do compressions during CPR. He also wanted to mention the extrication equipment is now outdated. It has been used twice during accidents. $2500 has been spent twice to buy new hoses for it. They are looking at a new unit for $40,000 - $60,000. That is where some of the fire department budget is going. Grants will also be utilized. Ed stated he could get council more budget information. The department has had to dip into its reserve funds for repairs this year. They still have fire gear that needs to be replaced. Ohmer asked if they were doing fundraisers. Ed replied that they do for Heritage days and the Old-Fashioned Independence Day. They will also be working at 450 North’s Beer Fest. John Walstad asked how the blessing box was doing. Ed did not have an answer to that. Ed also shared the Good Shepard has joined the Ministerial Association and they would be doing a Sunday Worship service on the square. He was unsure if he had to talk council for permission or Heritage of Hope. Ohmer replied he would need to ask Heritage of Hope. Ed thanked him for his report from the fire department. Reporter Webber from The Republic newspaper commented over his concern for the safety of the children along Hauser Drive. He recommended a public hearing with the State Representative in attendance. Ed said in previous meeting with INDOT they stated there had not been enough accidents at that intersection to warrant a change. Tallent shared INDOT said there would need to be a fatality before anything changed. Ohmer asked about the tree that was damaged during the storm on the square. Did it need additional work or to be cut down?