July 21, 2023 at 1:50 p.m.

Town Council Meeting Notes 07/18

By JESSICA BROWN | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Council President Ohmer Miller called the meeting to order with a reminder to silence cell phones and pagers. The meeting opened with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. The council then moved on to the approval of minutes from the May 5, 2023, meeting. Ed Johnson made a motion to approve the minutes. Herby Asher seconded the motion. It passed 5 -0.

Council then moved on to the approval of claims. Herby Asher made a motion to approve them with Ed Johnson seconding the motion. It passed 5 – 0.

Council then moved on to old business. Steve Robertson with Strand & Associates was up first with the CCMG (Community Crossing Matching Grant) paving completion report. This report was for the 2022-02 Community Crossings project. He had not yet seen the final bill. There had been more patching on Union Street than planned, but other areas took less asphalt so they should end up even. The work is done. Just waiting on the final bill. The gravel on Seminary was discussed. Shanon Pittman asked about the embankments on 825 being so steep. Robertson replied that the road was the responsibility of the county. She felt it was dangerous for young drivers. Jason Eckart said he would talk to the county about it. Ohmer Miller commented he appreciated Steve Robertson’s work and due diligence.

Jason Eckart then gave an update on the Washington Street sidewalk project. Work wrapped up today. Reseeding has been done and covered with straw. The sidewalks look good and are very flat. He said the contractors were very professional throughout the project. Ohmer Miller asked David Clouse what he thought. Clouse replied he thought they looked very nice. Shanon Pitman asked if they had quoted the Hauser sidewalk project. They have not. John Walstad asked about the pile of dirt by the merry go round in Norman Park. Eckart explained that it was backfill and is now gone. Shanon Pittman remarked it looked good. Ohmer Miller asked if payment had been released. Eckart noted that this was the first time the town has had a sidewalk all the way from Aiken Street to the Square.

The chicken ordinance was next on the agenda. Eckart provided a copy of the chicken ordinance from Columbus. Columbus allows up to four chickens but no roosters. Eckart suggested the town adopt Columbus’ chicken ordinance. Council needed to decide whether to adopt a new chicken ordinance or leave the current chicken ordinance prohibiting chickens as is. John Walstad expressed that would only lead to residents wanting more types of animals. Ohmer Miller asked if it was the will of the council not to have chickens. Herby Asher motioned it was. Ed Johnson seconded the motion. Shanon Pitman voted no, with the rest of the council voting yes. The current chicken ordinance will say with the four to one vote.

Council then reviewed a terrorism insurance addition to the current policy. Ohmer Miller said we are currently getting bids from Johnson Witkemper and it did not make sense to add the $703.00 addition to the current policy now. The council will decline for right now. Herby Asher made the motion to decline the coverage with Ed Johnson seconding the motion. It passed 5 – 0.

Council then moved on to new business. Jake Miller, CEO of Heritage of Hope was first. He shared information about the 55th Annual Hope Heritage Days to be held September 22, 23 & 24, 2023. The theme this year is All Roads Lead to Hope, a play on the famous Yellow Trail. June Gilliland will serve as the Grand Marshal for the parade on Sunday. Miller thanked the town of Hope for being the biggest sponsor and supporter of the festival. He asked if council would like to be involved in some way this year. He suggested a presence on the parade viewing stand or a float in the parade. Ohmer commented that having a presence on the viewing stand would be good. A new town council’s choice category for the parade was discussed. Shanon Pitman volunteered to be a judge for the baking contest. Ed Johnson suggested Jason Eckart serve as a liaison for the board.

Jamie Stainbrook from Main Street of Hope then asked permission for upcoming Halloween and Christmas events. She wanted to do a jack-o-lantern walk at the annual Goodies, Ghosts and Goblins event. Similar to what is done in Louisville, but on a much smaller scale. The community would bring in the pumpkins and then take them home on Friday. Ohmer Miller asked what they would be carving with. Jamie Stainbrook said they would be carved at home and brought in already finished. Jamie then moved on to the lighting of a Christmas tree and Christmas tree walk. She wanted to have a 12-foot tree to be lit on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She wanted decorated Christmas trees placed along the walks. Families and businesses would decorate the trees. Ohmer Miller asked how long the trees would be on the square. They would be up for two weeks though Christmas of Yesteryear. Shanon Pitman wanted to know where the walk would be held. Stainbrook replied it would be held on the sidewalks on the square. Stainbrook asked for police security to watch over the trees. Ohmer Miller said no to that. David Clouse asked if the trees would be electrically lit. He felt the cords everywhere would be dangerous and interfere with town utility work since leaves would still be being collected on the 25th. David Clouse also stated none of the town’s Christmas decorations would be up that early. The town holds off on decorating until leaf collection in the park is complete. Ohmer Miller discouraged Stainbrook from doing anything that would interfere with David and his crew’s work. He reminded her Main Street was a part of the community and not the main focus. Shanon Pitman commented that she liked the pumpkin idea. Ohmer Miller suggested Stainbrook talk to the other groups involved with planning the events. Herby Asher said she needed to cement her timeline with the other groups sponsoring the events, including the library, Community Center, and Yellow Trail Museum. Diane Burton asked when the last leaf pickup was. Clouse said they were off for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend on the 25th and that would be too early to decorate.

Jason Eckart then presented the CCMG (Community Crossing Matching Grant) round 2023-2. Application is due by July 28, 2023. He completed the pavement rating in June. There are three roads that need repaved and twenty to twenty-five roads which are deteriorating and need crack sealing. He proposed crack sealing fifteen streets instead of repaving three. Roads he used as examples in Goshen Meadows included Butner and Midway Drive. They are both rated at a five. By crack sealing the roads will gain five to eight years of additional life before they need repaved. He presented a map with five roads outlined in red for crack sealing and repaving, and ten roads outlined in blue for crack sealing only. The crack sealing project would come in at under $150,000.00 which would give the town control over who quotes the project. The town will pay 25 percent of the project, or $38,000.00. He asked for approval to crack seal & seal coat these roads. The current estimate from Strand came in at $149,035.00. Ed Johnson asked what maintenance of traffic was in the Strand estimate. It is for signs, barricade, flaggers, and barrels needed during work to keep the flow of traffic off the roads. Johnson also commented the work they had done on Seminary was holding up well. Steve Roberson said that type of process was exactly what had been quoted. Ohmer Miller asked for a motion to proceed with the application. Ed. Johnson made the motion. Steve Robertson commented that the town has to submit a letter of financial commitment to INDOT for each of the fifteen streets. Diane Burton said the town did have funds in the MVH restricted funds that are earmarked for roads to cover the project. Eckart commented that the timing for the crack sealing is winter. They want the cracks in the streets to be spread apart and stretched. It is better to do this type of project in the winter. Seal coating has to be done in the spring or summer. The motion passed 5 – 0. Steven Robertson then asked the council not to share their quote with potential bidders.

Eckart then moved on to the IDOC (Indiana Department of Corrections) sidewalk repair. Last year members of the IDOC crew edged sidewalks and removed grass from the cracks. The town pays for their lunches. They enjoyed lunches from WILLow Leaves of Hope and the Corner Café. This year Eckart would like to see the Post Office sidewalk on Cross Street redone. Three yards of concrete would cost $500.00. Supervision by a concrete professional would be $300.00. Rental supplies would cost $300.00. Other supplies like string and lumber would be $500.00 for a total project cost of $1,600.00. Ed Johnson asked who would cut the joints. Jason Eckart asked David Clouse if the town could do that. He said they did have a saw. Town lawyer Scott Andrews had remarked there could be a legal problem with the arrangements since three bids need to be obtained for town projects. More about that process needed to be learned before the town could proceed. Herby Asher made a motion to proceed after the legal issues are worked out with Scott. Shanon Pitman seconded that motion. It passed 5 – 0.

Ed Johnson asked about the town security cameras. Matt Tallent implemented a solution and they have been working fine for a month. He placed the cameras on a Christmas light timer and eliminated the problem of them resetting and shutting off. Tallent then shared his wish to install two Flock crime prevention cameras. One would be placed at 500 N and State Road 9. The other would be placed at 600 N and State Road 9. The quote he received from Flock was for $5,700.00 for the initial set up. Each camera cost $2,500.00 with a one-time set up fee of $250.00. The cameras would cost $2,500.00 per camera each year after that.

The Billy Davis property was then discussed. Scott Andrews will proceed with seeing if we can wipe the slate clean of what money he owes the town in exchange for the deed to the property so the town council could sell it.

Ed Johnson asked about the Depot Street property. The new owner cannot take control of the property until October. The current owner is deceased. The town has to have a court order to go on the property and clean it up. The management company that currently owns the property is out of Memphis, Tenn. Scott is working on it.

Ed Johnson also commented that the property on South Street at the end of Shafer Drive had put on siding and it is falling apart.

The meeting was adjourned.