November 13, 2023 at 6:45 a.m.

Town Council Meeting Notes 10/17

By JESSICA DECKARD | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

The meeting opened with a public hearing for the 2024 budget adoption, ordinance 2023-4. Herby Asher motioned to accept the budget. John Walstad seconded the motion. It passed unanimously. The public hearing was adjourned.

The meeting minutes from August 15, 2023, were then reviewed. Ed Johnson motioned to approve them. John Walstad seconded the motion. It passed 5 – 0.

Approval of claims was next on the agenda. John Walstad motioned to approve them, and Herby Asher seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

The council then moved on to old business. Tony Akles of Strand Associates presented a preliminary engineering report and an asset management plan. The cost for the preliminary engineering report for replacing the pump station, re-routing the forced main and installing a new forced main at Miller’s Merry Manor was $26,000. Ackles will get the report to town lawyer Scott Andrews to review. He also stated the town needed an asset management plan that would include the size, age and expected life of the wastewater treatment plant. Strand was willing to work on that, as well as a capital asset management plant. One will have to be in place to receive SRF (State Revolving Fund) grants from the Department of Government and Local Finance.

Jason Eckart then presented an update on the ADA transition plan. In order to receive CCMG (Community Crossing Matching Grants) town governments must have an ADA transition plan in place. He is currently typing up a letter stating we do not have one in place, but we are working on it. To comply the town must change door fixtures to an ADA compliant lever style. If a building has not been renovated it does not have to comply. A plan will need to be in place to apply for CCMG funds next year. A letter will work for 2024, but a concrete plan must be in place for 2025.

Town lawyer Scott Andrews then gave a property update. There are two pending cases he wants to discuss in an executive session. The address 211 Walnut Street has two judgements for ordinance violations. The judgement is uncollectable. There is a $24,000 lien on 169 Hitchcock Drive. The deadline to redeem a tax sale by buyer is next week. The executive session was set for 5 p.m. Monday, October 30, 2023.

The council then moved on to new business. Diane Burton presented budget reduction resolution 2023-05. It is to reduce this year’s spending plan to be used next year. It affected the rainy day fund $169,549, CCP $70,188, and ARP $377,290. Herby Asher made a motion to approve, and Ed Johnson seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

Burton then moved on to the salary ordinance. She had modeled a three percent increase for council. The town marshal and town manager’s salaries would also be paid differently. HSA (Heath Savings Account) would remain the same. She also stated the Christmas gratitude bonus to employees must be made by amending the ordinance. Previously $250 Visa gift cards had been given to all full-time employees who work over twenty hours a week. Diane asked if the council wanted a different amount plugged into the salary ordinance. The council went with three percent. She noted that the department heads would decide how much employees would get within a range. Council asked her to add in the Christmas gift cards for this year.

Employee Handbook updates were next. Diane Burton presented updates suggested by New Focus HR. They had suggested six policies needed language updated to match Indiana code. A whistleblower policy is being added. It addresses how to handle employee complaints. The section on personal appearance was also updated. It needs to be consistent and detailed. The last version included a lot on tattoos and no face tattoos. Most of the appearance section was about safety around machinery. No long ponytails around machinery, etc. PTO was also being changed at the 90-day mark. Employees would receive five sick days and one PTO day. They would like to change it back to receiving 48 hours to be used indiscriminately at 90 days. Part-time employees would receive 10 hours. Holiday pay will be received after 90 days. Herby Asher questioned the ratios between full-time and part time. They were not one half. He asked how many employees were part-time. Burton replied there were only three or four. Diane asked the council for recommendations or if the council wanted to think about it. Ed Johnson responded they needed to think about it. A draft will be presented at the next meeting as a first reading of the ordinance.

Jaime Stainbrook and Connie Kiviniemi-Baylor presented a Christmas celebration to be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, December 15, 2023. It would coincide with the Christmas lights decorating contest. There would be carriage rides to view the decorated houses, activities for children, a scavenger hunt, cocoa in the shelter house, and inflatables for decoration. They asked for the west side of the Square on Harrison Street to be closed. Ohmer asked what day of the week and the times for the celebration. Friday night December 15 was the response. Shanon Pittman asked David Clouse if he was OK with the event. He replied he was fine with Christmas in December, it was just Christmas in November that raised issues. Shanon Pittman made a motion to approve the event. Herby Asher seconded it. It passed 5 – 0.

Jason Eckart then presented road school to be held at Purdue University on March 12 -13, 2024. He had trouble getting a hotel room last year. The school would cover streets, roads, paving, bridges, and snowplows. Ohmer also wanted to send Gaith. It was uncertain if he could attend as that is his busy time of year. Ed Johnson made the motion for two to attend. Shanon Pittman seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

Eckart then presented the CCMG meeting he attended last week in Plainfield. It discussed changes coming to CCMG. The ADA transition plan was the biggest change. LTAP (Local Technical Assistance Program) would be through Purdue University. Paperwork would have to be submitted to them, then to INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation.) The new style of asset plan discussed earlier would be required. Federal funds are adding more requirements as well. These will take effect in 2024. Eckart has already applied for crack seal and sealcoating for the 2023 cycle. Grant results should be announced soon.

Amanda Fowler stood up and introduced herself to the council after the meeting was opened to public comment. She had just bought the Corner Café. Council questions for her included when she would be opening, if the dining room was going to be open and if the EAT building was going to be torn down. The café is set to open November third. The dining room will be open. She was unaware she could tear down the EAT building. She was told it was a historic landmark and could not be torn down.

The meeting was adjourned.