SHIPSHEWANA TOWN COUNCIL

MAY 25, 2017  6:00 P.M.

SHIPSHEWANA TOWN HALL

ROGER D. YODER COUNCIL ROOM

345 N. MORTON STREET

SHIPSHEWANA, IN  46565

 

PRESENT:  Council; C. Arlene Lazzaro, Elmer J. Mast, Lynn M. Bontrager, Tad T. Hite.  Staff; Chad L. Miller, Brandon Hooley, Mike Sutter, Kurt R. Bachman, Ruth Ann Downey.  Public; Kent Koselke, Mel Riegsecker, Marvin Yoder, Guy Thompson, Lora Gates, George Bachman, Ryne Krock, Jeff Campos Sr.

ABSENT:  Council; J. Mike Wilcher.

 

Council President C.A. Lazzaro called the meeting to order, noted that Council Member J. Mike Wilcher was absent, all other Council Members were present.  C.A. Lazzaro welcomed everyone, noted that agendas were available, and asked everyone to sign in.

 

INVOCATION & PLEDGE:  L. Bontrager gave the invocation and T. Hite led the pledge.

 

MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to accept the agenda with flexibility.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

C.A. Lazzaro requested a motion for the April 27th and May 11th Council meeting minutes along with the Executive Session minutes from May 10th, 15th, and 24th.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the April 27th and May 11th Town Council meeting minutes along with the May 10th, May 15th, and May 24th Executive Session minutes as presented.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

FIRE DEPARTMENT BY-LAW UPDATES:  M. Sutter referred Council Members to their paperwork for Revision #4 of the By-Laws of the Shipshewana Volunteer Fire Department.  We have been working on these revisions for quite some time.  The changes made for Revisions #1 – #3 are in bold and black.  Revision #4 is in bold and red.  The By-Laws have been reviewed and are ready for the Council’s consideration.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to approve as submitted, Revision #4 of the By-Laws of the Shipshewana Volunteer Fire Department.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

TAX ABATEMENT COMPLIANCE PAPERWORK – ARI, HIGHLAND RIDGE/JAYCO, SHIPSHEWANA AUCTION:  M. Sutter referred Council Members to their paperwork and pointed out that we still have some questions regarding the number of employees projected versus those hired at ARI but doing sleepers on semi-trucks is a specialty area and you can’t just take people off the street.  Highland Ridge has hit their numbers and are an excellent corporate citizen.  Shipshewana RV Service Center predicted 15 employees and they are at 13.  I have not had the opportunity to tour the facilities and request that the Council table any action for these requests until the tour is completed for all three facilities.  I will bring back recommendations at the June 8th Council meeting.  R. Krock explained that these companies are asked to project out over a three-year period and what we look for is a good faith effort.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to table the Tax Abatement Compliance Paperwork to allow time for onsite tours at all three facilities and to place this item on the June 8th Town Council Agenda.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

APPROVAL FOR A FEASIBILITY STUDY TO BE PREPARED BY DLZ FOR SIDEWALKS ALONG SR 5:  M. Sutter reported that we are looking for a motion that would allow DLZ to move forward with a Feasibility Study for sidewalks along SR 5.  The study would give the Council an idea of the size and complexity of the project for sidewalk installation along one side of SR 5 along with the possibility of a couple of walkovers or traffic signals for pedestrian traffic to cross SR 5.  M. Sutter referred Council Members to the map on the meeting room wall where Town Marshal, Tom M. Fitch II had pointed out three different areas for pedestrian crossings on SR 5.  M. Sutter reported that Town TIF revenue would be used for the proposed sidewalk project and Feasibility Study.  There is also the opportunity to partner with the County for sidewalk installation in the County TIF that is at the intersection of SR 5 & US 20.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion authorizing DLZ to proceed with a Feasibility Study for sidewalks and pedestrian crossings along SR 5 to be paid from TIF Funds.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

APPROVAL FOR FSG & BMBS TO PREPARE DOCUMENTS FOR A SEWER RATE INCREASE:  R. Downey reported that Financial Consultant, Greg Guerrettaz of Financial Solutions Group was at the last Council meeting to review the Town Sustainability Analysis and Utility Rate Reviews with the Council.  There was a recommendation that the Council consider a 5% Sewer rate increase along with the addition of another category for industrial users that was never acted on due to an interruption from the audience.  We have the Utility Rates reviewed annually to avoid double digit increases and there is no recommendation for increases in the Water or Storm Water Utilities for this year.  Without a motion from the Council, documents cannot be prepared to change our Sewer Rate Ordinance.   This increase will not be reflected on utility bills until early fall because we must give LCRUD at least a 120-day notice regarding any sewer rate changes due to having Shipshewana Lake residents as a customer.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion authorizing Financial Solutions Group (FSG) and Beers, Mallers, Backs, & Salin (BMBS) to move forward with the necessary paperwork for a 5% sewer rate increase and additional industrial category as recommended by FSG at the May 11th Council meeting.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

ADDITIONAL VERB-AGE FOR SEALED BID REQUESTS:  M. Sutter recommended that the following language be added on all Bid Requests for the Sale of Town Property:  The winning bidder must complete all required paperwork with the Town of Shipshewana and remit payment in full within 10 workdays (excluding designated holidays) after the formal acceptance of the bid, or forfeit their rights to the property.  This wording is necessary so that we do not run into the situation that we have run into with the most recent efforts to sell a police car.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the additional verb-age as presented for Bid Request for the Sale of Town Property.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

FINANCIAL REPORT:  R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for a report on the Fire Department Fish Fry Fundraiser for 2017.  Total funds received were $30,875.00 and after expenses the net amount raised was $23,888.24.  Thank you to the community for your generous support.  Also in your paperwork is the LaGrange County REMC Annual Report and notice of their Annual Meeting to be held on June 10, 2017.  Normally I receive a letter from REMC along with an affidavit for voting purposes at the meeting and historically we have appointed Kurt Bachman or someone from his office to vote on behalf of the Town of Shipshewana at this meeting.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to appoint Kurt Bachman as the voting designee on behalf of the Town of Shipshewana at the LaGrange County REMC Annual Meeting to be held on June 10, 2017.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

  1. Downey reported that budget time is right around the corner. Greg Guerrettaz of FSG will be here on July 18th to help me put together a first draft of the 2018 Budget. I have received notice from DLGF that the budget workshop with them will be the week of August 7th.   If we can schedule the Council Budget workshop after July 18th and before August 7th I will have the information I need before attending the DLGF Budget Workshop.  Please check your calendars.  I do not need a decision this evening.  Discussion followed.

 

  1. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for the final payment to Walsh & Kelly for the TIF Legacy projects. The request is for $15,502.98 and is the retainage release which has been approved by DLZ. M. Sutter reported that there were a few small items that needed to be completed or reworked. The work has now been completed and is satisfactory, by releasing the retainage this closes out the project.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to approve the retainage release to Walsh Kelly for the TIF Legacy Projects in the amount of $15,502.98.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

EMERGENCY PAGING SYSTEM:  LaGrange County Sherriff, J. Campos reported that there have been issues countywide with our paging system.  There are dead zones around the county where emergency page-outs can’t be received.   We are proposing a simulcast system where a single button can be pushed at dispatch and it would send the page to every tower throughout the county.  This would ensure that emergency personnel get the page regardless of where they are.   This is a public safety issue and in June or July the proposal will be presented to the County.  We will need a tower over by SR 3, LaGrange County REMC is having problems with their pager system and are willing to partner with the County to erect a tower in that area.  The Fire Departments see the problem and want it fixed because seconds matter.  A few Fire Departments are looking at phone-based apps to receive page-outs, but you would still need to check your messages and use your cell-phone to get the page-out.  The app is not really going to fix the problem.  I see this as a need and as Sherriff I want to move forward with a simulcast system for the county at an estimated cost of $888,000.00.  This system can be updated if we go digital in the future, it is a fix for today and tomorrow.  Discussion followed.  M. Sutter asked what do you need from the Town.  J. Campos said your support.  M. Sutter asked if space on the water tower is needed.    ERS Representative K. Koselke responded yes.  Fire Chief, C. Miller pointed out we currently have equipment on the Park Water Tower.  K. Koselke noted that the current equipment would just be replaced with the new equipment.  We did look at the Tower at the Fire Station but it is not high enough.  County Commissioner, G. Bachman pointed out that it is time to get the problem solved.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion giving support and a positive recommendation to Sherriff, J. Campos for the proposed simulcast paging system project for LaGrange County.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

TOWN MANAGER POSITION:  C.A. Lazzaro reported that the Town had received resumes from 30 individuals expressing interest in the Town Manager’s position.  M. Sutter will be retiring at the end of June.  The Council has carefully reviewed all applications, narrowed down the prospective applicants, and offered interviews to four individuals.  We have held our interviews and I believe we are ready to extend an offer of employment.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion arising out of the executive sessions that Council President, C.A. Lazzaro extend an offer of employment for the position of Town Manager to Robert W. Shanahan and to sign all necessary documents to effectuate the same, subject to terms and conditions deemed appropriate, effective June 20, 2017.   T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

ATTORNEY REPORT:  K. Bachman had nothing further.

 

TOWN MANAGER REPORT:  M. Sutter reported that Dixon Engineering will be doing the South Water Tower Inspection this year.   They will handle the bid process for any necessary repairs, etc. for the tower.  Discussion followed.

 

  1. Sutter reported that the Shipshewana Car Museum, Inc. Board had met on May 15th and have concluded that it is necessary to liquidate/sell the car museum collection. A key component of our operating revenue is the Innkeepers Tax from the Bluegate Garden Inn. This money was tied to the bonds, when the building was sold in February someone at the county level thought that the bonds were paid-off, but the bonds were refinanced.  The Town has not received the Innkeepers Tax since the sale of the building, that is 86% of the operating revenue for the Car Museum.  Without the Innkeepers Tax the museum cannot operate.  After February 2019, the Car Museum will have to pay rent or find a new location, rent is estimated at $110,000 to $120,000 per year.  The money is just not there, museum entry fees bring in $22,000 to $24,000 annually.  Time has run out; the museum is not and will never be self-supporting.  Other museums have several benefactors and raise money.  We will market the cars locally and we would like to see a group from the community purchase the cars and keep the collection in the Town of Shipshewana.  The car collection was recently appraised at 4.3 million.  Discussion followed.   C.A. Lazzaro pointed out it is sad but it must be done.

 

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  Deputy Marshal, B. Hooley reported that the Council had approved the purchase of two storage containers for the Police Department to be placed by the firing range at a previous Council meeting.  Before the containers can be placed we need to connect an overflow tile and fill in a ditch.  We have requested quotes from four different excavators and only received one quote from Martin Excavating in the amount of $3,000.00.  M. Sutter asked if anyone had checked with the utilities guys regarding the placement of these containers.  B. Hooley reported that the utility workers are aware of our plans for the container placement.  E. Mast inquired what part of the range the storage containers would be placed in.  B. Hooley reported that they would be at the south side of the range along the berm.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to accept the bid from Martin Excavating in the amount of $3,000.00 for excavation work to be done at the Police Department Firing Range to facilitate the placement of the storage containers for the Police Department.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

  1. Hooley reported that Marshal, Tom Fitch II has not been able to locate the individual who placed the winning bid for the 2009 police car. He has tried to call, searched social media, etc. and cannot find them. How do you want us to proceed forward with the sale of the car?  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to go through the sealed bid process again for the sale of the 2009 Police Car and include the new bid language approved earlier this evening.  L. Bontrager seconded the Motion.  Motion carried.

 

THANK YOU NOTE:  C.A. Lazzaro read the attached thank you note to the Town Council from the SRMA for all help from the Town to make Mayfest 2017 successful.  See attached.

 

Clerk-Treasurer R. Downey requested a motion to approve the Claims Registers and Adjustment Journals.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the Claims Registers and Adjustment Journals as submitted.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

C.A. Lazzaro asked G. Bachman if he had anything further to report.

 

County Commissioner G. Bachman reported that the extension of CR 200 is something that needs to be considered in the future, after the MEC project is done.  Regarding the Public Safety Tax and how it will affect Shipshewana, I am not sure but it will be based on population so Shipshewana will not receive much of the $400,000.00 that has been set aside for the four incorporated Towns in the County.  Discussion followed.

 

There being no further information to come before the Council, C.A. Lazzaro asked for a motion to adjourn.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to adjourn.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.