TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

OCTOBER 26, 2017 6:00 P.M.

ROGER D. YODER COUNCIL ROOM

SHIPSHEWANA TOWN HALL

345 N MORTON STREET

SHIPSHEWANA, IN  46565

 

PRESENT:  Council; C. Arlene Lazzaro, Elmer J. Mast, J. Mike Wilcher, Tad T. Hite.  Council ABSENT:  Lynn M. Bontrager.  PRESENT:  Staff; Kurt R. Bachman, Robert W. Shanahan, Ruth Ann Downey.  Public; Marvin Yoder, Jim Long, Joshua Hunter, Isaac Hunter, George Bachman, Lora Gates.

 

  1. A. Lazzaro called the meeting to order, noted that Council Member Lynn M. Bontrager 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:  J. Mike Wilcher gave the invocation and E. Mast 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 asked for any corrections or additions to the October 12th Town Council minutes.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the October 12th Town Council minutes as presented.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

HUBBARD FEEDS – CONSTRUCTION & RENOVATION:  Jim Long of Hubbard Feeds passed out a photo of the current Hubbard Feeds Facility with parts of the building marked for demolition including the three silos and a section of the building that will be kept with new siding being installed.  J. Long also passed out a site plan for the Council’s review and reported that they did a pretty good-sized project last year that involved street closures and we will work closely with the Town regarding street closures on this proposed project.  All three silos and part of the receiving shed will be demolished, we will be putting in a total of 15 tanks and there will be an 80’ truck scale inside the building.  E. Mast pointed out that by removing part of the existing building it will visually open the area along SR 5.  J. Long reported that we will be putting in a receiving building on the north side of the property.  B. Shanahan reported that with this project there have already been a number of meetings.  We have met with NIPSCO regarding the need to move some of the electrical service so that the silos can be demolished, INDOT has been informed of the project as well.  Demolition of the silos will be done on a Sunday between January and April.   We have done a lot of planning already, I think it is a worthwhile project.  It will visually open the area along SR 5, from an aesthetics point of view it will be a great improvement.  We will need to coordinate our Depot Street construction to be sure that we are not in conflict with Main Street closures.   This is a major construction project, with a good plan, if the Council sees no problems with this project I would like to write a letter to the Plan Commission letting them know that the Town Council agrees with the project and that you support it.  I will attend the meeting of the Plan Commission on November 27th to represent your wishes.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion authorizing the Town Manager to write a letter of approval to the LaGrange County Plan Commission for the Hubbard Feed Project as presented this evening.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

SEWER BILL ADJUSTMENT REQUEST:  R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for an interrogation report for 1216 Parkway and reported that the Gramm’s had requested a sewer bill adjustment on their October bill due to power washing, their September usage went up by 5,000 gallons.  I do not know the day when the power washing occurred, but the high usage took place on three different days, September 17th, 22nd and 23rd sometimes water ran up to 11 hours a day.  Discussion followed.  T. Hite pointed out that it looks like they were using water and didn’t know it.  R. Downey noted that sometimes a toilet can run, and you don’t hear it.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to deny the request for a sewer bill adjustment at 1216 Parkway due to power washing.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  AYES:  Elmer J. Mast, Tad T. Hite, J. Mike Wilcher.  NAYS:  C. Arlene Lazzaro.  Motion carried.

 

CERTIFIED OPERATOR AGREEMENT – WASTEWATER UTILITY:  B. Shanahan reported that we had a Certified Wastewater Treatment Contractor Agreement in place that expired on September 1, 2017.   Kevin Wenzel is with the Rural Water Alliance and has been doing this for at least the past year for the Town until our Wastewater Operator is eligible for his certification.  K. Wenzel has agreed to reduce the amount paid to him in the new Contractor Agreement to $1,000 from $1,500 retro-active to September 1, 2017.  S. Neeley has taken his exam and is waiting to hear from IDEM for his official results.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to approve the Certified Wastewater Treatment Contractor Agreement as presented, retro-active to September 1, 2017 at a rate of $1,000 per month.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

MEC ANNEXATION – PUBLIC HEARING DATE:  B. Shanahan reported that we were not able to meet advertising requirements to hold the public hearing for the MEC Annexation this evening.  This is a Voluntary Annexation, and I have sent via certified mail notice to the property owners regarding the change of date for the public hearing.  I recommend holding the public hearing for the MEC Annexation on November 9th.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to set the public hearing for the MEC and surrounding properties for November 9th at 6:00 p.m.  J. M. Wilcher seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

FARVER STREET – DEDICATION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY:  B. Shanahan requested that the dedication of right-of-way for Farver Street be tabled to allow for completion of documents for the dedication.  C.A. Lazzaro tabled the Farver Street – Dedication of Right-of-Way.

 

MEC ANNEXATION FISCAL PLAN:  B. Shanahan reported that the Fiscal Plan for the Annexation has been prepared by Financial Solutions Group and e-mailed to Council Members for their review.  Now that the date for the public hearing has been set the Fiscal Plan for the Annexation needs to be accepted or adopted by the Council and made available to the public for review.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan pointed out that there will be no tax abatement for the MEC, in place of the tax abatement the responsibility for the road improvements on Farver Street and at the intersection of SR 5 will be done by the Town of Shipshewana.

 

MOTION:  J.M. Wilcher made a motion to adopt the MEC Annexation Fiscal Plan as presented and to make the same available for public review.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

WASHER & DRYER PURCHASE FOR UTILITIES/STREET DEPARTMENTS:  B. Shanahan referred Council Members to their paperwork for two quotes for a new Speed Queen washer and dryer for the utilities and street workers.  The first quote came in over two thousand dollars from Amazon.com but the second quote came in under my two-thousand-dollar spending limit.  Since I couldn’t find out how the original set was purchased I wanted to bring it before the Council.  The low quote is from TC Appliance of Sturgis, Michigan and has a washer for $839.95 and the dryer for $739.95 for a total cost of $1,579.90 which includes removal of the old washer and dryer.  R. Downey reported that the other units were used and were purchased at a low price or were donated to the Town.  B. Shanahan pointed out that uniforms are not provided just shirts and reflective coats.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to purchase a Speed Queen Washer & Dryer from TC Appliance Sales of Sturgis, Michigan at a total cost of $1,579.90 which includes removal of the old units and to split the cost between the water, wastewater, storm water utilities and the street and building & grounds departments.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

WAGE & SALARY ORDINANCE AMENDMENT:  R. Downey reported that the Receptionist/Utility Billing Clerk has insurance through her husband and will not be taking the Town Insurance.  The Town Employee handbook allows for a Health Insurance Benefit that is added to an individual who has coverage through their spouse.  The employee is required to request this benefit and provide proof of Insurance, which Heidi has done.  Therefore, the Wage & Salary Ordinance that has been prepared for your consideration adds this benefit to Heidi’s wages retroactive to October 23rd, which is the beginning of a payroll period.  Discussion followed.

 

President C.A. Lazzaro introduced AN ORDINANCE AMENDING WAGE AND SALARY ORDINANCE NO. II-F-1-d(2) FOR TOWN EMPLOYEES FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 2017.   Council Member T. Hite made a motion, seconded by Council Member J.M. Wilcher that said Ordinance be numbered and placed on first reading, and that the same be read in full at this time.  Motion carried.

 

Said Ordinance having been designated as “II-F-1-d(542)” and having been read in full, and the provisions of the same having been considered by the Council, Council Member T. Hite made a motion, seconded by Council Member E. Mast, that any requirements for a second or third reading be waived and that all rules of the Council, which unless suspended, might prevent the final passage and adoption of “II-F-1-d(542)” retroactive to October 23rd at this meeting, be suspended and that said Ordinance  be placed on its final passage.  Motion carried.

 

“II-F-1-d(542)” having been read in full was then placed upon its final passage, and on call of the roll the vote for the adoption of said Ordinance was as follows:

 

AYES:  Tad T. Hite, J. Mike Wilcher, Elmer J. Mast, C. Arlene Lazzaro

NAYS:  – 0 –

 

There being present at said meeting at least two-thirds of the members elect of the Town Council and “II-F-1-d(542)” having been passed after unanimous suspension of the rules, the President thereupon declared said Ordinance to have duly passed and adopted.

 

EMPLOYEE REVIEW:  C. A. Lazzaro reported that at the Executive Session held earlier this evening a job performance evaluation was conducted for the Town Manager’s position.  I am happy to report B.
Shanahan received a favorable review and would like to recommend a salary increase from $55,000.00 to $58,000.00 retroactive to October 23, 2017.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to amend the salary for the Town Manager to $58,000.00 for the remainder of 2017 retro-active to October 23, 2017.  J.M. Wilcher seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

  1. Downey reported that a Wage & Salary Ordinance Amendment will be prepared for the Town Managers wages at the next Council meeting. K. Bachman pointed out that it will be necessary to make an amendment to the Town Manager Employment Agreement and requested authorization to do so. Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion authorizing the Town Attorney, K. Bachman to make the necessary amendments to the Town Manager Employment Agreement, to allow for the wage increase.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

LIGHT PARADE UPDATE:  B. Shanahan reported that there have been several meetings and a lot of thought and time put into the preparation for the Light Parade.  The Council received a briefing earlier this evening regarding the SR 5 closure along with detours and emergency routes.  There has been discussion regarding Police, EMS, and Fire response.  T. Fitch II has 48 officers that will be attending the parade to help with policing the crowds, he has done an excellent job preparing for this event.  He has received two sets of portable lights through the military program to be used in the parking areas along with some message board signs for the detour routes.   This year we will have the Town Employees working as well.  This is my first light parade so there is a learning curve, but I want to commend everyone involved who is trying to make sure this parade is a success.  C.A. Lazzaro expressed pleasure that everyone was working together.   Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan reported that an Authorization and Indemnification Agreement had been prepared by K. Bachman’s office regarding the throwing of candy to bystanders on the parade route.  The parade is hosted by The Riegseckers and I have an agreement signed by Phil Heyerly, Vice-President of The Riegseckers, Inc. (“Blue Gate”) that will need to be signed by the Council President and attested to by the Clerk-Treasurer.  This Agreement authorizes the Blue Gate to host the Light Parade and points out that they shall take steps to prevent the parade participants from throwing candy to bystanders and hold the Town harmless from all suites, actions, legal proceedings, claims, demands, damages, etc. as a result from the willful or negligent throwing of candy.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion authorizing the Council President to sign and the Clerk-Treasurer to attest the Authorization and Indemnification Agreement between the Town Council of the Town of Shipshewana and the Riegseckers, Inc. (“Blue Gate”) as presented for the Light Parade to be held on November 11, 2017.   T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

MEDICAL INSURANCE REVIEW:  B. Shanahan reported that he had been looking at the Town Medical Insurance for the last month or so, I have looked at HRA’s and HSA’s.  I have met with the Town Employees and the Town Insurance provider.  We currently have Anthem Blue Cross and to renew with our current plan it will be a 10.2% increase.  The Town pays 85% of the employees cost of insurance with the employee paying the 15% balance.  You have 19 different insurance options in front of you.  With some options the premiums go down, but the deductible and out-of-pocket expenses go up.  Some Town employees have HSA’s through Lake City Bank, this is a pre-tax health savings account that can be used for the employee’s medical expenses, currently the only contributions to the HSA account is by the employee.  I am asking the Council to consider making a $2,000.00 per eligible employee annual contribution to their HSA to help offset the burden of the deductible of the Town Health Care Plan.   I am not recommending going with an HRA because there are too many unknowns for the Town financially.   Discussion followed.  T. Fitch II pointed out that when you are trying to hire someone they look at more than the hourly wage they look at the total benefit package and by doing this it would make our benefit package more attractive and help us attract and keep good employees.   B. Shanahan reported that our current policy has a $2,700 individual and a $5,400 family deductible, the Town does not pay any portion of health insurance for spouses or children.  Discussion followed regarding the Town contributing to the employee HSA’s and whether there should be a requirement that the employee also contributes to the HSA if the employee doesn’t want to.  T. Hite did not want to have a requirement for the employee to contribute to their HSA in order to receive the contribution from the Town.  B. Shanahan reported that contributions to HSA’s would only be made if the employee is on the Town’s Health Insurance.

 

MOTION:  J.M. Wilcher made a motion authorizing the Town Manager and Town Attorney to continue pursuing the setup of HSA’s for Town Employees that are on the Town’s Health Insurance so that the Town can contribute $2,000.00 per eligible employee into the employee’s HSA account effective January 1, 2018.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

BLUE STAR CONTRACT – UPDATE:  B. Shanahan reported that the contract for Tech Support with Blue Star has been signed and delivered, they are assessing the equipment that we have and will let us know what they believe we need to help things work better in the office.  They will be here Wednesday to start on boarding and we may move towards a new server and updating the Town Hall phone system as part of this process.  Discussion followed.

 

ATTORNEY REPORT:  K. Bachman had nothing further to report.

 

TOWN MANAGER REPORT:  B. Shanahan reported that it will be a busy year next year, with the road improvements from the Community Crossings Grant, the Farver/SR 5 Street Improvements and the Public Restrooms/Trailhead project.  We will be busy with a lot of planning over the next couple of months.

 

C.A. Lazzaro asked for input from Council Members.  T. Hite reported that Maple Net plans to begin their install next week and estimates 1 to 2 weeks for completing of the projects on both the North and South Water Towers.

 

FINANCIAL REPORT:  R. Downey reported that there were no Adjustment Journals and requested approval for the Claims Register as submitted.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the Claims Register as submitted.   J.M. Wilcher seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

C.A. Lazzaro asked County Council Member, G. Bachman if he had anything to report.  G. Bachman asked about the health insurance reimbursement allowance.  E. Mast reported that it is based on a percentage of the employees premium and has a cap on it, in the end the result is a savings to the Town.  Discussion followed.

 

  1. Hite asked where things were at with the pager tower for the County. K. Bachman reported that REMC and the County are still working on things, until the County gets the land from REMC the project cannot move forward. The Bid for the Tower is already 30 days old and I believe it is only good for 60 days.  ERS was the only bidder for this project.  Discussion followed.

 

C.A. Lazzaro extended a special welcome to the Westview High School Government Class students, and introduced the Town Council and Staff.  C.A. Lazzaro asked the students to introduce themselves and ask any questions they may have.   Introductions followed.

 

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

MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to adjourn.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.