January 11, 2018 Council Meeting Minutes

TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

JANUARY 11, 2018  6:00 P.M.

SHIPSHEWANA TOWN HALL

Rodger D. Yoder Council Room

345 N. Morton Street

Shipshewana, IN  46565

 

PRESENT:  Council; C. Arlene Lazzaro, Elmer J. Mast, Lynn M. Bontrager, J. Mike Wilcher.  ABSENT:  Council; Tad T. Hite.  PRESENT:  Staff; Kurt R. Bachman, Robert W. Shanahan, Tom M. Fitch II, Ruth Ann Downey.  Public; Guy Thompson, Carl Lazzaro, Alyssa Hart, Lydia Rang, Brenda Schlabach, Roy Schlabach, Ethan Roth.

 

Council President, C.A. Lazzaro called the meeting to order, noted that Council Member T. Hite was absent, all other Council Members were present, asked the public to sign in, and pointed out that agendas were available.

 

INVOCATION & PLEDGE:  J.M. Wilcher gave the invocation and L. Bontrager led the pledge.

 

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:  Attorney, K. Bachman opened the floor for nominations for Council President and reminded Council Members that all nominations and voting are done verbally.  L. Bontrager nominated E. Mast for Council President.  J.M. Wilcher seconded the nomination.  E. Mast nominated L. Bontrager for Council President.  J.M. Wilcher seconded the nomination.

There being no further nominations for Council President nominations were closed and K. Bachman called for a vote for Elmer J. Mast as Council President.  AYES:  C.A. Lazzaro, J.M. Wilcher, L. Bontrager.  K. Bachman reported due to a majority vote E. Mast will be the 2018 Town Council President as long as he is willing to accept the position.    E. Mast accepted the position of Town Council President stating that he was honored to serve in this position and thanked the Council Members for their vote of confidence.

 

  1. Mast opened the floor for nomination for Council Vice-President. E. Mast nominated L. Bontrager for Council Vice-President. J. M. Wilcher seconded the nomination.  There being no further nominations for Council Vice-President, nominations were closed, and E. Mast called for a vote for Lynn M. Bontrager as Council Vice-President.  AYES:  C.A. Lazzaro, J.M. Wilcher, and E. Mast.  E. Mast asked L. Bontrager if she would accept the position of Council Vice-President.  L. Bontrager accepted the Council Vice-President position.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to accept the agenda with flexibility.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

OLD BUSINESS:

DEDICATION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY – FARVER STREET:  B. Shanahan reported that this has been an ongoing process, it is not finalized yet.  I would like to table this item but leave it on the agenda for a later date.    Dedication of Right-of-Way was tabled.

TRAFFIC FLOW ON FARVER STREET:  B. Shanahan reported that on March 17th there will be a large event at the MEC with an estimated attendance of 6,000 people for Larry the Cable Guy.  We could have very large traffic-flow 2 – 3 hours prior to the event.  A meeting was held to discuss traffic flow with myself, representatives from the MEC, the Shipshewana Auction, the Bluegate, and the Shipshewana Police Department.    A plan has been put together, but we are not sure how successful it will be.  We are proposing that Farver Street be one way from SR 5 going East to the end of the Town corporate limits for approximately 2 hours prior to the event which would be from 6 to 8 p.m.  I have talked with all the property owners in the area and everyone agrees that we need to try something.  This will be a trial and error process.  Then at the end of the event traffic will be directed to the East.  A motion to approve making Farver Street one way on March 17th is what I am asking.  Discussion followed.  Marshal, T. Fitch II agreed this will be a trial and error process.  We will have to watch traffic flow and we may not need the full two hours.  After this event we may come back and ask that things be changed.  C.A. Lazzaro asked when do the doors open.  B. Shanahan was not sure.  T. Fitch II pointed out that it is best to let traffic flow, when you put in traffic controls more things go wrong.  E. Mast recommended making Farver Street one way on March 17th but leaving the time that it is one way open to the officer’s discretion.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan reported that he would write a letter to the property owners, so they are informed of the Council’s decision.  T. Fitch II reported that police protection for the Town of Shipshewana will not be interrupted by these events.  The officers directing traffic will not be the officer who is on call for the Town, it will be someone who is off duty.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  J.M. Wilcher made a motion to approve the plan for traffic flow on Farver Street on March 17, 2018 as proposed making it one way from SR 5 going east to the MEC and the Town corporate boundaries, with the hours for the one-way traffic to be determined by the officers providing the traffic control.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  T. Fitch II provided the December Monthly report to Council Members and noted that overall hours were down due to people using up vacation and holiday time.  We are currently down four reserve officers and have room for 10 of these volunteer positions.  We are currently taking applications.  We have received a number of complaints regarding the sidewalks not being plowed, but when school is not in session I am not going to push the issue when wind chills can bring on frostbite.  This may be an issue we need to discuss further.  The Ordinance is vague, at one place it says that sidewalks are to be cleared by 6:00 p.m. at another place it says to make sure that sidewalks are kept clear throughout the day.  J.M. Wilcher questioned whether we want our small Police Department worrying about sidewalks, looking at the December Police Report there were 42 alarms, 62 assists and 49 criminal investigations.  Discussion followed.  J.M. Wilcher asked about the Town plowing the sidewalks.  It was pointed out that the Town does not have the manpower or equipment to plow the Town’s sidewalks, plus do we do all sidewalks.  Discussion followed.  T. Fitch reported that he had checked with surrounding communities and they don’t deal with sidewalks unless they get a complaint.  K. Bachman pointed out that this Ordinance puts homeowners on notice that keeping the sidewalks clear is their responsibility.  Discussion followed.  T. Fitch pointed out that we do have an older community, other Towns contract with someone and bill the property owner when the sidewalks are not cleared.  Enforcement is manpower intensive, we need to fix this issue.  E. Mast pointed out that this is a land-owner issue and it sounds like we have had two people that are doing a lot of the complaining.  Discussion followed.  T. Fitch reported that he had recently seen improvement in the number of sidewalks that are being cleared.  T. Fitch reported that in 2017 the Police Academy changed some of their qualification requirements and they created a new shooting target which they put a copyright on.    They will be available through only one store at $91.00 per one hundred.  Currently we can purchase targets for $23.00 per one hundred.  I have found a company that will print 5,000 targets that will meet the academy specifications, but it is slightly different from the academy targets for $23 per one hundred after the initial order of 5,000 targets.  I would like to purchase 5,000 targets and sell them to surrounding agencies.  K. Bachman expressed concern regarding re-selling the targets to other agencies.  Discussion followed.  E. Mast asked if you were to purchase them just for your department how long would they last.  T. Fitch estimated that the targets would last for 30 years.  K. Bachman asked if the academy will certify you if you are not using their targets.  T. Fitch reported that we will use their targets when we do qualifications or go to the academy.  K. Bachman recommended seeing if other departments would go in with your department to make the initial purchase.  Discussion followed.  T. Fitch requested approval to purchase a laptop computer for the 5th officer as soon as the 2018 Budget is approved, there is money in the 2018 Police Budget for this purchase.  Blue Star, the tech company that we are working with has provided three quotes for the equipment which includes a laptop, docking station, monitor, keyboard and mouse.  Quotes were as follows:  Dell $1,773.49, CDW $1,792.94, and Blue Star $1,736.91.  Discussion followed.  T. Fitch reported that the Town Manager had been having some computer issues and recommended that we use the same quotes for a computer purchase for the Town Manager.  R. Downey reported that Town Manager, B. Shanahan has the oldest computer in the office and it is in need of replacement, but it would not be necessary to purchase a new monitor or keyboard and mouse so the cost for the computer and docking station for the Town Manager would be $1,538.91 and there is a line item in the 2018 Budget for Office Equipment for the Town Manager.  Once again this would be subject to the 2018 Budget approval from SBOA.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to purchase a computer for the Police Department per the quote from Blue Star in the amount of $1,736.91 and to purchase a computer for the Town Manager using the same quote from Blue Star for only the computer and docking station at a cost of $1,538.91 subject to SBOA 2018 Budget approval.  J. M. Wilcher seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

2018 FINANCIAL CONSULTANT SERVICES:   R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for proposals from Financial Solutions Group, Inc. for the Water, Wastewater, and Storm Water Rate Reviews and for the Continuing Disclosure Filings and Sustainability Analysis.  R. Downey reported that we have been working with Financial Solutions Group for a number of years and they have helped the Town keep Utility Rate increases to single digit increases by reviewing the utilities annually.  The Sustainability Analysis helps keep the Town on track with expenses and the Continuing Disclosure Filings are required as long as the Town has outstanding bonds.  Discussion followed.  It was pointed out that the quotes for this year are very close to what was quoted last year.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to approve the 2018 proposals from Financial Solutions Group, Inc. for the Water, Wastewater, and Storm Water Utility Rate Reviews; and for the Sustainability Analysis and Continuing Disclosure Filings as submitted and authorized the Council President to sign the same.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

President E. Mast noted that the next three items on the agenda would be presented by the Town Manager.

 

COMMUNITY CROSSINGS GRANT – SR 5 & FARVER STREET IMPROVEMENTS – SR 5 SIDEWALKS:  B. Shanahan reported that the Town had been awarded a Community Crossings Grant for approximately $700,000.00 which will result in a number of street projects this spring and summer within the Town Corporation Limits.  Another big project will be improvements to the SR 5 and Farver Street Intersection and going East on Farver Street.  B. Shanahan referred Council Members to their paperwork for an e-mail from Town Engineer, Casey Erwin and reviewed the proposed timelines for the Community Crossing Grant Projects and the SR 5 and Farver Street Improvements.  For the Community Crossing Grant projects, we will authorize DLZ to seek bids at the January 25th Council meeting, Advertisement for Bids will take place in February with bids due February 22nd.   Bids will be taken under advisement at the February 22nd meeting to allow time for review and Preliminary award of bids will be made at the March 8 Town council meeting.  The signed contract for the project must be received by INDOT by mid-April.  DLZ is currently finishing plans and specifications for the project, we continue working on right of way documents for Talmadge Street and the Council will need to pass an Ordinance changing Harrison Street to one way making it North from Middlebury Street to Main Street.

 

  1. Shanahan reported that we hope to submit plans to INDOT for review and permitting in February for the SR 5/Farver Street Improvements. Advertise for bids in March-April and receive bids in April, Award Contract in May and move forward with the road improvements with completion of the road improvements in October. DLZ is working on updated cost estimates for this project along with finishing the plans and specifications.   The original cost estimate for this project is $700,000.00 and a reminder that the MEC did not receive a tax abatement.  In place of the abatement the Town is picking up the cost of road improvements.  2018 is going to be a busy year for construction.  We also will be putting in a water line heading south on SR 5 due to our annexation out to SR5 & US 20.

 

  1. Shanahan reported that a meeting will be held on January 30th at 10 a.m. in the Wolfe Community Building with the 60 plus property owners along SR 5 regarding the proposed sidewalk project. DLZ will be here to make the presentation. This project will be done in segments and will be done in partnership with the County.  It will take some of the foot traffic out of the buggy lanes along SR 5.

 

J.M. Wilcher asked if the change to a one-way street on Harrison will be a permanent change.  B. Shanahan responded yes.  The plans include 6’ sidewalks which reduces the travel portion of the road.  We currently have vehicles that pull up and hang over the sidewalks.  E. Mast pointed out that your large trucks are an issue with the angle parking on both sides.  B. Shanahan reported that the proposal is for angle parking on one side of the street and parallel parking on the other.  I believe the Harrison Street Merchants understand this is an opportunity.  It is not often that you get 75% of the project cost from the state.  B. Shanahan noted that the storm water, east/west alley, and water main replacement will not be paid from the Community Crossing Grant money.  Discussion followed.

 

AFTER CHRISTMAS GIFT CERTIFICATE APPROVAL:  R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for the After-Christmas Gift Certificate List and reported that at the Town Holiday Party we have provided a gift certificate to the spouse of employees, or the employee in the case where there is no spouse, that can be redeemed at any store within the Town Corporate limits.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to approve the After-Christmas Gift Certificate List for 2018 as submitted.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

CANCELLATION OF OUTSTANDING WARRANTS:  R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for Voided Checks dated January 11, 2018 and reported that pursuant to Indiana code all checks outstanding and unpaid for a period of two years as of December 31st of each year are considered void and the money is receipted back into the fund that it was originally drawn from.  On the list in front of you we have two water deposit checks at the top of the list and the last three checks on the list did have replacement checks issued, so the true total for Cancelled Warrants is $226.00.  Individuals can still come back to the Town and ask that a check be re-issued.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to approve the January 11, 2018 Cancellation of Outstanding Warrants as presented.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

TOWN MANAGER REPORT:  B. Shanahan reported that he had been contacted by a construction company regarding putting up a building on SR 5 just to the west of the Dollar
General Store requesting permission to connect to the Town sewer system.  I have denied two other requests to connect to the Town sewer since I have been here due to the fact that the people requesting service are outside of the Town limits and there have been questions regarding jurisdiction.  I have asked K. Bachman to help with language regarding rejection of requests to the Town sewer outside of the Town limits.  B. Shanahan referred Council Members to their paperwork and read the recommended language as follows:  The Town of Shipshewana is currently unable to offer you a wastewater connection.  Your property is located outside the Town and would generate commercial waste.  The LaGrange County Regional Utility District (“LCRUD”) recently contacted the Town claiming general jurisdiction over such connections.  The Town disputes this jurisdictional assertion, but is deferring to LCRUD until the issue can be resolved.  As such, the Town is currently upholding a moratorium on these types of connections due to LCRUD’s assertion.  You must seek wastewater treatment services from LCRUD or find other means of doing so unless or until these issues are resolved.  I am requesting that the Council approve and adopt this language for all sewer connection requests outside of the Town limits.  There are other options such as mounds, wetlands, or septic systems.  You are not preventing businesses from moving forward with building projects.  I would request that this moratorium stay in place until the issues with LCRUD are resolved.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  J.M. Wilcher made a motion to adopt the language as presented regarding wastewater connections outside of the Town corporate limits.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

  1. Shanahan reported that the Town has been asked to consider co-sponsoring the speaker for the SRMA Annual Dinner to be held on February 19th. The speaker will be Dr. Matthew Wagner, Vice-President of Revitalization Programs from the National Main Street Center. The Town is a member of the SRMA, they have had three businesses that said they will donate $500.00 each and are asking the Town to consider a donation of $250.00 or $500.00.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to donate $250.00 to the SRMA for the speaker at the Annual SRMA Dinner to be held on February 19, 2018, to be paid from the General Fund, community promotion line item.  J.M. Wilcher seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

  1. Shanahan reported that the Annual Town Employee Holiday Gathering is scheduled for January 25th, immediately following the Council meeting. To accommodate this gathering, I have been told that in the past the Council meeting start time has been moved to 5:30 p.m. Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to amend the start time for the January 25th Town Council meeting to 5:30 p.m. so that Council Members can attend the Annual Town Employee Holiday Dinner.  C. A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

  1. Mast asked for a motion regarding the December 28, 2017 Town Council meeting minutes.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to approve the December 28, 2017 Town Council meeting minutes as submitted.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

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

 

FINANCIAL REPORT:  R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for an updated Board and Commission Appointment list for 2018 along with a list of past Quality of Life Award recipients.  R. Downey reminded Council Members that the Quality of Life Award is presented at the Annual SRMA Dinner which will be held on February 19th.  You will also find an invitation to the LaGrange County Relay for Life Kick-Off to be held on January 27th.  We have shown support for this organization in the past by putting up street signs at the corner of Main and Morton Street, temporarily changing the name to Hope and Cure during their Annual Fund raiser.  In your paperwork you will find the November and December Fund Reports along with the December Appropriation and Revenue Reports.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  We have not received approval from the DLGF for the 2018 Budget yet.  New capital expenditures have to wait until after receiving DLGF Budget approval.  A motion to approve the Claims Registers and Adjustment Journals along with the November and December Bank Reconciliations would be appreciated.  Discussion followed.  K. Bachman reminded Council Members that the Redevelopment Commission needs to hold their annual organizational meeting prior to January 30th.    B. Shanahan pointed out that they would need to discuss the SR 5 and Farver Street Improvements as well.  Discussion followed.

 

MOTION:    C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to approve the Claims Registers and Adjustment Journals along with the November and December Bank Reconciliations as submitted.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

  1. Mast introduced the Town Council and Staff to the Westview Government Class students and asked that they introduce themselves. Introductions and discussion followed.

 

  1. Mast asked that everyone observe a moment of silence in memory of his sister and former Town Employee, Thomas L. Cooke. A moment of silence was observed.

 

There being no further business to come before the Council E. Mast asked for a motion to adjourn.

 

MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to adjourn.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.