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May 11, 2017 Council Meeting Minutes

MAY 11, 2017 6:00 P.M.
PRESENT: Council; C. Arlene Lazzaro, Elmer J. Mast, J. Mike Wilcher, Lynn M. Bontrager, Tad T. Hite. Staff; Chad L. Miller, Tom M. Fitch II, Mike Sutter, Kurt R. Bachman, Gregory T. Guerrettaz, Ruth Ann Downey. Public; Andrew Yoder, Guy Thompson, Dalton Misner, Lyle Wingard, Brian Lambright, Mel Riegsecker.

Council President C.A. Lazzaro called the meeting to order and noted that all Council Members were present. C.A. Lazzaro welcomed everyone, asked that they sign in and pointed out that agendas were available.

INVOCATION & PLEDGE: L. Bontrager gave the invocation and E. Mast led the pledge.

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

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT: T. Fitch II reminded Council Members that the County had lost their operation numbers for all the modems in the County which includes the Sherriff’s Department and all four Town Police Departments in the County. T. Fitch II reported that the County has been considering alternative options to keep the MDT’s in operation. The option they have decided to go with is having a hot spot or wireless internet for each modem. LaGrange County Sherriff, Jeff Campos has done an excellent job finding a solution. Verizon has the lowest price at $29.99 per car, per month, with an unlimited data plan. For our cars, the annual cost will be $3,071.04. We already have a Verizon Account for the Town cell phones. Without the hot spot, we will not be able to use the MDT’s and communicate with the Sherriff’s Department. There is a line item in the police department budget titled MDT’s that has been historically used for software support. Over the years that cost has come down and the appropriation currently has a balance of $2,280.00 to spend this year. We will still need to have the software support and will need to increase this line item in the 2018 Budget. Discussion followed.

MOTION: T. Hite made a motion authorizing Town Marshal, T. Fitch II to move forward with the hot spots for the MDT’s through Verizon Wireless at a cost of $29.99 per car per month. E. Mast seconded the motion. Motion carried.

2009 POLICE CAR SALES – FOLLOW UP: T. Fitch II reported that he had called the phone number left by B. Borchers and there has been no response. In my opinion she doesn’t want the car. K. Bachman pointed out there is a risk factor here. Technically we have a contract because the bid was awarded to B. Borchers, technically you don’t have the ability to sell the car to someone else without a release. You can try to get a release, pursue collections on the car, or say you don’t believe anything will happen and sell it to the next person. You can take the risk and see if the second highest bidder is interested, but without formal revocation of the bid there may be issues. Discussion followed regarding requiring more contact information on future bids. T. Fitch II pointed out that we explained all the issues with the vehicle and said the sale was AS IS, her bid was $4,800.00. K. Bachman explained a motion could be made to withdraw the contract allowing 30 days for a response and then ask the next highest bidder if they are still interested in the vehicle. Discussion followed.

MOTION: E. Mast made a motion authorizing the Town Marshal to try to find Beth Borchers and have her produce the funds for the vehicle or withdraw her bid in writing within the next 30 days. L. Bontrager seconded the motion. Motion carried.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT CONTINUED: T. Fitch II reported that Mayfest went well and requested clarification regarding regulations about throwing candy at the parades. There has been discussion in the past regarding this becoming a safety issue. C.A. Lazzaro reported that she thought that the biggest concern about throwing candy was at the light parade because of it being dark. M. Sutter reported that there is a Mayfest Parade follow-up meeting coming up. Discussion followed.

FIRE TRUCK PURCHASE REQUEST: Fire Chief, C. Miller reported that he had been talking with the Townships regarding the need to purchase a pumper truck for the department in 2018. We have received a signed resolution from Newbury and Van Buren Township committing to their portion of the truck purchase. (See attached.) Both Townships will pay their portions from their CUM Funds in 2018. The payment is based on the same percentages as the 2017 Fire Contract. The total cost of a Fire Engine from Sutphen Corporation out of OH is $559,405.00. The Fire Department has $25,000.00 set aside in the Fire Gift Fund from a previous auction that brings the price of the truck down to $534,405.00. Van Buren Township will pay $112,225.05 and Newbury will pay $240,482.25, this leaves a balance of $181,697.70 as the Town’s portion. Once we sign the paperwork to purchase it locks in the price of the truck but it will be another 11 – 12 months before delivery. Payment will be due upon delivery. R. Downey reported that the Town does not have sufficient cash on hand in the Town Cum Fire Fund so it will be necessary for the Town to enter into a lease for their portion of the fire truck purchase. Discussion followed. K. Bachman reminded Council Members that approval to purchase the truck cannot be authorized until financing has been secured. R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for an estimated 5 & 7-year Fire Truck Lease schedule that was prepared by Financial Solutions Group. Discussion followed. It was pointed out that Fire Chief, C. Miller has done research on other trucks and found a program which allows the department to go with a Sutphen Truck through a PPA (Public Procurement Authority).

MOTION: E. Mast made a motion for Clerk-Treasurer R. Downey to work with G. Guerrettaz of Financial Solutions Group to move forward with acquiring financing in the amount of $181,697.70 for the Town share of a Sutphen Pumper Truck for the Shipshewana Fire Department. T. Hite seconded the motion. Motion carried.

FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORT: Fire Chief, C. Miller reported that all is going well for the department at this time. Discussion followed.

ALLEY BEHIND HOMES ON W. MIDDLEBURY STREET: A. Yoder of 320 W. Middlebury Street reported that he had talked to his neighbors and understands that the Town only has so much money for street repairs but the pot holes in the alley behind his home are bad. Discussion followed regarding who uses the alley, where the alley starts and ends. The question was raised whether this is a public alley or a private drive. M. Sutter reported that he would follow up with the Street Superintendent and find out if the Town plows the alley and perhaps we can see about grading the area. I will try to get an answer to Mr. Yoder by Monday. Discussion followed.

WATER/SEWER/STORM WATER RATE REVIEWS: G. Guerrettaz of Financial Solutions Group referred Council Members to their rate reports and noted that historically we have recommended when the Town needs to consider a rate increase which is why we do annual rate reviews so we can try to keep any increase to a single digit increase.

The Storm Water Utility is doing fine, you take in approximately $104,000.00 per year and have been able to build up the Improvement/Replacement Fund to $318,000.00. You do have outstanding bonds in the Storm Water Department but they are paid by property taxes, not by Storm Water Utility rates. You have some small Storm Water projects in your Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) scheduled for 2018 and 2019. At this time, there is no need for a Storm Water rate increase. Discussion followed.

In 2016, the Water Utility brought in revenue of approximately $488,000.00 and had operating expenses around $227,000.00. The CIP has $223,000.00 of improvements projected for 2018 and in another 2 – 5 years a plant expansion is anticipated along with filter pumps and well pump rehabs. We have asked your Water Superintendent to get preliminary numbers from your engineer regarding the cost of these projects. Currently the Water Utility has no outstanding bonds and no rate increase is recommended at this time. Next year you may be looking at a water rate increase. Discussion followed.

We are recommending a 5% rate increase in the Wastewater Utility along with the addition of a new user class for small industrial users at $16.35 per month – currently the industrial rate is included with the residential rate. In 1999, the residential base rate was $5.11 and $5.20 per thousand gallons. In 2010, you raised the sewer connection fee from $750.00 to $1,250.00. Your current rates were put into place in 2014 at $5.50 for the residential base rate and $5.60 per thousand gallons for usage, with the connect fee remaining the same. If you look at the CIP you have several anticipated projects and that does not include the need for a dewatering mechanism at an estimated cost of $500,000.00 to $750,000.00. It always cost more to clean the water so you can release it. The Wastewater Utility has no outstanding bonds at this time but we are recommending a 5% rate increase across the board to help build your Improvement Replacement Fund in preparation for your capital projects. R. Downey pointed out due to accepting waste from Shipshewana Lake and the Inter-Local Agreement with LCRUD we need to give at least 120 days’ notice before a Wastewater increase can take place. G. Guerrettaz pointed out it would be late summer or early fall before the rate increase would be reflected on the Utility Bills. We always try not to have double digit increases, I would appreciate a consensus from the Council to begin the rate increase process which includes preparation of a Rate Ordinance, setting a Public Hearing, etc. Discussion followed.

B. Lambright of Shipshewana Auction – Flea Market/Trading Place/RV Service Center & Campgrounds complained that the water thing is ridiculous, and expressed great displeasure over the amount he must pay to the Town for all his facilities. You are raping the businesses. M. Sutter asked B. Lambright how many people go through the Auction/Flea Market gates in a season. B. Lambright estimated between 600,000 to 700,000 people per year. B. Lambright complained about being charged incorrectly on an account due to the meter size. R. Downey explained that she thought that issue had been researched and resolved by sending a refund check. C.A. Lazzaro asked B. Lambright to come to the office to further discuss his concern about meter sizes. Discussion followed.

SUSTAINABILITY ANALYSIS: G. Guerrettaz referred Council Members to their paperwork for the Shipshewana Sustainability Analysis dated April 28, 2017 and noted the Sustainability Analysis gives us a starting place for the 2018 Budget. The General Fund is on track, we need to estimate the demands from the various departments and modify the Sustainability Analysis as we work through the Budget process. We do not anticipate any new revenue this year other than the growth quotient that is set by the state. This Analysis provides you with revenue and expenses for every fund using actual numbers from 2008 through 2016, budgeted numbers for 2017 and estimated growth through 2020. Discussion followed.

WESTVIEW WARRIOR YOUTH BASEBALL LICENSE AGREEMENT: M. Sutter requested approval for the Westview Warrior Youth Baseball License Agreement and authorization for the Council President to sign the same. The agreement will then go on to the Shipshewana Park Board for final approval. The agreement is basically the same as it has been for the last 5 years. One change is that the league will run the concession stand for 50% of the net sales and the restrooms will be open during practices. Discussion followed.

MOTION: E. Mast made a motion to approve the 2017 Westview Warrior Youth Baseball License Agreement as presented and authorized the Council President to sign the same. L. Bontrager seconded the motion. Motion carried.

ARI TAX ABATEMENT PAPERWORK APPROVAL: C.A. Lazzaro reported that agenda item #7 regarding the ARI Tax Abatement would be tabled until the next Council meeting.

SEWER BILL ADJUSTMENT REQUEST: R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for a copy of the bill for 225 W. Middlebury Street and reported that A. Glick had contacted the office regarding the fact that she had a leak in her hot water heater and had water in her basement. The consumption for April Usage was 22,500 gallons when her average usage is 2,000 gallons. In the past, the Council has adjusted the sewer portion of the bill for water that has not gone through the wastewater treatment plant. A reduction of $114.80 to the sewer portion of her bill would reduce her total due to $97.07. Discussion followed.

MOTION: E. Mast made a motion to reduce the sewer portion of A. Glick’s bill by $114.80. L. Bontrager seconded the motion. Motion carried.

FINANCIAL REPORT: R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for the April Fund Report and reminded Council Members that an Executive Session had been set for May 15th at 10:30 a.m. to begin the process of selecting a new Town Manager. A motion to approve the Adjustment Journals, the April Bank Reconciliation, a 63-day investment, along with claims totaling $107,029.19 would be appreciated. Discussion followed.

MOTION: J.M. Wilcher made a motion approving Claims, a 63 Day Investment, the Adjustment Journals and the April Bank Reconciliation as presented by the Clerk-Treasurer. E. Mast seconded the motion. Motion carried.

TOWN MANAGER REPORT: M. Sutter reported that the LaGrange County Plan Commission has granted a building permit for the MEC Project. There has been a huge flow of information provided by the MEC and Anchor Construction recently, so the project will be moving forward. Discussion followed.

C. A. Lazzaro asked if Council Members had anything further for discussion.

TECH COMMITTEE REPORT: T. Hite reported that the Tech Committee had met on May 3rd and established a chain of command. T. Hite is the Chair, E. Mast is the Vice-Chair and C. Elliott is the Secretary. We further discussed internet providers and unanimously voted to move forward with Maplenet and to have their contracts reviewed by the Town Attorney. You had asked the Tech Committee to bring a recommendation to the Council for consideration. T. Hite provided a copy of the Tech Committee meeting minutes to Council Members. Discussion followed.

MOTION: E. Mast made a motion authorizing the Town Attorney to work on a contract for internet service for the Town establishing Maplenet as the internet provider and to allow them to place the necessary infrastructure on Town Water Towers. J.M. Wilcher seconded the motion. Motion carried.

C.A. Lazzaro introduced the Town Council and Staff to the Westview High School student and asked if there was any further business to come before the Council. There being no further business C.A. Lazzaro asked for a motion to adjourn.

MOTION: T. Hite made a motion to adjourn. L. Bontrager seconded the motion. Motion carried.