April 14, 2003

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met in regular session at 7:30 PM, Monday, April 14, 2003 at the Town Hall.  David Sorokoty called the meeting to order and Ray Freetage led in prayer.  Geraldine McIntyre led in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 

David Sorokoty thanked everyone for their sympathy regarding his father-in-law’s passing.

 

Roll Call

 

David Sorokoty asked for roll call of the Council Members.  Members present were David Sorokoty, President; David Drake, Vice-President; Ray Freetage and Geraldine McIntyre.  Also present were Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer and Mike Spencer, Attorney.   

 

Supervisors Present:  Jim Davis, Jim Ragle, Ron McGlocklin, Jeff Farmer and Mike Farmer.

 

Approval of Minutes of the regular meeting on March 24th, 2003

 

Geraldine McIntyre moved to approve the March 24th minutes and David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Action to pay Accounts Payable Vouchers

 

Geraldine McIntyre moved to approve the accounts payable vouchers. David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Resolutions

 

Resolution 07-03 Transfer of Funds

 

David Drake read the resolution in its entirety.  This resolution transfers funds from MVH-122 Group Health Insurance to MVH-123 Unemployment Insurance for $126.00.  Geraldine McIntyre moved to accept Resolution 07-03.  Ray Freetage seconded.  Motion carried. 

 

Ordinances on First Reading

 

Ordinance 03-06 to amend the Zone Maps – 702 W. Main Street (Grover Brashear’s property)

 

Ray Freetage introduced this ordinance, which changes the zoning from R-1 to C-3 for lots 6 and 7.  Mr. Grover Brashear is in Richland Bean Blossom. nursing home, therefore, Fred Gregory; court appointed legal guardian represented him.  Mr. Gregory stated the property is in disrepair and thought the best use for the property would be commercial instead of residential and requested this ordinance be approved.  The property as well as Ms. Jaco’s property is for sale.  Ray Freetage questioned what is the expected commercial use of this property.    Mr. Gregory said there were no definite plans for the property yet and the Council could consult with the realtor for his opinion.  David Drake, Vice-President of the Plan Commission stated that the first several properties along Main Street are already zoned C-3 commercial and the next one is zoned industrial, so by making this property C-3 it would finish out the block.  The Plan Commission agreed it is in the area that will all be commercial soon due to construction and the restructuring of the traffic flow thru Ellettsville.

 

Ordinance 03-07 to amend the Zone Maps – 720 W. Main Street (Shaunie Jaco’s property)

 

David Sorokoty introduced this ordinance, which changes the zoning on this property from R-1 to C-3. 

 

Ordinances on Second Reading

 

Ordinance 03-03 to amend Chapter 255-35 of the Ellettsville Town Code concerning Holiday Leave

 

 

David Drake read the ordinance.  This ordinance proposes adding Veteran’s Day and Election Day for both primary and general elections as scheduled Holidays for Town employees.  Geraldine McIntyre said she checked with the Monroe County Clerk and the Utility office cannot work if the Town Hall is used as a poling place.  The County and City are paid for 16 Holidays.  It was discussed further with comments that it wasn’t necessary and would be costly for the Town to give all of the employees two more paid Holidays for Election Days.  It was decided to amend the ordinance to read only adding Veteran’s Day as a paid Holiday.  Mike Spencer said it could be amended but it would have to be re-drafted.  Sandra Hash added it may be difficult for firemen to schedule eight hours off and maybe they should consider trading Columbus Day for Veteran’s Day keeping the number of Holidays at twelve.  Jim Davis explained that it takes 3 eight-hour days to make one 24-hour shift for a fireman but that they could work around getting another eight hours off.  Sandra Hash said if it is decided to continue using the Town Hall as a poling site then she requested guidelines be established as to the office workers for election days.  David Drake made a motion to amend Ordinance 03-03 by deleting the phrase “and Election Day for both the primary and general elections” from the ordinance.  Geraldine McIntyre seconded.  Motion carried with a 3-1 vote.  David Drake made a motion to adopt Ordinance 03-03 as amended.  Geraldine McIntyre seconded.  Motion carried with a 3-1 vote.

 

Ordinance 03-04 to amend Section 310-5, 310-10 and 315-10 of the Ellettsville Town Code concerning fine structure for removal of grass, weeds, trash etcetera

 

David Sorokoty read the ordinance.  David Drake said he agrees with the idea because of repeat offenders but would rather issue 1 warning per calendar year first.  Then if necessary send a letter with a fine.   Sandra Hash questioned if the Town’s ordinance could be stricter than Indiana Code.  Mike Spencer said it could be more stringent.   Ray Freetage and David Sorokoty said they thought the ordinance was too harsh.  Geraldine McIntyre agreed $25 was too stiff for the first fine.  Sandra Hash questioned how the five days would be determined and stated that fines are hard to collect.  David Drake said some of the owners are out of state and more elusive to contact.  This was discussed further and comments were that the ordinance was written too generalized, too harsh and should be more directed toward repeat offenders.  Geraldine McIntyre made a motion to table Ordinance 03-04.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried. 

 

Old Business

 

Contract with the Chamber of Commerce concerning maintaining the Ellettsville Web page (ellettsville.in.us)

 

David Drake moved to approve the contract as written.  Ray Freetage seconded.  Motion carried.  Sandra Hash explained that the Clerk’s information has been moved from the Geocities website to the Ellettsville website.  She said the Clerk’s office is only responsible for maintaining the Town Government Page.  All of the Minutes and the Town Code are now on the website as well. 

 

Police Station Site

 

David Sorokoty said a decision needs to be made for the Police Department.  David Drake informed the Council that he had visited several towns and cities in Southern Indiana that are similar in size to Ellettsville and presented pictures of them for everyone to get an idea of the lay out and location of the towns / cities services concentrating on Police Departments.  He explained that in North Vernon the Mayor, Clerk and Utilities Offices are in one location and the Police Station is across the street.  In Salem, the Police, Fire, Utilities and City Hall are all located in one building.  In Scottsburg, the City Hall and Utilities are in one building and the Police are in an old auto repair garage.  New Whiteland’s the Town Hall is in a house in the middle of a subdivision that’s hard to find and the Police Station is

 

 

 

housed in an old doctor’s office on the north side of town.  Mitchell’s City Hall, Utilities and Police Station are combined in one building.  Edinburgh renovated an old grocery store for the Police Department in May 2002 but the Town Hall and Utilities are in one building.  Clinton and Sullivan have their City Hall, Fire and Police all in one building.  Austin has their Town Hall and Police in one building.  He wasn’t really impressed with any of the facilities he looked at.  He used to think we needed all of the services together which would be nice but it really isn’t necessary or realistic to try to house the Fire Department with all of the others because the equipment requires a lot of space.  A permanent location for the Police Station is the number one priority in his opinion.  The funds are not available to purchase additional property at this time and the Town already owns the old water tower and old sewer plant sites.  The water tower site is not suitable due to problems with access and visibility.  The old sewer plant site on McNeely Street is the best possibility because it would be easy access and visibility; also the Town already owns the property.  Matthews Drive is one of the main roads in the area as well.  In general it would be a very functional location for the Police Department.  He proposed either using funds available to build an adequate Police Station without bonding or possibly sharing the cost with the Utilities and building a combined facility.  Either way there is plenty of room to build a Police Station and Utilities building.  He also took pictures of the Hanna Trucking building and it looks like the type of construction we need.  He closed his presentation by saying he prefers not to bond but if not possible we should bond for everything at once and build a facility to house the Town Hall, Utilities and Police Station in one location.  David Sorokoty opened the floor for discussion. 

 

Ray Freetage commended David Drake for taking the time to visit other towns and cities.  He has looked at other facilities as well and they are not in the center of town.  The McNeely Street site is a better location because the water tower site has sinkholes.  The Council needs to make a decision but also prefers not to bond. 

 

Geraldine McIntyre requested to hear from the Utilities because they own the property and from Ron McGlocklin because it affects his department.  She suggested if using the McNeely site to build a bigger building add the Clerk’s office and a meeting room and let the Utilities have the entire Town Hall building.

 

Mike Farmer said there is room for both facilities but suggested everyone decide what building sites they prefer and perform a study to make sure it is feasible.   

 

Ron McGlocklin thinks we need to make a decision and that either place would be fine.  He doesn’t have a preference.  Once the site is picked we should move forward with the building plans.  He spoke with contractors and they suggested a block building would be more cost effective to build per foot.

 

Rob Hunter, R & D Computer Hardware Concepts stated he’s done work for the Police Department and has “band-aided” some of their problems for years and knows they still use DOS for their incident reports. He proposed upgrading their software at the same time as building a new station and suggested allocating $8,500.00 for new computer equipment and network systems to prepare the department for the next 5-7 years.

 

Ray Freetage moved to utilize the property on McNeely for the Police Station and move ahead with speed.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.  David Sorokoty said they would be scheduling a special session soon to start designing the Police

 

Station and hear Ron’s needs and wants for a new station as well as the Council’s input. 

 

New Business

 

Agreement with H. J. Umbaugh for a Capital Projects Plan

 

 

 

 

Sandra Hash explained that the purpose of this agreement is to layout a financial plan for the Town’s future.  They will look at all of the books of the Town and do long range planning.  They plan to meet with the Supervisors as well.  Mike Spencer felt the contract gave too big of range, it wasn’t specific on the cost of the agreement.  Therefore, H. J. Umbaugh amended the contract and added Exhibit A, which is a breakdown of costs.  David Drake and Ray Freetage both agreed the Council should get going on this.  Sandra Hash reminded the Council they had previously voted to employ the services of H. J. Umbaugh for a Capital Plan, tonight is just wrapping up unfinished details of the agreement.  H. J. Umbaugh representatives have already met with Sandra and collected some information for the project.  Geraldine McIntyre made a motion to go ahead with H. J. Umbaugh Capital Projects Plan.  Ray Freetage seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Financial Agreement with Public Finance extension on track hoe

 

Mike Farmer explained the Utilities had leased a track hoe for the highway project for two years.  They want to lease it for an additional year and the Council has already approved extending the lease.  The Council signatures are required on the paperwork.  Sandra Hash said the payments are the same as the last two years and it has a good interest rate of 3.39%.  Since we have extended the lease, they reduced the balloon payment at the end, which will be approximately $64,000.00 if we choose to purchase it.

 

Patricia Wilson-Freeman concerning water usage of 176,000 gallons

 

Patricia Wilson-Freeman who lives in Arrowhead Addition addressed the Council saying that a few weeks ago she received a note from the Ellettsville Utilities informing her she may have a water leak.  Her husband then thoroughly checked the house and found no leak.  A few weeks later, she received her bill for $952.00 saying they had used 176,000 gallons of water.  Her regular water bill is normally around $14 or $15 and she claims there is no way they used that much water since it is just her husband and herself.  She called the Office and told them her bill was incorrect and that there must be a problem.  Becky Wines, Utilities Office Manager, told her the crew had checked the meter and everything was working fine.  She had Melvin Sutherlin, whom she bought the house from, check the plumbing for her as well and found no problem.  However, Melvin looked at the meter and said it wasn’t even running and suggested she call the office again.  She also had Grimes Plumbing check out the house’s plumbing and everything was fine.  When she called, Becky told her that something happened between February 5th and March 7th but that it seemed normal again now.  She and Becky were both confused and concerned how if she had a leak it could be problem one time and fixed the next time, so Becky filled out a Customer Action Report form to have Mike Farmer and the guys look into the situation.  Mike told her he would take care of the situation personally.  They changed her meter.  She is requesting the Council release her from this debt and not make her pay this bill because she says there is no way she used that much water and she can not find any leaks.    

 

Mike Farmer apologized for not personally taking care of the situation.  He agreed that was an enormous amount of water to use for a domestic service but stated the bill was for over a two-month period.  The meters were estimated for those two months due to such severely cold weather during that time.  The Office looked at her customer history and in general over the last year she used two or three thousand gallons of water per month.  However, over this three-month period the usage increased dramatically indicating something unusual. There may be a problem.  They tested the meter and ended up changing it because it was running slow at low flows.  Since unsure of what actually happened because there aren’t enough facts to determine the cause they have offered to make an adjustment on the sewer portion of the bill.  They will adjust her bill by $552.00 but he’s fairly certain the meter read water usage, in fact, it may have not registered her using as much as actually went through the meter since it was running slow at low flows.  His goals as Utilities Supervisor are to serve Mrs. Freeman and give her an answer if possible and to

 

 

reduce the Town’s unaccountable water, but he said the decision to have her pay this bill was the Council’s.  The office has received several calls of citizens questioning their bills since this situation has been in the newspaper.  Mike and the Council all agreed they didn’t want to set a precedent of questioning high water bills.  Mike proposed selling her the water at the wholesale rate for a cost of $265.97 and the normal sewer rate of $43.08 plus tax for a total $309.05.  After further discussion he offered to give her an average bill based on the last three months of usage.  Ray Freetage moved to have her water bill be averaged over the last three months.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried 3-1.

 

Privilege of the Floor

 

Doug Clausman, resident who lives not far from Main Street, stated when it gets warmer weather residents will be opening windows more often and the traffic sounds will travel and be noticeable.  Therefore, he requested the Council consider the idea of putting up signs asking semi drivers to not use their engine “jake” brakes while traveling on this section of State Road. 46. There isn’t a very big incline and the brakes are very loud.  He suggested including the phrase “engine brakes prohibited in this area” on speed limit signs.  David Sorokoty agreed they were noisy and unnecessary on flat terrain in the Town limits and referred to the Indiana Code 9-21-8-44.5 that Bob Sowder had given him.  He said they should have Mike Spencer create an ordinance comparable to IC, post signs and perhaps assign a fine if violated.  David Drake said we can’t use the term “jake” brake and it will be hard to enforce. He also questioned if the Council could regulate rules on a State Highway.  Sandra Hash informed the Council that she recently received a bulletin from the State Board of Accounts concerning ordinances on moving violations, which she would forward to Mike Spencer.  David Sorokoty asked Mike Spencer to research this. 

 

Doug also inquired if Ellettsville has a noise ordinance.  David Drake stated noise violations are hard to enforce.  Decimal meters are expensive and an officer has to be certified to operate them.  The general consensus now if the noise is clearly audible at 50 feet away then it is considered too loud.  Ron McGlocklin said the Town has adopted the State statute on noise.  He agreed decimal meters are expensive and it is hard to enforce.  He suggested a sign stating it was a neighborhood and the residents request drivers to be quieter in the hopes the signs would raise consciousness and create more courteous drivers in the area.

 

Beth Robinson-Pyclik commented that Robinson Construction Management who recently purchased the old elementary school would like to have the 14’ alley from Temperance to Ritter opened.  It would help to redevelop the property.  She asked for discussion and planning on this area possibly making this into a street and extending Association Street to  T” into the alley way.   They plan to bring in 40 to 50 jobs for this project. 

 

She also inquired if the Town would be interested in housing the Town Offices in the old school building.  If so what would be needed and what concerns might the Town have with the property.  David Sorokoty said this was a little too soon to decide but the main concern was leasing.  Solving the Police Department’s location is currently the main issue.  He suggested Beth offer space to the Post Office also.  His goal is to keep Ellettsville’s downtown alive.  David Drake stated in would be nice to have that building occupied but expressed the idea of what to do with the Town Hall if vacated. 

 

Supervisor’s Comments

 

Ron McGlocklin said the department needs to have a paper trail to track lost and damaged equipment because in the past they have had problems with issuing equipment and accountability within the department.  If they had a form it would assign responsibility to the individual officers for their equipment.  He has already spoken with Mike Spencer about creating a form for issuing out equipment to the

 

 

 

officers and would like to have this form adopted and added to section #600 making it number 605 of their Standard Operating Procedures.  Geraldine McIntyre made a motion to allow this paragraph to be added in their S. O. P.’s. making it #605.  Ray Freetage seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Jim Ragle requested permission to tear down the 2 out buildings on the Main Street property the Town owns.  Geraldine McIntyre made a motion to allow Jim to tear down two buildings on the Shook property.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Darlyne Sowder, Parks and Recreation Board President informed the Council that the Skate Park would be temporarily closed until the equipment is repaired.  She has worked out an arrangement with the Insurance Company to continue the same as in the past and the park will reopen when the equipment is repaired.  Ray Freetage mentioned he stopped by the skate park area recently and noticed a kid riding a bike in the area and he told the kid that he was not allowed to ride bicycles in the area because it is against the rules.  He keeps an eye on the skatepark.  Darlyne said she’s noticed that some of the kids are not wearing the safety gear and informed one parent recently that it was necessary that the kids wear the appropriate gear for their personal safety.

 

Karla Frownfelter, Ellettsville’s representative on the Animal Control Board gave copies of the minutes and statistics to each Council member from the last meeting.  She said she requested the actual street addresses on the statistics to confirm whether they were in fact Ellettsville calls.  Steve Chambers said it would be possible and he would get her that information.  The Board has decided not to build a new building; however, the City of Bloomington is giving them $500,000 to build an extension on to the Animal Shelter. 

 

Sandra Hash informed the Council that she and Amber Ragle would be attending a conference June 16th-20th, 2003.  It will be a conference that combines both the Indiana League of Municipal Clerks conference with the State Board of Accounts schooling due to the fact it is an election year.  The office will be closed three days during this week and open the two that Donya Medley is scheduled to work.  She will put a notice in the paper.

 

Sandra received information from the Affordable Homes Group last week.  There is a HUD house at 200 Renee Drive.  HUD allows municipalities, during a short period of time, to purchase HUD homes for $1.00.  Affordable Homes Group has approached the Town requesting the Town purchase the home then turn it over to them and they will completely repair and upgrade it making it more structurally sound if needed and bring it up to code standards.  Then they would sell the home for 20% under the appraised value to a first time homeowner.  She has looked at the house and the rear wall to the home does need repair.  The window of opportunity is only for ten days and the deadline was on April 9th, however, A. H. G. informed her that she could contact Golden Feather who handles HUD homes.  If the Council would agree to proceed then we could make the motion and send in the request to purchase it to Golden Feather.  If no one else had made an offer then they may still allow the Town to purchase it.  Often times abandoned homes fall into disrepair. They’re purchased as investments properties.  Only superficial repairs are made and the home becomes a rental property.  A lot of rentals end up trashed by renters and look worse than before.  This home is in her addition and she would really like to see sound repairs made which would promote the purchase by a new homeowner instead of being used as a rental.  She checked with HUD and this is a legitimate program.  Mike Spencer said there is a process that needs to be followed to purchase and dispose of this property.  She read a portion of the contract that Affordable Homes Group is proposing and suggested forwarding the information to Mike Spencer and let him review it thoroughly. 

 

 

 

 

Geraldine McIntyre gave an update on the road.  There is a 15’ alley in that area and it needs to be determined if John Davis or the Town owns it.  After that they can proceed with the plans for the road to the Senior Citizens’ Housing addition.  She also extended her sympathy to the Farmer Family for the loss of their Mother. 

 

David Sorokoty said he and Ron McGlocklin attended a meeting for the Hilly Hundred and Ron explained the rules expected of the bicyclists.  Ron told them that if the bicyclists rode more than 3 people wide on the road they would be issued a ticket.  They will ride northeast of Ellettsville on Saturday, October 18th, 2003 and southwest of Ellettsville Sunday, October 19th, 2003.  Starting time is around 7:00-7:30 a. m. and arrival time back in Town 1:00-2:00 p. m. It has been requested riders not arrive in Town any later than 4:00 p.m. for both days.  This event is starting to create a lot of interest and Ellettsville is getting known because of it. 

 

Adjournment

   

David Sorokoty asked for a motion to adjourn.  Geraldine McIntyre moved to adjourn.  Ray Freetage seconded, motion carried.  The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p. m.

   

 

 

_____________________________                       __________________________

David Sorokoty, President                                         David Drake, Vice President

 

 

 

_____________________________                       __________________________

Lisa Combs-Creech                                                  Ray Freetage

 

 

 

_____________________________                       __________________________

Geraldine McIntyre                                                    Sandra C. Hash, Clerk-Treasurer