April 22, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a regular meeting on Monday, April 22, 2013, at the Fire Department Training and Conference Room.  Scott Oldham called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.  Dianna Bastin led the Pledge of Allegiance followed with a prayer by Phillip Smith.

 

Roll Call:  Members present were Scott Oldham – President; Dan Swafford, Vice President; Dianna Bastin, David Drake and Phillip Smith.  Sandra Hash, Clerk Treasurer, Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo & Associates, Town Engineer, and Darla Brown, Town Attorney, were also present.

 

Supervisors Present were:  Jim Davis, Jim Ragle, Jim Davis, Tony Bowlen and Connie Griffin.

 

Approval of Minutes

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion for approval of the minutes for the regular meeting on April 8, 2013.  Dan Swafford so moved.  Phillip Smith seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Accounts Payable Vouchers

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion for action to pay Accounts Payable Vouchers.  Phillip Smith so moved.  Dianna Bastin seconded.  Motion carried.

 

New Business

 

Pioneer Days, May 23, 2013, Request for Vine Street Closure between Memorial Park and the Log Cabin, Diana Johnson

 

Diana Johnson, Retired Second Grade Teacher from Richland Bean Blossom, is seeking permission to close down Vine Street and the alley between Dana Kerr’s Law Office and Kenny’s Tavern.  She is also asking if the Street Department can bring over the picnic tables as they have done for the last two years.  They’ve done this for two years.  This year there will be 216 second graders attending.  She appreciates all the Town has done in the past.  It’s a great learning experience.  This replaces the Honey Creek School field trip they can no longer attend due to funding being cut.

 

Scott Oldham has heard from several people that this is very worthwhile and the kids have a lot of fun.  Dianna Bastin asked for clarification purposes if they’re closing Vine Street at Matthews and Sale Street.  Ms. Johnson replied that was correct.  Mr. Oldham asked what time the streets need to be closed.  Ms. Johnson answered the kids will start arriving about 9:00 a.m. and they leave to go back to school about 3:00 p.m.  Mr. Oldham stated the street closures will be from about 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to close Vine Street at the Matthews intersection and Sale Street and the alleyways connecting to Vine on May 23rd, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Dianna Bastin made a motion to close Vine Street at the Matthews intersection and Sale Street and the alleyways connecting to Vine on May 23rd, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  David Drake seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes, David Drake – yes and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Lenzy Hayes, Department of Planning Enforcement Action – Connie Griffin

 

Connie Griffin, Director of Planning, explained on February 18, 2013, she received a citizen complaint concerning the conditions of Lenzy Hayes Mobile Home Park.  She contacted Fred St. John on February 20, 2013, to let him know she would be conducting an inspection at the mobile home park.  During the inspection they were found to be in violation of Ellettsville Municipal Code 93-16, Public Health Nuisances, Health and Sanitation.  They were given an abatement date of February 25, 2013.  This was an eight day period from February 25, 2013 to March 4, 2013 in which they were working on multiple incidents on site.  In §10-99 they have a provision for repeat offenders which elevates from a Class D to a Class C violation which is $500 per incident.  On the February 25, 2013, inspection, the violations were not abated which were mentioned in the letter of February 20, 2013.  Therefore, a fine was set in the amount of $3,000.  On February 26, 2013, a second inspection was conducted and there was no change.  On February 27, 2013, some effort was noted and the fine was reduced to $2,500.  Another inspection was conducted on February 28, 2013, and an additional fine of $2,500 was assessed for a total fine of $11,000.  On March 1, 2013 and March 4, 2013, improvements were being noted and the demolition site was clear and the other areas of the park were maintained and picked up. 

 

Scott Oldham asked if there was one specific site.  Ms. Griffin replied it was throughout the park.  There are different pictures for different lots within the park.  They were specifically focusing on the demolition site.  The weather conditions and the exposure allowed all of the material to be exposed and blown throughout the park. 

 

Dan Swafford had a meeting with Carson Hayes in which he stated he was displeased with the way things were being handled.  This is not the first time this has happened.  There was broken glass and no barrier tape.  There are children who play around that area.  This really upsets him as well as the fact that this isn’t the first occurrence.

 

Carson Hayes, co-owner of Lenzy Hayes Mobile Home Park, noted he had emailed a letter to Town Council.  There were extenuating circumstances.  A fine to him is a punishment for someone that is not willing to come into compliance.  One of the first things of concern in the trailer park was crime.  He gave his word they would make sure crime was addressed aggressively and they would seek eviction for anybody that needed it because they wanted to create a safe environment for people who live in the trailer park.  He had a meeting with Dan Swafford, Darla Brown, Town Attorney, and Connie Griffin and he told them that is what they would do.  From that meeting until now, they have cleared out half of the trailer court.  He’s talked informally to different officers and has kept an eye on the newspaper and crime is down to a fraction of what it was.  After the first meeting, they hired a park manager who goes around and makes sure trash is picked up.  On this particular incident, there were some extenuating circumstances.  This is not a money making venture for them.  Creating homelessness for people with a challenged income is not something they take lightly or what they want to do.  They live in Ellettsville like everyone on Town Council.  He understands Mr. Swafford being upset, he is upset.  Some gentlemen who had earlier torn down trailers without any issues also tore down this one.  This time they came in and stripped the wire and aluminum.  He and his brother, Kurt, were out of town and didn’t know any of this was going on.  He received a call from Fred St. John telling him that Connie Griffin had been in.  They’ve always tried to do anything Connie Griffin has asked them to do.  They’ve put additional lighting in the court when she asked them to.  They had a couple of complaints last week and he called and told her the actions they were taking.  They’ve come up with park rules and are trying to move in a forward direction.  Then, they start getting fined but their office was closed because everyone was out of town.  They had no idea this was happening and it appeared they were giving no attention to this. 

 

After a recent meeting with Dan Swafford, Darla Brown and Connie Griffin, he and his brother, Kurt, are alternating on a daily basis to go through the court and make sure things are being taken care of.  Fred St. John is there daily or on an every other day basis to make sure things are taken care of.  They’ve been picking up the trash and patched the first half of the black top.  They have spent thousands or the same amount as the fine to improve the court.  They want to continue to improve the court.  It’s not like they’re not trying to do what’s right.  They live in the same town as Town Council and graduated from school in Ellettsville.  They want to be good citizens and partner with the Town Council.  Their goal in the future would be to get a development in the trailer court that would address affordable housing but also have space for Town offices.  They would look at donating some of the land to the Town.  They respect the board and their job.  They want it to be run in a way that is not an eyesore to the Town.

 

Scott Oldham asked how long they were closed.  Mr. Hayes replied it was three business days and a weekend.  It ended up being a six day period.  Mr. Oldham stated the pictures from February 20, 2013 until March 3, 2013, show the mess and destruction.  In that period of time, no one noticed the fine notices including an on-site manager?  Mr. Hayes replied no one brought it to his attention. When they had a meeting, he left everyone a business card with his cell phone number and told them if there was an issue to call him and it would be his highest priority.  Mr. Oldham advised it is not the Town’s job to call him.  He has a resident manager on property.  It was not the Town’s responsibility to call them during this 10 to 12 day period to tell them there’s an issue.  Ms. Griffin told them she was coming to inspect on a certain day.  Mr. Hayes said he had no knowledge of it, Fred St. John did.  If what the Town is trying to do is have compliance and make sure they follow the Town code that’s what they want as well.  He deals with a lot of governmental bodies on state and federal levels.  If they have a situation, they will call to let him know.  The goal is to make the Town safe, sanitary and decent.  A fine to him means he’s not giving any attention to it and not trying to come into compliance.  They were closed and he didn’t know anything was going on.

 

Kurt Hayes, co-owner of Lenzy Hayes Mobile Home Park, stated if he promises something he delivers.  He attended the initial meeting and he met with Connie Griffin a week ago.  He gave Connie Griffin his cell phone number.  He realizes this is not an excuse.  He never received anything in the mail.  Diane, in the office, showed him the mail.  He saw the trailer and went ballistic.  They can’t find anyone to tear down mobile homes without costing a fortune.  Some of the people in the mobile home court said they would do it for extra income.  They tore down two or three with no problems until this last one.  He mowed all the new court area and there’s very little trash.  There’s suppose to be 80 lots but there are probably 40 trailers.  Instead of fining them $11,000 he would rather take that money and show where they’re spending it.  They’re not making any money.  He’s given everyone his cell phone number.  Their dad gave the park to them and they have been negligent but they’re on the ball and spending money.  Nobody has called him and no one has written a letter to him.  What he did receive was a phone book of citations.

 

Dan Swafford has a problem with the fact they didn’t get any notice.  They have a property manager, someone who lives on site, and no one called them about these trailers?  Carson Hayes answered they did not, it was a telephone book of stuff.  Kurt Hayes added they were laying against the door.  Mr. Swafford can appreciate they’ve cleaned up the area as it pertains to violence but this is still about quality of life for those people living in the trailer court.  This is not the first time it has happened.  They say they will never do it.  They promised a year ago, they would never do it, and here they are again.  Kurt Hayes said he never promised anything, it was Carson Hayes who did.  He’s wanting to take the fine money and show where it’s going to go in the trailer court.  Mr. Swafford noted the Town has spent a lot of money on this too.  There are attorney’s fees, meetings and Planning Director and code enforcement salaries.  If they sent a resident an eviction notice would they wait seven to ten days before they come to you and say they didn’t receive it because they were on vacation?  Carson Hayes commented they start the meeting with prayer.  Go back to the golden rule.  They didn’t get any notice until they had already been trebled and fined.  They didn’t know it was going on.  They’ve addressed the issue of having a park manager who is in and out and have made changes.  The fine should be something where they’re not trying to comply.  The people they have evicted has not only been because of crime but for housekeeping and other types of issues.  They’re trying to get the trailer torn down by utilizing people who owe rent so they aren’t evicted.  If there’s a fine, the tenants are going to bear the brunt of the fine because it won’t be them.  They haven’t done a rent increase in seven or eight years.  They’ve already spent $4,500 with Cassady Electric for the lighting Ms. Griffin requested.  They’re finishing up with road patching that cost $6,000.  They just put lids on all of the dumpsters.   

 

Kurt Hayes requested letters be written to he or Carson Hayes.  Lenzy Hayes, Inc. is a corporate name but it’s he, his brother and a nephew, who has an interest.  They can call them anytime they want when there’s a problem.  He would rather put the fine money in the trailer court.  Carson Hayes added they have met with the State Board of Health and they have never fined them.  They were down last week and had one issue on patching which was repaired. 

 

Connie Griffin commented all letters were sent certified mail, return receipt requested and all were signed for.  Typically the process is to send notices by certified mail, return receipt requested so she has tracking.  She also hand delivered copies of the letters thinking she could get it to them a little quicker than certified mail.  Mr. Oldham reviewed the returns on the certified mail receipts and noted they were all sent to Lenzy Hayes Mobile Home Park and signed by one or two different individuals.  Carson Hayes will provide payroll records to show the people who signed for the letters are not on their payroll and he doesn’t know them.  They didn’t have proper legal notice.

 

Dan Swafford asked Darla Brown, Town Attorney, if another incident happens within so many days would the original fines be added back on to any new fines.  Ms. Brown replied if they reduce the fine they should give a date by which the payment is to be made and authorize her to file suit for an ordinance violation if it is not paid within that time period.  Yes, they can go after everything.  Mr. Swafford asked what if in that time period there is a new offense.  Ms. Brown answered if she files suit for an ordinance violation then she can add it on to the suit for the ordinance violation.

 

Dianna Bastin asked if there are any other businesses or offices at 5665 W. State Road 46.  Mr. Hayes said it’s just 5665 W. State Road 46 for Lenzy Hayes, Inc.  The only ones authorized to sign are himself, Kurt Hayes or Diane.  Mr. Hayes asked Darla Brown if they didn’t get legal service where do things stand.  Ms. Brown responded there has been proper service.  The state statutes and local codes require either service be posted to the dwelling, delivered personally to the violator, mailed to the violator or owner of the property through regular mail addressed to the landowner’s last known address or mailed certified to the violator or owner’s last known address.  That’s their business address.  She appreciates they’re willing to accept mail at their personal residence but the owner of the property according to the deed is Lenzy Hayes, Inc.  If that’s their home office it’s a proper place to serve it, and if somebody besides an office manager signs for it that’s not the Town’s fault. 

 

David Drake understands the concept of legal service but is also aware the mailman could’ve stopped a resident walking by for their signature.  However, they need to realize running a trailer court can’t be a hobby.  Someone needs to be in charge of the trailer court and stay on top of what is going on at all times.  He agrees with the fact he would rather see the money that could be spent on fines spent on improvements.  Had they not cleaned it up when they returned from being out of town he may have a different opinion.  If they decide to stay with a fine he would rather it be for actual costs in dealing with this issue.

 

Dianna Bastin agrees with Mr. Drake.  This is a business and ignorance is not an excuse.  Someone has to stand accountable.  She would hate to see no fine. 

 

Phillip Smith agrees with Mr. Drake in that he would rather see the money put back into the trailer court.  He also agrees with Ms. Bastin in that the Town needs reimbursed for their costs.  Their goal needs to be to clean up the mobile home park and keep it clean.  If it happens again, he’s going to come after them with both feet.

 

Dan Swafford agrees that the Town should be reimbursed for its expenses and has asked Ms. Brown and Ms. Griffin for their expenses and hours worked in this matter.  Mr. Drake isn’t comfortable for charging for the hours they’re already paying to employees.  He’s interested in actual costs. 

 

Dianna Bastin asked when you charge somebody for the hours, do they get charged the hourly rate or the real rate which is costs plus benefits.  Mr. Swafford asked the number of hours worked.  Ms. Griffin replied the time period she was asked to calculate was 2008 to 2013.  Mr. Drake reiterated if they’re going to levy a fine, he prefers it be costs for this particular incident.  Mr. Swafford stated the costs for ink, fuel and certified mail was $611.72.  The wages per hour total $3,198.24.  Ms. Brown’s time is $1,000.  If they remove the $3,198.24 then the total is approximately $1,600.  This is above and beyond what they would have to pay.  Ms. Bastin thinks they should figure out a fine and not worry about what was spent where.  Mr. Oldham noted they have figured out a fine and that’s what the Town Code is for.  Ms. Brown suggested under §10-99 repeat offenses shall cause the classification of the violation to increase one level.  Rather than charging this as a Class D ordinance violation at $100 per day it could be charged as a Class C ordinance violation at $500 per day.  If they took the $500 and multiplied it by eight days that’s a $4,000 fine. 

 

Scott Oldham commented when they’re being told the fines will be passed on to their tenants, he has a real issue with that.  They keep talking they’re going to save them money so they can invest it back into the trailer court but it’s a business and they should have invested it into the court to begin with.  They’re talking about fixing pot holes and the quality of life.  The Town needs to decide are they going to stand up for the standard of living within the trailer court and the people who live there or are they going to give them break after break.  He agrees $11,000 is a lot of money but he’s more concerned with the corporation wanting to put the blame back on the Town for failure to notify.  He doesn’t know how else Ms. Griffin can be expected to do her job.  She sends certified mail seven times and delivers the same pieces of mail to the office at the trailer court.  If they’re running a business they already have people on site.  A 2011 letter from Mr. Hayes included a list of items he promised they were going to take care of.  In the 2011 letter he stated “they carted off 17 truckloads of trash and debris and they’re making more sweeps that weekend.”  If they have 17 truckloads in 2011 and they now have violations day after day adding up again it seems to be an ongoing and current problem.  They were gone from the office all those days what if their residents needed something?  Apparently, there’s no way to contact anybody.  He doesn’t know what else the Town could have done.  If they have an onsite manager, who’s minding the store day after day?  The fact someone else signed for their mail is between them and the post office, not the Town.  The Town has met their burden and they’ve done more than they would do for anybody else.  The Town has done more than what the code and state law require.  

 

Dan Swafford asked why the Town has codes if they aren’t going to stick with them.  These are things that have been reoccurring and he’s tired of wasting his time going over and over this.  If they do waive all the fines, they aren’t accomplishing anything and they might as well throw the ordinance book out the window.

 

Dianna Bastin thinks they have set precedence in the past.  Unfortunately, they haven’t reached a point where they’ve set enough.  She asked Ms. Brown to go over her calculations one more time. Ms. Brown explained rather than charging this as a Class D ordinance violation at $100 per day for each offense it could be charged as a Class C ordinance violation at $500 flat fine per day across the park.  If they took the $500 and multiplied it by eight days that’s a $4,000 fine.   Mr. Drake reiterated he thinks that’s too much.  He would agree with $1,042.24 for the actual costs above the cost of doing business.

 

Dan Swafford made a motion to fine Lenzy Hayes, Inc. a $4,000 fine payable within 90 days.  If it is not paid within 90 days, the Town Attorney is authorized to file an ordinance violation and claim any and all fines that the Town can collect.  Motion died for lack of a second.

 

David Drake made a motion that the fine be $1,042.24 payable in 90 days.  If it is not paid in 90 days the Town reserves the right to file the original code violation.  Phillip Smith seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – no; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 4-1.

 

Supervisors Comments

 

Town Marshal Tony Bowlen requested to change the status of two of his employees.  Mark Freeman is requesting to go from full time to part-time effective May 11, 2013.  He is pursuing other interests for a full time job.  He wants to bring Zachary Michael to full time employment and his effective date would be May 11, 2013.  He would be starting at $35,000 for the one year probationary period.  Mr. Oldham noted since he’s been a part-time officer as of June 2010, he doesn’t have to go through the probationary period according to state law.  Darla Brown, Town Attorney, concurred that the probation period does not need to be repeated.

 

Dianna Bastin asked if they have a meeting before May 11, 2013.  Marshal Bowlen replied the next meeting is May 13, 2013.  She is not comfortable replacing someone before they’re finished.  Officer Michael does a wonderful job in the office.  When he comes out onto the street they’ll have no one in the office again.  Has Marshal Bowlen prepared for this?  Marshal Bowlen replied he is working on it.  Ms. Bastin would hate to see the office not staffed by this hiring.  Mr. Swafford asked if the job has to be posted or do any other part-time people want it.  Marshal Bowlen replied it is a promotion from within and Town Code addresses the issue.  Ms. Bastin complimented Officer Michael for being invaluable in the front office.  He has saved Ellettsville and the officers’ time and he is helpful to other departments. 

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to accept Officer Mark Freeman’s request to move to part-time status and if he decides that’s what he wants to do on May 11, 2013, then they promote Officer Zachary Michael to a full time police officer in Ellettsville.  Dianna Bastin made a motion to accept Officer Mark Freeman’s request to move to part-time status and if he decides that’s what he wants to do on May 11, 2013, then they promote Officer Zachary Michael to a full time police officer in Ellettsville.  David Drake seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Sandra Hash asked for clarification on the pay.  Mr. Oldham replied because of his part-time start date they can’t start him at the probationary salary.  He will receive the base salary for a full time police officer. 

 

Privilege of the Floor

 

Darla Brown explained John Seever with Umbaugh met with her and Sandra Hash about refinancing the bonds for the Police and Fire Departments.  The first call date is July 1, 2013 and Umbaugh is making a recommendation the Town consider refinancing the bonds.  She talked to Lisa Lee at Ice Miller, who handled the refinancing for the water tower, and she is willing to do it.  She needs to give her authority to proceed because she will have to come up with a schedule and instruct them on what to do.  The Ellettsville Building Corporation needs to be involved since the deeds are in the name of the Building Corporation.  Mr. Oldham asked if the Town would be saving over $100,000 on doing this.  Ms. Brown replied the Town would save over $196,000.  Ms. Lee’s fees are $18,000.  The other fees they have paid to Ice Miller have been in that range. 

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to allow Darla Brown to do what’s necessary to proceed with the bond issue.  Dianna Bastin made a motion to allow Darla Brown to do what’s necessary to proceed with the bond issue.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Darla Brown noted Ms. Lee said they can do one bond issue for both properties.

 

Phillip Smith introduced Valerie DeWar and Andrew Arms from Boy Scout Troop 119.  Andrew is working on his badge for citizenship and community.  He thanked them for coming.  Mr. Oldham thanked Ms. DeWar for facilitating this for Andrew.

 

Adjournment

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to adjourn.  Dan Swafford made a motion to adjourn.  Dianna Bastin seconded.  Motion carried.  Dan Swafford adjourned the meeting at 7:334 p.m.