April 23, 2018

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a work session at 5:30 p.m., on Monday, April 23, 2018, at the Ellettsville Town Hall Meeting Room located at 1150 W. Guy McCown Drive. 

 

Members present were Scott Oldham, President, and Kevin Farris. Brian Mobley, Brice Teter and Scott Thomas were absent.  Mike Farmer, Interim Town Manager; Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer; and Darla Brown, Town Attorney, were also present. 

 

Supervisors present were:  Mike Cornman, Danny Stalcup, Jimmie Durnil, Kevin Tolloty and Jeff Farmer.

 

Len Coyne, President of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (“BEDC”), explained they’re a non-profit organization responsible for economic development in Monroe County.  Primary mission is the creation and retention of jobs in Monroe County as well as attracting businesses.  The process begins with looking at the local economy which is defined by the Metropolitan Statistical Area (“MSA”).  Bloomington MSA includes Owen and Greene Counties.  The MSA looks at where people live and work.  The average commute time in America is 26 minutes.  Most economic activity is 20 minutes from where people work.  Economic development is interested in primary employers who bring money into the economy.  A business either contributes to the economy or consumes it.  They look for jobs that pay well such as life sciences or advance manufacturing so the resources could be used locally.  Ellettsville’s biggest strength is its population.  Most commercial businesses are retail.  West Ellettsville is a challenging location for businesses because of the two-lane road.   The community is educated and their incomes are good.   Thirty percent of the population works from home and it’s his estimate a fair amount of the Ellettsville population does this.  Smithville Fiber is a huge asset because broadband is where the future is.  In 2015, a study of Ellettsville was conducted by the Indiana Small Business Center and Chamber of Commerce.  Ellettsville is a growing community and so is the income.  When employers look at a community they look at educational attainment which tells them there is a work force capable of hi-tech type of work.  Ellettsville’s educational attainment is rising which is a good sign for a community.  Most employers are in the under 10 category which is mostly retail.  Monroe County prepared the Monroe County Urbanizing Area Plan (“Plan”) after taking back the two-mile fringe from the City of Bloomington.  The Plan shows how the county views the land around Ellettsville.  Monroe County has plans to connect different roads with Ellettsville which will create activity and opportunity.  They would start with how to market Ellettsville.  Utility infrastructure in Ellettsville is excellent so it can service new development.  Their offices use graduate students from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (“SPEA”).  SPEA fellows are inexpensive and BEDC provides an office for them.  BEDC would like to have a SPEA fellow work with Ellettsville on grants, research or whatever is needed.  SPEA fellows are part-time and they could work at the BEDC office. 

 

Kevin Farris asked what a SPEA fellow would cost.  Mr. Coyne answered it is $1,800 annually or $18/hour for a two-year commitment.  It requires a written job description and there is an interview process.  Mr. Farris asked if BEDC and Indiana University help with the interview process.  Mr. Coyne explained it is a straight forward process and Ellettsville can also conduct interviews.  Ellettsville would establish their priorities for the SPEA fellow.  Mr. Oldham asked if appointing someone to be an economic development director would be valuable to the Town.  Mr. Coyne doesn’t see that as being a high value at this time.  Ellettsville’s economic development activity is somewhat constrained.  BEDC will help the Town find prospects.  BEDC can meet with the Town to discuss prospects that are coming through, what they’re looking for and whether anything in Ellettsville matches up to them.  Right now, it does not.  As mentioned earlier, Ellettsville is more retail focused.  The biggest needs are workforce and housing.  They also need to look at tax caps, other things coming and how things will be paid for.  Mr. Oldham asked if BEDC will look at how the Town needs to grow, i.e., voluntary annexations.  Mr. Coyne would suggest that.  Mr. Oldham thinks the Town is constrained by buildable inventory and land associated with it.  Mr. Coyne agreed that is the issue.  The Town is long and narrow and surrounding it is rural residential land and agriculturally zoned property.  The only way to grow is to extend boundaries.  Mike Farmer asked if there is a plan for Ellettsville.  Mr. Coyne thinks the Town needs to have a concept of who it is.  There are historic assets, there is a vibrant workforce, the Town is wired and there is an opportunity to project Ellettsville as the place to be.  The Town needs to think of where it grows with the most opportunity for the future with residential development and employment.  Mr. Oldham asked the next step.  Mr. Coyne will work with Mr. Farmer and Mr. Tolloty.  The Town Council needs to take a look at the master plan with Mr. Tolloty and how it lines up with what was discussed.  If the Town is interested in a SPEA fellow for the fall, Town Council needs to work with Mr. Farmer to begin the process.  They will need to let the program know the Town is interested as soon as possible.  Mr. Oldham thinks the Town will be interested.  Mr. Coyne stated BEDC will work with the Town on a job description.  There should be a contact from Ellettsville.  Thank you for the opportunity.

 

Adjournment

 

The work session adjourned at approximately 6:15 p.m.