April 26, 2010

 

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a Regular Meeting on Monday, April 26, 2010 at the Fire Department Training and Conference Room.  Phillip Smith called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Sandra Hash led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Phillip Smith led in prayer. 

Roll Call:  Members present were Phillip Smith, President; Scott Oldham, Vice-President; David Drake, and Dan Swafford.  Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer and Darla Brown, Attorney were also present.  Dianna S. Bastin was absent.  Supervisors Present were:  Jim Davis, Jim Ragle, Tony Bowlen, Jeff Farmer, Mike Farmer and Rick Coppock.  Connie Griffin was absent.

 

Approval of Minutes

Phillip Smith entertained a motion for the approval of the minutes for the Regular Meeting April 12, 2010.  Dan Swafford so moved.  Scott Oldham seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Phillip Smith – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Accounts Payable Vouchers

Phillip Smith entertained a motion for action to pay Accounts Payable Vouchers.  David Drake so moved.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Phillip Smith – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Resolutions

Resolution 04-10 Temporary Loan

Phillip Smith entertained a motion to approve Resolution 04-10 Temporary loan from the Rainy Day fund to the General Fund and MVH Fund.  Sandra Hash explained this was to move $120,000 from the Rainy Day fund to the General fund and $20,000 from the Rainy Day fund to Motor Vehicle Highway.  She did receive a call from the auditor’s office today and they will be releasing some advance draws for the property taxes.  David Drake so moved.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Phillip Smith – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

New Business

Appointment to the Ellettsville Building Corporation Board of Directors

Phillip Smith stated that no one was confirmed for the position yet and entertained a motion to table this until the next meeting.  Scott Oldham so moved.  David Drake seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Phillip Smith – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Privilege of the Floor

 

Request to replace fence removed during construction of the Police Department

 

Jane Burgess Loeser and Judy Burgess Holmes – Jane Loeser informed Council she and her sister own property behind the Police Department.  When the property was being cleared in order to build the new facility, they were informed by the farmer who farms their property and close relatives who live nearby the property that the construction company was spilling over debris onto their property.  They made phone calls, sent letters, and contacted people and that situation was taken care of.  In that process, a row of trees and a fence on their property were removed.  They were not notified of this and were again informed by relatives contacting them.  She added they had been trying to get this taken care of since that time.  Their mom was still alive and owned the property when the fence and trees were removed.  She made some contacts also, but nothing was done.  In 2003, after her death, they made contacts but nothing was done.  Ms. Loeser went on to say they are in the area frequently for the Figg reunion and other family functions.  The property has been in their family for at least 80 years.  They grew up here and this property is very important to them.  In 2006 they spoke with the Town Planner at the time and he pulled up the property for the Police Department and their property on the internet.  What he showed them was that the two properties were in agreement as far as the survey was concerned.  The Planner told them at that time that it would be taken care of and by November 15, 2006 they would have an answer for them and they would start working on this.  She stated they would like to have the property line re-established and have the fence replaced.  She went on to say that the water tower was at the corner of their property and when it was moved, three of the four concrete footers were removed.  She is asking that the fourth footer be removed at this time as well.  Phillip Smith stated he had spoken with Sandra Hash, Darla Brown and Tony Bowlen regarding this.  He went on to say he would like to see the boundary re-established first.  He said Darla Brown has the surveys for both properties and they will try to locate the metal rods which mark the boundaries.  He will then get with everyone involved to decide what can be done.  The Council will then notify her and her sister as soon as possible of their decision.

 

Questions resulting from the Town of Ellettsville’s offer to purchase Northern Richland Sewer Corporation

 

Barbara Davidson, member, owner and customer of Northern Richland Sewer Corporation (NRSC) – She stated her visit was in regards to the letter received regarding the Town’s willingness to purchase the NRSC.  She remarked she had some questions about the letter.  She went on to read from the letter the reasons stated by the Town for wishing to purchase the NRSC.  After reading those from the letter, she stated the NRSC has been in the sewage disposal service for 39 years and she feels all those things have been taken care of in a satisfactory manner.  Bynum Fanyo has only been here since 1995.  She also said they hadn’t had a rate increase since 1972.  She added that the NRSC is a not for profit and the utilities for the Town of Ellettsville is for profit.  The Council informed her that the utilities here are a not for profit as well.  She asked if they could prove this and was told they could.  She said that was not the information she was given.  She also said she had read in the paper there had been ongoing discussion between the corporations and the reason for that is because the contract had been submitted two times by NRSC and the Town had rejected the contracts.  She informed the Council it was not NRSC delaying the process.  She then asked if the NRSC Board of Directors was notified of the letter being mailed to their customers prior to the mailing.  Darla Brown answered that the letter was sent to the Board at the same time as the customers.  Ms. Davidson said she believed this to be a violation of disclosure because they disclosed customer information to Darla Brown’s office and the Town had the customer information for billing purposes only.  Darla Brown informed Ms. Davidson she was the attorney for the Town of Ellettsville and she did not believe they had done anything wrong.  Ms. Davidson remarked that each of them have their own opinions regarding this.  Ms. Davidson asked if the same letter was mailed to Ellettsville Utilities customers.  Phillip Smith answered it was not.  Ms. Davidson then explained that the NRSC is governed by the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission (IURC) and Ellettsville Utilities is not.  At this point, Scott Oldham addressed Council President Phillip Smith and asked if the three minute time limit was going to be followed.  Phillip Smith answered yes, but that he had not been keeping up with the time.  David Drake went on to say this was not the proper forum for this discussion.  Ms. Davidson said she thought it was because the letter was discussed on public television and sent to the NRSC customers without giving the Board of Directors the courtesy of notifying them it was going to be sent.  David Drake added that what was being discussed is pending litigation.  Ms. Davidson then asked if she could have the floor and Phillip Smith responded she could for a few more minutes.  She then said she had been trying to find out who are the owners of Bynum Fanyo Utilities.  Scott Oldham answered that the Town of Ellettsville owns the utilities department.  Bynum Fanyo Utilities is just the manager.  She asked Scott Oldham if he knew the owners of Bynum Fanyo and he answered he did not know by name.  Ms. Davidson stated she called the Secretary of State and was told Sherman Bynum is president and Jeffery Fanyo is secretary of Bynum Fanyo & Associates.  Bynum Fanyo Utilities has Jeffery Fanyo as president and Rick Coppock as secretary.  She said the Town of Ellettsville renewed the contract with Bynum Fanyo Utilities on May 26, 2002 for ten years and asked if this was correct.  Sandra Hash informed Council Ms. Davidson contacted her office and she looked up the information on the public record.  Phillip Smith asked Ms. Davidson what her point was with all this information.  She replied the Town had downgraded (sic) them for all the talk and talk and talk but it isn’t their entire fault.  Phillip Smith asked what Bynum Fanyo had to do with it.  She answered they are contracted to run the utility department.  After discussion regarding when Jeff Farmer, Mike Farmer and Rick Coppock began with Ellettsville Utilities, she asked if these Bynum Fanyo employees are fully committed to the Town of Ellettsville or can they go to work for other companies at the same time as working for the Town.  David Drake answered her saying that, like other employees of most companies, they can work second jobs during times other than when they are committed to their primary employer. 

 

Ms. Davidson remarked that $369, 336 is a lot to pay for the salaries of four employees.  Scott Oldham responded that amount paid for is more than just salaries.  He went on to say

they were getting into areas that are just not appropriate for this forum.  Phillip Smith informed her she had two more minutes to speak.  Ms. Davidson asked if they had been televising the lines of the NRSC.  Jeff Farmer answered they had.  She asked when and Jeff Farmer said he couldn’t say specifically what dates.  She asked if he could send that information to the President of the NRSC Board and Jeff Farmer answered he could.  Ms. Davidson then said what the Town was claiming in the paper is absolutely not true (implying the infrastructure).  Phillip Smith replied no, they would not agree to that.  She answered, on their infrastructure, she thinks so.  She went on to say they could not be operating for 39 years and still be operating.  She added she disagreed that the Town is a not for profit – she thinks they are for profit.  Phillip Smith stated he knows for a fact the Town is a not for profit.  Ms. Davidson then said why would the Town want to acquire a not for profit if it wasn’t for profit.  Phillip Smith answered that it was to protect the sewer plant.  She said their sewage flow into the Town’s line is 6% of the total and she asked if he thought that was damaging the plant.  Phillip Smith answered he never said they were damaging it.  Ms. Davidson said that was what they were saying when they insinuated they were not maintaining their infrastructure.  Phillip Smith said he needed to draw this discussion to a close.  Ms. Davidson remarked she had only one suggestion.  She suggests all three sewer corporations get together and work this situation out.

 

Fence behind Police Department

 

Alan Holmes – asked the Council if they could get a commitment to replace the fence on the property that Jane Loeser spoke about earlier in the meeting.  Phillip Smith answered they could not commit before having a discussion with legal counsel and other Council members.  Mr. Holmes stated they had gotten lots of commitments over the years, and some in writing, and they just wanted to get something resolved without retaining counsel on this.

 

Adjournment

Dan Swafford made a motion to adjourn.  Scott Oldham seconded.  Motion carried.  Phillip Smith adjourned the meeting at 8:06 p.m.