The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met in a
Special Session on Monday, August 11, 2008, at the Fire Department Training and
Conference Room. The meeting lasted from
4 until Town
Council members present were Dan Swafford, President; Dianna Bastin,
Vice-President; David Drake, Scott
Year 2009 Budgets
The Council and Supervisors reviewed and discussed the budgets.
Roll Call: Members present were Dan Swafford, President; Dianna Bastin, Vice-President, David Drake, Scott Oldham and Phillip Smith. Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer; Mike Spencer, Attorney and Rick Coppock, Town Engineer were also present.
Approval of the Minutes
Swafford entertained a motion to approve the minutes of the regular meeting
July 28 and the Budget meetings August 4th and
Action to Pay Accounts Payable Vouchers
David Drake made a motion we pay the Accounts Payable Vouchers. Dianna Bastin seconded. Motion carried.
Ordinances on First
Ordinance 08-07 to amend Chapter 51 of the ETC concerning Water Rates and Charges
Sandra Hash explained Umbaugh presented a rate analysis which
explained the need for the increases.
This ordinance outlines the monthly metered usage, minimum charges,
municipal hydrants charges and sprinkler charges. The rates listed in the table are subject to
approval and adjustment by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The rates, as adjusted by the IURC, shall
become effective upon final approval by the IURC without further action by the
Phillip Smith asked the standard house meter size. It was answered 5/8. Sandra clarified the first 3,000 gallons would be $3.93 per 1,000 gallon and the next 5,000 gallons would be $3.47 per 1,000 gallon.
Ordinances on Second
Ordinance 08-06 to rezone 101 Poplar Drive from R-1 to C-2
Sandra Hash presented the ordinance and explained the property is
Charlie Ooley and his wife inherited the property and they do not have any plans at this time. There will be no gas station or alcohol sold on this property. Dan Swafford stated this property goes along with the Town’s current redevelopment plan.
Question and Answer Session concerning water rate increase
Jeff Farmer, Ellettsville Utilities gave a brief summary of why
the rate increase is needed. The last
water rate increase was in 1998. The
Umbaugh report shows the revenues are less than the expenses. There is maintenance work needed on the
David Drake asked what the average user increase would be? Christina, from Umbaugh, stated a minimum user’s rate would increase $2.55 and an average user would have a $3.30 increase. If the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approves the 27.5% increase, the increase could be less. David Drake stated no one likes to pay more and the Council members will have to pay the increases also. He reiterated there has not been an increase in ten years and they have professional accountants informing them the increases are necessary to stay solvent. Ellettsville’s water rate will be considerably lower than other town’s of our size.
Dianna Bastin stated there have been numerous meetings and the Utilities’ Managers did not come up with the rate increase, they had some input. This has been a long process. Dan Swafford added that the Utilities’ Department has been expending more than they are bringing in. Christina researched 2003 – 2007 and found expenses have exceeded the revenues for that period of time. Little increases dwindle away revenues. David Drake has had people ask why the Utilities Department waited ten years to have an increase. The Utilities Department has been able to “get by” with what they had. Christina stated all the utilities, they work for, will not raise rates until they are operating in the negative. No one likes increases but it is necessary.
Charlie Ooley asked how much money is kept in a reserve for operating. Dan stated the State sets the amount needed to be in reserve. Christina explained the Town has outstanding debt from 1998 bonds and are required to have a Debt Service Reserve Fund of $127,105. It is recommended to have two months of Operation and Maintenance expenses set aside. Each month a sixth or a twelfth of Principal and Interest payment needs to be transferred for the next processing period. Umbaugh is projecting the Town needs to set aside $463,000. Christina clarified the amounts are regulated by the Town Bond Ordinances which are typical practices of Utility Management.
Bill Schneider asked at the last meeting why the water rates are in
the lower thirds compared to other Municipalities but the sewer rates are in
the upper twenty-five percent. Jeff
Farmer explained, in the early 1990’s, the Town had an old waste water
treatment plant that was failing causing the State and EPA to get involved. The Town was prompted to build a new waste
water treatment plant, with a thirty inch main, costing ten million
dollars. This caused a fifteen dollar
increase to the customers.
meters attached to the fire hydrants. The
Bill Schneider asked, for clarification, if a hydrant meter could be checked out for new construction. It was answered “yes”. He clarified a previous comment regarding the hydrant meter in Autumn Ridge; he took the hydrant meter off the hydrant in the fall and stored it in his garage. He gave the meter to Jason Walls in the early spring. Mr. Schneider does not have a hydrant meter.
Farmer pointed out a 46% increase of the water tracking from City of
Moore, fifteen year resident of Ellettsville stated the sewer bills have always
been 75% of the water bill. The Town
needed a new sewer treatment plant. She
reviewed the rate increase numbers and feels it is “outlandish”. Is there an alternative plan or compromise? Some households may not be able to handle the
increase. Dan Swafford interrupted Ms. Moore to say the
“water rate increase” is being discussed and not the sewer rates. Ms. Moore asked if the Town is looking into
other water sources. She then asked
about the check presented by Vi Simpson when the new sewer plant was being
built. Sandra Hash clarified Vi Simpson
assisted the Town in securing a SRF (State Revolving Fund) loan. Vi presented a check to show the amount the
Town saved in interest by using the SRF instead of a bond. There was no additional money deposited into
any account. Ms. Moore asked if there was a way to “tap
into” rivers that have an over flow as a water source. Mike Farmer explained most of
Moore asked why everyone is not paying the same sewer rates. Mike Farmer explained Ellettsville is a
residential community and does not have large commercial businesses or big
users of water to spread the cost around to be absorbed and produce revenue. It costs more for Ellettsville to duplicate
the same services as the City of
Schneider wants clarification; tonight is regarding the water rate increase
only and sewer will be later. When he
pays his water bill he feels he is being charged sewer based on water
Mike Farmer, Ellettsville Utilities has an employee, Brandon Correll, they would like to increase his pay to $14.50 an hour based on the fact he successfully obtained a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) which allows him to drive all the vehicles in the fleet. He is not a full-time permanent employee, does not receive benefits, hired in at the low pay and does not have paid days off. Employees with a CDL are paid $14.50 an hour. Brandon Correll is well trained and very valuable. Mike Farmer is asking for Council’s approval.
Swafford entertained a motion to raise
The following discussion took place before the vote
Drake asked if
Sandra Hash, representing the Monroe County Fall Festival, asked
for permission to close public streets September 18, 19 and 20 for the Fall
Festival. The streets would be closed
from noon on Thursday until midnight Saturday.
The streets involved would be
Swafford entertained a motion and asked Mike Cornman for clarification. Mike Cornman, Deputy Chief of the Fire
Department clarified as part of the permit process from the State to have the
Fall Festival, the roads needed to be closed.
The ideal street closures would be from
Dianna Bastin made the motion. David Drake seconded. Roll call vote: Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes. Motion carried 5-0.
Privilege of the Floor
Richard Sanders, representing Northern Richland Sewer Corporation is
one of three entities using the treatment plant that was completed in
1998. The construction and operating
costs were paid, proportionally, by all three entities.
Bill Schneider, resident of Autumn Ridge asked how many people drove through the subdivision since the last meeting. The residents attended this evenings meeting because Frank Nierzwicki was scheduled to address the Council with Autumn Ridge updates. Frank was called away. Mr. Schneider does not feel it would be appropriate to give an update without Frank being present. Dan Swafford asked Rick Coppock to give a brief summary on what he saw in Autumn Ridge.
Rick Coppock talked with the developer and items they agreed to do:
David Drake asked if there is anything in Town Code that gives us a basis for making them fill in the “pit”, make it into a lot or can we just make them stabilize it so it isn’t an erosion problem. Rick Coppock explained under the Town’s Erosion Control Ordinance we can make them stabilize it and prevent it from washing sediment off the site. A single unit was not on the original plan but added later to the location where the “pit” is now located. Rick can only make them stabilize what is currently out there.
Bill Schneider asked if the area with the “pit” is a buildable lot with the drainage situation. Rick answered there are ways to build on any lot; depending on how much you want to spend. Dan Swafford suggested Autumn Ridge be put on the agenda for the next Town Council meeting. Bill Schneider gave Frank a list of items that need to be taken care of; all the homes, the “pit” and erosion situation by unit. He submitted a copy of the detail list for the members of the Town Council.
Scott Oldham asked Rick Coppock and Mike Spencer to find out what the Town’s ability is to make them fill in the pit. Was there a building permit issued for that lot? Rick does not know. Phillip Smith stated he met with Frank and they had not heard back from the County about whether there was a building permit also they were looking to see if two of the lots were on the original plat. Rick questioned and had clarified there are 47 units originally proposed. The developer since changed one of the duplex units to a single and added a unit on the “pit” lot; the number of original units has not changed. Dan Swafford asked Sandra to make sure this is on the August 25th agenda under Old Business. Scott Oldham reiterated the Town needs to find out what their ability is.
Winders, lives on
Max Dixon, resident of Autumn Ridge spoke about the Plan Commission meeting. Mr. Dixon stated “Frank ‘repeatly’ said the extra lot had preliminary approval but would never admit that it had final approval by anybody”. If it did not get final approval, it should never have been excavated. Mr. Dixon does not see where anything was accomplished this week; a fifteen foot cliff is still at the back of the lot. It is a public nuisance and public danger.
Dianna Bastin made a motion we adjourn. David Drake seconded. Motion carried. Dan Swafford adjourned the meeting at 8:57 p.m.