August 11, 2014
The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a regular meeting on Monday, August 11, 2014, 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 Scott Thomas.
Roll Call: Members present were Scott Oldham, President; David Drake, Vice President; Dianna Bastin and Scott Thomas. Dan Swafford was absent. Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, Jim Davis, Town Manager, Darla Brown, Town Attorney, and Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo and Associates, Town Engineer, were also present.
Supervisors present were: Mike Cornman, Tony Bowlen, Connie Griffin, Mike Farmer and Jeff Farmer. Danny Stalcup also attended the meeting to represent the Street Department.
Approval of Minutes
Scott Oldham entertained a motion for approval of the minutes for the regular meeting on July 28, 2014 and the Budget meeting on July 30, 2014. Dianna Bastin so moved. David Drake seconded. Motion carried.
Accounts Payable Vouchers
Scott Oldham entertained a motion for action to pay Accounts Payable Vouchers. Scott Thomas so moved. Dianna Bastin seconded. Motion carried.
Ordinances on First Reading
Ordinance 2014-11 to Amend the Ellettsville Town Code, Personnel Policy Concerning the Town Manager
Darla Brown, Town Attorney, explained this is a proposed revision to various sections of the Town code that insert “Town Manager” and/or remove “liaison”. Most of the Town Council members were in favor of taking out the liaison because there is now a Town Manager. She understands a couple of the Town Council members may have changed their minds about the liaison so she is requesting guidance as to whether or not “liaison” should remain. There is a section in regard to sick leave pay that has a change.
Scott Thomas was not aware the liaisons were to be eliminated. Mr. Oldham said there were several things that were discussed and it has come up since then. Jim Davis, Town Manager, doesn’t have a problem if the Town Council wants to keep liaisons or still do some of the work.
Dianna Bastin understood when the Town hired a Town Manager he would take the place of the liaisons so there would be one person dealing with all of the departments who would report back to Town Council so all know what was going on with all departments. She doesn’t see any point in having a liaison if there is a Town Manager. Mr. Drake concurs. Mr. Oldham could go with either but thinks it is redundant. A liaison would undercut the Town Manager they just put in place. Mr. Davis stated eliminating the word “liaison” doesn’t mean the Council can’t intervene.
Scott Thomas apologizes for missing the discussion on the liaison. Having been involved in human resources for years, he thinks they’re going to quickly surpass the amount of hours they want the Town Manager to be involved. He doesn’t think another layer for human resources came up in the discussion of the Town Manager’s duties.
David Drake thinks they should be looking at human resources from a global perspective. This is why there are supervisors to deal with the day-to-day issues. Mr. Davis agrees the supervisors should handle the majority of the human resources. Only more advanced issues should come before the Town Manager. Mr. Thomas agrees and doesn’t want to undercut the Town Manager position. After a discussion it was decided to change “employee notifying the Town Manager” to “employees will notify the supervisor who will notify the Town Manager.”
Scott Oldham explained there are several things coming up that have traditionally been gray areas such as canceling work because of inclement weather or doing other things not statutorily mandated to the Town Council. Should these administrative issues be given to the Town Manager? Ms. Brown advised one of the Town Ordinances states “In the event of a closing or emergency it is the Town Council President who decides.” She can add an option to state the Town Manager in conjunction with the Town Council President. Mr. Thomas agrees with Mr. Oldham.
Scott Thomas asked if §36.102, Applicant Testing, should be the responsibility of the supervisor instead of the Town Manager. Town supervisors should be responsible for hiring or finding candidates for approval. Mr. Oldham stated it is the Town Council who does the hiring. Do they want the Town Manager to have input on the number of people they’re interviewing? Mr. Davis suggested stating “the Town Manager in conjunction with the supervisor.” Mr. Oldham suggested this should be the wording throughout the proposed revisions.
Town Manager Employment Agreement
Jim Davis, Town Manager, explained the agreement was prepared at the suggestion of the Town Attorney. His objective upon returning to the Fire Department in part-time status was to work another four or five years and then retire. Since this position came to be he wanted an agreement should the next Town Council not want him to serve as Town Manager. The agreement would allow him to return to the Fire Department and assume his duties prior to the Town Manager.
Scott Thomas asked if the Fire Chief is in agreement. Chief Cornman said yes.
Scott Oldham entertained a motion to approve the Town Manager Employment Agreement. Dianna Bastin made a motion to approve the Town Manager Employment Agreement. David Drake seconded. Roll call vote: Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes and Scott Thomas – yes. Motion carried 4-0.
Establishing a Public Works Department – Consolidation of the Utilities and Street Departments
Darla Brown, Town Attorney, explained this is a proposal by Bynum Fanyo Utilities for sharing employees between the Street and Utilities Departments, not filling the position vacated by Jim Ragle, increasing responsibilities for various employees, cross-training them so they are familiar with both Street and Utilities Department duties and not filling some other positions as people retire. The agreement will not eliminate the Street Department but will pull it and Utilities into one group such as the Town of Ellettsville Public Works Department. She thinks it is a good idea if the Town is inclined to do so. Utilities are different from other departments because it is regulated differently, has certain bonding procedures, procedures for setting rates and charges and there are statutes that describe specifically how utilities are to acquire and dispose of property. The purpose of the agreement is to keep a separate Street Department from Utilities which is a good idea in the event the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission (“IURC”) asks questions.
Scott Oldham asked if this should be tabled until everyone has the agreement in front of them. It was discussed during budget meetings. Mr. Thomas thinks in theory they’re in agreement but it would be nice to see it and review it before they vote on it.
David Drake thinks Bynum Fanyo does a great job managing Utilities. He thinks it is appropriate to have a private company manage Utilities because they are completely separate from the civil side of government and are not supported by tax dollars. He has concerns about having a private company running civil parts of Town government. At some point they will add costs to the contract in order to provide the additional duties that may end up canceling out any savings by making some of the other changes. He is also concerned about who sets the priorities for the work that gets done and the cutting of manpower. He thinks both Utilities and Street Departments have plenty of work that needs to get done. On one hand you can say that by putting them together increases the ability to get things done. However, he thinks it dilutes the ability to get things done. Especially, when it involves cutting. You never get more done by cutting people. It sounds great on paper but never seems to work. Ms. Brown remarked the agreement doesn’t call for cutting positions but when people retire they won’t refill the positions. He is not convinced the departments need to merge. He would prefer to see it separate and let each department do those things they’re best at. There is nothing that prohibits different departments from sharing and helping each other when possible.
Dianna Bastin knows Mr. Drake wasn’t present at the budget meeting. Mike Farmer and Jeff Farmer spoke at the budget hearing and explained the proposal. She had the opportunity to set down with Jeff Farmer and was able to ask a lot of questions. She thinks this is a good idea and is timely. She thinks they can save the Town money. They’re leaving the departments with their own identities and they’re sharing equipment and manpower. They explained how this would work at the budget hearing. The money they will be able to save can be a down pavement on improvements the Town needs. She has a lot of faith and respect for Bynum Fanyo Utilities and thinks they are the perfect people to do this. She is all for it and thinks it should start as soon as possible.
Scott Oldham has some concerns with time, personnel and equipment sharing and the precedent they may or may not be setting. As he talked to representatives of both departments his concerns went away. He thinks everyone he has talked to is in agreement that it is something that could work. There is a substantial savings to be realized if it does. There is also the ability to separate the departments if they see it is not working. From the financial aspect and the flexibility of the proposal he thinks it is something they need to look at. Ms. Bastin added they are also not being faced with a new contract. Bynum and Fanyo wants to leave everything the way it is, with their contracting being in force, and they will show the Town what they can do. Bynum Fanyo is not wanting to re-negotiate their contract.
Scott Thomas had some of the same concerns as Mr. Drake and asked some of the same questions. Having met with some of the people in the departments before and during this meeting he thinks it is worth exploring and trying. Either way, there would be savings by not replacing Jim Ragle. With the efficiencies of being managed properly the greater savings will be in the future by working as a more cohesive team. If it doesn’t work they have the ability to reverse it. He thought it was strange that Bynum Fanyo wasn’t looking for an increase in 2015. Their response was they are not looking for an increase now but it will probably come up at the time of their contract renewal. The heads of the departments will report to Bynum Fanyo which seems beneficial to him. He recommends tabling it to give Mr. Drake an opportunity to look at the proposal. All members agreed.
Scott Oldham entertained a motion to table establishing a Public Works Department. Dianna Bastin made a motion to table establishing a Public Works Department. Scott Thomas seconded. Roll call vote: Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes and Scott Thomas – yes. Motion carried 4-0.
Jim Davis, Town Manager, said this was put on the agenda because of the discussion during the budget session about what to do with the employees who would be moving up the ladder because of combining the Street and Utilities Department.
Dianna Bastin made a motion to table the promotions portion of the agenda. Scott Thomas seconded. Roll call vote: Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes and Scott Thomas – yes. Motion carried 4-0.
Employee Raises for 2015
Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, provided a chart with raise options as requested at the budget meeting.
Scott Oldham explained the Town Council is debating the raises for employees in 2015. The options are 1% to 3% which ranges from $13,224.39 to almost $40,000 in the General Fund.
David Drake asked if $40,000 is in the projected budget for 2015. Ms. Hash replied at the budget meeting it was declared that the budget is funded but not balanced. Mr. Oldham added both a 2% and 3% raise will be funded. Ms. Hash said the budget is not balanced even without raises. Mr. Davis looked at the bottom line of the increase and his thought is to try and keep it as low as possible. Mr. Oldham asked what the raises have been over the last three years. Ms. Hash replied in 2014, it was 3.5%, 2013 was 1.5% and in 2011 and 2012 raises were not given. Mr. Drake is find with 3% if the Town can fund it to make for those years raises were not given. Ms. Bastin thinks it should be 3% and give as much as they can.
Darla Brown, Town Attorney, advised it is not necessary to vote on raises at this time because the raises will be voted on as part of the budget.
Heritage Trail Bridge
Darla Brown, Town Attorney, explained a work session on August 6, 2014, was attended by various members of the public and Main Street. There was discussion on the progress of trail and whether or not to complete the bridge project at this time. The Town has three options. In order to proceed with the February letting the Town has to have all of the right-of-way acquired by September 12, 2014. If we ask INDOT can push the letting back date to March 2015, which means all of the paperwork is due by October if they want to build the bridge. The other choice is to forego the bridge project entirely and never build it. The third option is to forego the bridge project and re-apply for funds later and hope they get the funding with the understanding that it may or may not be there later. If the Town decides not to complete the bridge project then the Town can take it’s time doing the property acquisitions.
Scott Oldham stated while the Town can adequately fund and pay for the trail the portion the Town would have to match on the bridge would be a little over $100,000. Mr. Thomas noted at a time when the Town is trying to figure out where to put employees currently located in Eagles Landing he thinks the $100,000 could go towards a permanent location for them. He doesn’t back spending an extra $100,000 at this time. He won’t say never but at this time it is not the best use of the Town’s resources.
Dianna Bastin is not in favor of spending $100,000 for the bridge. By not spending that money and not having a bridge allows the Town to slow down on what is going on now. How long is this going to take? Although she doesn’t want to spend $100,000 she doesn’t want it to slow down. She wants the Town to get the acquisitions and put the portion of this trail down. Ms. Brown thinks property acquisitions will be done in another week or six months. She doesn’t anticipate any problems. Ms. Bastin doesn’t think they can afford the bridge while trying to figure out what to do with Town Hall.
Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, requested permission to start the process of the additional appropriation from the operating balance in the General Fund. Council members agreed.
Carl Thurman, Thurman Body Shop, asked if Phase 1 of the trail is completed and the bridge isn’t built until another time is that going to open up liability to the Town for people crossing the road at the intersection to see the trail and its progress. Mr. Oldham does not see where it would cause liability for the Town. There’s ingress and egress to the site when it is declared done and they can’t be responsible for what someone may do outside the boundaries of it.
Dianna Bastin commented there are streets that cross the B-Line Trail in Bloomington. People cross the streets without a stoplight. Ms. Hash went with Indiana Department of Transportation (“INDOT”) when they walked the trail for one of the inspections. At that time, INDOT said they would not allow the Town to put a crosswalk across a state highway at the Chandler Drive intersection.
Scott Oldham made a motion that the Town declines to pursue INDOT funding or the funding from the MPO for Phase 2. However, the Town reserves the right to go back and do so at a later date. Dianna Bastin seconded. Roll call vote: Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes and Scott Thomas – yes. Motion carried 4-0.
Scott Oldham explained there was an organization who stated they were going to make a proposal to the Town which has yet to materialize. While they cannot discuss the terms of a contract with another group, the Town Council has chosen not to pursue Eagles Landing as a future home for anything in the Town beyond what they are currently renting.
David Drake is open to long term renting under certain circumstances but he is not open to the Town becoming owners. Ms. Bastin and Mr. Thomas agreed.
Dianna Bastin went to the farmers market at the Endwright Center on Saturday, August 9, 2014. Although it wasn’t very big, it was very nice. Everything she bought there was great and it was really nice.
Scott Oldham entertained a motion to adjourn. Dianna Bastin made a motion to adjourn. Scott Thomas seconded. Scott Oldham adjourned the meeting at 7:18 p.m.