May 10, 2004

 

 

 

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met in regular session on Monday, May 10th, 2004 at the Town Hall.  Patrick Stoffers called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.  Lisa Creech led in prayer and David Drake led in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

 

Roll Call: Patrick Stoffers asked for roll call of the Council Members.  Members present were Patrick Stoffers, President; David Drake, Vice-President; Phillip Rogers, Lisa Creech and William Evans.  Also present were Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer; Jeffrey York, Planning and Zoning Administrator; Mike Spencer, Attorney and Rick Coppock, Town Engineer. 

 

Supervisors Present:  Jim Davis, Jim Ragle and Ron McGlocklin.

 

Approval of the meeting minutes for April 26th, 2004

 

Lisa Creech made a motion to approve the minutes for April 26th, 2004.  William Evans seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Action to pay Accounts Payable Vouchers

 

Lisa Creech moved to pay the accounts payable vouchers.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Appointment to the Monroe County Animal Control Board

 

Patrick Stoffers asked David Drake to serve on the Monroe County Animal Control Board and he agreed.  Lisa Creech made a motion to appoint David Drake to the Animal Control Board.  William Evans seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Resolutions

 

Resolution 15-04 authorizes the use of Bank Cards or Credit Cards for payments made to the Town of Ellettsville Utilities or Clerk’s Office starting June 1, 2004.

 

Patrick Stoffers drafted the resolution because he felt it was time for the Town of Ellettsville to move forward since payments by credit cards and debit cards are a common practice.  Lisa Creech read the resolution in its entirety and made a motion to adopt Resolution 15-04.  William Evans seconded.  Motion carried.

 

New Business

 

The Shook House

 

Attorney Dana Robert Kerr wrote a letter of interest to the Council on purchasing the “Shook” house on Main Street prior to the Council Meeting.  He was also present at the meeting.  He stated if the Town accepted his offer, he planned to restore the house for his Law Office and other businesses.  He would be willing to enter into a long term lease to allow the Fall Festival Organization use of the grounds for community events at the cost of one dollar per year.  He explained if the Town of Ellettsville chose to sell the property to him there would be several advantages to the Town including putting the property back on to the tax rolls, restoring a historical home, adding professional offices in the downtown area, receipts from the sale of the property and cooperation with the Fall Festival organization.

 

Lisa Creech stated she thought it was more the Ellettsville Main Street group that was interested than the Fall Festival.  The Fall Festival Organization already owns the garage on the adjoining property to the West.

 

Sandra Hash contacted Joe Peden from the Fall Festival; he could not attend the meeting.  He explained, by phone, the Fall Festival group originally requested the home from the State prior to the Town’s plan to build a Governmental Center.  That is why they purchased the garage.  She went on to explain a citizens advisory group was formed by the Town Council to look at properties for a new Governmental Center to house Town Hall and other Town entities when Jerry Pittsford was Council President.  During that time two properties behind the Town Hall were appraised for possible relocation area for a Governmental Center.  The purchase didn’t work out.  The property owners would not sell for the appraised price.  The Town Hall offices were put on hold.  The Fall Festival $30,000 in Build Indiana money.  The group met last week to consider asking the Town to let them take over and revitalize the “Shook” house.  Jim Ragle attended the meeting.  

 

Lisa Creech said she and Bill had discussed the Town retaining possession of the “Shook” house. She read on the Department of Commerce website when something becomes blighted money is available to municipalities for restoration.  If restored the house would benefit Main Street, the proposed museum as well as the Chamber of Commerce office.   She asked Mike Spencer if the Town could sell the house outright or would it have to be put up for bid?

 

Mike Spencer stated it depends which option the Council chooses.   If you choose to deal with a not for profit organization an appraisal wouldn’t be needed but if it would go to a private citizen the property would have to go through the appraisal process.  Two appraisals should be done.  The average of the two appraisals would determine the value.  Then the town should advertise for sealed bids on the property. 

 

Lisa suggested, since there are several interested parties, the Council take this under advisement and look at all of the options so they can make an educated decision.  She suggested having another meeting to allow all interested parties to present their cases for purchasing the home. This would make it fair to everyone.

 

Patrick Stoffers asked how many employees would be employed if Mr. Kerr owned the property.

 

Dana Kerr said three currently with a potential maximum of six employees.

 

David Drake questioned if there were any restrictions from the State as far as what can be done with the building since they gave it to the Town.

 

Mike Spencer said none that he was aware of.

 

William Evans stated he has spoken with Main Street and they are interested in the house also.  He also recommended taking it under advisement.

 

Patrick Stoffers requested Lisa or William to organize a meeting for potential buyers and William volunteered to do so.

 

Mike Spencer suggested organizing the meeting to receive information but to not ask for specific proposals since you’re dealing with private and not-for-profit groups.  He added it would be pertinent information to know the fair market value of the house.

 

Sandra Hash asked if she should request an appraisal to get fair market value. 

 

Patrick Stoffers agreed and requested a motion.

 

Lisa Creech made a motion to get an appraisal of the “Shook” house.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Jeanna Kapczyski, President of the Ellettsville Main Street read a brief statement on the background of Ellettsville Main Street, Incorporated and their projects and expressed their interest in the Shook House.  Some of their past projects include partnering with the Town to obtain a grant to beautify the one-way pair and welcome signs, raising money for the old-fashioned street lights for Sale Street, donating money to the Street Department to make Christmas snowflake decorations and working with Ball State to design a pedestrian trail to name a few.  Currently their projects include setting up a marketing seminar for small businesses and collecting photos to document the limestone history and family history of the Town.  She stated she is glad there is a proposal for the “Shook” house but Main Street would prefer the house remain either the property of the Town or be owned by a local non-profit organization.  She suggested the house could be restored and used for a Chamber office, a museum or photo gallery and an office for the Fall Festival group.  Their Mission Statement is “Working together to revitalize our community while preserving Ellettsville’s heritage” and preserving the “Shook” house would promote their goal to revitalize the community.   

 

Sandra Hash added there has been property and money exchange hands in the past between the Fall Festival group and the Town.  During the interim while the Fall Festival was not planned the Town had purchased the parking lot and the stage from the Fall Festival group, but the Town allowed the Fall Festival group to continue to use the area for the Fall Festival when it was revived for a time.

 

David Drake hopes it can work out for everyone since the Council’s goal for a while has been to encourage growth in the downtown area.  A nice office building such as Mr. Kerr’s proposal would be a good start but added he feels the Council’s first allegiance should be to the Fall Festival and Main Street groups.

 

Privilege of the Floor

 

Seth Wagner, Nick Floyd and Joe Mason students at Edgewood High School and Jr. High requested permission to hold a concert in the skate park on Tuesday, May 11th from 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. to celebrate the last half day of school.  It would be just one band, they have a generator to use and there would be adult supervision (Phil Bowmer). 

 

Patrick Stoffers said he didn’t have any objections and asked for a motion.

 

David Drake made a motion to allow these gentlemen to have a concert at the skate park tomorrow between 1:00 p. m. and 1:45 p. m. or shortly thereafter.  William Evans seconded.   Motion carried.

 

Supervisor’s Comments

 

Jeff York gave an update on the house at 409 W. Vine Street.  The property is owned by Mark Laughlin, the property manager is Wayne Smith.  He has been speaking with Mr. Smith about the property.  He spoke to him today and on April 27th.  On the twenty-seventh Jeff inspected the property and at that time they had mowed the lawn and removed the refrigerators but he requested they do more work to the property.  Mr. Smith has been very cooperative.  On April 30th he noticed the abandoned vehicle that had been there was gone.   It has not been considered an unsafe building.  During today’s conversation with Mr. Smith, he indicated the rest of the appliances are supposed to be removed tomorrow, doors and windows will be secured, the home will be remodeled instead of demolished.    Jeff requested a time frame from Mr. Smith on when the home would be remodeled.  He is keeping an eye on the situation and will be checking up on the home on a weekly basis until it is complete.

 

Jeff opened the floor up for discussion on Building Permits.  He stated building issues have arose in the past and our building inspectors already have full time jobs as Fire Chief and Division Fire Chief and can not keep up with the Building Department needs.  Therefore, he suggested the County taking over issuing the Town’s building permits and performing all of the inspections.  He has started the  process by speaking to the Monroe County Building Department, Building Commissioner Jim Gerstbauer.  All of their inspectors are certified so it wouldn’t cost the Town any out of pocket expense.   Monroe County already handles the building permits for the County, the Town of Stinesville and the City of Bloomington.   Over the last 4 ½ years the Building Department has collected $17,000 in permit fee revenues, therefore, the loss of revenue would be minimal.  Jim Gerstbauer is willing to do it for the Town if the County Commissioners will allow it.  He would be willing to come to a Council Meeting to give more details if the Council would like him to. He added Rick Coppock suggested issuing grading permits for a fee which would help keep track of developments between the preliminary plan and final plan approval.

 

Lisa Creech said it would be good move.  She added it would be a win-win situation for everyone involved.  The Fire Chief and staff would gain back more time for training and daily functions and the Town would be attaining quality control if the County took over the permits.   The County would benefit financially.

 

William Evans said he would like to think it over for a little while.

 

The Council agreed they would like for Mr. Gerstbauer to attend a meeting.

 

David Drake commented the Council had discussed this idea before and most thought it was a good idea including him.  He added building standards and codes are basically the same for everyone.    Ellettsville is not giving up any authority to decide what is built where; we would still control our Planning and Zoning process.  Ellettsville is currently the only area that doesn’t have the County inspect buildings so if we allowed this it would make uniformity in the County.  He added when this idea first came up he recalls Jim Davis being agreeable to the idea.

 

Rick Coppock said Bloomington and the County issue grading permits prior to the developer starting construction and this alerts everyone that the project is being started.  He suggested Ellettsville start issuing those as well.  It would make it easier to track the projects making sure developers are following their approved plans as well as watching and inspecting for erosion control and drainage issues.  The grading permits set up the additional infrastructure of the streets, the water, the sewer and the drainage patterns.  There would be grading permits for the entire subdivision and for the individual lots. 

 

Rick stood in for Mike Farmer.  He said Mike wanted to inform the Council the Utilities Department has been working on improving the water pressure with a booster pump in the “Sugar Acres” addition and will be moving the fire hydrant back further into the addition. 

  

Rick also asked on Mike Farmer’s behalf permission to hire Kay Henady for the open position in the Utilities Office.    Ms. Henady has fourteen years of experience working at Indiana University and the qualities they are looking for to fill this position.

 

Phil Rogers added they had interviewed several candidates and she was one of the better applicants.  He thinks she will do a good job and make a good employee.  She will start tomorrow training with Kay Neal and Becky Wines. 

 

David Drake made a motion to approve hiring Kay Henady for the Utilities Department.  William Evans seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Jim Davis said he was agreeable to the County taking over the Building Permits.  He was appointed as the Building Inspector in 1986 temporarily and he’s still doing it today.  In 1986 there were 18 permits issued and 34 inspections done.  In 2003 there were 118 permits issued and 300 plus inspections done.  He anticipates that both those numbers are going to keep increasing.  The Building Department is keeping up but it keeps taking up more time.  He is glad the Town hired Jeff to look into the Planning and Zoning side.  By letting Monroe County handle the permits it will free up the firemen to do more fireman duties. 

 

Sandra Hash said she would miss David Drake. He has been a big asset to the Council.  The Town has benefited from his expertise on annexation. 

 

William Evans read a press release on the drug search that was conducted at the Edgewood High School.  Dr. DeMuth complimented the Ellettsville Police Department for their professionalism and the thorough search.  William also commended the Police Reserves for volunteering their time.  He added the minimum hours required per month for the Reserves as a whole according to Town Code is 208 hours and in the month of March our Reserves volunteered 383.75 hours.

 

Lisa Creech urged everyone to mow their lawns and remove their trash.  She added they will be starting to enforce the no parking on lawns code. 

 

Jeff York said the no parking on lawns code goes into effect as of today. 

 

William Evans wished David Drake the best of luck and stated he was sorry to see him go.

 

David Drake stated he has enjoyed working on the Council for the last four years and was sorry he had to resign.  He said he would be back periodically to report updates on the Animal Control Board. 

 

Patrick Stoffers presented David Drake a plaque of appreciation for his four years of service on the Council and added he would miss him also. 

 

Pat gave his comments on the Monroe County Solid Waste District.  He pointed out if the proposal for closing the landfill was passed it would affect Ellettsville customers by increasing the cost of sludge disposal which would negate the Council’s plan to decrease utility rates in the year to come and therefore the short and long term cost to the County residents would increase.  He suggested re-opening the Ellettsville recycling site on Wednesdays.  He favors a user fee to fund landfill compliance and operations and feels the district property tax and county option income tax should be done away with.  He thinks Monroe County Solid Waste District should stay with the State’s policy of source reduction, recycling and other alternatives.  Battery collection at recycling sites should continue even if the cash benefit to the County isn’t a significant amount.  He closed by saying he feels the County Council should be more available and ready to hear out the concerns on such issues from the public that elected them to office.

 

Adjournment

 

Patrick Stoffers asked for a motion to adjourn.  Lisa Creech made a motion to adjourn.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.  Meeting adjourned approximately at 8:28 PM.