October 13, 2009

 

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a Regular Meeting on Tuesday, October  13, 2009, at the Fire Department Training and Conference Room.  Dianna Bastin called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Sandra Hash led in prayer. 

 

Roll Call:  Members present were Dianna Bastin, President; David Drake, Vice-President; Scott Oldham and Dan Swafford.  Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer and Darla Brown, Town Attorney were also present.  Phillip Smith was absent.

 

Supervisors Present:  Jim Davis, Jim Ragle, Mike Farmer, Jeff Farmer, Rick Coppock and Connie Griffin were present.

 

2010 Pre Adoption Budget Hearing

 

Sandra Hash gave a summary of the 2010 Budget:

 

  • The General Fund Budget is $2,020,318 ($70,092 less than 2009).  The General Fund Budget includes Administration, Planning, Fire and Police Departments.  Richland Township will contribute $503,318 towards fire protection in Richland Township.  Bloomington Hospital will contribute $47,083 for assisting with the ambulance at the fire station on Curry Pike. 
  • County Option Income Tax is estimated at $440,000.
  • Motor Vehicle Highway’s budget is $436,793 ($16,714 less than 2009).  The Motor Vehicle Highway payments from the state will be $24.18 per capita.
  • Park and Recreation budget is $11,302 ($11,684 less than 2009).
  • Local Roads and Streets, Law Enforcement Continuing Education and the Cumulative Funds equal $191,395 (an increase of $13,975).
  • The Debt Service Fund for the Police and Fire equal $311,000.
  • The total budget for the “Civil” portion of the town for 2010 is $3,023,109 (a decrease of $65,539 from 2009).
  • The Maximum Levy Growth Quotient for 2010 is 3.8% (down from 4.0% in 2009).
  • The Town is applying for an excess levy due to the three year growth factor in the amount of $60,000.  The average growth rate for Ellettsville over the last three years is 10% (exceeding the state rate by 6%).
  • The Water Utility budget is $1,328,055
  • The Waste Water budget is $1,828,600
  • The Stormwater budget is $136,563

 

Approval of Minutes

 

Dianna Bastin entertained a motion for the approval of the minutes for the Regular Meeting September 28, 2009.   David Drake so moved.   Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Accounts Payable Vouchers

 

Dianna Bastin entertained a motion for action to pay Accounts Payable Vouchers.  Scott Oldham so moved.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Resolutions

 

Resolution 19-09 Petition to appeal for an increase to the maximum levy

 

Sandra Hash reiterated, from the budget summary, Ellettsville has grown faster than the state average.  There are only a few reasons to appeal the maximum levy.  The growth factor is one of those reasons.  When you exceed the state average by over 2% you can appeal for the maximum levy appeal.  Using the state formula, the levy appeal comes out to $60,000.  David Drake made the motion we adopt Resolution 19-09.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

The following conversation took place before the vote

 

Ed Bitner, resident on Main Street asked if you apply for the maximum levy appeal, is that going to hit the pocketbooks of the residences of Ellettsville?  Sandra Hash answered there could be a slight increase in the tax rate. Ed said it was his understanding the employees got a raise this year. Is the additional amount to pay them or what is the additional money going to be used for? Will the town receive an increase in the county option income tax?  Sandra answered yes there would be an increase in the county option income tax of approximately $45,000. The town also cut budgets drastically from 2009 and the additional levy is to cover expenses for the incoming year.  Dianna Bastin corrected the information Ed Bitner was stating “the employees of Ellettsville did not receive an increase in salary”.   

 

Resolution 20-09 Temporary Loan from the Police Debt to the Fire Debt Fund

 

Sandra Hash explained that in 2009 the overall assessed value was reduced by $28,000,000 due to changes from the state legislature.  After the standard $45,000 homestead credit was applied home owners received an additional 35% reduction of the remaining accessed value. The town, being mostly residential, brought in less revenue in 2009 than was projected in the 2008 budgets.   The Debt Service revenue was reduced.  When the budgets are advertised the tax rate is set.  The assessed value is multiplied by the tax rate.  When the assessed value goes down the rate brings in less revenue.  The balance in the Fire Debt Service Fund is insufficient to cover expenses until the property tax distributions are received.  Sandra said the property tax on her home was reduced by $200 in 2009.  A couple of Council Members said their property tax was also less this year than in the past.  David Drake made a motion to adopt Resolution 20-09.  Scott Oldham seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

The following discussion took place before the vote

 

David Drake wanted to clarify the tax rate for next year would still be less than the tax rate for this year.  The debt service went down so that is less money that came from the property owners.  Typically the tax rate goes down every year.  Sandra replied yes typically, as the town grows and the assessed value increases the rate goes down.  This year the reduction was not due to an increase in assessed value.  It was reduced because of tax restructuring.   The schools general fund was removed from property taxes. Dan Swafford added we also did a levy appeal last year.

 

Ed Bitner stated the town is trying to bring in more money, but it is going to cost the citizens of Ellettsville.  David Drake said not necessarily.  If we are losing money then someone is not paying that money.  Ed said his taxes went down, but it was only $36.  He commented later in the agenda there is a request for the franchise fees to be increased.  That cost will also be passed on to the citizens who have cable television.  Is Ellettsville going bankrupt?  Are we in such dire straights that we need to start getting money from everyone.  Dianna Bastin replied no, Ellettsville is not going bankrupt.  Scott Oldham added the tax restructuring has left some gaps we have to deal with.   When the assessed value went down that meant less money came into the town.  To illustrate the effect of the maximum levy appeal Scott gave the following example: instead of a homeowners taxes being reduced by $199 they would only be reduced by $196.  Are you paying more, no you are just not getting as big a reduction.  Ed said he could see where Scott was coming from but in the big picture it was still going to take money out of the peoples’ pockets.

 

David Drake wanted to know how much less money we were going to receive this year than last year.  Sandra answered this year’s budget was reduced by the Department of Local Government Finance by approximately $40,000 due to reduction in revenue.

 

New Business

 

I-69 Agreements

Maximus for the Capital Improvement Plan

 

Dianna Bastin stated two of the contracts were presented at the last meeting.  Some changes were suggested.  This is the first time the Maximus contract was presented to the Town Council.  Scott Oldham asked Ms. Brown, Town Attorney, if the contract was to her satisfaction.  Ms. Brown suggested some changes: 

  • The compensation is set forth at $5,000 to be payable at the close of the project. 
  • Section (4) Termination; it is confusing and needs to be cleared up.  She suggested the first paragraph of that section be deleted and the second paragraph should read the Client may terminate this agreement for any reason upon (30) days and not (60). 
  • Ms. Brown would like to have Section (9) Indemnification and the first paragraph of Section (10) Limitation of Liability deleted. 
  • Exhibit B states the Town will pay $5,000 including all expenses.  Ms. Brown did not see any expenses defined in the contract.   She would like an estimate or idea of what “expenses” include from Maximus.  She recommends a monthly or quarterly estimate listing all expenses to date. 

 

Darla Brown recommended a letter sent be to Maximus with the suggested changes.

 

Scott Oldham made a motion we table the Maximus contract until such time our attorney and we are satisfied with terms of the contract.  David Drake seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Eco Logic for Well’s Park Plant and Animal Inventory

 

Dianna Bastin stated changes have been made to this contract since the last meeting.  The contract is between the Town of Ellettsville and Eco Logic LLC.  Darla Brown compared the notes that Mike Spencer made with the last contract to the current contract and it appears the current contract incorporates all the changes. 

 

David Drake made a motion we approve the contract between Eco Logic and the Town of Ellettsville in regards to the work at the Wells Park Nature area in the amount of $4,429.  Scott Oldham seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Schneider Corporation for Green Space Inventory

 

Darla Brown stated the new contract incorporates the changes Mike Spencer suggested during the last meeting. 

 

David Drake made a motion we approve the contract between Schneider Corporation and the Town of Ellettsville for the Green Space Inventory for the amount of $8,500 plus listed reimbursable expenses.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Interlocal Agreement between the Town of Ellettsville and Monroe County Building Department concerning building permits and inspections

 

Dianna Bastin announced the last agreement expired but business continued as usual.  Sandra Hash said this agreement is the same as the 2004 agreement; there were no comments or changes.

 

Scott Oldham made a motion we approve the Interlocal Agreement between the Town of Ellettsville and Monroe County Building Department in terms of having them take care of our permits and other assorted entities as laid out in the Interlocal Agreement.  David Drake seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Letter to cable provider requesting the franchise fees to Ellettsville be increased to match the other governmental units in Monroe County

 

Sandra Hash explained the other governmental units in Monroe County are receiving 5% franchise fees from the cable provider.  Ellettsville has been at 3% since the initiation of the cable back in the 1980’s or so.  This letter is requesting the increase from 3% to 5%.  The franchise fee is paid by the cable customer.   Scott asked if this would pertain to all cable providers.  Sandra replied once it is increased it should be the same for all providers. 

 

Ed Bitner asked how much money this would generate and what it would be used for.  Sandra replied she was not certain on the amount but the franchise fees go into the general fund.  The general fund contains the administrative, planning, police and fire budgets.  Ed expressed concerns about CATS being removed from the 2010 Budget.  David Drake made the motion we request the franchise fee for cable television and related services be raised from the 3% to 5%.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Supervisor’s Comments

 

Jim Davis reminded the Council several months ago he asked for shift supervisors at the stations.  At the time, the Board of Officers met and came up with three individuals to promote to Lieutenant.  They promoted two but the other met all the qualifications except one under “Job Description” in the policy book.  The third person has now met all the qualifications and the Board of Officers is requesting to promote Doug Bartlett to Lieutenant.  This will include an annual $250 increase.  Dianna Bastin asked if there was money and Jim Davis said yes.  David Drake made a motion we promote Doug Bartlett to Lieutenant with the Ellettsville Fire Department.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Dan Swafford asked what will this do for the Fire Department.  Jim stated that on Doug’s shift he is the guy in charge and that he has been doing it for two years without the money.  Each station and each shift has a duty officer in charge of that shift. 

 

Privilege of the Floor

 

Town Attorney

Dianna Bastin introduced and welcomed the new Town Attorney, Darla Brown.

 

Statute for the Lodge

Thomas Dixon has been working on some limestone statues in a makeshift building on Main Street.  He presented the Council with some pictures.  He is hoping to be finished with them by the summer and is requesting to put a concrete barrier around his workshop building.  Despite putting signs on the building, it has been hit and damaged several times by cars.  Dianna Bastin stated the Fire, Police and Street Departments will need to discuss the barriers and be able to give Mr. Dixon an answer by the next meeting.  Dianna asked the Police to patrol that area a little more.

 

Council Comments

 

Halloween Hours

Scott Oldham asked Officer Harris to find out the hours for Halloween.  Dianna Bastin stated Ellettsville has set hours for trick or treating; 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Halloween night. 

 

Planning Position

Scott Oldham made a motion to advertise to fill a slot for a 16 hour part-time Certified Planning position.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Dan Swafford would like to review the job description before it is published. 

 

Adjournment

 

Dianna Bastin entertained a motion to adjourn.  Dan Swafford so moved. David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.  Dianna Bastin adjourned the meeting at 8:22 p.m.