October 26, 2009

 

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a Regular Meeting on Monday, October  26, 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.  Phillip Smith led in prayer. 

 

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

 

Supervisors Present:  Jim Ragle, Tony Bowlen, Mike Farmer, Jeff Farmer and Rick Coppock were present.

 

Adopt the 2010 Budget

 

Dianna Bastin entertained a motion.  Dan Swafford so moved.  David Drake seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Approval of Minutes

 

Dianna Bastin entertained a motion for the approval of the minutes for the Regular Meeting October 13, 2009.   Scott Oldham so moved.   Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Accounts Payable Vouchers

 

Dianna Bastin entertained a motion for action to pay Accounts Payable Vouchers.  Phillip Smith so moved.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Resolutions

 

Resolution 21-09 Transfer of Funds

 

Sandra Hash explained the transfer is to cover the electric bills at the park; $1,000 will be transferred from Materials to Electric.

 

David Drake made the motion we adopt Resolution 21-09.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Old Business

 

Maximus for a Capital Improvement Plan

 

Darla Brown, Town Attorney has been discussing the contract with Christi Reinhardt of Maximus.  Maximus has agreed to two changes brought up during the last Town Council meeting. 

 

  • Section (4) The Town of Ellettsville may terminate the agreement for any reason upon thirty days written notice. 
  • Exhibit B clearly states the total sum for payment is $5,000 and will include all expenses.
  • Maximus would not readily agree to remove the limitation of liability.  Maximus agreed to a cap of two times the contract value.

 

Ms. Brown recommended the contract be approved.

 

David Drake made a motion we approve the contract as amended with Maximus for the Capital Improvement Plan.  Scott Oldham seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

New Business

 

Agreement to extend the I-69 Grant agreement for four months

 

Sandra Hash explained this agreement will extend the time period by four months to allow the animal life inventory study of the Wishing Well Park to be done in the spring rather than fall and winter.  Darla Brown reviewed the contract and did not have any suggested changes. 

 

Scott Oldham made a motion we approve the agreement between the Town of Ellettsville and INDOT to extend the I-69 Grant.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Agreement between the Town of Ellettsville and Komputrol Software Upgrade

 

Sandra Hash conveyed the contract would allow Ellettsville Utilities to offer Direct Payment to the customer. 

 

Becky Wines, Office Manager Utilities Department explained this software will give the Utilities Department the ability to withdraw the monthly utility bill from customers’ checking or savings account for those who choose to use the service.  Becky explained the procedure:  the Utilities Department will bill the customers and the money will be withdrawn immediately from their account at the beginning of the month.  Phillip Smith asked if it was the same day every month.  Becky answered it will be “the first working business day of the month”.  The Utilities Department needs to start with a small sampling “to work out the bugs” before offering it to everyone.  Dan Swafford feels this is a wonderful thing.  Becky stated this will be for Ellettsville customers only, in the beginning.  There will need to be an agreement with Eastern and Northern.  Dianna Bastin said the customers will be responsible for understanding their banking system and when the charges will be debited.  Becky Wines stated a bill will be sent to the customers showing what has been deducted from their account.  The first month bill will be a “pre note and testing period”.  The second month will deduct the payment.

 

Phillip Smith made a motion to accept the agreement between the Town of Ellettsville and Komputrol Software to upgrade the system to collect bills.  Dan Swafford seconded. 

 

Dan Swafford asked how much support will be given during the transitional period.  Becky said twelve months and added there will be a three hour training period.  Dan asked if updates are included in the first year or as long as we own the software.  Becky did not know for sure but stated Sandra Hash receives payroll updates each year.  Sandra Hash said the twelve month agreement includes software support and can be renewed every year.  No additional hardware is needed. 

 

Ron Wayt, W. Chester Drive asked what the cost is.  Becky Wines answered $1,250.  Ron asked Becky before the meeting “why do we not offer on-line payments”.  Before this is approved, can we look into “on-line bill pay” being done along with the ACH as an option?  Becky explained to Ron the money needs to go into different accounts (water, waste water and stormwater).  Ron does not want automatic withdraws; he would like to go on-line to pay himself.  He suggested looking at the dates; people have a lot of payments due on the first of the month and this may be difficult for many.  Making the payment deducted around the 18th when the bills are due may work better.  Sandra Hash explained there needed to be sufficient time to verify the payment cleared to avoid late fees.  Ron Wayt suggested a date between the 1st and 18th.  Becky Wines stated Komputrol does not have scheduling options.  Ron Wayt does not know of any public service corporation that takes payment out 18 days before they are due.  Dan Swafford said the other option is to stay with the “old way’ of handling payments.  This is the first step in getting the town into “modern times”.  Ron’s point was if it is going to be another year and the town has to pay another twelve to fifteen hundred dollars then taxpayers’ money is being wasted instead of doing the whole upgrade at once.  Dan agrees with Ron 100%.

 

Phillip Smith stated the “on-line bill pay” has been discussed.  There is a monthly fee attached to it.   Sandra Hash stated banks provide on-line bill pay.  Ron Wayt said a check is sent and it is the not the same as an ACH direct debit from checking account.  Dan asked if there was a time restraint.  Becky said the Utilities Department is not under any obligation to do this right away.  The price quoted from Komputrol is good for two months.  Sandra added it costs more if you do not use the format the software company offers.  Ron Wayt suggested looking for a more “technological forward company” to handle the business. 

 

Scott Oldham asked what the provisions were to correct mistakes or errors; will the Town be responsible if we made the mistake.  Becky explained the first “round” of withdraws will “remove” all funds the customer owes.  Using an example she does not see how more money will be taken on a regular basis.  Sandra explained: a data file will be created to be transmitted to the bank.  The file will have totals on it that be doubled checked.  The procedure is a similar to payroll direct deposit.  I can also choose the date for the deposit.  Dan recommended tabling this until the next meeting and he would like to meet with Komputrol to clarify this.

 

Dianna Bastin asked Phillip Smith if he would like to withdraw his motion.  Phillip Smith said yes.  Dianna Bastin asked Dan Swafford if he would like to withdraw his second.  Dan Swafford stated “I withdraw”. 

 

Dan Swafford made a motion to table this until the next meeting.  David Drake seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Dianna Bastin asked Becky Wines to see if the bills will be able to be paid two days before they are due as opposed to the first of the month.  David Drake asked to check into the actual cost of the town doing on-line payments.  Sandra stated the on-line payments are separate from this software.  We have talked to another company who would like to handle the credit cards along with the on line payments.  There would be no cost to the Town but the customers who use the service would pay a convenience fee.  Indiana Code allows the Town to assess a fee to the user of the card rather than absorb the cost.  When we first started taking credit cards the Town Council, at that time, voted to absorb the credit card fees.  If we choose to go with another company, separately, it would charge a three percentage fee to the customer.  Sandra stated anytime a charge card is used a fee is assessed. 

 

Supervisor’s Comments

 

Jeff Farmer, Ellettsville Utilities announced the Utilities Department will be conducting “Smoke Testing” in the upper part of Kelli Heights on the sewer lines.  The smoke is not hazardous to human or pet health.  If smoke gets into any of the homes, they can call 876-2297 and the Utilities Department will take care of it.  The Street, Fire and Police Departments have all been notified.  The testing will start October 28, 2009 and end within two weeks.  Jeff explained ways the smoke could get into the homes.  Sandra asked how people who are at work will know if they have a problem, will the smoke smell still be in the homes when they get home.  Jeff stated the smoke has a slight odor and if that is the case, the Utilities Department will take care of it.

 

Sandra Hash announced her part-time employee, Marion Swindle, will be resigning October 29 to take a full-time position.  Sandra would like to start the process of filling the position.  The job is part-time, 16 hours a week, paying less than $10,000 a year and it is in the budget.  This position was created in January 1999.  Phillip Smith asked “how bad do we need this position and what does this position do”.  Sandra Hash listed all the duties of the part-time employee in the Clerk’s office.  Phillip Smith asked how big of a hardship would it be if the position was filled in January.  Sandra answered it would be difficult and it would be a hardship. 

 

David Drake said it is tempting to say not to fill the position to save some money but the appropriate time to have said that would have been when the budgets were being done and to cut that position out at that time.  Now is not the time to cut the position when it is a position that has a lot value for the money.  As an elected official, Sandra does not have to approach the Town Council to fill that position.  Sandra can hire her own employees as long as it is in the budget.  The Town Council could cut the money out of the budget.  David Drake reiterated now is not the time to cut this position out if Sandra really needs it.  Phillip Smith clarified he does not want to cut the position.  Scott Oldham questioned the days left in the year with all the holidays coming up.  Sandra has not looked at the calendar but stated the part-time position is for Tuesday and Thursday and if a holiday falls on those days they would not work. 

 

Dianna Bastin stated when the budgets were being done; they all fought very hard to keep the employee force, this position was budgeted in, the money is there and the position can be filled.  There are other departments that are currently holding positions until the first of the year even though they have the money in their budgets.  The town does not know where they are going, as far as financially.  The Council has talked nonstop about saving money any way they can.  Dianna would like to see the position held until the first of the year to see if the Clerk’s office can manage.  The Census is coming up and Dianna stated Lieutenant Clouse, with the Fire Department, is the employee who will be taking care of it.  The Planning Department will be transcribing their own minutes.  Sandra Hash asked Dianna earlier in the year to consider a “freeze on hiring”.  Dianna said it was the wrong message to send to the employees but perhaps look at each position that came open.  There are not a lot of areas to save money.  Dianna does not want to sit down at budgets next year and have somebody who has worked for half a year and then decide personnel needs to be cut; she does not want to do that.  Dianna would like to see if the Clerk’s office can work without this employee for the two months.  Dianna understands the Clerk has leeway, she has read the law and it does state “with Council’s approval”.  Dianna does not want to cut the Clerk’s budget just “to win this”.  The Indiana Code states the Clerk does not have to work full-time but in Ellettsville the Clerk has always been present and treated like any other employee when it comes to giving raises and benefits.  If the Clerk decides to cut her hours then Dianna feels the Deputy Clerk would need some help.  Dianna is not in favor of filling this position. 

 

Scott Oldham asked Sandra how long it would take to fill the position.  Sandra does not think it will take long to fill; she has already had some inquiries.  Two weeks max.  This position will start at $10 and receive one hour PTO (paid time off) for every twenty four hours worked.  Dianna realizes her opinion is not popular and once we get to a certain level we do not want to give up personnel; we do not want to lose anything.  The day is coming where we will have to make those hard decisions.

 

Dan Swafford made a motion to fill the position.  David Drake seconded.  Roll call vote:  Dianna Bastin – no; David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – no; Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 3-2.

 

Privilege of the Floor

 

Parking Lot Barriers

 

Tom Dixon attended the last meeting and asked if the Council came up with solution to protect the building he is making the Mason statues in.  Dianna asked Phillip, the Street Liaison, if anything had been considered.  Phillip Smith said no, he had not talked to Jim Ragle about it.  Dianna stated the building is in a town parking lot and she did not look at the agreement when the building was first put in.  Sandra said it was a requested at a Council meeting.  There was no written agreement.  David Drake would like Jim Ragle to do what he can to help.  Tom Dixon removes the snow from the roof of the building and around it.  Dianna’s concern is the Town has a truck that plows the alley.  If the Masons have a concrete barrier put in the front of the building the truck might not be able to plow.  Dianna asked how much longer it will take to finish.  Mr. Dixon said he is hoping to have it finished by the summer. 

 

Scott Oldham said if the department heads do not care then we should just put the parking blocks up.  Tony Bowlen asked which side of the building needed the barricade.  It was clarified the side facing the library.  Dianna asked Jim Ragle to put a barrier up in front of the building at least six feet away from the door.  Dianna asked Tony Bowlen to patrol the area and make sure it is safe where emergency vehicles can get through. 

 

Comments on part-time position

 

Ron Wayt said there was no public comment requested or offered for the part-time position.  Ron does not understand why all the other departments can do without employees that need employees.  During his tenure as Fall Festival President, the part-time employee was used to do Fall Festival business at the direction of the Clerk-Treasurer.  That was billed to the taxpayers of Ellettsville.  There have been situations when calls were made to the Clerk’s office, when the full-time employees were not there, and the part-time person had to take a message and call back.  Ron Wayt feels an answering service would work better.  There is no reason why two months, with the holidays coming up, that this position should be filled and save the town money.  Any little bit helps.  Ron asked if the Clerk gets to fill her position because she is an elected official.  The Town Council controls the budget and they need to start controlling these things to save money.  The money was given to the Clerk for the position.  There is no money for the Police Department to get breathalyzer tests; they have to get a grant from Wal-mart.  The money needs to be spent elsewhere. 

 

Council Comments

 

Community Forum

 

Dianna Bastin invited everyone to a forum the Chamber of Commerce is holding.  The forum will be on the strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments and threats facing the community of Ellettsville.  The valuable information gathered during this forum will be evaluated by the State Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) to be used to further shape the growth of Ellettsville.  The forum is a combined effort of the Ellettsville Chamber of Commerce, Town of Ellettsville and OCRA.  The forum is November 3rd at the Edgewood Primary Commons at 6:30 p.m.  Scott Oldham said the Chamber of Commerce does a tremendous service. 

 

2010 Census

 

Dianna Bastin has job applications for Census employment. 

 

Leaf Season

 

Dianna Bastin reminded residents the leaves go on the edge of the yard (not in the storm gutters and not on the street) for the Street Department to pick-up.

 

Available Town Positions

 

Sandra Hash asked what positions are open in the Town that are not being filled.  Dianna answered a position in Utilities and one in Planning.  Even though the Utilities Department is under different laws and different money, they wanted to represent the Town during these times.  Sandra is taken aback by the public comments.

 

Adjournment

 

Dianna Bastin entertained a motion to adjourn.  David Drake so moved. Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.  Dianna Bastin adjourned the meeting at 8:27 p.m.