October 15, 2013

 

 

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a regular meeting on Monday, October 15, 2013, 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 Phillip Smith.

 

Roll Call:  Members present were Scott Oldham, President; Dan Swafford, Vice President; Dianna Bastin, David Drake and Phillip Smith.   Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, and Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo and Associates, Town Engineer, were also present. 

 

Supervisors present were:  Mike Cornman, Jim Ragle, Tony Bowlen, Connie Griffin and Mike Farmer.

 

Adoption of the 2014 Budget – Ordinance 2013-16

 

Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, advised the 2014 Budget has been advertised and is proposed as follows:

 

·         General Fund: $2,332,757

·         Lease Rental Payments:  $294,000

·         Local Road and Street:  $53,000

·         Motor Vehicle Highway:  $583,836

·         Cumulative Fire Special:  $43,000

·         Park & Recreation:  $23,843

·         Cumulative Capital Imp (Cig Tax):  $25,300

·         Cumulative Capital Development:  $122,000

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to adopt the 2014 Budget.  David Drake made a motion to adopt the 2014 Budget.  David Drake seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Approval of Minutes

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion for approval of the minutes for the regular meeting on September 23, 2013.  Dianna Bastin so moved.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Accounts Payable Vouchers

 

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

 

Ordinances on First Reading

 

Ordinance 2013-15 to Amend Ordinance 2012-26 Concerning the Salary for the Deputy Fire Chief

 

Fire Chief Mike Cornman explained the purpose of changing the salary ordinance is to update the salary of Kevin Patton who has been appointed to Deputy Chief.  Due to his certifications the salary ordinance has to be amended before Deputy Chief Patton can receive the proper pay.

 

Dianna Bastin confirmed Mr. Patton wasn’t receiving a raise but had been promoted.  Chief Cornman replied he will get a raise due to being promoted.

 

Ordinances on Second Reading

 

Ordinance 2013-12 Concerning Pawn Brokers

Ordinance 2013-13 Concerning Second Hand Shops

Ordinance 2013-14 Concerning Scrap Metal Dealers

 

Scott Oldham spoke with the Town Attorney and she has requested these ordinances be tabled.  The Town Marshal has some concerns with one of the ordinances and would like the opportunity to re-work and resubmit a modification.

 

Dan Swafford asked if anyone is present who would like to speak on this subject before it is tabled.

 

Jim Mullikin, Owner of Old Towne Coins, Inc., addressed the Town Council regarding his concerns of proposed Ordinance 2013-13 to establish regulations for second hand dealers.  The intent of the ordinance has merit, however, there was not enough investigation on the extent of how it will effect businesses.  It would be disastrous for his business.  They deal in antiques, collectibles, historic and other items which mostly result from dealing with people who want to dissolve an estate.  They buy and sell coins, currency, jewelry, gold, silver and precious metals, both numismatic and bullion versions.  They determine how to pay for these items on a precious metal market called “Spot Price”.  The prices change constantly every day.  They make their profit by using calculations from brokers when buying and selling to determine their prices for the same.  If it is a large amount they usually buy and sell with a lock to protect them and their customers from a fluctuating market place.  Working with a small margin and placing a seven day hold on purchases would be disastrous.  How would he be able to buy from a customer not knowing what the price is going to be in seven days?  Some purchases are in the six figure range.  Collections can consist of one item or 500,000 or more from each customer.  He would not know how to write a description for one item or to handle the paperwork for the police department.  He has taken precautions for dealing with stolen property by having customers sign a sheet with a statement saying it is their merchandise and it includes their name, address, driver’s license number and a description of the items sold.  Video cameras have been installed.  In 11 years there have been only four instances and they all happened to be with relatives of the person who lost the items.  How do they police transient dealers who come to town for a few days and leave, private individuals holding gold and silver parties and people running ads in the newspaper to buy coins, jewelry, gold and silver?  They’re a business in good standing.  People come from all around because they are a fair, law abiding business.  They pay taxes, donate to community organizations when they can and assist police departments in cases of theft.   This ordinance will not serve any purpose other than to destroy their business and take a chunk out of the police budget that could be used for other things.  He spoke with a coin dealer in Terre Haute where a similar ordinance was passed and gold bullion dealers were made exempt.  The State of Indiana has passed a similar law that exempts precious metals and numismatic dealers. 

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to table the ordinances.  David Drake so moved.  Dianna Bastin seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

New Business

 

Noise Complaint Concerning Fireworks at Football Games – Ellen Ray and Marilyn Robertson

 

Marilyn Robertson thanked the Town Council for allowing them to submit the petition as follows:

 

WE the undersigned petition the City of Ellettsville, IN Town Council to order the Edgewood High School authorities, including the Athletic Director, the Superintendent, and anyone involved in the act of shooting fireworks at home high school football games to, if not cease the practice, at least tone it down.  The undersigned all live within close proximity, that is, less than ¼ mile from the football field.  We have had items fall off the walls, windows rattle and houses shake from the fireworks at these games.  It does us no good to know there is going to be a home game; we don’t know form one minute to the next when the next loud boom will go off, sometimes as many as seven to ten times in one night.  Many of us in the neighborhood are elderly and it is frightful to have this happen, especially as we are getting ready for bed.  Those of us with animals have had to see our pets terrified for three hours on a Friday evening.  Many of us have had to choose to leave our homes for the duration of these home games.  All of this disturbs us, and endangers our comfort, repose, health, peace and safety.  The pain threshold for sound for humans is 120-130 decibels.  ANY sound above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.  Fireworks are on the top ten list of loudest sounds.  At the bursting point the decibel levels reach a staggering 135-150 dB.  Even tests on fireworks are performed under strict soundproofing to avoid any ear injury.  For someone 800 feet away from the

bursting point (our neighborhood) the dB is 88-126, still over the 85 dB where hearing loss starts.  Some of us have contacted the Edgewood High School regarding this issue.  We have been told by the Athletic Director that the students and parents want the fireworks to continue.  We believe the Edgewood High School to be in violation of the city of Ellettsville’s noise control policy.  Although the policy lists exemptions (93.48) such as school functions, the school function here is the game and the crowd noise, NOT fireworks.  Also, we understand that the school should have asked for prior approval from the Town Council before instituting this practice.  All we are really asking is that the Edgewood High School practice being a good neighbor.”

 

Scott Oldham advised someone will look into it.  The Town Attorney is researching what is considered exempt.

 

H.J. Umbaugh & Associates Presentation

 

Christina Herran, H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, explained they have gone through a formal rate review and made changes to their recommendations.  They’re presenting their report and options for moving forward.  This project is to have an additional connection to the City of Bloomington.  The Pro Forma Financial Information was summarized as follows:

 

Estimated Project Funding is $1,710,000.

 

The test year for this rate study ended May 31, 2013.  When they look at operation and maintenance they do a complete analysis and determine where money is being spent.  Expenses for operation and maintenance in the 12 months ending on May 31, 2013, totaled $1,618,757.  They have normalized it down to $1,430,824.  In 2012, more water was purchased and sold because it was a dry year. 

 

The Proposed Capital Improvement Plan includes items that are both water and sewer related so 50% is allocated to the water utility.  The total of the Proposed Capital Improvement Plan is $170,687.

 

The Pro Forma Annual Revenue Requirements show three alternatives.  The current is shown for comparative purposes.  The new surcharge alternative prices outside and inside Town rates.  This results in revenue are a loss of $182,809.  They have allocated expenses of $110,190 which would result in a surcharge of 73¢ for every 1,000 gallons used by outside of Town customers.  This will be greatly scrutinized by the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission (“IURC”) and will most likely delay approval.  The third alternative is to eliminate the surcharge.  This proposes the exact same rates for everyone which makes an easier case with the IURC.  On an estimated average residential bill of 4,000 gallons the surcharge is currently $17.76.  To go forward with these costs the inside of Town rate would go up $3.05 and the outside of Town rate would go up $1.66.  If the surcharge was eliminated the rates would increase to $4.43 for inside of Town and 12¢ for outside of Town.  

 

In the Comparison of Account Balances with Minimum Balances it is recommended to have two months of operation and maintenance expenses in reserve.  In the Capital Improvement account there should be enough held in reserve to equal the annual depreciation expense. 

 

Dan Swafford asked why there is a different rate between the outside and inside of Town.

 

Douglas Baldessari, H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, explained a lot of times when you serve the outside of Town you need a capital project to serve them.  That surcharge is based on the debt service or the money needed to serve those areas.  Mr. Swafford asked if they are suggesting to delete that and go across the board with one rate.  Mr. Baldessari replied they are not suggesting either because it is the decision of the Town.  The feel at the IURC and state level is that they want to do away with the surcharges or it will be a battle.  Mr. Swafford asked if the rates include the new line.  Ms. Herran replied that’s correct.  Mr. Swafford asked if a study was done without the new line.  Ms. Herran replied that hasn’t been calculated.  They will prepare the same study without the new line.

 

Eastern Richland Sewer Corporation’s Petition Filed with the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission to Transfer and Expand a Portion of its Certificate of Territorial Authority

 

Mike Farmer, Ellettsville Utilities, explained they have received information that Eastern Richland Sewer Corporation (“ERSC”) is interested in changing their Certificate of Territorial Authority to take in all the territory southwest and north of the Ellettsville.  This includes the sewer plant, areas to the west and southwest.  It completely surrounds Ellettsville with ERSC.  It could be detrimental to the Town’s growth and customer base.

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to approve the attorney filing a motion to intervene in this action and make sure the Town’s interests are represented.  David Drake made a motion to approve the attorney filing a motion to intervene in this action and make sure the Town’s interests are represented.  Dianna Bastin seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; David Drake – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; Dan Swafford – no; and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 4-1.

 

Proposal from First Appraisal Group Concerning the Heritage Trail

 

Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo and Associates, Town Engineer, advised the Town Attorney had asked for a proposal from First Appraisal Group to do the necessary documentation for acquiring easements along the Heritage Trail.  The cost is approximately $8,758 which includes appraisals and provides all documentation as required by the Indiana Department of Transportation (“INDOT”).  They are certified INDOT appraisers located in Bloomington.

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to approve the proposal from First Appraisal Group to appraise the properties for the Heritage Trail.  David Drake made a motion to approve the proposal from First Appraisal Group to appraise the properties for the Heritage Trail.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Supervisors Comments

 

Connie Griffin, Director of Planning, explained she provided packets for proposed changes to Chapters 152 (Land Usage), 94 (Abandoned, Salvage and Scraped Vehicles) and 96 (Animals) of the Town Code for review prior to the October 28, 2013, meeting.  The proposed changes can be found at www.ellettsvilleplanning.org and the Ellettsville Library.    Mr. Drake noted there are proposed changes to parking in yards.  Ms. Hash added it will be a first reading at the October 28, 2013, meeting.

 

Mike Farmer, Ellettsville Utilities, explained they launched their new billing system on October 11, 2013.  Most customers have received their bills and there have been a few glitches.  If customers need information they are encouraged to call the Utilities Office.  The new bill is one bill and the total is for both water and sewer.  The line item for sales tax was omitted in the software but was reflected in the total.  It also stated gallons in hundreds so the zeros should not have been on the bill.  This caused some concern by customers thinking they’ve used a lot of water.  These items will be fixed next month.  By November, or possibly December, customers will be able to pay online or with credit cards over the telephone using Point and Pay.  Now customers can make one payment instead of writing separate checks to the Town and Eastern Richland.  Mr. Drake mentioned his water bill stated he either owed or had a credit of 1¢.  Ms. Hash explained the new software uses an extra decimal place.  The old software used two places so it created a little difference in the totals.

 

Utilities is finishing its flow testing of hydrants in the Ellettsville system.  They have about 575 hydrants.  They have found a lot of maintenance issues which are being corrected as they go.  To date, since the fall of last year, they have tested approximately 530 hydrants.  The importance of this is to establish what types of fire flows they have in the hydrants and their firefighting capabilities as it relates to the water system.  This will help the Insurance Services Organization (“ISO”) to keep their rating where it belongs.  He talked to Fire Chief Mike Cornman about this and their ISO rating is comprised of 40% water supply, 50% Fire Department organization and 10% dispatch.  This goes back to the secondary water line the Town needs to keep the water flows and pressures where they should be so the Town can fight fires.  Their guys have been working hard and they haven’t had hardly any incidences

while they’ve been flowing the hydrants.  It’s the first time they’ve done all the hydrants in one year.  He thanked Bloomington Township because they did the flow testing for about 50 hydrants on the northeast corner of the system.

 

Fire Chief Mike Cornman mentioned it has been fortunate that Utilities has worked on their water system and flowed all of the hydrants.  They’ve learned more about the system.  They’re happy this has been completed.

 

The Fire Department is still making changes.  Bill Headley, Division Chief, retired on July 30, 2013 and Fire Chief Jim Davis retired on August 29, 2013.  This left an opening and they changed the title of Division Chief to Assistant Fire Chief.  Jim Davis did not resign from being a volunteer fire fighter which he has been since 1971.  The Assistant Chief’s job was posted on October 3, 2013 and the application process closed on October 10, 2013.  He is recommending that former Fire Chief Jim Davis be brought on as Assistant Chief on a part-time level as outlined in the salary ordinance and job description.

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to transfer Jim Davis from volunteer status to Assistant Chief on a part-time basis.  Diana Bastin made a motion to transfer Jim Davis from volunteer status to Assistant Chief on a part-time basis.  David Drake seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – yes and Phillip Smith - yes.  Motion carried 5-0.

 

Privilege of the Floor

 

Warren “Gus” Matthias opposes the Chapter 96.01 changes on chickens being proposed in Town.  He wants to know if there are any procedures he needs to be aware of when he presents his opposition.  Mr. Oldham advised there will be public comment time during the proposed ordinance changes.  He will have three minutes.

 

Roger Daniels confirmed he should make comments about the chicken ordinance at the next meeting.  Mr. Oldham replied that would be more appropriate. 

 

Larry Barker, Executive Director of Monroe County Solid Waste Management District, thanked the residents of Richland Township and those who use Matthews Transfer Station for the great success they have had.  They’ve increased the tonnage of the recycling, and electronics and bulky items day is a success.  Thank you for the support.

 

Adjournment

 

Scott Oldham entertained a motion to adjourn.  Dianna Bastin made a motion to adjourn.  David Drake seconded.  Motion carried.  Scott Oldham adjourned the meeting at 7:24 p.m.