September 23, 2013
The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a regular meeting on Monday, September 23, 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 David Drake.
Roll Call: Members present were Scott Oldham, President; Dan Swafford, Vice President; Dianna Bastin and David Drake. Phillip Smith was absent. Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, Darla Brown, Town Attorney, and Rick Coppock, Bynum Fanyo and Associates, Town Engineer, were also present.
Supervisors present were: Mike Cornman, Jim Ragle, Craig Davis, Connie Griffin and Jeff Farmer.
Pre-Adoption Public Hearing on the 2014 Budget
Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, advised the 2014 Budget has been published twice in the newspaper.
Approval of Minutes
Scott Oldham entertained a motion for approval of the minutes for the regular meeting on September 9, 2013. Dianna Bastin so moved. Dan Swafford seconded. Motion carried.
Accounts Payable Vouchers
Scott Oldham entertained a motion for action to pay Accounts Payable Vouchers. David Drake so moved. Dianna Bastin seconded. Motion carried.
Resolution 16-2013 BS & A Forms Approval
Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer, explained the State Board of Accounts prescribes certain forms for municipalities to use. Rather than use the prescribed form from the state, she is requesting permission to use the digital BS & A forms.
Scott Oldham entertained a motion to adopt Resolution 16-2013. David Drake made a motion to adopt Resolution 16-2013. Dianna Bastin seconded. Roll Call Vote: Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin - yes and David Drake – yes. Motion carried 4-0.
Resolution 17-2013 Allowing Individuals to Perform Community Service for Ellettsville Town Government
Dan Swafford’s position on the issue is that it should be left up to the supervisors. A lot of departments in the past have used the service before and might again in the future. He doesn’t agree with passing an ordinance to prevent it.
David Drake thinks some of the probation and community correction departments have a hard time finding places for individuals to work. The Town needs to be a good neighbor to county agencies who need help in placing some of the individuals, unless there is a reason the Town wouldn’t want someone doing a specific task. A blanket prohibition is too much.
Dianna Bastin is opposed to it. It was her project. The resolution states to allow community service. She couldn’t find another government entity other than Monroe County who is in charge of community service. She also talked to previous offenders about this. It is an accident waiting to happen. The rules need to be strict. The resolution doesn’t state first time or second time offender. The Town could end up with anyone wanting to make restitution. She’s not comfortable with it. They will need constant supervision, there needs to be tight rules which are not in the resolution and she reiterated she is against it.
Dan Swafford asked if, for example, Monroe County cleans up the parade route don’t they have certain rules signed and aren’t they supervised. Darla Brown replied she doesn’t know because she has never worked with it. Ms. Bastin noted it would be a road crew and they have someone with them. This resolution is for the individual who wants to do their community service in Ellettsville. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the supervisors are not interested and they don’t want their friends asking. She wants the community to know the departments have integrity second to none. She’s very proud of the employees. Adding an offender takes something away from the employees. They don’t get constant supervision and the Town doesn’t know these people. She worked in the jail for 13 years and no police officer taught her how to keep herself safe, it was an offender. It makes her nervous. She doesn’t want them coming past her house, on her property picking up limbs, digging a new ditch for Utilities or being on a fire truck. It is a risk the Town doesn’t need to take.
Dan Swafford asked if the Town can pick and choose the type of offense or find out anything about the person before they’re sent to the Town. Ms. Brown replied yes, the Town is under no obligation to accept individuals. The Town could limit what types of offenders come to the Town. Mr. Swafford said everyone makes mistakes and tries to get their life back on track. He doesn’t believe because someone makes one mistake they’re marked for the rest of their lives. He agrees with Ms. Bastin in that the severity of the offense should be looked at.
Dianna Bastin has friends who are felons, have overcome it and are different people. She’s not labeling people for life. Illegal consumption or public intoxication are the only two crimes she would entertain for people coming to Ellettsville for community service. No crime is a victimless crime.
David Drake’s biggest concern is if a supervisors feels they can supervise someone properly and wants to allow someone to do it then he thinks it’s up to them. There doesn’t need to be a blanket prohibition against them.
Scott Oldham entertained a motion to adopt Resolution 17-2013. Dan Swafford made a motion to adopt Resolution 17-2013. Motion died for lack of a second.
David Drake agrees with the concept but doesn’t think there should be a resolution.
Resolution 18-2013 Disallowing Individuals from Performing Community Service in Ellettsville
Scott Oldham entertained a motion to adopt Resolution 18-2013. Dianna Bastin made a motion to adopt Resolution 18-2013 Disallowing Individuals from Community Service. Scott Oldham seconded. Roll Call Vote: Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – no; Dianna Bastin – yes; David Drake – no and Sandra Hash - No. Motion failed 2-3.
Ordinances on First Reading
Ordinance 2013-12 Concerning Pawn Brokers
Darla Brown, Town Attorney, explained this is a proposed ordinance which would require pawn brokers in the Town to obtain a license. It would require them to keep certain information on hand with regard to objects they take for resale. It would require pawn shops to keep certain information for the police department which is set out by statute. It allows for the license to be revoked for non-compliance. There are penalties for operating as a pawn broker without a license and failure to provide completed reports to the police department in a timely manner.
Scott Oldham would like to add under §111.06, transfer to the police department and uploaded to the website. No cost to them for uploading to the website. Ms. Brown asked if he was referring to Leads on Line. Mr. Oldham replied that was correct.
Dan Swafford asked if the fine on the third offense is $2,500. Ms. Brown replied that was correct.
Darla Brown confirmed §111.06 is to state “The licensee shall provide to Leads on Line all information required by statute and once a week provide a copy to the Police Department as to what was provided to Leads on Line.” Mr. Oldham thinks it should be written as a website specified by the Ellettsville Police Department as well as a written copy which can be transferred electronically to the police department.
Dan Swafford asked if money received for the fines will go into the General Fund. Ms. Brown assumed that’s where they would want them. Ms. Hash advised traffic tickets are split between the General Fund and the Law Enforcement Continuing Education Fund. Fees received for accident reports goes to the Law Enforcement Education Fund. Mr. Oldham clarified that money received from traffic ticket fines goes to the county then back to the Law Enforcement Fund. The Town doesn’t receive money from that. Fines received from the Town ordinance violations are what gets split. Ms. Hash advised the fees received for having a vehicle towed is split with the General Fund. The police benefit from both because they’re paid from the General Fund. The training fund belongs 100% to the Police Department. Mr. Swafford asked if the money for ordinance violations in Planning goes into the General Fund. Ms. Hash answered yes. Mr. Swafford thinks the fines from this ordinance should go into the General Fund. Mr. Oldham and Ms. Bastin concurred. Ms. Brown will make the appropriate changes to the proposed ordinance. Mr. Swafford asked if the ordinances are adopted if the pawn shop already in business will be grandfathered in. Ms. Brown replied what the Town is asking isn’t radically more specific then what they’re required to do according to state statute.
Dianna Bastin asked if this is due to a law change. Mr. Oldham replied he sponsored these ordinances because of the mass amounts of property that changes hands and is stolen with no way to track it. What the pawn shop is required to do doesn’t transfer any information to the police department. The Town has several second hand shops and scrap metal dealers. At this point all of them have to be grandfathered in. If this is made an annual or bi-annual license the next time it would come up for them is when it would be required. Mr. Swafford thinks it should be an annual renewal. Ms. Brown advised there are changes to the statute which lists the information to be provided by the pawnbroker.
Ordinance 2013-13 Concerning Second Hand Shops
Scott Oldham stated the same changes as in the Pawn Broker ordinance will apply.
Dianna Bastin asked what the yearly fee is. Ms. Brown suggests an annual fee of $50.
Ordinance 2013-14 Concerning Scrap Metal Dealers
Scott Oldham stated the same changes as in the Pawn Broker ordinance will apply.
Dianna Bastin shared an email received from a couple on Dewey Street. They were absolutely not thrilled Utilities went through their driveway but they couldn’t have been happier with the work that was done. They made it as painless as possible and they enjoyed having the Utilities workers around. They did a beautiful job on the lawns. She’s proud of the Utilities Department and thanked them.
David Drake thanked all Town employees and volunteers who made the Fall Festival and the parade successful.
Sergeant Craig Davis, Ellettsville Police Department, is requesting James Dwyer be appointed as a Reserve Officer for the Ellettsville Police Department. Mr. Dwyer has been in law enforcement for four years in Monroe County. He graduated from Ivy Tech with an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and is currently working on a Bachelor’s Degree. He is married with three children and works in Eastern Greene County Schools. He is very dedicated to law enforcement and wants to be a member of their department. This would bring their reserve count down to 13. They have had two officers resign.
Scott Oldham entertained a motion that James Dwyer be appointed as Reserve Officer with the Ellettsville Police Department. David Drake made a motion that James Dwyer be appointed as Reserve Officer with the Ellettsville Police Department. Dan Swafford seconded. Roll Call Vote: Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes and David Drake – yes. Motion carried 4-0.
Sandra Hash administered the oath to be a Reserve Police Officer to James Dwyer.
Connie Griffin, Director of Planning, explained she has revisions to Chapters 94, 96 and 152 of the Ellettsville Town Code. Chapter 94 is about abandoned, salvaged and scrapped vehicles. The Plan Commission has been working on Chapter 152 in land usage for residential districts. Although she is requesting the Planning Department be removed from Chapter 94 the codes will not be relinquished but moved into the residential land usage code. They will be using Indiana Code and keeping parking inoperable vehicles as a fineable offense in the residential district using the property owner’s information. They have been having some success by sending letters on inoperable vehicles to have them moved out of residential districts. By putting a fining process on to this, it makes the residential homeowner financially responsible for having the vehicle towed, to sell it or to have the vehicle scrapped. Chapter 96.01, Fowl Running at Large, is a code that has been in place since 1913. It is inconsistent with the land usage code in Chapter 152. Agricultural land use allows for livestock animals and a chicken is classified as such by the current definition. This code is currently being looked at. There is an Interlocal Agreement with Monroe County Animal Management. She provided an email from Kevin Dogan of the Monroe County Legal Department for their review. She will be requesting more direction for this code. Chapter 152 will have changes but is tabled to next month at the Plan Commission. The codes they are implementing are in other sections and she wants to move them into Chapter 152. The fining process is working well. She reiterated she is requesting guidance on the chicken ordinance. Do they want an ordinance or do they continue to hold it’s a livestock animal and not allowed in a residential but only in agricultural which is what she favors? There is no place to put them and it could possibly change the Interlocal Agreement because she would want more restrictive codes such as no slaughtering and no roosters. It’s a controversial code. It’s also an urban movement about sustainability, saving costs and growing your own food. There are many people in favor of urban chickens. Right now the code is contradictive.
Dianna Bastin asked if she has had instances where she thought she needed to take the chickens into custody. Ms. Griffin replied no, she hasn’t seen any sickly but she hasn’t gone onto anyone’s property. Technically, it’s Monroe County Animal Management’s responsibility. She is not the enforcing agency for chickens. The Monroe County Interlocal Agreement refers to the City of Bloomington zoning. Ellettsville cannot be more restrictive than the agreement.
David Drake asked why it isn’t a zoning violation as opposed to an animal control violation the county would enforce. Ms. Griffin answered she wants it to continue to be a zoning violation that she handles. If it is changed and allows the animals, the Town would have to adopt everything they allow. This means you could have multiple animals including goats or whatever the county allows.
Scott Oldham asked if the county allows goats in a residential area. Ms. Griffin replied that is a zoning issue with the City. As far as the county ordinance is concerned there are multiple animals allowed. Mr. Oldham asked for clarification as to what the county allows. Ms. Griffin answered they allow multiple animals. Mr. Oldham asked in a residential area. Ms. Griffin answered the City has their zoning ordinance. The county allows for chickens based on acreage but the City allows for five chickens and no roosters but allows slaughtering. Mr. Oldham asked if she is requesting the council not allow slaughtering on the property, doesn’t want goats, wants chickens or doesn’t want anything. Ms. Griffin replied she doesn’t want
livestock animals by current definition to be allowed in residential districts. The current livestock definition is “Domesticated farm animals including, but not limited to, buffalo, ox, horses, donkeys, mules, cows, ostriches, minks, swine, sheep, turkeys, poultry and any animal which is bred in any part of any animal listed herein.” In agricultural use the definition is “Production keeping, pasturing, confined feeding or breeding of livestock, production of fish, fowl or animal or dairy products, food processing, slaughter house . . .” The county does allow for horses but miniature horses would be permitted. The Interlocal Agreement means the Town has adopted the Monroe County ordinance and those animals would be allowed in the community. Mr. Oldham asked Ms. Griffin to prepare a model policy as she would like to see it and bring it with copies of the City of Bloomington and Monroe County ordinance so they can debate them.
Fire Chief Mike Cornman internally posted the position of Deputy Chief which he previously held. There was only one candidate who applied and it was Kevin Patton. They met with their liaison, David Drake, for an interview. He strongly recommends that Kevin Patton be appointed to the position of Deputy Fire Chief. Mr. Patton has been with the Fire Department for a little over 25 years serving five years as a volunteer, several years as a part-time person and later on full time in 1996. When Chief Cornman switched to different shifts, he became Chief Davis’ right-hand man. He knows a lot about the inter-workings of assisting the chief. It is a direct appointment by the Town Council. Based on his experience and years of service he should have the top end of the pay scale for the Deputy Chief position. Mr. Patton has been their Communications Technician for several years and they do have a pay for that position. He is requesting Mr. Patton continue to receive the pay for this position as well.
David Drake asked if there is an actual dollar amount he is requesting for the pay. Chief Cornman replied he didn’t have that information but is requesting whatever is at the top of the pay range for his education pay. He wants it maxed out and his pay for the Communications Technician added to it. Ms. Hash said the prior Deputy Chief’s position was the base pay plus Chief Cornman’s certifications. For Mr. Patton the top pay would be the base pay for Deputy Chief plus his certifications. Chief Cornman said that is correct.
Scott Oldham entertained a motion that Kevin Patton be appointed as Deputy Chief of the Ellettsville Fire Department with the conditions also as previously stated with regard to the salary. David Drake made a motion that Kevin Patton be appointed as Deputy Chief of the Ellettsville Fire Department with the conditions also as previously stated with regard to the salary. Dianna Bastin seconded. Roll Call Vote: Scott Oldham – yes; Dan Swafford – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes and David Drake – yes. Motion carried 4-0.
Privilege of the Floor
Lynn Brosnan, Spencer, loves Ellettsville. It means a lot to her when she drives through Town and sees “In God We Trust” with a cross on the Town seal. She noticed a border on the Town seal which is broken and leaves room for it to grow. If that part of the seal is removed, the border might as well be sealed. The Town won’t grow any more, it will shrivel up and die. If God is removed from everything, we will lose our freedoms. When she found out the Town may lose its seal, it made her sick and it also upset her that the cross on the fire trucks got covered up. When we go to court, we swear and say “So help me God.” Will we lose this? Money has “In God We Trust.” A scripture says, “With the spirit of the Lord there is liberty.” Please don’t take away the Town seal or destroy a tradition from 1837.
Jack Neal, Ellettsville, is here on behalf of the community. This country was founded on “In God We Trust.” People came here from Europe for religious freedom. This community has always been free and based on fellowship and unity. There are 7 denominational churches and they all seem to work together. He served on Town Council and doesn’t recall that God was overtaking the Town and telling people what they had to do. If the atheist don’t believe in God that’s fine. They have the freedom or choice to do so. They shouldn’t impose it on somebody else and it shouldn’t be offensive to them. They’ve been welcomed into this community. You can’t see the cross or “In God We Trust” on the fire trucks unless they’re parked somewhere but most know it’s there. It’s a symbol of strength and unity. There is industry on it and there is God. In the Pledge of Allegiance there is God. In opening the Town Council meeting you pray to God and the legislature does the same thing. It is not unconstitutional to have God. We’re free to have any religion we want. We should not be governed by somebody trying to force us to believe the way they do. He read in the paper the Town is going to change the seal because there is no other choice. If they want to take the Town to court, go to court. He thinks they will lose. You can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse. It’s a moral law and not a religious law. He feels it’s his obligation to stand up for what he believes in.
Beverly Thacker works in Ellettsville, does donations and eats most of her meals here. The reason she does this is because the Town Council does open in prayer and has the cross. She believes in everything the cross stands for. She has a long line of people who served in the armed forces so we could have that freedom. She would like to see Ellettsville be a leader and be one of the first towns to stand against this. She will be working on a petition against this. We have fought for our freedoms and one by one they’re being taken away. What’s next the churches being closed? What has to happen before somebody takes a stand if it means going before the government? Let’s stand firm. No threat formed against this Town will prosper if we stand as one under that cross.
Roy Weaver has lived in Ellettsville for 42 years and is a member of the volunteer fire department. When he heard they were going to take the cross off of the trucks he got terribly upset. He is highly against the cross coming off of the trucks. If people want to move into this community and live the way we live that’s fine. If they don’t they can get out. We’ve got no use for them.
Larry Drake has lived here for 45 years. He knows the man who made the seal that was accepted by the Town. There are two things on the seal he is sure were the first things in Town. One of them was a cross and one of them was a school. The school, strength and unity can be taken off but the cross should stay. He attends church in Town and doesn’t push it on anybody and they shouldn’t push their feelings on him. If there is a petition he will be the first to sign it. Keep the cross on the seal.
Trish Stuff Isom remembers in 1987 when the seal went up on the side of the building where Seven-Eleven use to be. She was so proud. She is a nurse at IU Health Bloomington Hospice and the cross comes in to play every day of her life. She graduated from Ellettsville High School and is very proud of her Town having lived here most of her life. She is proud of the Town Council and the seal. She would hate to see anybody take the cross off or the fire department show up at her house without the cross. She is thankful to the Town Council for allowing her to speak. Let the seal stand as it is. Not only because they believe in the cross but because of how it was formed. She is offended by the offense that was taken. It was intended not to offend but to show our foundation and heritage.
Norman Wampler was born, raised, graduated and married here. His family back to his great-great grandfather are buried here. Where is the Town at in this procedure? What would have to transpire to make the cross come off? Freedom from Religion is not the only group like this. They’re not picking on Ellettsville but picking on God. The traditional Christians have let this happen because they have rolled over too long. They beat us with the separation of church and state. It is not in the constitution including the first amendment. It comes from a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson to friends of his in the Dansbury Baptist Ministerial Association who was afraid the government would interfere with the way they conducted services. You can’t walk through Washington, D.C. and look at monuments without seeing scripture and prayers. Behind the Supreme Court are the Ten Commandments and the House and Senate start each day with prayer.
Mary Keller explained last week the The Herald-Times had a picture of the six people who had signed the constitution saying they did not believe in God. How many of the signers of the Constitution did believe in God? Why are they letting the small group tell them they can’t say they believe in god? We’re letting atheists tell us there is no God. Christians know they were founded with God in their hearts. We shouldn’t let people tell us how we’re going to live or believe.
Roger Gardner thinks in a democratic society it should be the majority. The majority of the Town does believe in God, was founded on God and should stay. There are people who don’t want the Town to grow and it starts snowballing. Sometimes you have to take a stand and say no and this is what we were founded on, what we believe in and what we stand for. The cross should stay.
Mark Delanova, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, thinks it’s important to understand there are resources in the Christian community at their disposal. He has friends who are atheists. We set a dangerous precedent when we start to retreat this way. This symbol is tradition and part of who they are in Ellettsville. When people say it’s offensive, it’s not simply the faith it is their history. It’s what gives your sense of self. It’s important not to be bullied. He doesn’t expect everyone to believe what he does and he doesn’t expect everyone to like him but he does expect people to stand up for what they know to be true and right. Make sure it is abundantly clear when the decision is made that it is because you’re afraid of a lawsuit, don’t think you could win, don’t want to offend or for whatever the reason, just make sure it is clear. He normally doesn’t talk politics but this is one of those moments where it is a little peculiar. He doesn’t think when the Town starts to retreat that it will be one of those things that they’ll be able to stop. Make sure you don’t let these people dictate to the Town what it is that is more than simply their faith. It is more than faith, it is a story.
Scott Oldham explained this story has come out in little bits and pieces. The Town Council has known about this issue going on two years. The Town is not alone in this issue, of threats and letters because of the symbols. This Town through its board and legal services has reached out to other entities, researched this and continues to research it. It has never been their intent to unilaterally act in one way or another. The Town seal is what it is. May there come a day when they have to make an action? He doesn’t know. They have not made the decision to remove the cross from the seal. Right now there are enemies on both sides trying to sway the Town Council. As of right now, the seal is in effect and will stay in effect until such a time they need to take action as a community.
David Drake thinks the audience was preaching to the choir. They have no desire to respond to these complaints. If they do have to do something it will be because they are legally required to do so. The Town can’t afford to be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees, fines or damages. If the legal experts tell the Town it has to do something and it includes taking the cross off then it will have to do that. They can’t be responsible for allowing the Town to be bankrupt by these people who have endless resources.
Scott Oldham stated the Town Attorney has made several calls with various entities who have fault and continue to fight this battle. Nothing as of yet is there. They aren’t to the point they need to make a decision. While it is of concern, it is not a crisis. At this time, be concerned and watch court cases as they come down. Allow them to function as a government should.
Dan Swafford appreciates everyone supporting this issue. Thinks it’s great for the community to get involved. When this comes up for a discussion or vote it will be on the meeting agenda. It will be on the website, ellettsville.in.us.
Dianna Bastin has been in Ellettsville for 53 years. This is not the first time Ellettsville has received a letter or this has come up. Presidents past have received letters about the Pledge of Allegiance, the prayer and the cross. This is not the first time legal has been involved. She feels good about this. They haven’t got it done to date and may not get it done now. The times are starting to change.
Scott Oldham entertained a motion to adjourn. Dianna Bastin made a motion to adjourn. Dan Swafford seconded. Motion carried. Scott Oldham adjourned the meeting at 7:50 p.m.