September 26, 2011

 

 

 

 

The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a Regular Meeting on Monday, September 26, 2011, at the Fire Department Training and Conference Room.  David Drake called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  Scott Oldham led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer led by Phillip Smith. 

 

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

 

Supervisors Present were:  Mike Cornman, Jim Ragle, Tony Bowlen and Mike Farmer.

 

Approval of Minutes

 

David Drake entertained a motion for the approval of the minutes for the Regular Meeting on September 12, 2011.  Phillip Smith so moved.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.

 

Accounts Payable Vouchers

 

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

 

Adoption of the 2012 Budget

 

Sandra Hash – Provided the following summary of the 2012 Budget:

 

v                 General Fund’s budget is $2,185,568 that is $126,767 more than in 2011.  The General Fund includes the Administration, Planning, Fire and Police Departments.  Richland Township will contribute $519,318 toward fire protection in Richland Township and Bloomington Hospital will contribute $51,783 for assisting with the ambulance at the fire station on Curry Pike.

 

v                 County Option Income Tax is estimated at $394,500, which is $4,346 more than the town received this year.

 

v                 Motor Vehicle Highway’s budget is $443,782, which is $14,051 more than 2011.  The Motor Vehicle Highway payments from the state will be $152,012, which is an increase of $14,432 from the 2011 rate.

 

v                 Park and Recreation budget is $12,253, which is $7,000 less than 2011.

 

v                 Local Roads and Streets and the Cumulative Funds equal $246,776 for a reduction of $4,898 from this year.

 

v                 The debt service fund for the Police and Fire equal $313,000.

 

v                 The total budget for the civil portion of the town for 2012 is $3,201,379.

 

v                 The Maximum Levy Growth Quotient for 2012 remains the same as 2011, 2.9%.

 

v                 The Water Utility budget is $1,526,480 an increase of $145,380.

 

v                 The Waste Water budget is $1,921,780 an increase of $41,100.

 

v                 The Stormwater budget is $147,550 an increase of $6,460.

 

Dan Swafford – Requested a copy of the 2012 Budget Summary.  Sandra Hash replied she will forward it to him by email.

 

David Drake entertained a motion that the budgets as enumerated for 2012 be approved.  Scott Oldham made a motion that the budgets as enumerated for 2012 be approved.  Phillip Smith seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes and Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Resolutions

 

Resolution 14-2011 Accounts Receivable Write-off Procedures for Uncollectible Accounts and Establishing a Minimum Amount for a Refund of Utility Bill or Deposit.

 

Sandra Hash – This came about through the audit process.  The Town has receivables in the billing for Utilities that date back to 1995 and are uncollectible.  In order to clean up the accounts receivable for the Utilities, the auditor suggested that the Town needed to establish a policy and procedures to write-off the old uncollectible debts.  The ordinance was prepared from a template provided by the auditor.  The Resolution was reviewed by Becky Wines, Mike Farmer and Jeff Farmer.  They also want to make a rule that if there is a refund of less than $2.00 in water, stormwater or wastewater, it will not be issued.  It costs more than that to make a check.  For example, if they have an outstanding check for 88¢ they can’t void it for seven years.  

 

Phillip Smith – In the resolution it states, “Accounts that have had a write-off will be flagged . . . Any future transactions for those account holders will be denied until the uncollectible balance is paid in full.”  Mr. Smith asked if this is by address or by name.  Sandra Hash responded it is by name and address.  Mr. Smith stated if there are three people in a household and they have an account in each person’s name and it gets shut off, then another person does the same thing, does this happen often.  Ms. Hash responded this is not her area of expertise.  Mike Farmer or Becky Wines would be better to answer the question.  There is quite a bit of history per address.  If it’s water they can turn it off.  When people move away without leaving a forwarding address and then come back they wouldn’t hook them on to new service until their old debt was paid.  Mr. Smith repeated his question to Mike Farmer.  Mike Farmer stated it does not happen often.  If they’re renters they have to pay a deposit which keeps them from attempting to do what Mr. Smith described.  If they are owners of the house they have to prove ownership before they can get service.  Mr. Smith asked if it couldn’t be connected back to the owner if it’s a rental.  Mr. Farmer replied it can be.  If the renters don’t pay their bill and skip town then it’s up to the landlord to pay the bill.  This is why they implemented a renter’s deposit and the amount of the deposit for the water is ruled by the IURC.  This is why the deposit is a lot less than the sewer.  Most landlords interact with the billing office to ensure that everything is current.  Unless they’re a new landlord, they all know the rules.  Utilities pay attention to people selling their house and if there is a transfer, they try to collect before the closing on the house.  Once the house is closed, then they can’t collect on past debtors.  They pay attention to the paper and they make attempts to collect the debt.  Also, they contact the banks if it’s a foreclosure.  Ms. Hash stated there were some rules established with a red flag policy the Town created a few years ago.  This makes home purchasers bring proof that they were buying the house before they could get the water turned on.  There are precautions in other areas to establish paper trails so you avoid multiple people in one household.  They have to provide leases for renters.  Mr. Farmer said that is correct.  Between the safeguards and effort, this is not a big problem.  Plus, the water can be shut off if they don’t pay.  Ms. Hash commented a lien can be filed for wastewater.  However, all collection possibilities have to be exhausted before the debt can be written off.

 

David Drake entertained a motion to adopt Resolution 14-2011.  Dan Swafford made a motion to adopt Resolution 14-2011.  Phillip Smith seconded.   Roll Call Vote:  David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes and Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

New Business

 

Michael White, Community Access Television Services, Agreement between the Town of Ellettsville and Community Access Television Services

 

Michael White, General Manager of Community Access Television Services (“CATS”) – Is also in attendance on behalf of the public library, of which they are a

department.  A copy of the proposed contract originated by the public library was provided to the Town Council.  The contract is for a reduced amount than originally presented a few months ago.  Since 2001 the library decided the most equitable funding plan for the respective funding partners, the Town of Ellettsville, City of Bloomington and Monroe County Government, would be that each unit pay 50 percent of their franchise fees to CATS for the televising of their public meetings.  This has worked very well.  Mr. White thanked the Town of Ellettsville for being the first to adopt the 50% agreement with CATS in 2001.  This year when CATS went before the City of Bloomington, they backed away from the 50% agreement and are funding 48% of their franchise fees for 2012.  CATS went before Monroe County for annual funding and they decided to provide no increase for 2012.  This cost CATS $25,000 in anticipated revenue.  When they realized the cuts were coming, they met with representatives from the City, County and the Town of Ellettsville on August 11, 2011.  CATS want to be fair with every funding partner in terms of what they are requesting.  The City of Bloomington is offering a 3% increase over last year even though the franchise fees are up almost 8%.  The contract being presented at this meeting represents 3% over 2009 franchise revenue.  The Town of Ellettsville is doing much better with their franchise fees over the past few years.  The Town has gone from a 3% agreement to a 5% agreement. 

 

Dan Swafford – Asked what the reason is that CATS cannot televise the Town Council meetings live.  Mr. White stated they learned this year with the courthouse closing down in Monroe County, they had a very short time to originate their meetings live.  They procured a consumer device and they have been originating live meetings from the Justice Building.  CATS could do the same thing for the Town and they would very much like to do so.  There seems to be a lot of interest in the Town Council meetings.  After a recent meeting, he received an excited call from a member of the public because they weren’t able to get a good shot of the screen when there was a discussion over a sewer issue.  The citizen thought CATS was censoring the meeting.  He assured the citizen that CATS was not censoring the Town Council meetings.  CATS was the first station to offer meetings in live streaming format as well as archived.  All of the meetings that have been covered for the Town of Ellettsville are available on CATS website at www.catstv.net.  It’s all free to any member of the public.  Mr. White reiterated CATS would like to do the meetings in the same manner as they are originating Monroe County meetings from the Justice Building.  Mr. Swafford stated he would also like to see the Plan Commission meetings either taped or broadcast live.  Mr. White stated that would be a very good use of their services for no additional money. 

 

David Drake – Asked Sandra Hash if the new amount Mr. White is proposing is in the 2012 Budget.  Ms. Hash replied it is less than what is in the budget.  The original amount requested was $17,000+ and the new contract is $13,000+.  Mr. White stated it is approximately $13,000.  Mr. Drake commented although the Town did budget for CATS, they have been advised by their financial advisor that they should wait and not actually sign the contract until the real amount of money they’re going to receive is known.  Mr. Drake asked Sandra Hash when this would take place.  Ms. Hash replied they will know how badly they are affected by the tax caps when they receive their December settlements.  The Town should receive its budget approvals for 2012 quite early and then they’ll see how the revenue is at the end of the year.  The fee to CATS is paid quarterly.  The Town should know how its cash flow is and if the 2012 Budget is approved by January.    

 

Scott Oldham – In the contract there is a 60 day clause that either party can request leave.  It’s unfair to leave CATS dangling and not knowing where the Town is going to be as long as they have an out assuming the circuit breakers just absolutely kill the Town.  The amount of the contract is less than the budget amount.  He doesn’t see the harm should the Town need to reserve the right to pull it back based on the circuit breaker.

 

Phillip Smith – The contract states, “The Library shall, by means of the Bloomington Community Access Television, telecast meetings of the Ellettsville Town Council, Ellettsville Planning and Zoning Board, Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation.”  Mr. Smith asked if CATS received money from RBBSC.  Mr. White

replied they do not receive money from RBBSC.  Scott Oldham asked if CATS receives money from MCCSC.  Mr. White answered they do not receive money from MCCSC.

 

Dan Swafford – Asked what CATS would need from the Town in order for the Town Council meetings to be carried live.  Mr. White replied basically the same piece of gear that’s dedicated in the Justice Building.  There will not be any additional costs.  It’s all turn key in the contract.  CATS would like to do some different camera positioning so they could get some better shots.  It will cost CATS approximately $2,000 for some dedicated units and running wires and conduit.  Sandra Hash stated they would have to talk to Kevin Patton regarding running the wires and conduit.  About a week ago, the Fire Department upgraded some wiring.

 

Bill Schneider – Appreciates Scott Oldham’s comment and question and Sandra Hash and Town Council comments.  It sounds for better community information and transparency to help the citizens participate more in the development of the Town, this is a no brainer.  Hopes there will be live TV or at least archived sessions of the meetings for Planning and Town Council.

 

 David Drake entertained a motion to approve the Agreement between the Town of Ellettsville and Community Access Television Services for the year 2012.  Scott Oldham made a motion to approve the Agreement between the Town of Ellettsville and Community Access Television Services for the year 2012.  Dan Swafford seconded.   Roll Call Vote:  David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes and Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Cary Scott Project Engineer, JMC Engineers & Associates, Smithville cable project would like to coordinate with Town on Sale Street, Thomas and Reeves Roads

 

Cary Scott, Project Engineer, JMC Engineers & Associates on behalf of Smithville Telephone – Smithville is proposing to redo some of their underground duct system on Sale Street between Association and the Thomas and Reeves Road area.  This was to be in conjunction with a water project earlier this year but it could not be completed in time.  He is in charge of drawing up the plans.  Smithville is proposing to begin with installing a new duct system down the east side of Sale Street under the sidewalk and then up to Thomas Road.  They will then go under Thomas Road to tie-in to existing cable.  This is to replace a deteriorating copper cable and to get the manholes out of the roadway so they can be accessed.  The manhole covers will be lids in the sidewalk.  It will run under the sidewalk up to Oak Street and then under the dirt on up to Thomas Road.  He explained it to Jim Ragle of the Street Department and he didn’t have a problem with it.  This work is planned to start at the end of the school year and to be completed before the beginning of school.  Mr. Scott is seeking permission to redo the underground duct system and for the Town to provide specifications for the street including ADA specifications for the sidewalks.  They will be four, four inch ducts under the sidewalk and/or ground encased in concrete.  There will be approximately five man holes set for access points.  Their plan is to salvage what they can and take everything out of the old manholes and fill them or put in a concrete cap.

 

David Drake – The Town will probably go along with whatever Jim Ragle says.

 

Dan Swafford – Asked how much the Town will have to pay for new sidewalks.   Mr. Scott replied they will be removing and replacing approximately 400 feet of existing sidewalk.  From where the existing sidewalk stops to Thomas Road is approximately 1,200 to 1,400 feet of sidewalks that would need to be constructed.  The dirt work and grading is a large portion of the project.  A retaining wall may be needed at the end of Thomas.  There are two trees close to the right-of-way that may be impacted.  A clump of trees is before the curve at Thomas.  A large tree is located west of Ritter Street.  Phillip Smith asked if the trees are on private property.  Mr. Scott replied they are not on private property and all the trees are on the road right-of-way.  Mr. Swafford stated he would like to meet with the Town Engineer, the Street Superintendent and a couple of Town Council members and look at the project a little closer.  Then come back to the Town Council in two weeks.  Therefore, he would like to table this matter for two weeks. 

 

Scott Oldham – Asked Mr. Scott if this is going to benefit the citizens of Ellettsville cable-wise or if it will improve services for another community.  Mr. Scott responded it is strictly for the Town of Ellettsville.  If the copper goes out it will severely affect service in that area.  Sandra Hash asked if they were replacing the copper with fiber optics.  Mr. Scott replied they will not be using fiber optics with this pass.  This is an old telephone          cable that’s deteriorating and causing a lot of problems.  They will be replacing copper with copper.  This is strictly to keep the service going. Mr. Swafford asked Mr. Scott to get with the Town Engineer and the Street Commissioner to schedule a meeting.

 

Dan Swafford made a motion to table the Smithville cable project until the next Town Council meeting.  Phillip Smith seconded.   Motion carried.

 

Supervisor Comments

 

Tony Bowlen, Town Marshal – Deputy Town Marshal Mark Freeman was hired on a probationary wage for one year beginning October 1, 2010.  He is requesting to bring Mark Freeman off of probationary pay effective October 1, 2011 and to make his base the same as the other deputy marshal.  The base pay will be $38,831 plus any incentive pay.  Dan Swafford asked if the money is in the budget.  Town Marshal Bowlen said it will be funded out of his personnel line.  Phillip Smith asked if this was taken into consideration when the budgets were done for 2012.  Town Marshal Bowlen replied it is in the 2012 Budget.  Sandra Hash asked the amount of the salary.  Town Marshal Bowlen responded it is $38,831 and he has one or two certification pays. 

 

David Drake entertained a motion to adopt Resolution 14-2011.  Scott Oldham made a motion that Probationary Town Marshal Mark Freeman be elevated to the rank of Deputy Town Marshal with the raise concurrent to that.  Dan Swafford seconded.   Roll Call Vote:  David Drake – yes; Scott Oldham – yes; Phillip Smith – yes and Dan Swafford – yes.  Motion carried 4-0.

 

Council Comments

 

Dan Swafford – The Town had another successful Fall Festival.  Thank you to all department heads and employees for the time they put in.  A lot of it is volunteer time.  Also thank you to all volunteers.  They did a wonderful job and it was one of the Town’s best festival.  Thank you.

 

Adjournment

 

Phillip Smith made a motion to adjourn.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.  David Drake adjourned the meeting at 7:43 p.m.