December 27, 2011






The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met for a Regular Meeting on Tuesday, December 27, 2011, at the Fire Department Training and Conference Room.  David Drake called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  Dan Swafford led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer led by Phillip Smith. 


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


Supervisors Present were:  Jim Davis, Jim Ragle, Connie Griffin and Mike Farmer.


Approval of Minutes


David Drake entertained a motion for the approval of the minutes for the regular meeting on December 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.  Dianna Bastin so moved.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.




Resolution 17-2011 Encumbrance List for 2011


Sandra Hash, Clerk-Treasurer – The resolution is for purchases that were made in December and haven’t been paid yet.  The appropriation carries over to next year.  The purchase orders are as follows:


            Town Administrative


      PO 5386          Office Depot                            G-212                 $150.43

                              Department Total                                             $150.43


      Planning Department


      PO 5383          Visa                                         P-215                 $374.49

      PO 5384          Visa                                         P-215                 $989.96

      PO 5387          Office Depot                            P-215                 $103.77

                              Department Total                                          $1,468.22


      Fire Department


      PO 5396          Mine Safety Appliances            F-223                 $220.00

                              Department Total                                             $220.00


      Police Department


      PO 5385          Hoosier Tire                             P-231              $1,537.76

      PO 5390          O’Reilly Auto Parts                  P-231                     $7.98

      PO 5391          Interstate Battery                      P-231                   $22.40

      PO 5392          Visa                                         P-244                 $210.00

      PO 5393          Sam’s Club                              P-213                   $85.38

      PO 5394          Sam’s Club                              P-242                   $15.98

                              Department Total                                          $1,879.50


      Motor Vehicle Highway


      PO 5389          True Value Hardware               MVH-233           $860.64

      PO 5395          Tractor Supply Company          MVH-233             $34.92

                              Department Total                                             $895.56


      Total Encumbrances for 2011                                                                  $4,613.71


Dan Swafford – Asked if this is the last of the vouchers for the year.  Ms. Hash responded the purchase orders will be paid in January out of 2011 funds.  The claims approved by Town Council at this meeting should be the last for this year.  There may still be some PERF and some other payroll related bills paid this year.  Mr. Swafford requested a list of everything that had been turned in for the departments at the next meeting.


David Drake entertained a motion to approve Resolution 17-2011 Encumbrance List for 2011.  Phil Smith made a motion to approve Resolution 17-2011 Encumbrance List for 2011.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Roll Call Vote:  David Drake – yes; Dianna Bastin – yes; Phillip Smith – yes and Dan Swafford - yes.  Motion carried 4-0.


Ordinances on First Reading


Ordinance 2012-01 to Amend Various Provisions of Chapter 36 of the Ellettsville Town Code Concerning the Personnel Policy Handbook


Ordinance 2012-02 to Amend the Town Personnel Policy Handbook Regarding the Sexual Harassment Policy


Ordinance 2012-03 to Amend the Town Personnel Policy Handbook Regarding the Drug Free Workplace Policy


Ordinance 2012-04 to Amend the Town Personnel Policy Handbook Regarding the Drug and Alcohol Policy


Ordinance 2012-05 to Amend the Town Personnel Policy Handbook Regarding Military Leave, Family and Medical Benefits and Life Insurance


Ordinance 2012-06 to Amend the Town Personnel Policy Handbook Regarding Use of Town Property


Ordinance 2012-07 to Amend Various Section of the Town Personnel Policy Handbook Regarding Fire Department Job Descriptions


David Drake – Explained the ordinances are to bring the Personnel Policy up to current laws and policy.  If anyone is interested in reading the amendments they are available in Town Hall.


Dan Swafford – Asked when the ordinances are changed if a copy will be sent to all employees.  Sandra Hash replied when they are finalized.  Annually, when the Town Code is updated a copy of the Personnel Policy is given to each employee.  Dianna Bastin stated a condition of employment is to know the handbook and to make sure they stay current with the policies so the Town is covered any way. 


David Drake - Stated there is a section on the use of the Town credit cards.  This is a hot issue right now with several of the local governments.  This is the first reading so everyone has two weeks to review the ordinances.


Council Comments


Dan Swafford – Thanked the Street Department for clearing the first day of snow.


Privilege of the Floor


Bill Schneider – Resident of Autumn Ridge for five years in April.  Is attending this meeting to discuss an article about the last Town Council meeting published in The Ellettsville Journal.  He also wants to get to the other side of the story with regard to the trees on the northern edge of the First Assembly of God property.  The article stated “Once again the citizen concerning the trees of the First Assembly of God building site did not show up to voice concerns to the Board.”  This is a strange comment without consulting him because they had his phone number.  The first meeting he didn’t attend and he told Dan he wasn’t quite ready for it.  Secondly, he had asked for it to be removed from the agenda at the last Plan Commission meeting and it didn’t happen.  He apologizes – he would have been at the meeting.  David Drake explained the Town Council doesn’t write the newspaper articles.  Mr. Schneider stated he knows this but there are some things Connie Griffin quoted that are important.  In the article, David Drake had asked during “that” meeting if the Town has jurisdiction over where the dirt is piled.  Griffin replied that it would be based upon the grading plan.  Steve Bruns, who represents the church, explained the excavation of the dirt on the trees was to level the land due to a large hole, safety purposes and to eliminate water pooling issues.”  Someone from the audience asked the date of that article.  Mr. Schneider replied it was after the last Town meeting on December 14th.


A photograph of the trees was shown to the Town Council.  In the article, according to Steve Bruns the leveling of the land was due to a large hole.  There wasn’t a large hole - it’s a gulley.  These trees have been growing in the gulley for 30 to 40 years.  There was a swell that collected water and did need to be filled in.  As far as safety, there haven’t been any problems.  He has lived there over four years and for the last 30 to 40 years the trees have been growing very peacefully.  A majority of the 40 trees are affected by the dirt.  There are hickory, white oak and maple trees and one ash tree.  As for water pooling there hasn’t been any.  If the water was pooling in the gulley trees would not have grown and they would have drown.  Another comment in the article stating “Griffin provided photos of the trees placed by the sidewalk at Autumn Ridge as well as the site development plan which shows red maple and pine trees that will be placed for buffering.  The pastor of the church has received a second opinion about the health of the trees and the additional dirt on them.  Griffin said she had not received anything from the pastor at this time.”  He was told on September 29th by Rick Coppock when he looked at the site plan there was no reason to move that dirt.  It wasn’t called for on the plan.  This was justified later when Dan Swafford looked at what happened on the same day.  Both of them agreed that it appeared the dirt could be removed.  For clarification, there was no need to put the dirt up there, there is no water pooling and there wasn’t any safety hazards.  On this date, he had a telephone conversation with Pastor Carter.  The second opinion from a nursery stated there are about 40 trees on the west end of the tree line that need dirt removed from them.  In time, it will be taken care of according to Pastor Carter.  He reminded Pastor Carter that the dirt needed to be removed before the trees come out of their dormancy early next spring.  Pastor Carter told him the situation will be handled in due time.  He thanked everyone for their patience and apologized for it taking so long.  It would be appreciated if The Ellettsville Journal would correct a few things.  Mr. Drake explained most people write a letter to the editor listing their corrections. 


Bernie Guerrettaz, Bledsoe Riggert and Guerrettaz – Requested that the Pip Jay, Burch Properties and Chad Stephen’s PUD be placed on the next Town Council agenda.  There has been some correspondence between Mike Carmin, Chad Stephens’ attorney, and Ms. Brown about being certain this petition is kept under Old Business on the agenda.  At the last meeting, it was a 2 – 2 vote.  They have made some good progress on the agenda items to date.  They want to come to resolution on this petition.  Dan Swafford asked if there have been any major changes that they’re not aware of.  Mr. Guerrettaz replied there has been correspondence between the DNR, Chad Stephens and his consultant who is doing the floodway analysis.  As he understands it, Mr. Stephens has been in discussions with the DNR and with Shawn Arden, the consultant.  Mr. Swafford asked if the impact study had been finished.  Mr. Guerrettaz responded the hydrology report was done and submitted.  There were some questions the DNR has asked.  At their last meeting, Mr. Arden was still working with the DNR to understand their questions.  Mr. Arden has sent information to Mr. Stephens for clarification.  Mr. Stephens has answered the questions and the responses have been returned to the DNR.  The numbers were in the report previously provided to Town Council.  The numbers, due to the change in the floodplain elevation because of construction and materials, haven’t changed.  The impact is the same.  The activities on the site have been greatly reduced from what was first discussed.  Mr. Stephens tried to find another option to lighten the load on the site and it has come to fruition as he had hoped.  With the 2 – 2 vote, and if there is no action, it could potentially die-off.  His personal opinion is there are some good things that have been done.  Regardless of what happens with the Town Council the petition for construction after the fact in a floodway is still going to occur.  That work will continue to be done.  They genuinely thought, as Dan Swafford brought up a few months ago, that some of the answers would be taken care of by now but they’re not.  They don’t have control over that.  With the last round of discussions and questions they may be able to answer more or at least have a vote.  They want to discuss it one more time.


Dianna Bastin – Regardless of how it turns out she doesn’t think the Town Council is too busy to hear someone who has a business in Ellettsville.  If they feel they want to come back one more time the Town Council should listen to them.


Darla Brown, Town Attorney – The 90th day runs before the next Town Council meeting.  If the Town Council wants to hear it they have to schedule a special session and advertise it.  The 90 days will run on January 4, 2012.  The Plan Commission met on October 6, 2011.  Sandra Hash asked if there is not a special meeting will the Plan Commission’s decision stand.  Ms. Brown replied that is correct. 


Bernie Guerrettaz – They would welcome a special session.  There is a different interpretation as to how long the petition is valid before Town Council.  He is still requesting that this petition be placed on the next agenda in case there is some thought process that says it’s possible to keep it alive.  He understands Mike Carmin’s position is there’s been no action taken so nothing has been withdrawn.  He has read the emails and is not versed to know the time lines.  He’s thinking of a fail-safe in case Mr. Carmin is correct that it doesn’t automatically just die.  He is still requesting it be on the next meeting agenda in case the special session doesn’t go through. 


Dan Swafford – If it is placed on the next agenda, and if it’s the law that it goes back to the Plan Commission’s decision after 90 days, he doesn’t understand why it would be on the agenda if they couldn’t take any action on it.  Ms. Brown commented she has invited Mr. Carmin to send any authority he has on this issue to her for review.  The 90th day runs on the January 4, 2012.  What Mr. Guerrettaz is asking is in case she’s wrong in her calculations, or if there is some other way around the 90 days he would like to have it on the agenda to discuss and this is the Council’s prerogative.


David Drake – Asked who makes the decision as to what’s placed on the agenda.  Sandra Hash responded it is normally at someone’s request.   On December 27, 2011, Mr. Carmin sent an email to her wanting the petition placed on the agenda for this meeting.  There was some confusion as to whether the meeting was on this date or the next day.  Darla Brown discussed this directly with Mr. Carmin.  Mr. Drake noted if the Town Council doesn’t have to make the decision at this meeting as to whether or not the petition should be placed on the next regular meeting agenda.  They can wait and find out what Mr. Brown comes up with or if Mike Carmin sends anything to her.  If anyone can call and ask for something to be placed on the agenda then the Council doesn’t need to vote on it.  Ms. Hash commented it is her understanding there was only the situation that Mike Carmin wanted to appear at this meeting and be placed on the agenda after the fact.  She had requested guidance from Darla Brown after the 2 - 2 vote on whether or not it should be placed on the agenda.  This was several meetings ago and now it’s the 11th hour.  Ms. Bastin commented in their defense with mentioning the “11th hour”, there have been holidays and everything else surrounding them.  This is just a bad time of year and it’s hard to get anything scheduled and everything together.  No matter who they are, this isn’t a black mark against them.  Mr. Swafford said his suggestion is for them to think about it.  He asked Darla Brown to look into the 90 day deadline and let Town Council know.  Anyone of the Town Council members can request a special session. 


David Drake – The Town Council needs to make sure, if they’re going to have a special session, that all five members of the Town Council guarantee they will be present.  Phil Smith explained he has a grand baby due the 1st of January and he cannot guarantee he will be present at the special session.  Mr. Swafford stated they’ll look into it because obviously they can’t discuss the petition at this meeting or perhaps it should have been discussed under privilege of the floor.   Mr. Guerrettaz commented that’s why he came to privilege of the floor to make the request pursuant to Ms. Brown’s suggestion.  For some reason Mr. Carmin thought from a website or some schedule that the meeting was on December 28, 2011 or it may have been referenced as “the 28th”.  Ms. Hash responded Mr. Carmin was looking at the Planning and Zoning website and the bottom of the page said it hadn’t been updated since 2009.  Unfortunately, the meeting dates need to be removed from the Planning and Zoning website because it did create confusion.  On the Town’s official website it didn’t say the meeting was on December 28th.  Ms. Bastin said it’s her error because she didn’t realize it was so close to the 90 days.  Her comment still stands but she didn’t know there was a time line.  Mr. Drake said he isn’t opposed under the circumstances to having another meeting.  Ms. Hash commented there are only two work days left for the Town this week.  Mr. Swafford said the meeting would have to be Thursday, December 29, 2011.  Ms. Hash stated she didn’t have time to post the meeting because she has to have 48 hours notice.   Mr. Guerrettaz asked if the Town Council could extend the 90 day deadline.  Darla Brown replied she didn’t think so.  She has looked into this unless there’s something out there she hasn’t seen and she will admit she could be wrong.  If Mr. Carmin has any statutes or case law he could send to her she would be happy to take a look at it.  It looks like the statute is pretty firm and there’s no case law that contradicts it.  If it’s not done within 90 days the Plan Commission’s recommendation carries over to whenever that is.  There isn’t anything in the case law that says it can be extended by the Town Council.  She has looked in to it but she’s willing to look at whatever Mr. Carmin may find.  Mr. Swafford stated they couldn’t make a decision at this meeting and will have to schedule a special session.  It was decided to schedule the special session for Tuesday, January 3, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. 




Dianna Bastin made a motion to adjourn.  Dan Swafford seconded.  Motion carried.  David Drake adjourned the meeting at 7:41 p.m.