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Friday, December 15, 2017

News & Updates

Council Proceedings – October 9, 2017

The Common Council for the City of Attica met on October 9, 2017, at 6:00 P.M. pursuant to public notice.

Those present at the meeting were: board members; Mr. Josh Hall, Mr. Larry Askren, Mr. Bill Craft, Mrs. Valarie Maus and Mr. Matthew Madden. Also present were: Mayor Roderick; Attorney, and Clerk-Treasurer, Susan Stoll.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

A motion was made by Mr. Madden and seconded by Mrs. Maus for approval of the minutes from the September 11, 2017 Council Meeting, all were in favor and the motion passed.

CITIZENS PETITIONS

Cindy Mason told about the final Twilight Music Series of 2017. It will take place on Sunday, October 15 at McDonald Park. The band is called 45 RPM, they play music from the British invasion genre. Crystal Askren will be providing food from Bob’s Burgers and Hooker Winery will have a wine tasting. Cindy asked the Council/City if a portion of the curb bordering the block of McDonald Park, closest to the intersection of 41 & 28 along US 41 be painted yellow prohibiting parking since a good portion of the block is a driving lane at the intersection of 41 and 28. Even though US 41 is a state highway, INDOT allows local municipalities to regulate parking. She said for that matter, it would be good if INDOT painted the distinction between the turn lane to travel to south bound US 41 and the lane that cars continue to travel westbound on US 41/US 28. The Council approved of the restriction of parking on this block. Ron Jean said he and the city employees will paint the curb.

Resident, Phillis Pattengale, addressed the Council members about her home at 1224 E. Main St. Mrs. Stoll had sent a letter to her because although the property is in the city limits, the residents of the property do not pay for water, sewer, trash or storm water. Mrs. Stoll explained that they have a septic system but do not have access to our sewer lines without getting permission to go through her neighbor’s property. The City accepts that this is not feasible, so we allow the home to remain on a private septic system. The house however can access the water main and the letter encourages the owner to pay $500 for a water tap to replace the use of a private well. The letter explained that we would allow a reasonable amount of time to complete this. In the meantime, Mrs. Stoll explained that the property must be billed for a minimum charge for water, $14.96/month, which is the equivalent of our 3000 gallons use charge. Additionally, Mrs. Pattengale explained that the resident privately contracts their trash pick-up. This resident should also be paying the $11.50/month trash pick-up charge and put the trash in a blue tote. Lastly, all residential customers are required to pay a $5/month storm water fee. Mrs. Stoll also explained that a $200 security deposit would be required to establish service with the City. Mrs. Pattengale has owned the property for 34 years. She said in 1987/88, the property was annexed into the city limits. She thought the City said she could be grandfathered in and be allowed to not pay for utilities until the home is no longer owned by her. She thinks there may be records that show this. She asked the City to check our records to see if she is remembering this correctly. No matter what, she said she is retired and on a fixed income and cannot afford the associated costs. She also said that her plumbing travels out the rear of her home now to her well. The City main is in the front of the house and that will be an added expense to connect to the city’s water system. Mr. Askren and Mr. Hall will get together to consider the request and will advise the Council on their recommendation. Once something is decided, Mrs. Stoll will inform Mrs. Pattengale.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

None.

DEPARTMENT HEADS

Street Superintendent, Ron Jean: present. Sycamore Street is very close to completion. Mr. Madden asked about the request by a citizen to paint parking lines at the Elementary School. Mr. Jean said he, Chief Cole, and Kyle Askren/SRO have met up there to review the needed lines and he just hasn’t had the time to complete the task of getting them painted. Mr. Askren asked if residents will be allowed to park on Sycamore Street in front of their homes. Mr. Jean said there is no ordinance against it currently. They used to be able to park in their front yard but the new curbing prevents this from happening now.

Attica Police Chief Cole: present; nothing to report.

Attica Fire Department Chief O’Farrell: present; he reported that as of the end of September, there have been 189 runs; 19 have been fires (varying degrees of severity, only 2 of those were major fires), 131 EMS runs, 8 vehicular accidents, 11 alarm calls, 3 haz-mat runs. He is anticipating 265-75 runs for the year. He said that 154 of the runs for this year have been in Logan Township.

Mr. Pycke: Building Commissioner; present; he reported that he approved building permits for one porch, one deck and a home at 423 Avenue Eight. He has received complaints from citizens on the perceived unsafe condition of 106 W. Lithia and 407 S. Brady. He plans to look at them. Mr. Madden asked about the home on West Monroe that had complaints about the foundation of the property. The City went and cleaned it up and the property owner has worked on repairing too.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Mayor Roderick brought up the topic of contributing to a new animal shelter that is proposed to be located at I74 in Fountain County. Tracy Sudlow has petitioned the Council to contribute $28,000 per year to help operate the new facility. Currently the City pays $17,000 to Paws N Claws Animal Shelter to contract our animal control out to them. Mayor Roderick has spoken to one of the Fountain County Commissioners who said they are waiting on an answer from the City of Attica before proceeding. The Council expressed concern about the increase in cost to the City. Mr. Shepherd informed the Council that Fountain County plans to contribute $1000/month in exchange for providing the land and building for the shelter. Mr. Hall asked if the other cities in Fountain County would be contributing. Mr. Shepherd said that Covington and Veedersburg have their own animal control, so they would not be using this facility. Mr. Madden asked how much the other two cities pay their dog catcher. It was not readily known. Fountain County currently pays $28,000 towards the Paws N Claws shelter in Attica. Mr. Shepherd said that the City was paying a total of $17,000 per year to operate their own animal control operation. Mayor Shepherd suggested the Council evaluate this topic more and it will be discussed again at our next council meeting. Josh Hall motioned to table the discussion/decision and Bill Craft seconded the motion. All were in favor. Mrs. Stoll asked if it will go to a committee or will all Council members do an evaluation on their own. Mayor Roderick asked Valarie Maus and Matthew Madden if they would form a committee to evaluate the proposal and come back to the Council with their recommendations.

Ordinance # 12, 2017, the 2018 Salary Ordinance was brought from the table. Mrs. Stoll explained that the proposed salary ordinance from Mayor Roderick includes a 2% increase for most part-time positions, a 2% raise for our elected Council Members, Judge, Attorney, Building Commissioner, Fire Chief, and Mayor. All other full-time employees including hourly, the Clerk-Treasurer and appointed Department Heads will all increase 50 cents per hour resulting in varying percentage increases. Mayor Roderick said it will raise our total payroll 2.5%. Mayor Roderick said that the research he has looked at for next year shows most employers will be giving up to a 3% increase in wages. He also stated that the cost of living adjustment for social security is 2.2% for 2018. Mr. Madden stated that he is in support and feels this is the most reasonable approach to raises. Mayor Roderick said that every employee cost of insurance goes up by the same amount in 2018. Mrs. Stoll reported that she has not gotten the insurance increase for 2018 but was told by our broker to expect around a 10% increase in rates. Mrs. Maus made a motion to read in full for the first time, Mr. Madden seconded, and all were in favor. Mayor Roderick read for the first time in full. Mrs. Maus made a motion to read by title only for a second time. Mr. Madden seconded it. All were in favor and the motion passed. Mr. Madden made a motion to adopt, Mrs. Maus seconded. Mrs. Stoll took roll call for adoption. Mr. Hall: yay, Mr. Askren, nay, Mrs. Maus, yay, Mr. Madden, yay and Mr. Craft, yay. The vote was 4-1.

Ordinance # 9, 2017, the 2018 Budget was brought to the table. Mrs. Stoll explained that they are approving the total sums for our General, MVH, Police Pension, Local Road & Street, Park, Cemetery, Cumulative Capital Improvement, and Cumulative Capital Development Funds. Mrs. Stoll explained that these amounts has been published, these amounts were presented in our public hearing last month and the DLGF has been consulted on the figures. Mrs. Maus made a motion to read in full. Mr. Madden seconded. Mayor Roderick read the ordinance in full. Mayor Roderick read the budgeted amounts for each fund. There was no further discussion.  Mrs. Maus made a motion to adopt. Mr. Madden seconded. Mrs. Stoll conducted a roll call for votes; Mr. Hall, yay, Mr. Askren, yay, Mrs. Maus, yay, Mr Craft, yay, Mr Madden, yes. Mayor Roderick made a vote of yay. The vote was 5-0 in favor of adoption.

Mayor Roderick brought the subject of the purchase of a new fire truck back to the table. Mrs. Stoll explained that the City made their last payment on a loan for the aerial truck in February 2017. A new loan payment for a vehicle could continue to be budgeted in the same manner. Mrs. Stoll said that the vehicle that the fire department looked at a vehicle that has been estimated to cost approximately $218,000-225,000. Mrs. Stoll would be required to solicit sealed bids that would be opened in a Board of Works meeting. Chief O’Farrell explained that the vehicle that they are looking to replace, Engine 1-7, is the most heavily used vehicle in his fleet. It is now 20 years old and it gets the most wear and tear. The truck they are interested in is the same basic style vehicle, a Ford 550. This is vehicle would carry 5 people and water. This would be a vehicle mainly for accidents, especially at the Badlands. The fire department has tried to take additional weight off the existing vehicle to help extend its life. If the truck happens to go down, it would be difficult to operate the way they do now. Mr. Madden asked if Chief knew the mileage on the truck. He did not know that figure. Mr. Madden stated that a 1998 truck with a diesel engine should be able to operate for 100,000 miles. Chief O’Farrell asserted that this vehicle has visible wear and tear and will continue to require more maintenance to keep it operational. Mr. Madden suggested that perhaps the fire department could consider purchasing a used vehicle to replace Engine 1-7. Mr. Hall suggested that a used fire truck might not be the best alternative. Mr. Hall said that public safety is better ensured if the equipment the fire department is using is in good condition and reliable. Citizen, Mike Nicolas, asked if the department has inquired about trade in value of the truck being replaced. That will be included in the bid request. The topic will be tabled for discussion at a later meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

A petition to vacate an alley has been filed with the Council. A public hearing to hear the petition was scheduled and advertised to be held tonight. The public hearing was opened by Mayor Roderick. Revere Hotel, LLC owner, James Smick, spoke about hiring KJG Architects to evaluate the structural soundness of the building. The firm have assessed the southwest corner of the building to be structurally weakened by a crack. He does not want to run the risk of a vehicle hitting the building. The alley runs along that side of the building. Mr. Smick wishes to place a fence where the alley is currently located. The Council approved the request to vacate the alley.

MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

Mayor Roderick reported that we found out from the Indiana Public Retirement Fund, PERF, cannot be enlarged to include our new officer, Craig Asbury. Covington puts their older officers on a private IRA fund. Mayor Roderick said we will have to consult Tom O’Connor on this before acting. The subject was tabled for the next meeting.

Mayor Roderick reported their will be an Area Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, October 11 at 7 PM. Attica Main Street and the Redevelopment Commission will be present. The meeting will be held at the West Mill Social Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

Mr. Shepherd interjected that he just texted Fountain County Commissioner, Don Hesler, who said there is no agreement yet on the amount that the commissioners will contribute to the animal shelter and that no agreement currently exists saying that Fountain County will not pay towards the operation of the shelter for ten years in exchange for donating the land and building of the shelter. He wanted to share this information to clarify our earlier discussion. Mayor Roderick said the only reason a new location was being considered was because the City asked the dog shelter to move on multiple occasions.

Mr. Askren mentioned that he heard that Tom Farley is currently renting out the ground floor of his N. Perry building downtown as apartment space. Consensus is that this is probably true. Mr. Smick then added that since he is located next door to Mr. Farley and that if there are multiple apartments, the number of cars requiring parking will increase on his block and potentially take spots in an area he would be interested in having as handicap parking and a loading zone. Mayor Roderick said he should talk to the Area Planning Commission about this subject.

Mr. Madden asked if the electronic radar sign could be placed on S. Perry St. near Happy Walter Field. Chief Cole said he would put the sign out.

ADJORNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 7:04 PM. The next Council meeting will be held Monday, November 13, 2017.