The Common Council for the City of Attica met on April 9, 2018, at 6:00 P.M. pursuant to public notice.
Those present at the meeting were: board members; Mr. Larry Askren, Mr. Bill Craft, Mrs. Valarie Maus, Mr. Matthew Madden and Mr. Josh Hall. Also present were: Mayor Roderick; Attorney, Tom O’Connor and Deputy Clerk; Mikki Hubbard.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING:
A motion was made by Mr. Askren and seconded by Mr. Hall to approval the minutes of the March 9, 2018 meeting with a correction. Mr. Askren wants the minutes to reflect that a discussion took place about implementing a hiring freeze on the police department and then it was stated that since a part-time officer was not budgeted for 2018, the position would not be funded in 2018. All were in favor and the motion passed. A correction will be made to the March minutes.
Mark Little was present and discussed Phase 2 of the subdivision of Golf Ridge Estates. There are 5 lots that he is requesting to be sub-divided, to allow residential construction and to use as single-family dwellings. Mrs. Maus made a motion to refer this request to the Area Planning Commission. Mr. Craft made a second to the motion, all were in favor and the motion passed.
Trish Hargan requested the closure of Oak St. and Washington St. on May 19, 2018 from 8-11 am for the Doggie Dash 5K which is a fundraiser for Paws N Claws animal shelter. Mr. Madden made a motion to approve road closures. Mr. Hall made a second, all were in favor, and the motion passed.
Patrick Runyon, a resident at 201 W. Monroe St., stated he had received an ordinance violation regarding livestock, which are pets to him. He is the owner of miniature pig and goats. Our ordinance excludes everything but dogs, cats, chickens and rabbits. He stated the goats will not get any bigger than a medium size dog and the pigs maximum weight would be no more than 200 lbs. He stated these are indoor pets and are only outside to use the restroom. He has owned them for 3 years. Mrs. Maus asked how often they are outside and Mr. Runyon state approximately 3 times per day. Mr. Runyon said these animals are “exotic pets”. Mr. O’Connor took Mr. Runyon’s phone number, so he could call if he had any further questions. The Council would like to have time to further investigate this. Mrs. Maus made a motion to table until the next meeting, Mr. Hall seconded, all were in favor.
Ron Lockhart, a resident living at 919 S. Perry St., stated that the house directly south of his property is a vacant home in dire need of repairs. This issue will be referred to Building Commissioner, Jeff Pycke.
There were no committee reports.
Street Superintendent, Ron Jean: present; he had nothing to report
Attica Police Chief Cole: present; he had nothing to report.
Attica Fire Department Chief O’Farrell: present; reported they had 21 runs last month.
Building Commissioner, Jeff Pycke; was not present.
Teresa Kerr reported that the current ordinance that the Council is considering refers to a dog being allowed to bite someone 3 times before action is taken. Ms. Kerr said this type of animal is a small dog who could be considered an “ankle biter”. The next part of Section A. addresses a bite that causes a wound or is associated with a more aggressive animal. Those situations warrant that the offending animal be considered dangerous after biting 1 time. Mr. O’Connor suggested that the Council look further into this. Mr. Madden would like to further study a few other items within the proposed ordinance and meet with Ms. Kerr. Mrs. Maus expressed interest in speaking with Ms. Kerr before the next council meeting. Mr. Madden made a motion to table this until the next meeting, Mr. Askren seconded, all were in favor.
Mrs. Stoll could not attend the meeting, so she requested Mr. Roderick and Mr. O’Connor discuss an ordinance regarding utility bills. This ordinance would hold the property owners responsible for any unpaid utilities for their property. Mayor Roderick stated that the City would not be able to enter into “payment agreements” with tenants if this is adopted. Mr. O’Connor stated that when setting up the utility the City could enter into an agreement with both the property owner and tenant. He stated that he feels that in many cities, the property owner is the one that is contracted with the City. Mr. Roderick stated that in the last 3-4 years the City has incurred approximately $30,000.00 in bad debt. Mr. Askren asked if this could be sent to a debt collector. Mr. Craft stated that the property owner needs to be protected; we can’t allow tenants to accrue more fees. Mr. Madden made a motion to have an ordinance prepared, Mrs. Maus seconded, all were in favor.
Ordinance # 4, 2018 Additional Appropriations was presented to the Council for consideration. Whereas, it has been determined that it is now necessary to appropriate more money than was originally appropriated in the annual 2018 Budget; now, therefore: Sec. 1. Be it ordained (resolved) by the Attica Common Council, City of Attica, Fountain County, that the expenses of the taxing unit, the following additional sums of money are hereby appropriated out of the funds named and for the purposes specified, subject to laws governing the same: Fund Name: 101 General Fund, Other Services and Charges $13,000.00, Capital Outlays $8,093.33, total for 101 General Fund $21,093.33. Fund Name: 270 Fund Public Safety, Personal Services $21,000.00, Supplies $10,000.00, Other Services & Charges $49,000.00, Capital Outlays $100,000.00, total for 270 Public Safety Fund $180,000.00. Fund Name: 224 Fund Economic Development, Supplies $40,000.00, Other Services & Charges $40,000.00, total for 224 Fund Economic Development $80,000.00. Mr. Hall motioned to read the ordinance for the 1st time, Mr. Askren seconded, all were in favor. Mr. Hall made a motion to read the ordinance for a 2nd time in title only, Mr. Askren seconded, all were in favor. Mr. Hall made a motion to table the ordinance until it can be published, and a public hearing can be held at our May Council Meeting, Mr. Askren seconded, all were in favor.
Mr. Hall made a motion to read, Mr. Askren seconded, Ordinance # 5, 2018, An Ordinance Establishing a Public Safety Fund, An Ordinance Amending Chapter 2, Article 6, Division III, Section 2-148. Whereas, Chapter 2, Article 6, Division 3, Section 2-148 of the Attica Municipal Cole allows the Common Council for the City of Attica to establish certain specific funds, and Whereas, the City of Attica is the recipient of funds from local income taxes for public safety. Now, Therefore, be it Ordained as follows: Section 1: There is hereby established a funder under Chapter 2, Article 6, Division III, Section 2-148 of the Attica Municipal Code, said fund to be entitled Public Safety Fund. The purpose of said fund shall be to receive and deposit monies received from a local income tax to enhance public safety within the City of Attica. Section 2: Expenditures of monies from said fund shall be in accordance with Indiana Law and upon resolution of the Attica City Council. Mr. Madden made a motion to read for the 2nd time by title only, Mr. Hall seconded. Mr. Madden made a motion to suspend the rules and read the ordinance for the third time and adopt. Ms. Hubbard conducted a roll-call for votes; all were in favor and the motion passed.
Mayor Roderick reported at the Merit Board Meeting, Mr. Greenwood inquired about Officer Asbury’s retirement fund. Originally, Susan Stoll was under the impression that Mr. Asbury could participate in PERF since he did not qualify for the 77-Fund but she has since been informed that he cannot be enrolled in PERF after all because police officers can only be enrolled in the 77-Fund. Mayor Roderick commented that he has contacted Rhonda Cook with AIM and she has put him in contact with someone else and he is waiting on a return call. Mayor Roderick stated the Covington also has an officer who does not qualify for either the 77-Fund or PERF and they use a SEP IRA for this officers’ retirement. As to date, no monies have been put into any type of retirement for Officer Asbury. Mr. Madden stated that Mr. Asbury shouldn’t be made to move until this is resolved. Mr. Hall made a motion to table this for further investigation, Mr. Craft seconded, all were in favor.
Mayor Roderick spoke about our Reserve Officer, T.J. Powell, who is currently in the Police Academy. Mayor Roderick stated he “takes the blame” of this not being handled properly. The cost to send Mr. Powell to the Academy was $545.00, usually when attending the Academy, the City is paying wages for 15 while the officer is there. Mayor Roderick felt this was a good way to have a trained officer for future use to the City and that T.J. Powell was next on the Merit Board’s hiring list. It is now known to the City that the Officer must be in a paid position with the City to be able to attend the Academy. The reason for this is so that the individual is covered by a worker’s comp insurance policy. The Board of Works established a part-time police officer position in their last meeting. The Merit Board met and has recommended that the Council hire TJ as a part-time officer. The Board of Works suggested that the rate of pay would be $10.00 per hour. The City would not have to pay TJ retroactively to the date of entry to the Academy and once the Academy has been completed Officer Powell would go back to Reserve status. Merit Board member, Larry Grant, said that Mrs. Stoll had stated in the Merit Board Meeting that the law states that retirement plans set up prior to July 2015 could stand but after that date, no other retirement plans could be offered by municipalities that were members of PERF or the 77 Fund. That is probably the reason that Covington can offer other retirement plans to their officers. Merit Board Member, Mr. Greenwood, said we must get this resolved. He stated they if we leave Officer Powell at the Academy he could cover shifts vs. paying our officers comp time. Chief Cole stated the Officer Powell could be used in high volume situations. Mr. Greenwood stated, the average back-up response is 15-20 minutes; therefore, he feels another officer is needed. Citizen, Vickie Jordan, stated that she feels as if the City has lied to the Academy and the City should not reward bad behavior. Officer Hohenstein stated we are not rewarding bad behavior, just correcting something. Bobby Askren stated, “this is not TJ’s fault” and feels he should be allowed to finish at the Academy. Merit Board Member, Sara Mattern stated that TJ interviewed well and that the City would be assured that we had someone ready to fill a position if one becomes open. Mayor Roderick stated he has had offers in the community to cover the expenses of Officer Powell. Mrs. Maus has advocated to hire another officer for the City’s protection as well as to reduce comp time. She feels it is time that we move forward for the betterment of our community. Mrs. Maus made a motion to pay TJ Powell as a part-time officer for the duration of the time Officer Powell will be at the Academy and when he completes the training, to return to reserve officer status. Mr. Madden seconded. Ms. Hubbard took a roll-call vote. Mr. Askren voted no. Ms. Maus voted yes. Mr. Hall voted no. Mr. Madden voted yes. Mr. Craft voted no. The motion passed 3-2. Mr. O’Connor pointed out that the Merit Board has the task of hiring Mr. Powell. Mrs. Stoll by this time made it to the end of the meeting and stated that the Council should formally amend the salary ordinance to include a part-time officer. Mrs. Maus amended the motion to include the provision that the 2018 Salary Ordinance will be amended to include a part-time position for a police officer to be paid at a rate of $10/hr.
Mayor Roderick stated the dates of the City-Wide clean-up dates are May 12 & 19th. The Council stated that citizens should put out items no more than two weeks before their clean-up date. Mrs. Maus asked if letters could be sent out to property owners whose yards are an eyesore and need cleaned up. Mr. O’Connor said that the police oversee enforcing this. Mr. O’Connor asked what citizens could do with electronics that they want to throw away. Mrs. Stoll stated that she hadn’t ordered an electronic dumpster yet. Electronics aren’t allowed to be put out curb side for the City-Wide Clean-Up. Mrs. Stoll said that she would order an electronics dumpster this year to be placed by the recycling trailers on Water Street next to Home City Ice. Citizen, Sandy Shonkwiler, spoke about the issue of junk cars sitting unmoved for long periods of time. The current ordinance we have on the books may not address this issue specifically and she suggested the council consider making a change to prohibit this. Mr. O’Connor stated that our current ordinance addresses cars that are either unlicensed or inoperable but does not currently prohibit a vehicle from sitting unmoved for lengthy periods of time. Mr. O’Connor will investigate this issue.
Mrs. Mattern wanted to thank the police and fire department for handling a situation at Attica High School last Friday where the sprinklers were activated accidentally in the building. They handled it promptly and professionally. She also thanked Ron Jean and the city workers for preparing the park for cross country meets that took place last fall.
Mr. Grant stated the Area Planning Commission met on April 5. The owner, Tawnia Adams, requested that 412 E. Monroe St. be rezoned from R1 to R2 since she rents a portion of the single-family house. The Zoning Board recommends the Council take no further action, as this location falls under the grandfather clause because the apartment in the home existed before Mrs. Adams owned the property. Mr. Grant said that if the property changes ownership, the rental should no longer be allowed and that the home will revert to its intended use of one household.
Mr. Askren provided a letter that Officer Hohenstein gave to him that he stated was the only letter that was sent out to request funds for a new canine for the police department. He said that he acquired a second letter that was sent out and gave it to the Mayor. He requested that the two letters that were sent out regarding the K-9 be part of the Council record. Mr. Askren asked Mayor Roderick if he was aware of the second letter and he said he was not aware.
Mr. Madden made a motion to adjourn the meeting, Mr. Askren seconded, the meeting was adjourned. The next Council meeting will be held Monday, May 14, 2018.