The Common Council for the City of Attica met on February 10th, 2020, at 6:00 P.M.
Those present at the meeting were: Council Members; Mr. Larry Grant, Mrs. Kaylie Carnahan, Mrs. Valarie Maus, Mrs. Patricia Hargan and Scott Voorhees. Also, present were: Mayor, Duane Roderick, City Attorney, Jud Barce, and Clerk-Treasurer, Joanne Broadwater.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING:
Mr. Grant requested that a correction be made to the January 13th, 2020 minutes. The discussion was regarding the city trash, Mr. Grant requested the correction read as follows: Grant stated it is not fair that people who were not paying for their trash to be getting it for free on the backs of people that are paying.
Hargan made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected for the January 13th, 2020 Council Meeting. Grant seconded. All were in favor and the motion passed.
Kyle Knosp from the Badlands appeared to request the ability to have a festival downtown in late July, possibly the 25th like what they have done in the past? Kyle stated it is the 25th anniversary. Roderick asked for discussion, everyone agreed to allow the festival.
Roderick stated he had a request from Lisa Jordan to appear, but she was not present.
There were no other citizens petitions.
There were none.
The city needs to reevaluate their water tap fee because it is currently at $500.00 and just the material, not including any labor to do the job, is $585.00. Roderick asked what other cities do, Swank stated Tippecanoe County charges $600.00 just for the tap and the customer must pay for all the material. Swank believes Veedersburg is $750.00 and Williamsport is $850.00. Roderick asked if that includes the materials, Swank confirmed that it does. Barce indicated that his office is updating the city utility ordinances and it will be comparable to what the surrounding cities are doing, and it will be compliant with changes to state laws.
Swank stated Tara Hesler, owner of Stylistics, has asked for the easement behind her business to be graveled, it is 500 feet. Swank wants the Council’s opinion on this. Roderick asked if the easement was usable to the public? Swank said no, the use would be solely to that business. Roderick asked for discussion from the council. Grant stated if is was just for the business use, it would be on them, Roderick asked what the council thought if Stylistics paid for the gravel and had the city spread it would they be OK with that? Roderick asked if it was a former alley, Swank stated no, it is strictly grass with a manhole approximately 40 feet from Avenue 4. Carnahan asked if it was ever an alley? Swank stated he was positive it is just a utility easement. Hargan asked what the businesses purpose is for their request? Swank stated that due to parking constraints people have used this space to go around the building and have gotten stuck because it gets muddy. There was no further discussion.
Swank did not have any additional reports.
The city of Attica no longer has the armored vehicle, it went to the Anderson Police Department.
Durnil asked Mr. Barce to look at the police departments ride along liability form because it is very generic. Mr. Barce sent an updated form to Durnil for review, Durnil approved the new form and would like the council to review and approve it. The APD stopped doing ride alongs approximately a year ago due to a situation where a student overheard confidential information then released it causing the city to lose a case. Durnil wants to prevent this from happening in the future and take the liability off the city if that situation arises again. Roderick asked if that is what the form is that Durnil handed out? Barce stated it releases liability if the person riding along is hurt he stated the new document covers liability and confidentially.. Durnil stated once the form is signed, he would still need to approve the ride along. Roderick asked for a motion to approve after reviewing the document, Carnahan made a motion to approve, Hargan seconded, all were in favor, motion passed.
Durnil reported the new Tahoe is being built and should be done in the next few weeks. Once delivered it will be taken to Moveover Outfitters in Lafayette to have the equipment installed. Durnil estimates it will be on the road in a month. This vehicle will have a different decal scheme then the others.
Roderick stated he had discussed last year in meetings about police retention and one of the biggest topics that comes up is take home vehicles, Durnil handed out a proposal for the Council to take home and read so it can be discussed at the next meeting. Roderick stated a lot of departments have take home programs, and Durnil believes that is one reason we lose officers to Warren county because they have take home cars even though they are paid less. Durnil indicated he has come up with several proposals to consider and or modify.
Durnil also discussed the departments tasers, currently the dept has 7 that are on a lease to buy for 5 years that will be up in June. We also have 3 old tasers that no longer work and cannot be repaired. Durnil asked the company to create a proposal for 7 new tasers plus keep the current ones so there will be enough for all officers including the reserve. Grant asked when we would need to move forward with the new proposal? Durnil stated not until June unless something comes up before then. Durnil stated he will bring the quote to the council once he receives it.
Durnil had nothing further to report.
Little reported they have started their smoke detector giveaway. The department received a $2000.00 grant to provide smoke detectors to homeowners. If you are a homeowner the Fire Department will install the smoke detectors, as many as needed depending on the size of the home. If you own a rental property it is the property owner’s responsibility to provide these for the rental units. The department has put up notices, and anyone interested can call the Fire Department directly to request them.
Little stated the department in considering having an open house this year to show off some of their newer equipment and to recruit new volunteers for the department. They are looking at a midsummer time frame.
Little provided a handout to the Council members to look at from 5 Alarm regarding fire gear. Little explained that each year the department tries to replace some gear so that it is not a huge cost to replace all them in one year. The department must be compliant with NFTA which is a Fire Department standard. You have about 10 years on fire gear and are not supposed to use it beyond that time period. Little stated he got 3 quotes and 5 Alarm has the best gear and was the cheapest at $10,700.00. Little requested that they use the Public Safety Fund to pay for this gear to offset the cost to the Fire Department. Hargan asked what the balance is in the Public Safety Fund. Broadwater stated the balance is on a handout provided and is $158,602.97. Hargan stated it is very important for our department to have up to date equipment and to have the best. Hargan made a motion to approve this expense and pay for it out of the Public Safety Fund. Voorhees seconded the motion, all were in favor, the motion passed.
Little had nothing else to report.
Pycke reported that at the last Board of Works meeting there were 5 unsafe building orders presented for the following addresses: 808 S. McDonald St., 201 S. Perry St., 430 E. Main St., 404 S. Perry St., and 200 West St. Roderick stated a couple of the owners were fined $5000.00.
Pycke had nothing else to report.
Roderick asked Rod Bannon, the city’s Economic Development Director for an update. Rod stated we have goals set for 2020 that is mostly housing related. The details are currently being worked out and are not ready to be presented to the public. We are looking at single story homes, patio condos, and maybe some apartments.
In terms of tourism, we have a volunteer that is interested in taking this on, to create a tourism bureau with a marketing component to help market local businesses since we don’t have a Chamber of Commerce. The last item is to support, incubate and bring in new small businesses. Housing, however, is the priority. Hargan asked if new housing is what is being looked out, Bannon confirmed and added that the city is looking to build 60 new housing structures in various forms, across various economic strata. Bannon stated that they would like to create a non-profit to work on these goals because a non-profit can apply for grants that the city cannot, as well as, accept private donations that cannot be done through the city. The creation of the not for profit would allow more partnering with other counties to broaden the tourism market which will help everyone.
Rod had nothing else to report.
Roderick requested discussion on standing committees. He stated Mr. Grant is the current Council President. Hargan made a motion to nominate Mr. Grant to a second term as Council President. Roderick asked if there were any other nominations. None were made, Roderick confirmed that Mr. Grant will continue as Council President.
Merit board has appointed Sara Pycke. The Area Planning commission is currently represented by Mr. Grant. Per Grant, there are two Council appointed positions open. Grant proposed Nick Burris to fill one of the openings. Grant spoke with Burris regarding this and Burris is interested and willing if the council wishes him to fill this position. Roderick stated this is for the Area Planning Commission, and there are two council spots available. Roderick asked if the council agreed to appoint Burris and received an affirmative response. Roderick asked for an additional name for the APC, Roderick stated this can be filled by a council member. Carnahan asked what the difference is between the Area Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning and Appeals. Roderick explained that the APC plans what the future of the city will be, such as meeting regarding housing. Grant furthered explained that the APC looks at current and future zoning and plans for where homes and businesses will be located. Grant stated that Mr. Barce is reviewing the City’s zoning along with the county zoning.
Kyle Knosp asked if a community member can volunteer to be involved with the APC, Grant replied “yes”, Knosp stated he would be interested in the position. Roderick asked if the council would like to appoint Knosp, the council responded in the affirmative.
Roderick stated that Mike Wrighthouse is on the BZA and will move up to the chairmanship.
Roderick asked if anyone else besides Mrs. Maus would like to serve on the Economic Redevelopment committee, Carnahan volunteered to take this position. All agreed. Roderick asked for a motion to approve all appointees, Voorhees made a motion to approve, Maus seconded, all were in favor, motion passed.
Roderick introduced J.D. Taggert from Community Action. Taggert is the Housing Director for Community Action. They are working on a development in Attica targeting low to moderate income families. They are also looking to work with Hope Springs to support them with transitional housing when they leave the shelter. The funding for this project comes from the state, it is a Million Dollar grant with a 25% match. Taggert is looking for matched donations. There are a couple of sources for match funding, i.e. professional services from architects’, also a loan they take out is considered a match. In the past the city will donate land to be used which is also a match. Taggert said they are looking to build 10 units here in Attica, possibly duplexes to create some affordable housing.
Roderick stated the city does have some parcels of land that they are willing to donate. The information was emailed to the involved parties but would have to be approved by the council before any donations can be made. Bannon stated his is willing to work with Taggert on this project. Taggert stated the grant application is due in a month and will need a commitment letter from the Mayor to move forward. Roderick asked if the council is supportive of this initiative and received positive confirmation. Roderick requested a motion, Maus made a motion to move forward, Carnahan seconded, all were in favor, motion passed.
Roderick stated the next item of business is the review and approval of encumbrances from 2019.
Broadwater gave an overview of the financial statements that were handed out. One handout given is a Combined Fund Statement with year to date balances as of the end of 2019. Also handed out is the list of encumbrances to be reviewed and approved. The last statement handed out is a budget analysis for 2019. Broadwater explained the legal-size sheet contained all the funds and their balances as of the end of 2019 and within each fund is a separate line item called appropriations. The budget is approved for a fund with amounts budgeted into different categories for different things. The last handout is a report showing all the categories that were budgeted in 2019. All the highlighted lines are items that ended 2019 in the negative. It doesn’t meet the overall fund was in the negative at the end of 2019, but that more money was spent out of that appropriation then was budgeted. For example, in the 101 account one entry is a negative $91.05, city attorney line -$78.73, APD patrolman -$76,882.45. Even though there were line items in the negative, the fund balance was positive. This report shows money was not transferred within funds to cover spending out of the appropriations. Per the State Board of Accounts, this cannot be fixed for 2019, and will be a finding when we are audited. The purpose of showing you this is because there was money approved to be spent out of 2019’s budget that has not been spent. To spend this money, we need to do an encumbrance that will allow with money to remain into 2020. Broadwater explained the encumbrance document and the need to encumber multiple funds because some funds did not have enough money to cover the entire expense approved. Hargan asked if you can move appropriations? Broadwater stated, yes, you can move money within the appropriations of a fund.
Hargan stated that the goal for next year is to only spend money that has been appropriated. Hargan stated one appropriation that exceeded the budget by $76,000.00. Roderick stated that we had quite a few things go on last year. Broadwater stated that it is not a problem that the money was spent out of the appropriations, but that money should have been moved in before the money was spend. Grant stated in the past they had a year end meeting and moved all the money around before the end of the year. Roderick stated that didn’t happen in 2019, Roderick stated this could have all been taken care of in December.
Roderick asked for a motion to approve the incumbrances, Hargan made a motion, Voorhees seconded, all were in favor, motion passed.
Roderick stated the next item for discussion is the Attica City Pool. The pool is in disrepair. The pool was closed more than it was open last year. Roderick asked Mr. Swank how old the pool liner is, Swank reported 20 years and they usually last 11-15 years. Swank stated new liners for all 3 pools is $125,000.00. Roderick stated the park board has been working hard on this, HWC engineering firm did a pool study and gave us 3 options, the least expensive is approximately $750,000.00. Hargan asked if that was for a new pool, Roderick stated no. Roderick explained several other options presented, including a water slide, and grassy areas options. Roderick said there aren’t many grants available for pools, most of them focus on play areas and equipment. Also, our pool is not ADA accessible and work would need to be done to make it ADA accessible. Roderick stated this year Swank is going to cut the liner off to see what shape the structure is in. Maus also mentioned we have one pump running all three pools. Roderick stated the Pool building is in relatively good shape for its age and would need a little modernization to bring it into ADA compliance. There was some discussion about how Covington updated their pool facilities, and Roderick stated that Brian Duncan is looking at other options for the summer park program kids.
Hargan asked if the pool will be closed this summer, Roderick stated that yes, the city pool won’t be open this summer. Swank stated the structural integrity of the pool needs to be determined before any more decisions can be made. Hargan voiced additional concerns regarding the kids’ park program and their ability to swim. Carnahan thought there were other possibilities in the works. Grant stated the pool season is shorter and Roderick stated the pool operates at a loss each year. All council members are interested in all the options available to create an accessible water park facility for all to enjoy, it is a community need.
Roderick stated he had no further business and requested a motion to adjourn. The next Council meeting will be held Monday, March 9th, 2020 at 6:00pm.
Grant made the motion to adjourn, Hargan 2nded, motion passed. Meeting Adjourned.