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Council Meeting Minutes/Memoranda – July 9th, 2020

Shipshewana Council Meeting

July 9th, 2020 @ 6:00 P.M.
345 N. Morton Street
Shipshewana, IN 46565

COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT:  C. Arlene Lazzaro, Elmer J. Mast, Joshua A. Weimer, Zachary J. Stoltzfus, Tad T. Hite.


Council President T. Hite called the meeting to order and opened the Public Hearing for Additional Appropriations.  Clerk-Treasurer R. Downey reported the request for Additional Appropriations includes $110,000.00 in the General Fund; $62,000.00 in the CEDIT Fund; $100,000.00 in the Unrestricted Gift Fund; and $15,000.00 in the Fire Fund.  Input from the public was requested.  There being no public input Council President T. Hite closed the Public Hearing portion of the meeting.

Motion:  A motion passed accepting the agenda with flexibility. 


SEALED BID OPENINGS; FIRE TRUCK & POLICE CAR: No bids were received for the Fire Truck.  Police Car Bids  were submitted as follows:  Seth Weaver of South Bend, IN $800.00; Alexis Eslinger of Bristol, IN $2,517.00; Daniel Graber of White Pigeon, MI $2,250.00; Yousef Dabbagh of Island Lake, IL $1,068.00; and Daniel Graber of White Pigeon, MI $3,050.00.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed accepting the Bid of $3,050.00 from Daniel Graber of White Pigeon, MI for the 2010 Dodge Charger police vehicle. 

LIGTEL FIBER OPTIC PRESENTATION:  Two Ligtel representatives discussed the possibility of bringing Fiber Optic Internet service to the Town of Shipshewana within the next year depending on the amount of interest shown in receiving the service.  Residential rates would range from $55 to $105 depending on the service rendered.  A residential installation fee would be $75.00 and there is a construction fee for businesses that ranges from $500 to several thousand dollars depending on services needed.  Participation of 30 – 60% would be necessary for this service to come to the area at no cost to the Town.  There would be a 2 to 3 year build out plan.  Discussion followed regarding customer service, lack of data caps, down time, underground versus overhead lines, and right-of-way.  They currently serve Nobel County and have been in business since 1896 as Ligonier Telephone. 

MAIN STREET CLOSURE REQUEST:  Due to the need of bringing in a crane to replace a leg on the Hubbard Mill Elevator a Street Closure Request has been made for July 16th though July 19th.  Main Street would be closed from SR 5 going east to Harrison Street.  Discussion followed.

MOTION: A motion passed approving the closure of Main Street from July 16th through July 19th from SR 5 east to Harrison Street to allow for elevator repair work at Hubbard Mill. 

POLICE & FIRE SUMMERFEST EVENT:  It was reported that some insurance issues have been raised over holding an event at a time like this.  The Cove currently has 30 softball teams that will be coming in for an event and the Fire Department wondered if they could hold a carry-out dinner and car show to go along with The Cove event.  Discussion followed regarding the fact that COVID cases continue to be on the rise, the importance of following CDC guidelines, the fact that you can’t just post rules saying masks and social distancing is required without enforcement, and waivers would need to be signed.  Discussion continued regarding liability, responsibility.  We are in the middle of a pandemic and no case law has been established yet.  Discussion followed.  Fire Chief, C. Miller expressed the need to know if they will be able to hold a Fish Fry in October.  As a local unit of government, the Town has extra responsibility regarding meeting CDC compliance guidelines, and enforcement.  A reminder was given that a COVID Plan must be submitted to the County Health Department before an event.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed authorizing the Fire Department to hold a carry-out/drive-thru dinner when the Cove holds their softball event subject to following all CDC guidelines including wearing of face masks by all firefighters and gloves in the food preparation process, that hand sanitizer be made available, and that social distancing is observed whenever possible.

The question was raised if a Police presence would be necessary to ensure strict enforcement of CDC guidelines.  Discussion followed regarding signage and this even would only take place if the Fire Fund Raising Committee wants to move forward with it. 

POLICE/FIREFIGHTER WORKOUT ROOM:  There has been discussion regarding moving the workout room out of the Town Hall/Wolfe Building basement and moving it to the Fire Department basement where some walls, etc. would need to be built.  Three quotes have been submitted as follows:  Integrity Home Services LLC of Shipshewana $10,306.00; Westwind Sales LLC of Shipshewana $16,560.54; and Countryroad Builders of Shipshewana $11,500.00.  Payment for this project would be as follows:  $5,153.00 Fire Gift Fund; $1,000.00 Police Gift Fund; and $4,000.00+ from various other funds.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed approving building a fitness room in the Fire Station basement at a cost of $10,306.00 by Integrity Home Services, LLC of Shipshewana.


HIGHLAND RIDGE TAX ABATEMENT COMPLIANCE:  Council Member E. Mast abstained from any discussion or vote regarding the Highland Ridge Tax Abatement.  The rest of the Council Members reviewed the Tax Abatement Compliance paperwork submitted to the Town from Jayco, Inc. – Highland Ridge RV Division and expressed concern that no response had been received from Highland Ridge regarding the estimated number of employees (328) versus the actual number of employees (250).  Discussion followed regarding how to move the process forward. 

MOTION:  A motion passed authorizing the Town Attorney to start the termination process on the Highland Ridge Tax Abatement.  Ayes:  Tad T. Hite, C. Arlene Lazzaro, Zachary J. Stoltzfus, Joshua A. Weimer.  Nays:  – 0 – Abstentions:  Elmer J. Mast.

FIRE DEPARTMENT LADDER TRUCK PURCHASE REQUEST:  A proposal regarding Estimated Sources and Use of Funds had been prepared by FSG (Financial Solutions Group) for the Council’s consideration.

The estimated cost of a new ladder truck is $1,427,325.00 with participation from Van Buren and Newbury Townships the Town’s portion would be $593,767.00.  A 10-year estimated lease schedule was provided for just the Town’s portion and a second schedule if the Town must pay for full cost of the truck.  FSG also included the 5 Year Lease Schedule for the Fire Truck that the Town is currently paying on and will not be paid off until 2023.  Discussion followed.  The possibility of issuing a G.O. Bond for the Ladder Truck was discussed. 

STORM WATER RATES:  A Storm Water Rate Comparison had been prepared by FSC and was reviewed by the Council.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed to move forward with a new Storm Water Rate Structure for the Storm Water Utility. 


TOWN HALL/POLICE FURNACE & AC UNIT REPLACEMENT:  Original AC/Heating units have been serving the Town Hall/Police Building since 2003.  The AC on the Town Hall side went out and a temporary fix was tried and failed.  The Town Manager requested retroactive approval for the installation of two new furnaces and two new AC Units at a cost saving of $2,000.00 by A Good Neighbor Heating & Cooling.

MOTION:  A motion passed retroactively approving the installation of two new AC/Heating Units for the Town Hall -Police Department at a cost of $12,900.00 by A Good Neighbor Heating & Cooling of Middlebury, IN.  

2021 TOWN COUNCIL BUDGET WORKSHOP:  A request was presented to the Council to set a date for the 2021 Town Council Budget Workshop.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed setting the date for the 2021 Town Council Budget Workshop for 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, 2020 to be held in the Wolfe Community Building.

CONSRTUCTION PROJECTS UPDATES:  A water main had to be relocated due to the E. Middlebury Street Road Construction project, this will be an additional cost of around $5,000.00.  We have had no major traffic issues with the street closure.  Before concrete can be poured at the old public restroom site, we need electric service established for the decorative streetlight, concrete work is scheduled for July 16th.  The SR 5 sidewalk project from the Bluegate Garden Inn to Farver Street should move forward yet this year.  The deeds for the Pumpkinvine Trail are in process but there has been no word recently from NIPSCO regarding running the new gas service line.  All Community Crossings Grants are on hold along with the Next Level Trails Grants.  Discussion followed regarding the importance of the new gas service line for the community along with the benefit of doing the trail and gas line project at the same time. 


FINANCIAL REPORT:  Per the Governors Executive Order there will be no utility shut off’s through August 14th.  Greg Guerrettaz of FSG is scheduled to be here on July 14th for round 1 of the 2021 Budget.  Council Members have received a copy of the June 30th Fund, Appropriation and Revenue reports.  A request was made for a motion regarding the Claims Register, Bank Reconciliation, and Adjustment Journal.

MOTION:  A motion passed approving the Claims Register, Adjustment Journal and June Bank Reconciliations as submitted.

TOWN MANAGER REPORT:  B. Shanahan had attended an EDC meeting regarding an OCRA Sponsored Grant for Businesses that only requires a 10% match.  Local Businesses were encouraged to seek more information regarding this grant.

MOTION:  A motion passed suspending the rules for a second reading of all Ordinances. 

FIBER OPTIC INTERNET SERVICE:  Discussion followed regarding Fiber Optic Internet Service for the Town and whether to move forward with a study regarding the same.

MOTION:  A motion passed approving the expenditure not to exceed $42,000.00 from the Unrestricted Gift Fund for a study regarding bringing Fiber Optic Internet Service to the Town of Shipshewana. 

CRITICAL INCIDENT CARE SERVICE:  A one-year Counseling Agreement was presented to the Council for their consideration.  The contract had been reviewed by the Town Attorney, could be broken with 30 days-notice and would cover counseling for the Police Department at an annual fee of $3,500.00 plus an hourly rate.  Discussion followed.  Questions arose regarding the same service for the Fire Department.

Consideration regarding the Counseling Agreement was tabled. 

MOTION:  A motion passed adjourning the meeting.

______________________________________                 _______________________________________

Tad T. Hite, Council President                                                Zachary J. Stoltzfus, Council Vice-President

______________________________________                 _______________________________________

C. Arlene Lazzaro, Council Member                                      Elmer J. Mast, Council Member


______________________________________                 _______________________________________ Ruth Ann Downey, Clerk-Treasurer                                       Joshua A. Weimer, Council Member