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February 28, 2019 Council Meeting Minutes


FEBRUARY 28, 2019  6:00 P.M.


Roger D. Yoder Council Room

345 N. Morton Street

Shipshewana, IN  46565


PRESENT:  Council; C. Arlene Lazzaro, Elmer J. Mast, Joshua A. Weimer, Tad T. Hite, Zachary J. Stoltzfus.  Staff; Robert W. Shanahan, Kurt R. Bachman, Tom M. Fitch II, Jacqueline Ross, Ruth Ann Downey.  Public; George Bachman, Bill Bradley, Phil Heyerly, Ryan Riegsecker, Andrew Robarge, Jeremy VanErman, Lyle Miller, Monty Glick, Phyllis J. Youga.



Council President, T. Hite called the meeting to order, noted that all Council Members were present, welcomed everyone and asked that they sign in.  Agendas were available.


INVOCATION & PLEDGE:   T. Hite gave the invocation and Z. Stoltzfus led the pledge.


MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to accept the agenda with flexibility.




CANINE OATH:  Town Marshal T. Fitch II, introduced Canine Handler Nicholas M. Byroad and Canine Yogi.  T. Fitch II reported that Canine Yogi has completed his training and is ready to take his Oath of Office.  Clerk-Treasurer R. Downey administered the Oath of Office.   Introductions and discussion followed.


  1. Fitch II introduced new hire Police Officer Jackie Ross to Council Members and Staff. T. Fitch reported that J. Ross has been doing very well. J. Ross will leave for the Academy on May 28th for the 15-week course.  Discussion followed.


  1. Fitch reported that maintaining the Phillip’s AEDs that are kept in our Police vehicles are expensive to maintain. T. Hite reported that the Phillips AED’s had issues and that Parkview Ambulance, and the Fire Department EMS have moved away from the Phillips AED’s. T. Fitch II requested permission to remove the AEDs from the Police cars.   Both Parkview Ambulance and the Fire Department are usually the first ones on site.  The Police Department has 6 AED’s that were donated by Abbot Labs.  Discussion followed.  J. Weimer reported that his father-in-law survived a heart attack because an AED was available and recommended that T. Fitch II check into other source options.  Discussion followed.


  1. Fitch II reported that there have been no new crimes recently and our equipment is running well. Discussion followed. T. Fitch II requested approval to add Robert Elliott as a Reserve Officer and reported that he has served as a County Reserve in the past.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to approve Robert Elliott as a Shipshewana Police Reserve Officer.  E. Mast seconded the motion.  Motion carried.




SEWER PLANT PLANNING GRANT:  B. Shanahan reported that we have representatives from Commonwealth Engineering here this evening.  They have previously made a presentation to the Town Council regarding a USDA Grant for a Feasibility Study for the Wastewater Plant.  The total cost of the Study would be $40,000.00 with $30,000.00 being paid by the grant and the Town would have to put $10,000.00 towards the study.  R. Downey has checked, and we do have $10,000.00 available for the Town share of this project from the Sewer Department.  The Council has received a copy of the contract and it has been reviewed by the Town Attorney.  J. VanErman of Commonwealth Engineers, Inc. reported that the Town is not responsible for anything until funding is secured.  We have had a preliminary meeting with representatives from the USDA and they seem eager to support the Town.  We will need the Clerk-Treasurer to provide some financial information and need some more information from the Wastewater Superintendent to complete the application.  Before the application is submitted, we will need the Council President’s signature.  Discussion followed.    It was noted that once the notice to proceed has been given by the Town it will take approximately 120 days to complete the report.  K. Bachman reported that Al Stong has been very helpful and has recommended that we prepare a Memo of Understanding to show the breakdown of the cost.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  Z. Stoltzfus made a motion to approve execution of the contract with Commonwealth Engineering for the USDA Grant  for Sewer Plant Planning subject to the Memorandum of Understanding with both documents being signed outside of a Council meeting.  J. Weimer seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


SR 5 SOUTH INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS/OWNER-CONTRACTOR AGREEMENT:  B. Shanahan reported that the SR 5 South Infrastructure Improvements include a water line, lift station rehab and sidewalks.  API was the low bidder for this project at $798,622.50.  I have the Owner-Contractor Agreement prepared by DLZ for your consideration.  Discussion followed.  K. Bachman pointed out that he had not reviewed the agreement.  R. Downey reported that an additional appropriation would be necessary for the sidewalk portion of this project.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the Owner-Contractor Agreement for the SR 5 South Infrastructure Improvements with API in the amount of $798,622.50 subject to the Attorney’s review of the agreement and appropriations for the sidewalk portion of the project.  Once conditions are met then the Agreement may be signed outside of a Council meeting.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


The next two items under Old Business, Employee Handbook Update and Review of Town of Shipshewana Purchasing Policy were tabled.


AT & T PARK WATER TOWER CONTRACT:  B. Shanahan reported that he had been contacted by another company that would like to make an up-front revenue offer for leasing the Park Water Tower, and they have asked that I send them our current lease agreement with AT & T.  I will not send the agreement to them without Council approval.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan noted that Council consensus is that you are not interested in pursuing an offer at this time.




BLUE GATE INC. TAX ABATEMENT REQUEST:  B. Shanahan reported that the Town had been approached by the Blue Gate regarding the possibility of a Tax Abatement.   B. Bradley from the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation is here this evening because he has been working with the Blue Gate and the Town regarding this request.  The Blue Gate is a long-time existing business in the Town, but their business is not manufacturing, therefore it does not qualify for a Tax Abatement.  There is still the possibility that the Town can assist the Blue Gate Inc. through the use of CEDIT Funds.  Blue Gate Inc. is planning a three-million-dollar expansion and  CEDIT Funds can be disbursed to Blue Gate Inc. in a similar manner to a tax abatement over a 10-year period.  The expected CEDIT distribution to the Town this year is $179,000.00, this amount does vary from year to year.  The CEDIT distribution to the Town was $103,000.00 in 2014.  The proposed reimbursement will never exceed the annual CEDIT Revenue.  The first year Blue Gate, Inc. will receive $76,275.00 and each year after the distribution will go down.  Future use of CEDIT distributions to businesses will need to be considered on a case by case basis and should be someone making a substantial investment in the community.  A return will come back to the Town on this money via payment of property taxes.  B. Bradley reported that Blue Gate Inc. will be retaining 318 jobs and creating some new ones, as B. Shanahan pointed out the payment will never exceed the CEDIT Revenue coming in to the Town.  There is a second option for the Town, but it would take months to create and a project like this is an excellent use for CEDIT Funds.  We recommend that the Town move forward with the recommendation of using CEDIT Funds to help support this project.  A Development Agreement would be prepared by K. Bachman’s Office.  J. Weimer asked about the second option.  B. Bradley reported that the second option would require that an Economic Development Commission be established and then a target area would have to be established.  Discussion followed.


  1. Riegsecker distributed a copy of the proposed addition to the Event Center to Council Members and Staff. R. Riegsecker gave a power point presentation and pointed out that their current theatre at the Blue Gate Restaurant seats 300. In 2008 we had two or three signature shows at the Town Center.  Last year we had 57 or 58 shows and this year we will have between 70 – 80 shows at the Town Center.  R. Riegsecker reported that these shows have an economic impact on the whole County.  In 2017 the economic impact was estimated at 16 ½ million dollars.  For years we have heard visitors say what do you do in Shipshewana in the evening and we have been working on that.  R. Riegsecker reviewed the drawing showing the proposed addition and noted that they would like to start this project in the spring and complete it by January 1, 2020.  D.J. Construction out of Goshen will be our builder.  This addition will create 15 – 20 new jobs some full and some part time.  The cost of the project is approximately 3 ½ million dollars.  Discussion followed.


  1. Shanahan pointed out that this project will require the relocation of a Town water main, which will be done as part of their project. As Town Manager I feel this is a good project for the Town to assist in and we have the mechanism to assist through CEDIT Funds. Discussion followed.


MOTION:  J. Weimer made a motion authorizing legal counsel to draw up the appropriate paperwork to allow payment of CEDIT monies from the Town to Blue Gate Inc. over a 10-year period.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


  1. Stoltzfus noted that we have spent $45,000.00 out of the CEDIT Fund this year. R. Downey reported that the Fire Station Bond payments are made from the CEDIT Fund. Discussion followed.


TOWN MANAGER REPORT:  B. Shanahan asked if he could introduce the new Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Director, Phyllis Youga.  P. Youga noted that she had been introduced at a previous meeting and had nothing to present this evening.  B. Shanahan had nothing further to bring before the Council.


SHIPSHEWANA CAR MUSEUM INC. ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT:  R. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for the 2018 Annual Report of the Shipshewana Car Museum Inc. and noted that as part of the Car Museum Inc. Bylaws this report has to be submitted annually to the Shipshewana Town Council.  A motion from the Council acknowledging receipt of the report would be appreciated.


MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion acknowledging receipt of the 2018 Car Museum Inc. Annual Report.  Z. Stoltzfus seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


TRANSFER ORDINANCE/COMMUNITY CROSSINGS GRANT:  R. Downey reported that this Ordinance reflects the transfer of funds from the MVH and the TIF Fund to the State Grant/Community Crossings Fund for the Town 25% match for the E. Middlebury Street and S. Morton Street projects scheduled for this year.


President T. Hite introduced AN ORDINANCE TRANSFERRING CERTAIN MONEYS NOW EXISTING IN THE TOWN TIF FUND AND IN THE TOWN MVH FUND TO THE TOWN STATE GRANT/COMMUNITY CROSSINGS FUND IN ORDER TO FINANCE THE TOWN MATCH FOR THE 2018 COMMUNITY CROSSINGS GRANT IN THE TOWN OF SHIPSHEWANA, INDIANA.  Council Member E. Mast made a motion, seconded by Council Member C.A. Lazzaro, that said Ordinance be numbered and placed on first reading, and that the same be read in full at this time.  Motion carried.


Said Ordinance having been designated as “II-F-1-d(576)” and having been read in full, and the provisions of the same having been considered by the Council, Council Member E. Mast made a motion, seconded by Council Member C.A. Lazzaro, that any requirements for a second or third reading be waived and that all rules of the Council, which unless suspended, might prevent the final passage and adoption of “II-F-1-d(576)” at this meeting, be suspended and that said Ordinance be placed on its final passage.  Motion carried.


“II-F-1-d(576)” having been read in full was then placed upon its final passage, and on call of the roll the vote for the adoption of said Ordinance was as follows:


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

NAYS:  – 0 –


There being present at said meeting at least two-thirds of the members elect of the Town Council and “II-F-1-d(576)” having  been passed after unanimous suspension of the rules, the President thereupon declared said Ordinance to have duly passed and adopted.


FINANCIAL REPORT:  R. Downey reported that notices had been sent to the paper and posted at Town Hall regarding two Public Hearings that will be held at the March 14th Council Meeting.  The Public Hearing to re-establish the CCD Fund and the Cumulative Firefighting Building and Equipment Fund will be held at 6:00 p.m. and the Public Hearing for Additional Appropriations will be held at 6:15 p.m.  The Additional Appropriations are for the Public Restroom project and the 2019 Road Improvements.  In your paperwork you will find a copy of the Cash & Investments Combined Statement for 2018 for the Town of Shipshewana.  This is the advertisement portion of the Town Annual Report which was submitted to Gateway on February 22nd and has been published in the LaGrange papers.  This report is also available on the Town Website under notices.  I just received notice today regarding the next round of AIM Town Roundtable meetings.  The Spring Roundtable in our area will be held on April 18th at the Essenhaus, please let me know if you are interested in attending.  Discussion followed.  The advertisement for Bids for the 2019 Street Improvements has been placed in the paper.  A Special Town Council meeting to Receive Bids will be held on March 12th at 2 p.m.  Bids will be opened on March 12th and taken under advisement.  Award of Bids for the 2019 Street Improvement will be considered at the March 14th Council meeting.  R. Downey reported that the Claims register shows such a large number in the expenses because it also reflects the transfer of dormant funds and the transfers to the State Grant/Community Crossings Fund for the Town 25% match. A motion regarding the Claims Registers and Adjustment Journals would be appreciated.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to approve the Claims Register and Adjustment Journals as submitted.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.   Motion carried.


ATTORNEY REPORT:  K. Bachman had nothing further to report.


  1. Hite asked if there was any further business to come before the Council. There being nothing further he asked for a motion to adjourn.


MOTION:  E. Mast made a motion to adjourn.  Z. Stoltzfus seconded the motion.  Motion carried.