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November 7, 2018 Special Town Council Meeting Minutes



NOVEMBER 7, 2018  4:00 P.M.


Roger D. Yoder Council Room

345 N. Morton Street

Shipshewana, IN  46565


PRESENT:  Council; C.A. Lazzaro, Elmer J. Mast, J. Mike Wilcher, Tad T. Hite.  ABSENT:  Council; Lynn M. Bontrager.  PRESENT:  Staff; Robert W. Shanahan, Chad L. Miller, Ruth Ann Downey.  Public; Brandi Fitch.


Council President E. Mast called the meeting to order, noted that Council Member Lynn M. Bontrager was absent and noted that Council Member Tad T. Hite had called and would be arriving late.  E. Mast noted that all other Council Members were present and welcomed everyone to the Special Town Council Meeting.   Agendas were available.


  1. Shanahan reported that the special meeting had been called to review the proposed 2019 Fire Budget and the 2019 Fire Service Agreement. B. Shanahan provided each Council Member, Newbury Township Trustee B. Fitch, and Fire Chief C. Miller with a copy of the 2018 and the proposed 2019 Fire Service Agreements. B. Shanahan referred everyone to page #3 Paragraph #4 regarding Term of Agreement of the 2018 Fire Service Agreement and read the paragraph in full.  (See attached)  B. Shanahan pointed out that per the agreement the Advisory Council is to meet in April to review the budget projections for the Fire Department for the upcoming fiscal year and to discuss entering into a contract for the next year.   This meeting was not held in April this year and needs to be held in April of 2019 to help the budget process  go smoother.  The budget is not just about buying things, it is about sustainability.  At this point the 2019 Budget is set but we need to abide by our agreement next year.  Discussion followed. It was noted that Van Buren Township will have a new Trustee next year.


  1. Shanahan referred everyone to page #4 of the 2018 and 2019 Fire Service Agreements and pointed out paragraph #10 in the 2019 Agreement titled Allocation of Expenses. B. Shanahan explained that a meeting had been held with the Newbury Township Trustee and one of her Board Members where a conversation took place regarding additional funding for emergency and unforeseen expenses. B. Fitch had expressed concern about paragraph #9 in the 2018 Agreement where it says that notice of any emergency or unforeseen expenses would be provided to the Townships, but it doesn’t say who will pay what portion of the unforeseen expenses.  So, the Allocation of Expenses paragraph was added to the 2019 Agreement using the same percentages as set forth in the agreement for budgeted expenses.  Now there is concern regarding the open-ended amount of unforeseen expenses.  Newbury Township has assisted the Town in the past with unexpected expenditures and plans to in the future, but they are not in favor of using the same percentage split as the Agreement.  If the Town is willing to remove paragraph #10 Allocation of Expenses from the 2019 Agreement and approve the 2019 Agreement with the new percentages, I believe that Newbury Township would be in favor of the 2019 Agreement.  Then we can move forward with the establishment of a Fire Territory.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan reported that he would have the new agreement prepared and the Town Council  can approve it tomorrow at the regular Town Council meeting.  New 2019 Fire Service Agreements will be delivered to Newbury and Van Buren Townships after the Council meeting.  Discussion followed.


  1. Shanahan reported that an informational meeting regarding the establishment of a Fire Territory had been held at the Newbury Township Trustees office and Umbaugh had made a presentation. A quote of $25,000.00 was given to establish a Fire Territory. The Town has worked with Financial Solutions Group, (FSG) for a number of years and received a quote around $5,000.00 to establish a Fire Territory.  A number of years ago FSG completed a Fire Territory Proposal for the Town and it did not move forward.  The quotes from Umbaugh and FSG were compared.  We found that FSG did not include a cost for the required meetings in their quote.  We went back to FSG and were told it would be an additional $1,000.00 for the meetings.  T. Hite arrived at 4:20 p.m.


  1. Shanahan reported that at the last meeting in September the Council approved moving forward with FSG for the proposal to establish a Fire Territory, and to pay for the proposal. We have asked them to put the process on hold, so we can gather more quotes before moving forward. More quotes will not be available until the middle of December.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan asked B. Fitch if she had been able to get a quote from anyone.  B. Fitch responded no but we are still interested in moving forward with the establishment of a Fire Territory.  B. Shanahan reported that he could not see a financial downside to the establishment of a Fire Territory.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan noted that every parcel of property that will be a part of the Territory has to be included in the report.   E. Mast pointed out that we will not be able to meet the deadline of April in 2019 to establish a Fire Territory so it will be 2020 before we can hold the three required public hearings and it will be 2021 before tax dollars will be collected for the Fire Territory.  Discussion followed.  B. Shanahan noted that we will need Fire Agreements until the Fire Territory is established, that could be another  2 – 3 years.


Discussion followed regarding the possibility of building a new fire station once a Fire Territory is established.  C. Miller reported that the Fire Department just had their ISO Evaluation and if we build, we will need to stay in a certain area to maintain our ISO rating.  When you are too far from a fire hydrant your rating could go down.  T. Hite expressed concern about the Fire Department building too far from Town.  E. Mast pointed out we had all the numbers together last time and the establishment of the fire territory fell apart because Newbury Township decided not to participate.  I don’t want to see that happen again.   Discussion followed.


  1. Shanahan reported that the agreement for the Light Parade on November 10th has been signed by the SRMA.


There being no further business to come before the Council E. Mast asked for a motion to adjourn.


MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to adjourn.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.



_______________________________________                _______________________________________

Elmer J. Mast, Council President                                                            J. Mike Wilcher, Council Member



_______________________________________                _______________________________________

Arlene Lazzaro, Council Member                                                            Tad T. Hite, Council Member




Ruth Ann Downey, Clerk-Treasurer