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Town Council Minutes/Memoranda – October 8th, 2020

Shipshewana Town Council Meeting

October 8th, 2020 @ 6:00 P.M.
Wolfe Community Building
345 N Morton Street
Shipshewana, Indiana 46565

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



Jeremy VanErman of Commonwealth Engineering read the Public Notice that was in the newspaper in full and reported that the application for funding is ready for submission.  There will be a 30 to 60-day review period before we hear what funding may be available to the Town.  Andrew of Commonwealth Engineering joined the meeting virtually and provided a project summary review as follows:  Four options have been presented to the Council to address the challenges at the WWTP and all options would meet IDEM requirements.  The option chosen by the Council includes expansion of the oxy ditch, an upgrade to the headworks, digester, sludge holding tank, and some lift station upgrades.  The total construction cost is 7 million plus.  C. Erwin of DLZ asked if this was a 40 or 20-year loan.  J. VanErman responded a 40-year loan that also takes into consideration the short-lived assets for replacement.  There being no further questions or public input J. VanErman reported that Laura Harman from the USDA will contact the Town directly when a funding determination has been made. 

MOTION:  A motion passed accepting the agenda with flexibility.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  T. Fitch reported that he has been approached by several citizens requesting a Firearms Safety Course.  The number of gun permits issued by the Town has gone up and we have several certified gun instructors on the department.  I would like to offer a course with the approval of the Town Council and a legal opinion from the Town Attorney.  The Town Attorney recommended checking with the Town Insurance Company regarding coverage and getting a singed Hold Harmless Agreement from anyone who would participate in the course.  Discussion followed.  T. Fitch noted that they would start in a classroom going over safety rules and then use air soft guns.  The key point of the class would be safety and the fundamentals of shooting.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed authorizing the Town Marshal to pursue the establishment of a Gun Safety Class that will be open to the community. 

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT CONTINUED:  S-4, Brandon Hooley’s truck has been repaired and is back in service, there are still a few parts that are on back-order.  S-2, Carlos Jasso did an excellent job catching two individuals passing counterfeit money at the Flea Market recently.  Discussion followed.

OLD BUSINESS:  ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOLARSHIP FUND IN MEMORY OF ELDON HOSTETLER:  No contact has been made to see if a family member would like to be involved in the scholarship creation or the application review process. 

SR 5 SIDEWALK BID AWARD:  C. Erwin of DLZ provided a bid tabulation and proposed construction map to Council Members for the SR 5 Sidewalk Improvement Project and pointed out that there will be no sidewalk in front of Dr. Waggoner’s office as he did not agree to grant an easement.  The Town received three bids for the project and all three bids were in order.  The low bid from R. Yoder Construction in the amount of $276,927.00 is recommended for award.  The project is to be substantially completed 60 days from the time of the Notice to Proceed.  Discussion followed regarding the Dr. Waggoner property.  

MOTION:  A motion passed to accept the bids for the SR 5 Sidewalk Improvements (Farver Street to the Blue Gate Garden Inn) as submitted, to approve and sign the Notice of Award for the project with R. Yoder Construction of Nappanee, IN in the amount of $276,927.00, and authorization was given to the Council President to sign the Contract for this project outside of a regular Council meeting.

2020 COMMUNITY CROSSING GRANT APPLICATION:  C. Erwin provided Council Members with a map of the proposed Berkshire Drive project and reported that the cost to add sidewalks to the north side of Berkshire Drive adds an additional $170,000.00 to the project bringing the total Construction Cost to $1,350,000.00.  The Town will be applying for a $1,000,000.00 Grant from the State Community Crossings program, Town match will be $350,000.00 plus $121,500.00 in engineering bringing the local funding total to $471,500.00 for this project.  The Community Crossings Grant Application must be submitted no later than October 23rd.   B. Shanahan reported that he is still in discussion with E & S Sales regarding the drainage for this project tying into the structure going south.  Discussion followed.

WAYFINDING SIGNAGE:  The purpose of Wayfinding Signage is to assist the 1.3-1.5 million annual visitors move easily around the Town.  Council Members were referred to their paperwork for a report regarding the establishment of a committee regarding Wayfinding Signage and progress made.  Four companies have been contacted and asked to submit quotes for consultation services regarding Wayfinding Signage for the community.  Three quotes were submitted as follows:  Baldus Company of Ft. Wayne, IN $4,200.00; Burkhart Sign systems, LLC of South Bend, IN $4,500.00 and LaGwana of Shipshewana, IN submitted an hourly rate of $75.00 for design and consultations with an estimate of 4 to 6 hours to complete the project.  Discussion followed regarding experience in the field and the fact that this is not for actual signage just for planning.  Phase I of the project will address the nucleus of the Town and Phase II will address the SR 5 corridor and will not be done until the SR 5 widening project is complete in 2022.  Discussion followed.  Estimated project cost of signage is $40,000.00 to $50,000.00. 

MOTION:  A motion passed accepting the quote from Baldus Company of Ft. Wayne, IN in the amount of $4,200.00 for Wayfinding Consultation with payment for this project coming out of the Unrestricted Gift Fund. 

2021 BUDGET ORDINANCE ADOPTION:  The 2021 Budget Hearing was held at the September 24th Council meeting with no input from the public.  To move the process forward Council needs to consider adoption of the 2021 Budget.  Discussion followed.  It was pointed out that the Ordinance reflects a higher tax rate than what the actual tax rate will be.  It is the Council’s wish to keep the tax rate the same as the 2020 tax rate with the exception of the addition of a tax rate for the Storm Water Bonds which is expected to be around 7 cents.  The Town of Shipshewana 2020 tax rate is $1.12.  To keep the same tax rate in 2021 we will be using some of the Town’s cash reserves.  Necessary adjustments will be made when the Town receives their 1782 Notice from the DLGF.  Discussion followed. 


FINANCIAL REPORT:  There will be a Public Hearing at the October 22nd Council meeting regarding Additional Appropriations in the Unrestricted Gift Fund for the establishment of a Scholarship Fund in Memory of Eldon Hostetler.  Leaf Pick-up will begin next Monday, October 12th and run through November 30th.  Notices regarding leaf pick up were enclosed with the October Utility bills.  A motion regarding the Claims Register, September Bank Reconciliation, August 13th and September 24th   Memoranda, and September 29th Executive Session would be appreciated.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed approving the Claims Register, September Bank Reconciliation, August 13th    and September 24th Memoranda, and September 29th Executive Session as presented.

APPROVAL OF 2021 FIRE SERVICE AGREEMENT WITH NEWBURY TOWNSHIP:  The Town has received a signed 2021 Fire Service Agreement with Newbury Township and the hope is to have a signed agreement with Clay Township by the next meeting.  Discussion followed.

HPG INVOICE/LEGAL SERVICES AGREEMENT:  The Council previously approved entering into an agreement with HPG Network regarding a possible residential development and committed $50,000.00 from the Unrestricted Gift Fund to be disbursed as invoices come in.  The first invoice has come in for legal services in the amount of $5,000.00.  Discussion followed regarding progress made so far and possible ways to get things to move a little faster.

MOTION:  A motion passed approving payment of $5,000.00 from the Unrestricted Gift Fund to HPG Network for a Legal Services Agreement with Eberhard, Weimer & Glick. 

NEW PARK DEPARTMENT STORAGE BUILDING:  Three quotes were presented to the Council for a 20’ X 14’ Storage Building for the Park Department to be placed between the new Public Restrooms and the Water Plant as follows:  Eash Sales of Shipshewana $7,165.00; Raber Patio Enclosures of Shipshewana $6,493.30; and Slabaugh Storage Barns, Inc. of Shipshewana $6,367.00 delivered.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed approving the purchase of a Storage Building for the Park Department to be paid from the Food & Beverage Tax Fund by Slabaugh Storage Barns, Inc. for $6,367.00 delivered.

The Park Board has given approval for the removal of three large pine trees between the Public Restrooms and the Water Plant to allow room for the storage building and encouraged planting new trees elsewhere on the park property.  The Storage Building project is about two months out. 

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT UPDATES:  E. Middlebury Street is almost done and should open next week.  We still have the punch list, over all the project went well.  Lake Park Industries has been a good partner throughout the project.  The Pumpkinvine Trail Easement Document between the Town and NIPSCO to bring another natural gas line into is almost complete.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed authorizing the Council President to sign the Pumpkinvine Trail Easement Document between the Town and NIPSCO outside of a Council meeting. 

Discussion followed regarding the gas line project and when the community could benefit from the new line.  DLZ is working on the 2020 Community Crossings Grant paperwork that must be submitted by October 23rd, this will be for the Berkshire Drive project.  Discussions will begin soon with INDOT regarding the SR 5 reconstruction project scheduled for 2022.  Ligtel will be included in these discussions and the Town will be considering replacement of 4,000’ of Water line along SR5 during this project.  Discussion followed.

REPORT TO COUNCIL ON FIRE PROTECTION:  The fire protection project on all Town buildings has been completed.  Fire Alarms have been connected and smoke detectors installed.  The Insurance Company will be invited to do a reassessment to see if any of these improvements will result in lower insurance rates.  All doors are now equipped for electronic opening.  Our Town employees are hard workers and work well together, our crew has built three offices in the Town Hall and the Park Pavilion.  Our temporary help, Bill Boyer broke his shoulder while helping a neighbor and will not be available for a while.    Discussion followed. 

TOWN MANAGER REPORT:  The Council was asked to consider whether to have an employee Christmas Party this year due to the COVID situation and was asked to provide a decision at the next Council meeting.  A reminder was given that the last Council meeting in December was moved to Wednesday December 23, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.  A Joint Meeting of the Shipshewana Town Council and the Shipshewana Storm Water Board will be held on November 12th for a Public Hearing on Storm Water Rates. 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:  The Town Manager referred Council Members to a Notice of Public Hearing regarding property located at 485 E. Country Lane in Shipshewana.  This hearing will take place before the LaGrange County Board of Zoning Appeals.  The petition is to construct a 40’ x 60’ pole style horse barn.  The previous property owner had approval to build a barn but never pulled a permit.  A recommendation from the Council for this project is needed.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed in favor of a variance for the property located at 485 E. Country Lane, Shipshewana with the limit of four (4) animals.

Council Member E. Mast reported that he would be going in for surgery and would be unable to attend Council meetings in person for a while.  He will join the meetings virtually when he can.

Council President T. Hite asked about having a peep hole for the Police Department door between the Town Hall and the Police Department so that officers would be able to see who is there. 

Council Member J. Weimer requested a Vision meeting noting that there are only four Council meetings left this year and two Council Members will be changing.  Discussion followed regarding a Master Plan for the Town, and the fact that the County is starting on a new Master Plan that will include the four incorporated Towns in LaGrange County.  J. Weimer expressed the need to have a Shipshewana Plan so the Town will have a goal to chase for the next 25 to 30 years.  Discussion followed regarding the County Plan, who is involved in the process, and the scope of the project.  Discussion turned to the County Housing Summit and the need for over 300 homes in LaGrange County over the next 10 years.   C. Erwin pointed out that a plan for the Town would include Water and Sewer Plant Improvements, priorities for street improvements, zoning, transportation, trail extension etc.  At some point input is requested from the public on these plans.  Discussion followed. 

ATTORNEY REPORT:  The attorney reported that a Non-Disclosure/Confidentiality Agreement has been put together for the IT Director.  After review, if it is agreeable to all parties the document will need to be signed by the Council President and IT Director.  Discussion followed.

MOTION:  A motion passed approving the Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreement between the Town of Shipshewana and the Town IT Director as presented and authorized the Council President to sign this document outside of a Council meeting. 

T. Hite announced that the next Council meeting will be held in the Rodger D. Yoder Council Room.

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

MOTION:  A motion passed adjourning the meeting.

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

_______________________________________              ________________________________________

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


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