NEW WHITELAND TOWN COUNCIL

FEBRUARY 21, 2006

MEETING MINUTES

 

Town Council President John Perrin opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m. with the pledge to the American flag. Council members present were Scott Alspach, John Perrin, Don Harris and Terry Spencer.   Also present were Attorney Stephen Watson and Clerk-Treasurer Maribeth Alspach along with Department Heads Jim Lasiter, Mary Facemire, Brian Hedrick and Office Manager Cindy Yates.   Councilman Noonan and Marshal Withers were both absent.  Lt. Stephenson was present representing the Police Department.  Councilman Perrin offered the opening prayer. 

 

MINUTES

Member Alspach moves to approve the minutes of the previous meeting.  Motion seconded by Councilman Spencer.  Vote 4 affirmative. 

 

OLD BUSINESS

2006 Budget

Alspach states that we are still waiting on the final budget order reducing the 2006 budget by an additional $21,943.00.  Council tables this item and asks that it be placed on the March 7th agenda.

 

Utility Deposits

Attorney Watson states he and Attorney Robbins discussed this item and will draft legislation when the council has reached a consensus on the changes they want to make.  Clerk-Treasurer Alspach states that the utility office prepared a list of rental properties in New Whiteland.  It appears we have 92 landlords with one or more properties each.  86 of those landlords hold residential properties while 6 are commercial landlords.  Alspach adds that we do not have complete mailing addresses on many of the property owners and we are unsure how accurate the information we have is as some dates back several years.  Discussion follows regarding ways of notifying landlords to advise them of a public meeting and subsequent policy changes.  Amount(s) of deposit(s) needs to be determined – deposits should cover at minimum a one-month bill.  When the changes affecting deposit amounts and property owner responsiblity would take place is also discussed.  Should changes be effective immediately or as each existing account changes?  Contacting each current customer and requiring that the account be transferred into the property owner’s name would be an option or the change could take place when the existing customer moves out causing the new account to be in the property owner’s name.  Clerk-Treasurer Alspach recommends a provision allowing the new deposit amounts to be charged on any existing account when the account becomes delinquent or has an arrears balance.  There is discussion about allowing property owners to maintain the same deposit on a property and not having to come into the office each time someone moves in or out. Office Manager Yates reminds the council that every time the meter is read to close out one account and set up a new one there is a $30.00 fee that the property owner would have to pay.  Property owners will have to provide a copy of their driver’s license and proof of ownership in order to establish an account.  Attorney Watson states we could require that they bring a copy of their title or sign an affidavit that they do in fact own the property.  President Perrin directs all council members to submit their recommendations for the changes to this policy in writing so that they can be reviewed and a decision on the changes can then be forwarded to the attorney.

 

Streetlights

Clerk-Treasurer Alspach presents a report on the number of streetlights the town currently pays for as requested at the last meeting.  Currently we have 284 outdoor lights.  The cost in January for those lights was $2,141.44, which is an approximate annual expense of $25,697.28.

 

Fire Department Take Home Vehicles

Fire Chief Hedrick asks if the council has reviewed the letter he distributed at the last meeting?  Hedrick states that there has been discussion of doing away with the staff and command vehicles in

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the past.  Hedrick states the New Whiteland gets ISO points for having those 2 vehicles.  Hedrick also asks about the option asking the Town to consider leasing his personal vehicle for $1.00 a year allowing him to put lights and decals on it and use it as a take home vehicle / Chief’s car.  President Perrin states that some questions regarding creating additional liability for the town have arisen.   Perrin asks Clerk-Treasurer Alspach to meet with our insurance agent to discuss this option and bring a report back to the council.

Hedrick asks permission to return to a policy allowing the on-call officer to take home one of the staff vehicles.  Hedrick states the reason for the policy would be to guarantee that someone could respond quickly to a medical call.  Both vehicles are equipped with air packs and basic life support equipment.  The vehicles would be used as a first responder vehicle.   Council asks if there are written guidelines for the use of these vehicles?  Chief Hedrick says that there are, but they are old.  He states no family members would be allowed in the vehicles at any time.  Vehicle could not be driven for personal use only on authorized fire business or responding to a call.  One exception is discussed which would allow the on-call officer to drive the vehicle to dinner within the designated and approved area.  Vehicle would remain at the officers home and would be available, as would the officer, to respond to any fire business or call.  Councilman Spencer states he would rather allow the 2 existing vehicles to be used in this manner than add a 3rd vehicle.  Spencer notes the $1,300.00 for the light package for the new / leased vehicle could be better used on gasoline. 

Council directs Chief Hedrick to draft written policy on command / staff vehicle use and an on-call officer policy and make copies available for the council to review prior to the next meeting.  President Perrin asks that the on-call officer log on and off duty with mileage reports through the NWPD dispatcher.  Hedrick says that would be fine and they will continue to maintain a written log book within each vehicle noting dates, time, mileage used, who used the vehicle and why, and locations to which the vehicle was driven.

Chief Hedrick adds that he is still working on a presentation detailing the Fire Station proposed expansion / remodel as well as the purchase of a new engine along with financing options.

 

NEW BUSINESS

Compensatory Time

Councilman Harris asks the Clerk-Treasurer to explain the accumulated comp time for certain employees.  Harris is questioning the report issued at the end of January and believes that the hours listed were earned in 2006.  Clerk-Treasurer, council, and other employees explain that these are hours that have accumulated over the last several months due to a variety of reasons.  Clerk-Treasurer Alspach adds that those figures are nearly a month old and many have changed since the report was first issued.  Harris states that he is not allowed to accumulate time at his job and all time has to be used within 28 days.  Other council members point out that New Whiteland does not have the number of employees that Harris’ employer does and making that requirement would not be practical here. 

 

LEGISLATIVE

Ordinance 2023

Clerk-Treasurer Alspach reads the amendment to the zoning ordinance in title only on 2nd reading.   Motion to adopt Ordinance 2023 by Councilman Alspach and seconded by Councilman Harris. Vote 4 affirmative.

 

Ordinance 2024

Clerk-Treasurer Alspach reads the transfer ordinance on 1st reading and explains. Motion to adopt Ordinance 2024 by Councilman Harris and seconded by Councilman Alspach. Vote 4 affirmative.

Councilman Alspach moves to suspend the rules and consider this ordinance on final reading tonight.  Motion seconded by Councilman Harris.  Vote 4 affirmative.

Clerk-Treasurer Alspach reads the transfer ordinance in title only on final reading.  Motion to adopt Ordinance 2024 by Councilman Harris and seconded by Councilman Spencer. Vote 4 affirmative.

 

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OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Wallace Burnell, 317 Sawmill wants to make payment arrangements on his current water bill in the amount of $465.00.  Burnell states the bill is due today and he can’t pay it.  He has a leak and the bill keeps getting larger but he can’t afford to get it fixed.  Burnell ahs spoken with both Office Manager Yates and PW Supt. Lasiter and is here to ask about payment arrangements.  Burnell states his bill last month was $350.00 and the month before it was $300.00.  Supt. Lasiter states that the leak is between the meter and the house and that he has provided Mr. Burnell with the names of some contractors to contact.  Lasiter states that we could adjust the overage on the wastewater for the last 2 months, which would bring the bill down to $65 - $70.00.  Lasiter has advised Mr. Burnell to contact someone to fix the leak and make payment arrangements with them to prevent future excessive bills.  Burnell states he is in serious financial difficulty.  Council authorizes adjustment of $400.16 on the current bill and will also authorize wastewater overage adjustment on the March bill allowing Mr. Burnell time to get the problem fixed.

 

Fire Chief Brian Hedrick states that the Fire Department grant for the new engine was denied in November 2005.  He will get copies of the notice to the council.

 

Being no other business the meeting was adjourned at 8:19 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

____________________________

Maribeth Alspach, Clerk- Treasurer

 

 

 

Approved: _____________________________

               John Perrin, President