NEW WHITELAND TOWN COUNCIL
July 15, 2008
Town Council President John Perrin opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m. with the pledge to the American flag. Council members present were John Perrin, Terry Spencer and Scott Alspach. Also present were Clerk-Treasurer Maribeth Alspach, Attorney Lee Robbins and Department Heads Brian Hedrick, Jim Lasiter and Ed Stephenson. Councilmen Harris and Noonan arrive at 6:05. Office Manager Yates arrived at 7:00 p.m. Councilman Alspach offered the opening prayer.
Councilman Spencer moves to approve the minutes of the July 1st meeting and is seconded by Councilman Alspach. Vote 3 affirmative.
Councilman Alspach moves to approve the minutes of the July 8th meeting and is seconded by Councilman Spencer. Vote 3 affirmative.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE REVIEW
President Perrin opens this informal discussion of the events that took place on the weekend of June 7, 2008 and the resulting flood damage.
Marshal Stephenson notes communication always seems to be a problem in emergency situations. Stephenson believes we should designate an Emergency Communication Center. All council members would report to this location in the event of an emergency. Center would need to have multiple phone lines and access to radio traffic. Council meeting room is discussed – would need to have additional phone jacks installed so that phones could be relocated during an emergency. There is also some discussion about purchasing hand held walkie talkies to be used by non-emergency personnel during a disaster. Marshal Stephenson might be able to keep his department’s old radios and those could be used. Attorney Robbins cautions having 5 council members with radios and giving directions or taking information. He advises no one councilmember has any authority. A decision would require a quorum of 3 or more. It may be possible to designate temporary authority to the highest elected official until the council can convene in an emergency situation. This would require communication between the various Department Heads and that elected official – then the information would be dispersed to the other council members.
Fire Chief Hedrick attended the County Disaster Review Meeting today. The need for a designated spokesperson was stressed at that meeting as well. There was also discussion on entities being required to have Mutual Aid Agreements in place to receive FEMA funding. PW Supt. Lasiter states he mailed Mutual Aid Agreements to the County, the Town of Whiteland and the City of Greenwood a few years back and no one responded. Lasiter has copies of the letters in his files.
PW Supt. Lasiter states that we considered this about 10 years ago and found it to be too costly. The prices have come down significantly. Ray Rodgers has gathered information on various vendors and Jim has put funding for this item in his budget for 2009. This would have really helped our notification process. It would have many uses; tornados, missing children, hazard waste spills, etc.
Clerk-Treasurer Alspach states she spoke with Bryan Wolfe at the first FEMA meeting at Scott Hall. He is employed by the Department of Homeland Security. She would like Marshal Stephenson to ask if they have any grant money that could help with his equipment / service. Maribeth also approached County Councilman John Price and asked him to explore getting this service for the entire county through the existing 911 board. The council would like to see more information on this program.
Backup Power & Generators
Councilman Alspach asks if what we currently have is adequate or do we need to upgrade this equipment? PW Supt Lasiter believes everything worked during the flood.
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Pictures / Video Recording
PW Supt. Lasiter says it would be nice is someone was assigned to take pictures during an emergency or disaster to document damages for insurance purposes. Council asks Lasiter to get prices on digital
cameras to keep in all of the trucks so that employees would be able to take pictures during any future event.
Policy & Procedure Bulletin #37
Council directs Dept. Heads Stephenson, Hedrick and Lasiter to rewrite this bulletin and prepare a draft copy for the council to consider.
President Perrin thanks all employees, council members, residents and volunteers who showed up to work during this disaster.
HARDSHIPS / ADJUSTMENTS
Clerk-Treasurer Alspach states that we have a Proctor Park booth at the County Fair this week. We are located in Herring Hall. In the first 2 days we have raised $472.00 for Proctor Park. We are having a “Fair Special” during the Fair with great savings on the brick pavers for the walkways at the park. Bricks can be purchased at the Fair or here at the Town Hall at the discounted price through this weekend. The Proctor Park Committee is covering the majority of the shifts at the booth this week.
National Night Out
Marshal Stephenson states this will be Tuesday night, August 5, 2008 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Fire Department will demonstrate their water rescue gear in the pond at Country Gate at 7:15 p.m. The Police Department will be offering Women’s Self-Defense demonstrations – the first one at the Town Hall Shelter House at 7:15 p.m. and then one at 8:15 p.m. at the Shelter House at Country Gate. Marshal Stephenson asks all Council members to plan something for their wards that night or walk their neighborhoods and visit with the residents. Ed has fliers and a Press Release that he presents for board approval. Both are approved.
Police Officer Vacancy
Marshal Stephenson states one of his officers resigned this week. He asks permission to begin accepting applications to fill that position. Stephenson would like to have completed the hiring process and have a new officer begin working October 1, 2008. Council approves.
New Police Cars
Marshal Stephenson states the new cars are in and they will begin getting all of the equipment installed next week.
Indiana American Water Company
PW Supt. Lasiter states that a few years back Indiana American expressed an interest in purchasing our water utility. At the time the council felt their offer was too low. They have again expressed an interest in purchasing the utility. Councilmen Noonan and Spencer, Clerk-Treasurer Alspach and PW Supt. Lasiter met with representatives of their company a couple of months ago. They have been reviewing information and would like to begin negotiations if the council is interested. Representatives are here tonight to present some preliminary information to the council.
July 15, 2008
Alan Dubois, Vice President of Operations briefly explains the procedures that would need to take place if the council decided to sell. The council would have to adopt an ordinance authorizing an
appraisal. We would need to schedule Public Hearings and if we were still interested in selling we would need to approve a Purchase Agreement. The Purchase Agreement would then go to the IURC for final approval.
Mr. Dubois would like the town to enter into a 12 month “No Shop” agreement while investigations, appraisals and negotiations take place. If the council would agree to this, Indiana American would be willing to pay for the necessary appraisal which will be done by the appraiser selected by the town. Dubois explains that our existing contract has a “right of first refusal” clause which basically does the same thing. Dubois states their preliminary evaluation show a value of at least $3, 400,000.00 which is much closer to the value the town felt the utility was worth.
President Perrin asks what the repercussions are if we enter into the 12 month No Shop Agreement and Indiana American pays for the appraisal and we decide not to sell. Dubois says there are none. Perrin asks if we would be working out issues like service concerns during this 12 month period. Dubois says that we would – negotiations will be ongoing during this time frame. Perrin adds one of the biggest concerns is service response time. Dubois introduces Ron Ballard, Operations Manager for Johnson County and explains that all calls go to a 24 hour call center and would then be dispatched to the Greenwood Service Center. For routine calls like turning water on or off they have a schedule like most other utilities; Monday – Friday with a 4 +/- hour window of when the service tech will be there. For emergency calls someone can be dispatched immediately to evaluate the problem. If it is minor they may wait to repair it until normal business hours if the call is taken on a weekend, holiday or after hours. If it is a major problem there is a 2 hour turn around with the locator service. As soon as the locate is complete a contractor will be at the site to repair the problem. They offer a maintenance program much like the phone company where if the problem is on the resident’s side of the meter it belongs to the resident if it is on the far side of the meter it is Indiana American’s to fix.
President Perrin asks what would be the next step. Dubois states to authorize Attorney Robbins to work with Jeff Henson on a draft “No Shop” Agreement. PW Supt Lasiter asks the council to authorize him to have Jeff Birk meet with Jeff Henson first to review the numbers and see if he feels this is worth pursuing. Lasiter hates to waste everyone’s time if we are still pretty far apart in the value estimates.
Councilman Harris moves to allow Jeff Birk to consult with Indiana American with a Not-to-Exceed amount of $1,500.00 for these services. Member Spencer seconds the motion. Vote 5 affirmative.
Clerk-Treasurer Alspach asks Dubois for an extension on the clause in our existing contract that requires us to give them written notice by October 1, 2008 if we intend to drill our own wells and produce our own water. The clock is ticking as we wait for Indiana American to gather the information. We have already lost 2 months and will likely lose more time. By the time they have done the consultation with Jeff Birk there may not be adequate time for us to drill a test well and get the water tests done. Dubois says he would consider that but cannot make that kind of guarantee at this time. He will get back to the council on this request.
Meter Reading/Billing Software Error
PW Supt. Lasiter explains that Sawmill Woods has 2 meters. Both meters are read with the hand held versa term each month. When the reading information is uploaded to the computer and the billing software, the computer was only calculating the charges on one reading – not both. It appears this has been happening for the last 3 years. Utility Clerk McCarty caught the mistake last week and brought it to Jim’s attention. McCarty recalculated the bills for 2008 only and found that the school was under billed $1,415.57. Lasiter is asking for direction from the council on how to handle this. The problem has been corrected – beginning in August Sawmill Woods will receive 2 bills each month; one for each meter. There is general discussion about the total amount of lost revenue over a 3 year
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period and the fact that this is by no means a fault of the school’s. Councilman Alspach moves to waive all unbilled costs and for Clerk-Treasurer Alspach to meet with CPCSC officials and explain
what happened and that they will begin receiving a second monthly bill. Member Noonan seconds the motion. Vote 5 affirmative.
Clerk-Treasurer Alspach states that Innovative Technologies, an IT company in Greenwood is being considered for future IT work for New Whiteland. A representative of their company met with the Department Heads and toured their facilities gathering information on existing equipment and evaluating our needs. Chuck Cave with Data Solutions provided this service for the last several years but is no longer doing so. We currently have an on call arrangement with another gentleman. We have provided a price list for their services in your packets. Marshal Stephenson states he feels we need to move to a higher level of service with a company with multiple employees rather than depending on a single person. In the equipment evaluation they discovered he does not have a back up for his data – he was told that his computer had that built in but it doesn’t. We would also like to be able to connect functions of the computers in the various departments to be able to access Outlook calendars and schedule meetings. Innovative Technologies would serve as the Exchange Server for all departments rather that having multiple ones – this would alleviate the email and internet issues we have. Fire Chief Hedrick states he has been without email for several months and is having serious computer issues. President Perrin asks for references that can be contacted before making final decision. Clerk-Treasurer Alspach will get reference information but asks that the council check references and approve this as quickly as possible. President Perrin will try and go by the Innovative Technologies office and look at their set up as well.
Clerk-Treasurer Alspach distributes 2009 budget request packets. She thanks all Department Heads for their assistance in preparing this information. We have been waiting on the Health Insurance rates to complete the packets and that is now finished as well. Maribeth meets with the DLGF on July 30th and will need to know the dates for our budget hearings. Hearings will be held on August 19th and September 2nd at 7:00 p.m. A date and time for the preliminary, individual department meetings will be determined after the DLGF meeting.
Fire Chief Hedrick presents a quote for needed computer equipment for the Fire Department. The computer that they use to do their monthly run reports to the State has crashed. The quote was provided by Innovative Technologies and is well below the State QPA pricing. Hedrick requests permission to move forward with this purchase as soon as the council checks references on the company. He has money available in his budget to cover these costs.
Clerk-Treasurer Alspach presents the resolution authorizing the Lease/Purchase Agreement for the police cars on first reading. Member Harris moves to adopt the resolution and is seconded by Member Alspach. Vote 5 affirmative.
Utility Additional Appropriations
Clerk-Treasurer presents a Memo requesting 1 additional appropriation in both the Water and Sanitation Utilities. Council approves.
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
July 15, 2008
Being no other business the meeting was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.
Maribeth Alspach, Clerk- Treasurer
John Perrin, President