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Town Minutes from 12/21/2023

Minutes from a Town meeting on 12/21/2023.

DECEMBER 21, 2023

In attendance: Gary Shuck, Roger Fouse, Lindsay Washmuth, Brian Robertson, Chad Blake, and Teresa Retherford, Deputy Clerk-Treasurer, Dax Norton, MS Consultant and Evan McMullen, Town Attorney

7pm meeting called to order.

Elect Council officers for 2024: Motion for nomination for Blake to become Town Council President made by Washmuth, 2 nd by Robertson. There were no other nominations. All in favor. Motion for nomination for Robertson to become Vice President made by Washmuth, 2 nd by Shuck. There were no other nominations. Voting yes, Shuck, Fouse, Washmuth, Blake. Abstain, Robertson. Motion made by Blake to appoint Retherford as secretary, 2nd by Washmuth. All in favor.

Blake opens up meeting to public questions and concerns:

Allicia West 514 S John St asking if council could help the public understand more of the additional appropriations so members of the audience can be more educated.BIake stated that they are already on the agenda and have public hearings that go with them for any questions.

Presentation from Chief of Po l ice, Kelly Naselroad about the total eclipse in 2024. Planning needs to be made for April 8, 2024. Also having an emergency declaration ready to be put in place is recommended.

Clerk-Treasurer Report: Retherford will be out of office January 16th for training.

Claims: No questions. Motion made by Shuck to approve claims, 2nd by Washmuth. Voting yes, Shuck, Fouse, Washmuth, Robertson. Abstain, Blake.

Approval of meeting minutes: Retherford stated she is behind on minutes but will be getting them caught up, Retherford has been left to do everything at Town Hall until replacement will be made.

Blake suspends Town Council meeting and opens up for Public hearings:

Ordinance 7-2023 Additional appropriation to general fund. $20,300 of additional appropriation. General fund $4,000 additional for wages, $800 for supplies and $3,000 for other services. Local Road and Street $2,500.00 additional. Continuing education $7,500.00 additional. Opioids settlement for $2,500 additional, already spent.

Blake opens floor for questions about appropriations:

Allicia West, does each department have wages come out of their own fund or do they all come out of the general fund? Town council members, Clerk-Treasurer, Office personal wages partially come out of the general fund. Police come out of their general fund. Utility workers are paid out of utility funds. West asks what other services are for the appropriations: Professional services and we did not budget money correctly for street lights.

Blake resumes regular council meeting:

Motion to approve Ordinance 7-2023 as presented made by Robertson, 2 nd by Washmuth. All in favor.

Motion to suspend regular rules and approve Ordinance 7-2023 on the first reading made by Blake, 2 nd by Washmuth. All in favor.

Blake suspends regular council meeting and opens a public hearing for appropriations of Ordinance 8-2023 Funds and Motor Vehicle Highway. $24,000 requested for wages.

Blake closes public hearing, resumes regular town council meeting.

Motion to approve 8-2023 made by Shuck, 2nd by Fouse. All in favor.

Blake entertains motion to suspend rules and approve Ordinance 8-2023 on the first read. Motion made by Robertson, 2nd by Shuck. All in favor.

Unfinished Business:

Request to consider some signage to be installed by Pax Verum at State Road 13 and Pendleton Ave and by the library at Main St and Pendleton Ave. Robertson asks how many signs should be allowed at the 13th and Pendleton intersection? Norton asks if everything has been taken care of with INDOT and it has per Andy.

Motion to approve Indiana Logo Sign Group to place signs in our right of way for Pax Verum made by Robertson, 2 nd by Washmuth. All in favor.

New Business:

Salary Ordinance: Two changes: Verbiage changed from 2022 and the town supplying insurance for a full time Clerk-Treasurer. Attached exhibit A is for pay scale, exhibit B are positions assigned for pay grade, exhibit C is vacation benefit schedule, exhibit D is towns holiday for 2024, exhibit E are actual pay rates by position including 3% pay increase for all employees. Shuck asks what is the status of the school resource officer? Budgetary cost of the officer is 79% school/21% town. Pending approval of the school board.

Motion to approve Ordnance 9-2023 to establish salary ordinance for 2024 made by Washmuth, 2 nd by Robertson. All in favor.

Motion to wave rules and approve on first read made by Shuck, 2 nd by Fouse. All in favor.

Ordinance regarding use of social media, internet and adopting a commence policy of all of Town of Lapel social media sites. Norton spoke on it. Blake presented the ordinance so that people understand it. Policy needs made for comments to be turned off on social media.

Motion to approve Resolution 27-2023 made by Robertson, 2 nd by Shuck. All in favor.

Update to bad check/credit card policy. Retherford requests council to look into adding the $50 fee for returned credit card payments like there is with checks.

Discuss Town Council policies and procedure manual. Norton discusses and lets everyone know it is on the website. Norton reads the manual. If anyone has anything they would like added, changed or discussed they can email Norton.

Consider appointments to boards and commissions:

People have submitted interest in joining planning: Jessica Tharp, Amy Egly, Brandon Hutchison, Chris Higginbotham, Greg Valentine

Matt Wood term expires 12/31/25

Andrea Baldwin term expires 12/31/26

There are 2 vacant citizen member seats for the Planning commission.

Motion to appoint Brandson Hutchison and Chris Higginbotham to the vacant town seats on planning commission made by Fouse, 2nd by Washmuth. All in favor.

Pending review Blake would like to appoint Tharp and Egly to the planning commission also.

Discussed planning fee structure reorganization was spoken on by Oksana. She sent an example of fees to everyone who are meant to cover the cost of the majority of reviews. Also sent a chart comparing current Lapel's fees to other counties around Lapel. Explains how she thinks fees should be. Will be discussed at the workshop.

Reports for police department:

Reports didn't get linked on documents, did get turned in on time. Chief Naselraod states police took 403 calls for service, filed 16 criminal charges, and 11 instances where flock cameras were used. 159 hours of work by reserves. End of year: 4,079 calls for service, 155 criminal charges, tried to get number on flock and couldn't due to their software. SRO meetings are progressing. Robertson asks how the flock camera works and Naselraod explains. Naselroad would like council to consider industrial buildings to have repeaters put up for police and fire.

Planning Report:

No meeting last week per Robertson

Utilities: John Nikoloff gives an update on Atlas. Walnut and 5th Street are on new main, old lines are cut and capped. Alley between 7th and 8th are online and have been cut and capped. Back on Pendleton, having pressure issues where they cant keep pressure so they will be cutting it up again. There's another leak somewhere. Crews came together to get all the plows and everything ready for winter weather. 18 out of 20 water meters have been installed. Proposal for main heater at water plant. Motherboard needs to be replaced. Absolute Comfort came in and gave a quote to fix and redesign and update the water plant. Quote for single mini split is $8,520.39 and replacing both is $17,185.78.

Blake entertains a motion to entertain either proposal. Shuck makes a motion to replace both, 2nd by Robertson. All in favor.

John Nikoloff would like to be put on a list to get a skid of water meters, which is 144 meters, since meters have almost all been used up this year.

Parks Report:

Didn't have anything and did not attend the meeting.

Redevelopment Commission:

There are openings, 2 openings if anyone is interested. Reach out through email. Current members discussing what the priorities are for the redevelopment department for next year.

Office and Administration: Received over 30 applications, will start going through them after the holidays. Will narrow it down to 6 applicants. Retherford will be working on Tuesday since the office is closed to get caught up. Norton recommends the council to consider moving Lisa, town employee, under the council due to the possibility that in the future she would be related to Retherford through marriage. It would be illegal by law. She could work under a town administrative and would report to council as a town administrative employee instead of under the Clerk. She would not be able to stay if she reports to the Clerk but can stay if she reports to the town administrator or council. Blake reports in the salary ordinance she is a temporary seasonal employee.

Council Member Comments and Concerns:

January 18, 2024 is when the next meeting will be held. Workshop meeting will be on January 6, 2024 from 9-12pm at the Town Hall. Potential new location for meetings is the Lions Club for $50 a meeting. All meetings will be held at the Lion's Club.

Approval of Claims:

Did under the Clerk treasurer report.

Blake makes a motion to adjourn the meeting, 2nd by Robertson. All in favor.