Oct 20 2008
TOWN OF NORTH SALEM COUNCIL MEETING
September 4, 2008
William J. Woodrum, Council President, Present
Mike Russell, Council Vice-President, Present
Michael L. Selch, Council Member, Present
Cheryl Russell, Clerk-Treasurer, Absent
Harold Blake, Town Attorney
Don Perry, Town Marshall
John Berry, Fire Chief
The meeting was called to order by the Council President at 6:02 P.M.
The minutes from the August 7, 2008 meeting were approved as written.
Billy opened the floor for citizen input. Bruce Holder and John Harnishfeger spoke regarding the horses on his rental property. They would like a variance to keep the horses there until the problem with the water over the hillside is resolved. The property cannot be maintained without the horses until that issue is taken care of. Billy said that his only concern with granting a variance is that other people will look for reasons to get a variance for livestock as well. Bruce pointed out that they have invested a lot of money in cleaning up their properties, and have brought revenue to the Town, so he would like the Town to look at this on a case by case situation. Harold said that a variance is not really what we’re looking at. It’s really more of an understanding that we’re not going to enforce that ordinance against them for a period of time, and if the Council agrees with that, then it can be handled that way with the understanding that we get the state and/or county involved to figure out how to handle the water problem. Bruce said he was fine with that, and he thinks the best solution is a retention pond. Billy asked Harold if we needed to write something up, to which Harold responded that as long as it’s in the
September 4, 2008 Town Council Minutes
minutes that should be fine. Harold did point out that there cannot be any issues
with the horses getting out as they have in the past. Everyone agreed to revisit the issue in 90 days, with Mark reporting back on the progress at the next meeting.
Keith Huffer informed the Board that there is a goat in town at the corner of Nebraska and Vine. Billy said that it would be taken care of.
Ann Page voiced a complaint about people participating in the Old Fashion Days Car Show setting up tents on their property. She said that they had no trespassing signs out, and they still did it. Billy said that Old Fashion Days was not responsible, and that it falls on the person that conducted the Car Show. It will not be tolerated, and changes will have to be made before next year.
Gary Harris expressed his concern over one of his neighbors using an old alley way around his house to walk his dog, sometimes in the middle of the night past his girls’ windows. They put the dog on a long leash; the owner stays in the alley, and then lets his dog do its business in Gary’s yard. Mark spoke with this person; he stopped for about a week then started back up again. Gary doesn’t really want to fence his yard, but might have to do so to put a stop to it. Billy said that he is allowed to use the alley way, however, he shouldn’t be using Gary’s yard. Gary has asked him to stop, but it keeps getting worse. Billy said that he could come down and look at it, but he suggested that Gary talk to Donnie about it. Gary said that he has already, but when Donnie can’t see it, he can’t do anything about it. Donnie said that it’s harassment. Harold said that he could be looking at criminal mischief for damages to the property, allowing a dog to run at large, even though it’s on a leash, and also attempted voyeurism, or peeping, which is a felony. If that doesn’t get him to quit, what will? Donnie will talk to the neighbor about it, and hopefully that will take care of it.
Tom Eggers addressed the Board about a parking issue over Labor Day Weekend at Old Fashion Days. There were people actually parking on graves in the cemetery, which is bad judgment and in poor taste. The various parking issues were discussed at length, and everyone agreed that something would need to be done before next year. The other issue Tom addressed was in regards to the light poles. The pieces that slide down the poles are purposely being busted. We should either buy some replacements while they are still available, or invest in making a mold so that we can pour them out of a number of compounds in the future. That way, 20 years down the road, we can still replace them.
While Old Fashion Days was being discussed, Billy said that for the most part, besides the parking issues, everything went pretty well. It was probably the best year we’ve had as far as discipline on the golf carts. Gary Harris did comment on one golf cart problem he saw. While on the subject of golf carts, Gary said that some people are getting around the ordinance against 4-wheelers by using a 4-wheeler frame and engine, but with a golf
September 4, 2008 Town Council Minutes
cart body. He said that he has taken pictures, but still needs to get them developed. Harold said that the BMV doesn’t have a category for golf carts, and until they do, they are not licensed, and they are not allowed on the road. Also, Towns do not have the authority to pass any ordinance to allow that because the State law trumps whatever we might do on that. Until the State Legislature decides to take up the issue, it probably won’t be addressed. Gary said that he has spoke with a DNR officer, and he said that if the Town Board would ask, he would be glad to come in to explain the state laws concerning these issues. He also said that even though Towns can pass an ordinance permitting golf carts, if there is a State Road that goes through the Town, and a golf cart has an accident on that road, the Town itself becomes responsible for damages involved. Billy said that at this point, we don’t allow 4-wheelers on the road, period. As far as the 4-wheelers with the golf cart bodies, we can fix that.
Billy moved discussion to the Clean-Up Notices. Beth said that they were done and ready to sign. Donnie suggested making another pass through Town because some of the people on the list have picked up their properties. Billy said that they could do that before sending the notices out. He wants to get them out next week though, for those that still need to clean up.
Mike Selch brought up the annexation. We need to do something with that, but he doesn’t know what the next step is. Harold said that the last he knew, there was some litigation going on testing the legality of the annexation law, the way it is now. He will check into it. He does think that we need to tie this in with our water rate study, and try to have all of that happen simultaneously. When rates are restructured, treat the property owners that are using Town utilities, but are not part of the Town, as a different class of utility users. They are not paying the property taxes for the benefit of the other Town services, so it’s okay to charge them more. Ordinarily you will find that when the ordinance is drafted, whatever the rates are in Town, triple it for outside of Town. When they ask why, you tell them that they are not in Town. The Town should let them know up front what we’re thinking on this so that they are not blindsided by it. Show them what their water rate will be if they are annexed into the Town, and what it will be if they are not. This can all tie into the water rate study.
Mike Selch informed everyone that the grant application with the Hendricks County Community Foundation for the 12 ½ acres was turned down. They had applications for a total of over $170,000, and they only had $70,000 to give out. They did, however, give $500.00 for the 175 Celebration. We are on hold on the engineering study and planning grant until after the elections.
Mike S. and Billy both recommended having a meeting with the Old Fashion Days committee to discuss the issues during the recent festival.
September 4, 2008 Town Council Minutes
Mike S. said that on the 175 Committee, they took in $425.00 in 3 days and sold 45 watermelons. They are still planning a bean supper for early November.
Harold asked where we were with the water rate study. Billy hadn’t heard anything back. Donna Astin is supposed to be in next week, so maybe we can find out then. Harold said that we need some kind of deadline to propose rates. Everything has been verbal; we don’t have anything in writing. Mike S. said that he has also asked if we go to a straight rate per 1,000 gallons, can we use simpler software rather than spending the money on Greentree or Komputrol. A simple 1,000 gallon rate for water and sewer could be done on Excel. Also, why can’t we use QuickBooks on the calculations and for keeping track of checks and payroll? Cheryl will be asking Donna about these things on Tuesday. If we can do this rather than buying expensive software, we should. Everyone agreed that we need to stay on top of this, because we’re already in September. Harold suggested having it presented in October for the 1st reading, then in November for a 2nd reading and to make revisions, then a final reading in December so that it can go into effect on January 1st. So basically, they have three weeks.
There being no further business, Billy adjourned the meeting at 6:55 p.m.
Approved October 2, 2008
William J. Woodrum, Council President
Mike Russell, Council Vice President
Michael L. Selch, Council Member
Beth Russell, Deputy Clerk-Treasurer