Meeting: Ferdinand Town Council

The Ferdinand Town Council met Tuesday and:

• Heard that Assistant Police Chief Brian Seffernick recently celebrated his 20th anniversary with the department.

• Heard that the street department is finishing up mowing in the medians and right of ways.

• Heard that the state government is planning to require municipal water departments to do an audit on their systems to measure water loss. Water Department Director Roger Schaefer said the process will be in-depth and will happen in 2020.

• Approved Schaefer to attend the Association of Indiana Municipalities’ daylong workshop “Municipal Utilities and What Community Leaders Need to Know.” The workshop will cover several state-level changes to water utility requirements.

• Heard that the park department met with the organizers of the Rosenvolk Festival, which will be hosted at 18th Street Park in October.

• Heard that Mike and Don Foerster will be adding a rebound wall to the soccer field at Fifth Street Park.

• Heard that MasterBrand and Best Home Furnishings are co-presenting the Ferdinand Folk Festival once again. The fest will be Saturday at 18th Street Park.

• Heard that the employee handbook is in the final stages of development.

• Heard that Sprint for the Sisters 5K to benefit Sisters of St. Benedict and hosted by St. Benedict’s Brew Works will be at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12.

• Held a public hearing on the proposed 2020 budget. There were no public comments. The proposed budget is $2,087,668 with a tax rate of $0.8025 per $100 of assessed value. The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance will review the budget and cut the tax rate. Officials expect the rate to be similar to the 2019 tax rate of $0.6659 per $100.

• Heard an update on the Old Town Lake trail project. About 50% of the trail is complete, and the southwest lake finger was dredged to allow crews to build the bridge that will carry the path over the lake finger. The foundation for the bridge over the spillway on the northeast side of the lake is also underway.

• Heard that the electric rate study is ongoing. The study is currently looking at how to replenish the reserves that have been depleted by the $1.5 million substation project currently underway and to cover other costs that have increased due to new state mandates and other changes to the electrical system over the last decade. The town has not raised electric rates in about 11 years. Right now, Clerk Treasurer Tammy Miller is expecting the average homeowner to see a $9 increase in their bill. The average commercial user will see about a $25 increase in their bills. The average industrial user will be an increase of about $152 in their bill. Large industrial will see an increase of about 11.9%.

• Introduced an ordinance to amend electric rates and charges to reflect what is suggested in the rate study. The resolution will come up for discussion at the council’s October meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the town office, 2065 Main St.

• Heard that the street department will start the Community Crossings street projects after the Ferdinand Folk Festival. The projects are paid for in part by the Community Crossings grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation. The streets to be worked on are Scenic Industrial Drive and sections of 20th and 21st streets and Krampe Drive.

• Approved the bid for a bucket truck from Altec of Birmingham, Alabama, for $137,480.

• Approved the Tri-County YMCA Monster Dash 5K to be held Saturday, Oct. 26 with registration beginning at 7:45 a.m.

• Heard that the town will begin evaluating utility deposits and application mandates in the town code.

• Approved rescinding a 2011 resolution that declared the Wollenmann House property at 1150 Main St. a blighted property. The designation allowed the town to get grants to rehabilitate the house. The property is no longer blighted, so the designation must be rescinded.

• Approved an ordinance to change the usage rates for the Ferdinand Senior Citizens Center at 313 W. Ninth St. The new system does away with the tiered system and will make rentals a flat $80.25 per day, regardless of how long the facility is used. The change is due to utility costs at the center costing more than what it makes in rentals.

• Set trick-or-treat hours for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.

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