Meeting: Ferdinand Town Council

The Ferdinand Town Council met Tuesday and:

• Heard an update on the Old Town Lake trail project. All of the work required by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for the grant is finished, and the town is being reimbursed. The project should reach substantial completion by the end of the month, and it will hopefully open to the public by the Fourth of July with a grand opening in the fall.

• Approved a bid for electric substation substance testing from Premier Power Maintenance of Indianapolis for $13,995.

• Approved a proposal from Pavement Sealing Company of Evansville for road striping on Industrial Park Road near CVS and Arby’s, conditional on the company providing additional information and the council approving the amount.

• Approved releasing the performance bond that Progressive Investment Company took out with the town when it sold part of its property on the south side of town for construction of the Arby’s. The bond required PIC to install utility infrastructure on the vacant lot adjacent to the lot that will house the Arby’s to prepare for possible future development.

• Extended the emergency order for the Town of Ferdinand, which dictates restrictions on town facilities.

• Approved updates to the ordinance that lists the schedule of fees and charges for use of town equipment in emergencies and other events.

• Heard an update on the Safe Haven Baby Box that Isabella Harmon and Tori Hemmerlein, both of Jasper, have been working to bring to the county. The plan is to place it in the Doc Thomas Building on Third Street that is being remodeled into EMT quarters. The process is moving forward, and the next step is for Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center to sign an agreement with Safe Haven Baby Box, then the hospital and the Town of Ferdinand will work out an agreement.

• Approved an ordinance establishing the online service Buy Crash as the way for citizens and insurance companies to receive copies of police reports, such as accident reports. To use the system, people will receive a number from the officer and enter the number on Buy Crash to find and purchase the report. The ordinance also eliminates the $5 fee that was paid to the town for copies of reports.

• Approved an ordinance to update tax abatement procedures.

• Approved presenting an updated lease agreement to Vincennes University for the Senior Citizens Center that is used by Generations, the Area 13 Agency on Aging and Disability, for meal service to senior citizens. The current lease will expire in July.

• Approved a demolition permit for Access Storage location at 307 E. First Street.

• Approved a bid from Hughes Paving of French Lick for the road projects being completed with this year’s Community Crossings grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation. The base bid is $173,430.50.

• Approved hiring Chase Schwenk of Huntingburg as an apprentice in the wastewater department. The position is funded through a grant from the Indiana Finance Authority.

• Approved purchasing a computer for the sewer department for Schwenk to use during his apprenticeship for about $1,600. The grant that is funding the apprentice position will cover $700 of the cost.

• Discussed summer programs and summer staffing for the parks department and what summer programs could look like under COVID-19 restrictions and precautions. The council would like to see plans in place before hiring summer employees.

• Approved proceeding with a memorandum of understanding with Boyce Systems for a new invoicing system for the town utilities. The new bills will hopefully begin going out in July.

• Set the 2021 budget dates. Departmental budget meetings will take place at 6 a.m. on July 22. The budget hearing will take place during the August town council meeting, set for Tuesday, Aug. 18, and budget adoption will take place at the September Town Council meeting, set for Tuesday, Sept. 15.

• Heard that the Ferdinand Police Department is looking at hiring a new reserve officer, pending a background check.

• Police Chief Lloyd Froman thanked the community and local businesses for their generosity over the last couple months. Many provided meals and personal protective equipment to officers.

• Approved hiring Brian Mullis as a seasonal park employee contingent on passing a drug screen.

• Heard that playground facilities can reopen May 24 according to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan. The park department is working on policies and cleaning procedures and is getting hand sanitizer dispensers for park restrooms and shelter houses.

• Discussed how to reopen park facilities and meet sanitizing and social distancing requirements. The discussion included hiring an employee whose only job is sanitation. Property and Street Department Director Tom Lueken and Town Manager Chris James will make up a job description. The salary could be paid through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act.

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