December 2017 Minutes

 

MINUTES FOR DECEMBER 5, 2017 TOWN COUNCIL MEETING- THESE ARE DRAFT MINUTES ONLY UNTIL APPROVED BY TOWN COUNCIL

 

PUBLIC HEARING FOR RESOLUTION 2018-04R RESOLUTION TO COMMIT LOCAL FUNDING FOR THE HOT SPRINGS WATER IMROVEMENT PROJECT

DECEMBER 5, 2017

Hot Springs Senior Center, 101 Main Street

Public Hearing called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Woods

Present: Mayor Woods, Mary Whitsett, Bob Neary, Richard Adams, Leslee Smith

Also Present: Clerk Amy Gray, Chief of Police Stuart Smith, Steven Sheffield, Bob Woods, Don Woods, Carolyn Woods, Linda Landrum, Maura Williams, Deanna Peters, Janell Clarke, Susan Roberts, Paul Stelter, Karen Evans, Sam Cowles, Cheryl Cowles

 

Mayor Woods explained the Resolution, explained that the project has been in the works for a few years and originally we had partial match that was supposed to come from DNR but the bill was vetoed and we will no longer be getting that money. We have already approved all of the project and funding but since there is a budget change we have to redo the resolution. Resolution is to commit local funds for contingency on the Sewer project and for the required matching funds for TSEP grant. He explained that the Town does not have to spend the contingency money, but it is required that they budget for it. We are required to spend the TSEP match. Neary asked if TSEP and CDBG were grants, Woods replied that they are grants. Woods asked if there were any questions or comments from the public. There were no other questions or comments.

Public Hearing closed 7:06 p.m.

 

TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

December 5, 2017

Hot Springs Senior Center

101 Main Street

 

CALL TO ORDER 7:06 p.m. by Mayor Woods

ROLL CALL Mayor Woods, Mary Whitsett, Bob Neary, Richard Adams, Leslee Smith

Also Present: Clerk Amy Gray, Chief of Police Stuart Smith, Steven Sheffield, Bob Woods, Don Woods, Carolyn Woods, Linda Landrum, Maura Williams, Deanna Peters, Janell Clarke, Susan Roberts, Paul Stelter, Karen Evans, Sam Cowles, Cheryl Cowles

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES Motion made by Smith, Second by Adams to approve minutes. No discussion pass 4/0

FINANCIAL REPORTS Motion made by Smith, Second by Adam to approve financials for November No discussion pass 4/0

PRESENTATION OF CLAIMS Motion by Adams to approve claims, second by Smith There was discussion on police uniform allowance, purchased by officer Pfleger and then submitted receipts for reimbursement. BIA claim for 25 yr lease for $5000 Pass 4/0

REPORTS

MAYOR –Mayor Woods reported on the current debt and reserves the town has and told the public and the council that anyone can come in to town hall and see the documentation, we interviewed and hired a public works person and the council was involved in that, and will discuss as an agenda item. We have also been working on the budget for the water system and preparing to go to bid on the water project and the sewer project. We will have some meetings next month regarding both and these meetings will be open to the public.

PUBLIC WORKS -We are repairing the water tank which appears to have been damaged due to water levels being too high and freezing when we had extended freezing temperatures last year. The new public works person has experience working with metals and has been working to repair that. We will be dropping tank levels and keeping a closer eye on that to hopefully avoid that from happening again. The chlorine pump went down and we had to repair that and the new guy hit the ground running. Public works also took care of some tree trimming.

FIRE DEPT- a couple of car crashes, fairly slow for fire department and ambulance

POLICE- written report presented by Stuart Smith, reports police department has been fairly slow also

COUNCIL-Bob Neary stated he received an email from the clerk about the municipal government course and wanted to know if we had the handbook mentioned in the email and if the training would be reimbursable if he did decide he wanted to do it. Woods asked if we budgeted for it and then stated we did for some training. Woods stated this one is an online course that is a couple of hours per week and that he is sure we can find something, referring to the training and information Neary was asking about.

 

Neary also stated that we had previously talked about public participation at meetings and adding it to our ordinances so people would understand that they have an opportunity for public participation prior to any vote on any issues. Neary asked about who was writing it and that he thought the new lawyer would be doing that. Mayor Woods indicated that Neary would be the one doing it. Neary also asked if there were any courses offered and stated he would like some assistance in that. Mayor Woods replied that we would check into it. Neary stated he had previously submitted an agenda item for changing the structure of the Town Council Meeting agenda to include a statement regarding public comment before any council action, but was told there was no one to write the ordinance change and it was never even suggested that he had to write the resolution to change the ordinance. Neary also requested info on courses/books that offered training in this area.

Neary also commented about a member of the public standing up to make some statements and that he made a call over to the newspaper in Phillipsburg to verify what the citizen had said. Neary said he was told that Mr. Marshall may have misunderstood. Neary also noted that Mr. Marshall had made statements at other events as well and that he would like to see that he documents what he is going to say in writing before he is allowed to speak. Woods stated that Mr. Marshal made that at public comment so he has to be allowed to speak.

Mary Whitsett asked about who does the Town’s background checks, what agency? Mayor Woods stated we don’t do the background check because we have nothing in our policy that does anything with the information. Whitsett replied that she thought he had said we had done background checks on the job applicants and Woods corrected himself stating that he misspoke and meant that he did reference checks.

 

Neary stated that awhile back we had started review of the ordinances again. He mentioned then that he thought we should review the job descriptions and in particular the zoning compliance officer and that he believes we still need to review these job descriptions. Woods stated we will start doing the ordinance reviews again in January.

 

Neary explained that he had been approached about a situation where a person came to the council meeting about wanting an encroachment permit. spoke about a situation

where the council was approached with an encroachment request. The person was not prepared and the council did not take any positive action on it. At the next meeting the property owner had discovered his pins and everything was really ok. Neary looked at the property and the new structure appears to be over the property boundary. Neary provided photos which he noted were not the best and were an exaggerated view, but still demonstrated that there was building beyond the boundary pins. Neary stated he was disappointed because council got word that everything was ok and it does not appear that it is. At the next meeting, the Mayor announced that the property owner had discoverd his pins, but when Neary looked at the property, the new structure appears to be over the property boundary. Neary presented photos and several times noted that the photos were not totally accurate as shown but stated there was evidence that there was building beyond the boundary pin. Neary stated someone reported to him that the zoning compliance officer was involved and noted that the issue has not come back to council. Whitsett commented that she personally had witnessed the incident.  Janell Clarke asked if the council could share what the issue is and Neary explained that the council was approached with an encroachment request and it didn’t go through and then they withdrew the request and now there is building outside the boundary pin.  Woods explained that when you look at the picture, you are not really going perpendicular to the street so it is hard to tell if it is off and Neary stated the photo is not accurate. Woods stated we need to move on and that this is something we will have to discuss more and  why we need to get the ordinances in line so things are done the same for everyone and we have been fighting it for quite a while.

 

CLERK- We will swear in the new council people on the 29th of December at Town Hall 7pm. AFR is almost done. Hopefully done in the next week, for sure by the end of the month. Jessica Connelly is doing the AFR and has found a couple of mistakes in last years’ AFR and is working to correct that.

LIBRARY- Written library report presented by Linda Landrum

ZONING COMPLIANCE OFFICER- 2 permits issued, Still Waters and Ann Marie Scott

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE/ARTIST SOCIETY-Leslee reported that the Artist Society wanted to thank everyone who came and supported wine and cheese tasting, $3300 in revenue brought in. No meeting in December. The meeting will be in January. Chamber of commerce is meeting Thursday the 7th at noon. Community calendar is almost done, working on membership drive and getting people signed up for radio ads.

 

COMMUNICATIONS/PUBLIC COMMENT AGENDA ITEMS

Janell Clarke asked if Hannah had gotten ahold of Amy regarding the agenda item regarding property taxes. Amy stated she did.

 

OLD NEW BUSINESS

No old business

 

RESOLUTION 2018-04R- RESOLUTION TO COMMIT LOCAL FUNDING FOR THE

HOT SPRINGS WATER IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FOR THE TOWN OF HOT

SPRINGS- Adams made motion to approve Resolution seconded by Smith 4-0 pass

 

APPOINT COURT CLERK- Desiree is still out on leave and not returning. Would like to appoint Jasmin Brookes as the Court Clerk with Judge Joe Eisenbrandt. She has been doing the job since May and is also working with Judge Eisenbrandt in Plains. Motion made by Smith, second by Neary   4-0 Pass

 

CD RENEWAL AT OPPORTUNITY BANK- Renew CD at Opportunity bank Motion made by Adams to let it renew, second by Smith 4-0 Pass

 

OFFICER SCHWITTAY RESIGNATION- Motion made to accept officer Schwittay’s resignation by Adams, Seconded by Neary 4-0 Pass

 

 

HIRE AND PAY RATE FOR PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEE- Beau Blasius was hired to the Public works position, council was involved in the interview and hiring process, Council to ratify hire and pay $12.50 per hour, Beau will have to get CDL and be water and sewer certified and has 6 month probation period. Motion made by Adams, Second by Smith 4-0 Pass

 

CITIZEN REQUEST FOR SIGN CHANGES AT THE INTERSECTION OF 2ND AVE S

AND MICHEL ST- Karen Evans presented a map and explained that she would like a yield sign instead of a stop sign on 2nd Ave S and would like one added at the intersection of Michel and 2nd Ave South heading up Skunk Alley. She stated winter time is the problem, when there is snow or ice you need to get a run up the slick hill instead of coming to a stop first. Also, coming down the hill it is difficult to stop because of slick roads so having a yield sign on Michel Street would be safer. Adams stated this seems like a reasonable request, Neary agrees but stated the signs need to stay year round, Woods explained it was up to the council but also stated that we have new employees plowing and they may be more diligent with plowing and sanding at the intersection could take care of the issue, or we can change the signs. Neary stated it is one of the steepest hills in town and he would like to change the signs. Motion made by Neary to change to two yield signs Whitsett seconded 4-0 Pass

 

CITIZEN REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION AND PLAN REGARDING ELEVATED

PROPERTY TAXES IN HOT SPRINGS- Hanna Vinge had requested this item to be on the agenda, She called and stated she would not be able to attend the meeting and would like to move the item to next council meeting. Mayor Woods talked to her and explained that she had options to have her taxes reassessed. Woods explained that taxable values for Hot Springs are comparable to surrounding communities. He also explained that there are some programs available through the state for tax relief and it is also possible to request for your property to be reassessed.

 

COMMUNICATIONS/PUBLIC COMMENT NON-AGENDA ITEMS

Janell Clarke- acknowledged Bob Neary for bringing up issue with John Marshall stating Mr. Marshall does not represent everyone in town. She finds it inappropriate for him to be allowed to speak at the Town council meeting.

Deanna Peters- Wanted to thank Dick Adams because it was his last night as a council member and she wanted to thank him for all of his hard work. Adams thanked her for saying that and stated he has enjoyed being on the Town council. Woods also thanked Dick Adams and also thanked everyone for all they did during the elections.

Mary Whitsett asked about the board of adjustments and asked how we open it up to the public. Woods explained that we would have two openings coming up and we would be accepting letters of intent. He explained that Neary had brought up a question at the previous meeting about the ordinances and how they do not required things to be brought to council prior to approval and that we need to address the ordinance before we appoint a board of adjustments. Appointing new members will be pending for the changing of the wording in the ordinance.

 

ADJOURN- Neary motion to adjourn second by Smith   4-0 pass 8:06 p.m.