Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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November 21, 2012

GOSHEN BOARD OF WORKS: Firefighters collective bargaining agreement not yet reached

GOSHEN — Negotiations are still ongoing when it comes to a new collective bargaining agreement between the city and the Goshen Firefighters Association Local no. 1443.

Members of the Goshen Board of Works and Public Safety met Tuesday and approved an agreement to “engage up to four citizens to serve as members on a contract negotiation committee with services to be concluded on or before Dec. 31, 2012,” according to the agreement.

Board member Michael Landis led the meeting because Mayor Allan Kauffman was unable to attend. Landis asked city attorney Larry Barkes if the city has ever reached out to citizens before for bargaining negotiation.

Barkes said this is the first time the city has involved citizens on a committee like this, but similar situations have happened before where city employees served on the committees.

“There will be five or six meetings, maximum,” Barkes said.

The citizens will be given $50 for each meeting they attend and the agreements will be executed between Kauffman and the individual citizens.

Monroe Street closure

The board members approved the closure of Monroe Street between Blackport Drive and Logan Street for the majority of the time between March 11 and July 12, 2013.

The closure is the next step in the Monroe Street bridge widening project between Elkhart County and the city. The project will involve the bridge and bicycle trail on Monroe Street.

Grease regulation relief

The commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, 1201 W. Pike St., spoke at Tuesday’s meeting to ask for relief from grease regulations as stipulated by the Goshen Sewer and Waste Ordinance.

Commander Ed Hutchinson said the post doesn’t use its kitchen enough to warrant the required 1,000-gallon exterior interceptor for their building. The post’s kitchen currently has a grease trap, and the members have complied to all other requirements from the ordinance.

“Our kitchen is used so sparingly, I don’t see how we could be a problem,” Hutchinson said to the board members.

The board members approved the waiver, but said city employees will look at the post annually to make sure the use of the kitchen has stayed the same.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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