Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 21, 2012

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

By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS

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.

Other business

• Colin Yoder was appointed to the Board of Cemetery Trustees. Yoder will serve the remainder of Matthew Lind’s term, as he is unable to complete his time on the board.

• Bids were opened Monday and Tuesday for various projects in the city. Monday’s bids were for protective gear for Goshen’s firefighters, and three companies submitted bids: T.J. Nowak Supply, $71,764 for total project; Municipal Emergency Services, $72,566.40; and Hoosier Fire Equipment, $54,973.80. Tuesday’s bids were for a sidewalk project on Indiana Avenue, and two companies submitted bids: Niblock Excavating, $15,713 for the total project; and Yaw Construction, $19,000.

• The board members tabled an agreement amendment for a new roof for the digester building at the wastewater treatment facility. The original estimate from the contractor was for a 1,200 square-foot roof, but the digester building has a 2,200-square-foot roof.

• The board members approved the movement of unpaid final accounts, an amount of $13,132.49, from active to Credit Bureau, sewer liens, write-offs and bankruptcy.

• The board members approved an agreement with ERGO, a company that works with environmental and water quality issues, to prepare a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan and the Emergency Action Plan for the city’s new Central Garage. City engineer Mary Cripe said these plans are required by the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

• The members approved an agreement amendment for work on the digester building project through the wastewater treatment department and a change order for the Dickerson Landing Neighborhood project. The changes in cost for the digester building project is $25,000, and the Dickerson Landing project is $44,459.75, according to the agreements.

• The board members approved a post-construction plan for Supreme Corp., 2581 Kercher Road.