Goshen News, Goshen, IN

January 4, 2013

City Council puts voting districts decision on hold


GOSHEN —  It looks like Goshen residents will have to wait a few more weeks to learn how the City Council’s new district boundaries will be laid out.

City Council members Wednesday voted to postpone the second reading and possible adoption of an ordinance establishing new district boundaries within the city — something state statute requires cities to do once every 10 years.

Originally discussed and passed on first reading at the council’s Dec. 4 meeting, the ordinance was set for second reading during a special meeting of the council held Dec. 27, though the second reading was eventually tabled until Wednesday’s meeting to allow the council more time to review the proposed changes.

However, council members Wednesday voted once again to postpone the second reading, this time until the council’s Jan. 15 meeting, in order to allow council newcomer Brett Weddell more time to review the proposed ordinance. Weddell, whose first meeting was Wednesday, joined the council as a replacement for former council president Tom Stump. Stump was elected to the Elkhart County Council and took that office Jan. 1.

“I would ask if we could postpone it until the 15th,” said councilman Jim McKee. “Brett’s new, and he and I have talked, and we would like to look at it a little more. We may not be able to do anything, but if we could take that to the 15th, maybe share that with you, and then just vote it up or down on the 15th, and hopefully be done with it. That’s what I would ask.”

According to the proposed ordinance, the council is required to adopt an ordinance that divides the city into five council districts. Those proposed divisions are outlined as follows:

District One: Elkhart Township Precinct 1, Elkhart Township Precinct 5, Elkhart Township Precinct 6, Concord Township Precinct 32, and Harrison Township Precinct 1.

District Two: Elkhart Township Precinct 7, Elkhart Township Precinct 9, Elkhart Township Precinct 10, Elkhart Township Precinct 11, and Concord Township Precinct 33.

District Three: Elkhart Township Precinct 3, Elkhart Township Precinct 4, Elkhart Township Precinct 8, and Jefferson Township Precinct 2.

District Four: Elkhart Township Precinct 12, Elkhart Township Precinct 13, Elkhart Township Precinct 15, Elkhart Township Precinct 20, and Elkhart Township Precinct 21.

District Five: Elkhart Township Precinct 14, Elkhart Township Precinct 17, Elkhart Township Precinct 18, and Elkhart Township Precinct 19.

Tree Board appointments

City Council members Wednesday made one full-term and one partial-term appointment to the Tree Board.

The Tree Board appointment had originally been contested, and involved one available seat. During the Dec. 27 meeting, former councilman Tom Stump nominated Fred Buttell in addition to current appointee Ned Kauffman. However, a vote did not create a majority for either nominee, so the decision was moved to Wednesday’s meeting.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Councilwoman Dixie Robinson asked to add an additional nominee to the pool, Goshen resident Joe Dervin, bringing the pool of nominees to three. However, upon hearing that Dervin had been nominated, Buttell then removed himself from the pool.

“I want to withdraw my name,” Buttell said during the meeting. “The nomination of Joe Dervin will accomplish the same thing. I support him.”

Following Dervin’s nomination, Councilman Jeremy Stutsman informed the council that current Tree Board member Ben Eldridge has indicated he would like to leave the board, opening up a second available slot.

“Ben Eldridge no longer wants to serve on the board,” Stutsman said. “I had thought that was the mayor’s appointment, and found out today that was our appointment, so we actually have two slots. So this works out really well. We have two people and two slots, so Ned can stay on, and Joe can be added.”

As Eldgridge’s term is set to end at the close of 2014, the council noted that it would not be a full term.

Keeping that in mind, council members first voted to fill the full-term position, which went to Dervin in a vote of four in favor, one against. The council then voted unanimously to have Kauffman fill Eldridge’s partial seat for the remainder of his current term.

Airport manager position added

The 2013 Salary Ordinance was amended Wednesday to add a new “airport manager” position to the city’s payroll.

According to Mayor Allan Kauffman, the current airport manager, Randy Sharkey, will remain in his position, though the position will now officially be on the city’s books. Kauffman did note that the city will not pay any additional money to him, and the funds will be worked out through a contract between the airport commission and the airport management company.

City code amended

City Council members voted to amend the Goshen City Code in an effort to deal with issues involving vacant buildings and structures left unsecured and accessible within the city limits.

The added section, known as Subsection 26, states: “If a building, garage, accessory or structure is vacant, all exterior doors, exterior windows, exterior basement entrances and any other points of entry shall be locked and secured from intrusion by unauthorized persons.”

Animal control services

Council members renewed an agreement with Elkhart County government regarding for animal control services for 2013.

According to the agreement, the city will pay the county $64,644 for the year to handle the city’s animal control services. The cost of the services will be paid in two installments of $32,322, the first to be paid on or before April 1, and the second to be paid on or before Aug. 1.