By DENISE FEDOROW
---- — NAPPANEE — After an executive session to discuss the potential purchase of real estate, the Nappanee Board of Public Works and Safety members authorized making an offer on the properties Monday afternoon.
Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson explained the four properties city officials are referring to as “the May properties” have been appraised and averaged. Thompson asked the board to consider accepting the appraisals and authorize city attorney Brian Hoffer to move forward with making offers.
The physical addresses of the properties in question and their average appraisals are 453 W. Lincoln St., $67,000; 857 W. Market St., $68,000; 859 W. Market St., $15,250; and 905 W. Market St., $33,000. That is a total average appraisal of $183,250, plus closing costs.
Thompson said that while he doesn’t know what the future holds, the potential to extend Lincoln Street out to the west is a definite possibility. Lincoln Street lies south of and parallel to U.S. 6.
Nelson Miller, representing Miller’s Orchard, came before the board on two matters. He requested a variance to the burn ordinance saying that the orchard has burned brush for 50 years. Miller said he usually only burns brush four or five days a year in the spring when the ground is still damp and in small piles that are controlled.
Miller said an issue that occurred last week was highly unusual as he was burning brush in an area that he normally doesn’t. It was a larger pile that had accumulated for years and the weather was a bit windy causing someone to call about the burning. Miller further explained that the family business attempted to use a wood chipper in the 1980s and found it was too labor intensive and not feasible.
“We only have a certain window of time to get in there and clear the brush,” he said.
Miller was seeking the variance based on agriculture use and said he’d be glad to let city officials know when he planned to burn.
Mayor Thompson made a motion to approve the variance based on its agriculture use, with the condition Miller contacts the fire department on burn days so they can stand by.
Miller was also granted a permit for construction of a private drive on South Williams Street. Miller explained it was a 20-by-40-foot crushed stone temporary parking.
Emergency Medical Services
Emergency Medical Services Chief Jim Sumpter Jr. brought two requests to the board.
His first request was to raise the allowable ambulance mileage rates from $12 a mile to $16 a mile (with patient on board).
“This is one of those charges that is 100 percent reimbursable by insurance companies and Medicare and Medicaid,” he said.
Thompson challenged him to look at other fees. Sumpter said he was in the process of doing just that.
Sumpter also requested and received approval to refurbish the 2004 Medtech ambulance.
The work is expected to take 45 to 60 days.
Code enforcement position
The board approved changes and additions to the job description of the code enforcement officer. Thompson explained the changes are due to state Legislature in regards to cities doing rental inspections. Thompson said city officials will need to make some decisions as a result of the Legislature.
The job description was amended to include electrical inspection, maintenance and custodian duties, citywide American with Disabilities Act compliance, park maintenance, etc.
Board members awarded the 2014 sidewalk replacement project to the lone bidder, Huff Construction, Nappanee.
The cost is $22 per linear foot and $275 per American with Disabilities Act ramp.
Street Superintendent Brent Warren gave the board an update on drainage and bridge issues. He said a county engineer looked at the drainage issues on C.R. 3 near Newmar Industries where the road is deteriorating and discussed possible solutions.
The engineer also took measurements on the currently closed Summit Street Bridge leading into Stauffer Park to determine the load limit. Warren said the limit is anything below 3 tons and the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic.
Now officials will need to determine whether the bridge can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced. If they have to replace the bridge, the estimated cost would be approximately $100,000.
While the bridge is closed there is only one way in and out of the park.
In other business, board members:
• Heard crews will be working in the city next week checking for water leaks around hydrants, etc.
• Approved a request from the Second Saturday committee to close Leadership Park and Clark Street on Second Saturdays from May through October.
• Accepted the resignation of Ptl. James Baumgartner with the specification that he reimburses the city for half of the cost of his training while at the police academy as per the employee agreement. That amount is $5,222.
• Approved preparing specifications for soccer complex hardscapes to extend the street from Northside Manor Apartments in to soccer complex.
• Approved preparing specifications and advertising for bids for a new slide-in unit for fire department.
• Approved excavation on public property permits for monitoring wells by George’s Auto and also by New Paris Telephone.
EMS volunteers fundraiser The public is invited to help support Nappanee Emergency Medical Services volunteers by stopping by the Rite Choice parking lot on Saturday from 11 a.m. until sold out and purchasing Nelson's chicken, pork chops, ribs and Pit-tatoes. The food is being sold on a first-come, first-served basis.