Syracuse Town Hall

Syracuse Town Hall

SYRACUSE — Dark alleys, streets and parking lots came up more than once at Tuesday’s council meeting. Resident Sharon Fowler brought up that the street she lives on — Pittsburgh Street — is very dark and needs street lights.

Councilman Larry Siegel said he agreed with Fowler and said his idea was to have police, while they are making their rounds, to list all the dark streets and alleys.

“It’ll be a long list,” Police Chief Jim Layne said.

Siegel said, “ I think we need to take a look at it. It’s a matter of safety and security. Break-ins in the summer have all been happening where alleys are dark.”

Councilman Tom Hoover said he also had a request from a library board member to add additional lighting at the parking lot across the street from the library.

Town Manager Mike Noe said maybe a NIPSCO light instead of a decorative one would work. Larry Siegel suggested he look at parking lot lighting options that would work better than a decorative light.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS GRANT

A $200,000 health and wellness grant is being offered to Syracuse by the K-21 Foundation. Rich Haddad of of the foundation told the council members the foundation is making the pledge to Syracuse and each incorporated town, other than Warsaw and Winona Lake, to honor its 20th anniversary. Why? “Because every community and every resident is important,” Haddad said.

The foundation, Haddad said, will leave creating plan proposals up to the council either on their own or by asking the community to participate.

Councilman Siegel said that was a good idea since council members were integrated into a lot of groups in town. Siegel asked about the timeline. He was told there was no deadline on K-21’s part and they’d prefer the council take its time and get the community involved as to what would best benefit the community when it comes to health and wellness.

Haddad also said it didn’t have to be just one idea, but they wanted all the ideas to be presented at one time.

ORDINANCES PASSED

Council members passed several ordinances, including the 2020 salaries and compensation ordinance that lists salaries, holidays and paydays. Clerk-Treasurer Paula Kehr-Wicker said the ordinance includes a 1.5% across-the-board increase, except for council members who wanted more.

Kehr-Wicker said the budget was increased by $1,000 and that amount will be divided among the council members, making the pay increase about $300 per year each per council member.

The council also amended the town code regarding payment of health insurance premiums for town employees and their spouses and dependents. It states all full-time employees and their dependents and all Town Council members and their dependents shall be provided health insurance at a cost of $1 per year. Full-time employees will be eligible for insurance following a probationary period of 60 days after hire date. All spouses of full-time employees and of Town Council members are also eligible for $1 a year. The ordinance also addresses vacations and sick leave.

Council members also passed an ordinance transferring funds. They’re transferring $10,000 of Economic Development Income Tax funds from capital improvements to professional services. They’re also transferring $2,000 from Parks and Recreations new equipment to maintenance and repairs.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS

Noe received the council’s approval to solicit bids for a new water main on Medusa Street. He wanted the bids to go out now so the work can be done before Memorial Day.

Noe also got the council’s OK to discontinue fluoride treatments. Noe said the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has said they don’t need to inject fluoride into the water anymore as the ground water has about .5 mg of natural fluoride. He said the town has said .7 mg is optimal. Noe said with fluoride in toothpaste now “we don’t think we need to make the people of Syracuse ingest more fluoride and chemicals they don’t need, plus it’ll save the town $18,250 a year.”

Noe received four quotes for security at the water, wastewater and street buildings. He received quotes from M&M Security, ADT, Community County Security and Coorsen Security from South Bend. He recommended Coorsen at a cost of $22,340.

PERMIT FEES

There was discussion about building permit fees. Noe said Councilman Bill Musser asked him to check into the fees and he gave the council a written report. Noe said he used Nappanee’s data as a sample. Next to the type of fee he wrote in the number of times they issued that permit and what they would’ve charged.

“It’s a substantial amount of money we would’ve charged,” Noe said.

Siegel urged caution, saying they had a number of years when there was no development and he told the council, “What we pass will transfer into the bad years too.”

Musser said they could use the permit fees to fund demolition projects. Siegel said he didn’t want them to max out in a good economy and have trouble later.

Musser said, “I don’t see this causing anyone not to build here.”

Noe told them when people come in for permits they are generally prepared to pay. Siegel asked Noe to check with Ligonier, Milford and North Webster about their fees.

In other business, council members:

• Approved repairing a panel at Louie’s Bar & Grill at a cost of $8,740.

• Approved Carroll lift station purchased from Straeffer Pump Co., Chandler, at a cost of $41,825.

• Approved replacing a generator at Smokey’s lift station at a cost of $21,896 from Middlebury Electric.

• Announced they plan to stop picking up leaves Nov. 27.

• Approved the annual agreement for terminal and central dispatch at a cost of $5,000.

• Heard the tree lighting will be Saturday at Crosson Mill starting at 5 p.m., and Santa will arrive at 6:30.

• Heard Breakfast with Santa will be Dec. 7 from 8-11 am.

• Approved Turkey Creek Fire Station purchasing a demolition ambulance at cost of $295,000.

• Approved having Noe contracting with someone to do a survey along a levee behind Subway to be proactive.

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