The Ferdinand Town Council met for their first meeting of the New Year and elected officers for 2014.
The slate that was nominated was Ken Sicard for President, and Ron Weyer as Vice-President. The slate passed unanimously.
It was also the first Town Council meeting attended by new Town Manager, Chris James, and while he was not required to make a report, the Town assigned him to several positions.
James is the Ferdinand Hometown Competitiveness Chair; Indiana Municipal Management Association representative; representative on the Ferdinand Chamber of Commerce; representative on the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT); a member of the Ferdinand 175th Heimatfest Board; and the Ferdinand Merchants and Tourism Board as Town representative.
During the New Business portion of the meeting, Town Attorney Bill Shaneyfelt told the board that Masterbrand Cabinets has requested a tax abatement schedule on a new business expansion that would add over 1 million dollars in new equipment and 135 new jobs. Shaneyfelt is working with Masterbrand, who wants to fast track the approval so that the expansion can begin as soon as possible. Company officials said that obtaining the tax abatement would prevent Masterbrand from sourcing the expansion at one of their other plants.
After the meeting, Town President Ken Sicard told how important keeping the jobs and business is to the community:
Sicard also said he is concerned that if the Business Personal Property Tax is eliminated at the state level, it would take away a big chunk of Town revenues, which would be almost impossible to replace:
Wastewater Superintendent Roger Schaefer told the council that the town’s NPDS permit, which will likely be issued in February, lists a new threshold for Phosphorus – the nonmetallic chemical element — a mineral — of 1.0 milligrams per liter.
Phosphorus is also a nutrient that can be found in all sorts of items, from soaps, cleansers and de-greasers to foodstuffs including cereal, grains, soft drinks, even vitamin supplements. It can also be found in fertilizers.
According to Schaefer, “Too much of a good thing is bad.” And unfortunately for Ferdinand, the wastewater plant expels more phosphorus than 1.0 milligrams per liter.
When the permit is issued, the clock will begin ticking for Ferdinand to lower the level. “Once the permit is signed we have three years to get in compliance,” Schaefer said, which could be costly.
Also, Attorney Shaneyfelt told the board that ASCAP approached the town about licensing fees for performances in the Town at various locations during events that could put the Town at risk of being sued for allowing music performances on Town property.
Shaneyfelt recommended the base fee amount of $327.00 per year with the first level of 1 percent of up to $25,000.00 in revenues generated.
The Town Council admitted that it is better than the prospect of facing huge fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars if found liable without proper licensing. The Council passed a motion to authorize Sicard to sign a contract with ASCAP.
The Ferdinand News contributed to this story.