Think there’s not a lot going on in Huntingburg City government these days? Think again. With not one, but two major projects in different stages of progress, the City has its hands full.
A public hearing was held in Thursday night’s Council meeting on the topic of the downtown revitalization project during which the Council was updated by Nathan Held with Indiana Region 15, Matthew Rueff of Development Concepts of Indianapolis, and Eric Parsley with Commonwealth Engineers of Evansville.
The City is going for a $40,000.00 Community Focus Fund planning grant to assist with the costs of engineering for the plan. The grant is being sourced from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs with a local match of $5,000.00.
Held said that they are hoping to find out if the City is awarded the grant sometime in July.
A five step process was identified by Rueff for accomplishing the project:
1. Reviewing past plans for downtown renovations.
2. Assessing physical needs – including infrastructure, which means that the water main on 4th Street must be prominent in the plans
3. Study of market and economic impacts created by residents, employees, and visitors.
4. Examination of community projects and programs for property improvements, etc.
5. Prioritizing those projects for implementation.
Huntingburg resident Anna Steckler, owner of Cool Beans on Fourth Street spoke and told the Council that she supports the efforts by the City. Mayor Spinner asked Steckler to be a part of the review panel for the revitalization project.
Steckler said that she is “excited to see the project started” which will benefit businesses along Fourth Street and the community as a whole.
The Council passed Resolution 2013-17 to approve the authorization of the application submission and the local money match. The $5,000.00 local match is made up of $2,500.00 from City EDIT funds and $2,500.00 from the Dubois County Community Foundation.
The second resolution came before the Council on the Patoka Lake Water Line project.
Held updated the Council on the project stating that a public hearing will take place on Tuesday, May 28th at 9:00 am in the City Council chambers. This second and final hearing will fulfill the requirements of the application for the $500,000.00 grant, also from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
The local match for the grant is $145,250.00; of which $83,250.00 will come from the water department operating funds; $50,000.00 will come from EDIT Funds; and $12,000.00 from the Dubois County Community Foundation which is made up of pledges from local businesses and organizations.
Resolution 2013-18 was passed by the council. Afterwards Mayor Spinner said that the downtown revitalization project is long term in scope and that it will many months to complete. He also said that he hopes that the Water Main project can be started this October.
After updates from Utility Superintendents John Reutepohler of the Energy Department and Tony Traylor of the Water Department, the Council passed three ordinances presented by City Attorney Phil Schneider.
First was a salary ordinance for two part-time, after-hours emergency contact employees to restrict their hours at or under 28 per week based on their “on-call” status only. The Council kept their compensation the same by increasing their hourly rate, but capped the number of hours they could work, to keep them from being considered full-time employees and thereby making them eligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
Two other ordinances were tabled for further review by the Council. The first was for the regulation for Obstruction of Public Ways, which seeks to limit the blockage of City streets by larger semi trailers, etc. The second was for the adoption of an ordinance that would clarify parking restrictions in the City.
After discussion of these ordinances the council found several items of disagreement as written and decided to table them until further study and clarification could be made in the wording of the ordinances.
Finally, Town Clerk-Treasurer Tom Dippel presented a both a resolution and an ordinance, which allows budgeted money to be moved between line items and budget categories to assist in the financial operations of the City. Both were passed by the Council.