City Council Meeting 08/06/2018

The Charlestown Common Council met on Monday, August 6 at 6:30 pm for a regularly scheduled meeting. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (32:51) available at the end:

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance led by the Charlestown Little League Softball team, winners of the Indiana State Championship for the second year in a row.
  2. Invocation – L.C. McCawley from the Charlestown Church of God
  3. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – In attendance were Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, Tina Barnes, and J.T. Cox. Also in attendance were Mayor Bob Hall, Attorney Michael Gillenwater, and Deputy Clerk Treasurer Nancy Rogers.
  4. Approval of Agenda
    • Motion to approve made by J.T. Cox
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  5. Approval of prior meeting’s minutes, claims, and payroll allowance docket from 07/02/2018 to 07/29/2018 combined into one motion for consideration.
    • Motion to approve made by Brian Hester
    • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  6. Public Comment
    • Claude Rottet – Represented a few taxpayers who believe that building a new police station is a waste of money when existing space such as the Kid One building on the square are available. Mr. Rottet believes that renovating an existing building would be a more economical approach. He said that the police station should be visible to everyone, not tucked away on a side street. He was disappointed in the decision to build an entirely new building.
    • Treva Hodges – Spoke on behalf of 27 residents who submitted a letter requesting that the council consider revising a 1995 animal ordinance that prohibits the keeping of chickens in the city limits. This group of residents requests that the council consider allowing chickens in a limited capacity to include hens only (no roosters), require a permit prior to purchase, set rules for enclosures and cleanliness, and establish penalties for noncompliance.
    • Maggie Wild – Asked the council to consider amending the 1995 animal ordinance to allow the keeping of hens in the city limits. Before Ms. Wild learned that chickens were prohibited she bought a few chicks and has raised them with her children. The chickens are not a nuisance and have become valued family pets. She said she and her children will be devastated should they have to give away their pets.
  7. Comments from the Council
    • Council Member Ted Little spoke on the issues raised in public comment
      • Police station – Other boards explored the use of the old Kid One building and determined that it would have been too expensive to use this property for a police station. Parking at the building is an issue and would interfere with the post office. Much study went into the police station and officers were included in the process.
      • Chickens – Other councils have been asked to consider changing the animal ordinance to allow chickens and have always declined to do so. He will not consider bringing the issue forward again and will not vote in favor of it. He does not believe that the majority of people in town will want chickens in town. He said you can buy a house in the county if you want chickens.
      • Council decisions – What you see in this council meeting is only a small part of the work that goes into the creation of an ordinance. Council members meet with an attorney to guide them in the creation of ordinances.
    • Mayor Bob Hall
      • Police Station – The Kid One building is actually three different buildings with three separate floor levels on different grades. The cost to purchase the building was $660,000 so the city did not purse the purchase because doing so would remove the property from the tax roles and result in a negative cost to the city. The building has been bought by a private company for development of a medical office complex. It would have cost approximately $500,000 to renovate the building. The Police Chief was involved in the design of the new station. Parking would have been a problem because it would need to be in back and require a new road access. The Kid One building would interfere with Founders Day activities. The actual cost to acquire and use the building would have been the same as what is being spent on the new building. The new building also meets the historic design standards established by the city.
      • Chickens – One question is “Should they be available?” The good side of the argument is that allowing chickens promotes self reliance, which many people want. Many people that the Mayor has talked to about the issue said it “might not be a bad thing,” but when asked if they wanted their neighbors to have them the answer was no. The mayor also said that changing the ordinance would take time and effort to manage, but that it is the right of the council to bring it up.
    • Council Member Mike Vaughn – Mr. Vaughn asked if Tony Jackson could speak on the issue (but he did not). Mr. Vaughn said that when he was passing out flyers about the new park in Glendale he spoke to some people in the neighborhood who were not fond of the idea. He said if chickens are allowed then people might also want goats or cows and asked where it stops. He also mentioned that the bird flu might be an issue.
    • Mayor Hall (2nd address)
      • Dog Park is scheduled to open on August 30th at 6:00 PM and will be named after Charlestown Veterinarian, Dr. Warner. The website will be available for registration next week. Fencing starts tomorrow.
      • Glendale Park – ground has been broken for work on the park with an anticipated opening by Labor Day
      • The Parks Building is being resurfaced with a new external facade and should be finished by Labor Day
      • The sidewalks on Monroe Street are in the process of being built.
      • Renaissance Project – ARC development will provide renderings for Phase I by the end of next week. The design will include luxury apartments, a major regional coffee retailer and a commercial area.
      • Water Utility Sale – the appeal has been submitted and the city anticipates a positive outcome in November or December on that issue. At that point the closing will go forward and allow IAW to take over the utility.
      • New street signs and stop signs are on Highway 3 and are scheduled for Park and Monroe before moving to Glendale
    • Council Member Tina Barnes asked if now is an appropriate time to ask that the council amend the 1995 Ordinance animal ordinance. Mayor Hall explained that it would first need to be added to the agenda. Council Member Brian Hester said that he is researching the issue and would like time to do so.
  8. Adjournment – Mayor Hall entertained a motion to adjourn
    • Motion made by J.T. Cox
    • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
    • Unanimous approval

Full audio (32:51) of the meeting is available here: 

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Author: Treva Hodges

Resident of Charlestown, Indiana. Advocate.

One thought on “City Council Meeting 08/06/2018”

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