Common Council Meeting 10/01/2018

The Charlestown Common Council held a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, October 1 at 6:30 pm. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (29:25):

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance led by Sophia Adams, Junior at Charlestown High School and Varsity Cheerleader
  2. Invocation led by: Neyland McClellan from the North Charlestown Church of God
  3. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call: In attendance were Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, Tina Barnes, and JT Cox. Also in attendance were Mayor Bob Hall, Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer, and city attorney Michael Gillenwater
  4. Approval of Agenda
    • In an oversight, the ordinances passed in their first reading at the September 4th meeting were left off the agenda. Mayor Hall asked to amend the agenda to add those ordinances for their second readings. These were 2018-OR-17, 2018-OR-18, and 2018-OR-19.
      • Motion to approve the amended agenda made by Ted Little
      • Second by Mike Vaughn
      • No discussion
      • Unanimous approval
  5. Approval of Minutes from Sept 4 and 12thmeetings, current claims, and Payroll Allowance Docket from 09/03/2018 to 09/30/2018 combined into one motion for consideration
    • Motion to approve made by Brian Hester
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  6. Ordinances and Resolutions
    • Ordinance No. 2018-OR-17 – City Employee Salary, for second reading
      • Motion to approve made by J.T. Cox
      • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
      • No discussion
      • Unanimous approval
    • Ordinance No. 2018-OR-18 Elected Official Salary Ordinance, for second reading
      • Motion to approve made by Brian Hester
      • Seconded by Ted Little
      • No discussion
      • Unanimous approval
    • Ordinance No. 2018-OR-19 – 2019 City Budget, for second reading
      • Motion to approve made by J.T. Cox
      • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
      • No discussion
      • Unanimous approval
    • Ordinance No. 2018-OR-20 – “An Ordinance Repealing the City’s Unsafe Structures Ordinance and Rescinding Adoption of the State’s Unsafe Building Law” – for Second Reading
      • Mayor Hall asked city attorney Michael Gillenwater to explain the ordinance. Mr. Gillenwater said that the court of appeals felt that the city cannot have both the Unsafe Building Law and a Property Maintenance Code. Given the choice, he recommends that they stick with the PMC instead of the UBL because it is more specific and gives more power for enforcement. He advised that the council pass this ordinance tonight on second reading to rescind the city’s adoption of the UBL. Mayor Hall clarified that this opts out of a voluntary inspection program. Mr. Gillenwater agreed and noted that in the previous meeting the council voted 5-0 to approve this resolution.
        • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
        • Seconded by Brian Hester
        • During discussion, Brian Hester asked if the state requires a city to have maintenance codes. Mr. Gillenwater said no, but clarified that state standards exist for new construction and it is left up to municipalities to determine maintenance codes and that most cities do adopt such codes. He explained that such codes protect people in the city, especially from unscrupulous landlords, and helps protect property values.
        • Mayor Hall called for the vote. Affirmative votes were given by Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, and J.T. Cox. Tina Barnes voted no.
    • Ordinance No. 2018-OR-21 – “An Ordinance Vacating a Roadway/Utility Easement Because it is no Longer Needed” – First Reading
      • Mr. Gillenwater explained that the city received a Community Crossings grant to build a connecting roadway from 403 to Clark Road in Pleasant Ridge. Before it was constructed the original design required an easement from the property owner to build the road. Now the road has been realigned and the property owner has conveyed the land needed to build the road to the City. This morning the BPW recommended that the Council vacate that old easement because it is no longer needed. This allows the property owner to construct something on the land should they desire.
        • Motion to approve made by J.T. Cox
        • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
        • No discussion
        • Mayor Hall called for the vote. Affirmative votes were given by Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, and J.T. Cox. Tina Barnes voted no.
    • Ordinance No. 2018-OR-22 – “An Ordinance Establishing a Procedure for Issuing Inspection Warrants to Determine if Condition Exist Which Endanger the Health, Safety, or Welfare of Persons in the City of Charlestown” – First Reading
      • Mr. Gillenwater explained that this is an ordinance that adds due process procedures to statues and case law in Indiana. Governments are allowed to inspect properties in their jurisdictions, but there must be an exigent need, special circumstance, or permission from the owner. The state says there must be due process for inspections. This ordinance establishes the process for gaining a warrant in cases where an owner refuses entrance. A judge is required to review the circumstances and issue a warrant for the inspection including a set period for conducting the inspection and for returning results. There are some circumstances in which dangerous or unhealthy situations exist and people will not agree to inspection so this ordinance provides protection and direction for gaining entrance. It is patterned after some others used in the state. It gives the City the ability to obtain the right to inspect and protects the rights of the property owners as well.
        • Motion to approve made by Brian Hester
        • Seconded by Ted Little
        • During discussion, Brian Hester asked if this warrant is similar to a criminal case. Mr. Gillenwater explained that without the warrant, you can still ask permission to come in, but you can be denied. The warrant process dictates that city employees have to go to a judge under penalties of perjury and testify that there is probable cause to enter the property. The judge makes that decision and it would be our Circuit judges here in Clark County. The inspector has to report back to the court. Brian Hester asked, “So this truly protects individuals?” and Mr. Gillenwater said yes.
        • Mayor Hall called for the vote. Affirmative votes were given by Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, and J.T. Cox. Tina Barnes voted no.
    • Ordinance No. 2018-OR-23 – “An Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 2018-OR-6, An Ordinance Establishing Property Maintenance Standards Within the City of Charlestown, Indiana” – First reading
      • Mr. Gillenwater said this should look familiar. In 2008 the city adopted its PMC and earlier this year the council voted to amend it to clarify the relationship between the UBL and the PMC. Now that they’ve opted out of the UBL they’ve removed the language from the PMC. The City has sent this to the Indiana Fire Prevention and Safety Commission and this version incorporates changes that they recommended. Mr. Gillenwater asks that the council pass this on the first reading. He anticipates this will come for a second reading and hopes to have heard from the IFPSC by then in case there are any changes. He said other than the initial changes things remain largely the same in the code. He said that this is for health, safety, and maintenance, for example, you must be able to keep your home at a specific temperature in extreme weather, and maintain pest control. These are standards developed by an international property maintenance board. Ted Little, asked if this applies to homeowners and businesses and Mr. Gillenwater said yes.
      • Mayor Hall called for the motion to approve
        • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
        • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
        • During discussion Tina Barnes pointed out that last month the IFPBSC denied the PMC submitted by the city. Ms. Barnes was present at the August meeting of the commission and said that commission member Gregory Furnish, after reviewing the PMC (specifically the fines section) said that “ethically, it doesn’t even pass the litmus test.” Mr. Furbish also said he had never seen “anything written like this in his life.” Ms. Barnes asked for a copy of the letter that the Commission sent to the city outlining all of the problems with the PMC. Brian Hester asked if the ordinance is a living document? Mr. Gillenwater said yes, it’s not effective until the council passes it on the second reading. Mr. Hester asked if he has recommendations for changes who he gives them to and Gillenwater said him.
        • Mayor Hall called for the vote. Affirmative votes were given by Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, and J.T. Cox. Tina Barnes voted no.
  7. Mayor’s Updates
      • Chuck Ledbetter retired with 28 years in the police department and received commendations today. He is staying on as an evidence technician for the department.
      • The City has applied for two Community Crossings Grants for roads and sidewalks and hopes to get one or both of those that will help with paving in Charlestown.
      • Brian Hester gave an update on the Block Watch Meeting from September 27th. There were over 50 people in attendance. The next meeting is set tentatively for November 15th. There are a number of people who want to volunteer for service in the community.
  8. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by J.T. Cox
    • Seconded by Brian Hester
    • Unanimous approval

Full audio (29:25) available here: 

City-NEws-e1455073509249

 

Author: Treva Hodges

Resident of Charlestown, Indiana. Advocate.

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