2018-09-12 / Front Page

Flora considers changes to its election process

Susan Scholl
Editor

Jim Hancock recommended to the Flora Town Council at its meeting Monday night that the town consider changing its election process from a town convention to a primary ballot election. He explained this should save the town money and allow more residents to vote for candidates.

Hancock said he contacted the Indiana Election Division and County Clerk Andrea Miller. From his research, he said, it is “really pretty simple. All it takes is an ordinance.” If the town agrees to the change, it will be committed to holding a primary election for 12 years.

Hancock said that only 82 people voted in the recent Republican Town Convention. He said he knows of people who would have liked to vote but for whatever reason could not attend the limited time that the vote was taken. Typically more people turn out to vote in a primary when the polls are open for 12 hours. Absentee ballots can also be cast.

Hancock was thanked for his research. The council will take the matter under advisement.

Dog Park

Flora Girl Scouts continue fundraising efforts for a dog park within Flora Community Park. Scout leader Stephanie Waybill said the original quote for fencing was around $10,000 but because the dog park was moved to another location that is a little larger they expect the cost for fencing to be higher.

Utilities foreman Ron Fritz estimated by moving the dog park by the water tower it adds an additional 400 square feet of needed fencing.

Waybill said the Scouts have raised $3,500 through fundraisers and have two additional fundraisers planned. The first will be at the Depot Day Festival on Sept. 22 and Flora Pizza King is donating 20 percent of its sales on Oct. 4.

In order to complete the Girl Scout service project by the required April deadline, the Scouts asked if the town would pay the remaining balance of the cost for the five-foot high fence.

Josh Ayres told the Scouts to secure a firm quote for the fencing and bring it to the Oct. 1 meeting. The council will make a decision at that time. Scouts will accept donations for their project.

Yard waste ordinance

Ordinance 2018-04, regarding yard waste, was passed on first reading and will be advertised and then passed on second and third readings at the Oct. 1 meeting. The ordinance imposes fees for town employees removing extra large accumulations of yard waste at a single residence as well as resident fines for not adhering to yard waste pick up requirements. Residents are reminded they may leave yard waste at the town’s compost and tree limb areas off of Green Acre Drive.

Fritz said the word is getting out and the amount of yard waste put in the streets has been reduced, however people are still dumping loose grass in the gutters and that remains a problem clogging drains. Dog feces

Ayres read a letter from Flora Main Street asking town officials to do something about dog feces in the downtown. Pet owners are not cleaning up after their animals. In trying to make the downtown inviting, the dog feces instead leave a bad impression, the letter read.

Imposing fines through an ordinance was suggested as a remedy but questions arose how an ordinance could be enforced.

Main Street offered to purchase a dog waste station for the town parking lot to help with the problem.

Ayres said he would speak with town attorney Abigail Diener about the town’s options and report back.

Other business

Perry Brewington appeared concerning the many underdeveloped alleys the town has platted. He said there is one such alley behind a rental home he owns at 306 W. Clem St. Brewington suggested the alleys be turned into utility easements only so that those who reside next to the underdeveloped alleys can have an expectation of privacy. As they are now, he said, it is lawful for anyone to drive or walk in the alleys. If they are utility easements, they are accessible only for authorized entities and individuals. The Council will look at the situation before making a decision.

TBIRD Design Services, Lafayette, has been working the past several years with the town on upgrading the sanitary sewer system. TBIRD Corp. President Tim Balensiefer explained Clem Kuns will be managing the project moving forward. He said he and Kuns, along with Bill Mc- Carty, have a conference call scheduled Tuesday with IDEM to discuss IDEM’s expectations for the town. He also said McCarty brought up concerns that need to be addressed. Town officials will be updated at the Oct. 1 meeting.

Despite signage to the contrary, unauthorized people continue to put building materials, furniture, etc. in the fenced area and dumpsters in the downtown parking lot. During a recent unauthorized dumping the license plate of the offender was photographed and the identity of that person is now known. That person will be receiving a bill for what the town paid to get their trash hauled away.

Bids to construct a lean-to on the north side of the merchants building at Flora Community Park for picnic table storage were received from AAA Beaver Construction, Graybill Construction, and Daryl Brumbaugh. The low bid submitted by Brumbaugh was accepted.

Bid specifications to replace the roof on the town office building were approved.

Ayres stated the town appreciates the gift of property on East Columbia Street from the Mann Trust. He said the property transfer is complete.

A sprinkler inspection by Brenneco Fire Protection found a main riser to be clogged. Council members agreed it needs to be flushed out but not before a cost estimate is received.

The Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) will change the Energy Cost Adjustment rates charged to Flora over the next three months. The town will file a decrease in its schedule of rates for electricity sold to reflect a decrease in the cost of power purchased from IMPA. The decrease amounts to an 8¢ decrease for every 1,000 kilowatt hours consumed.

Reports

In a recent routine inspection, the airport was dinged twice, according to clerk-treasurer Joretta Tinsman. She said the pay phone there was recently removed because it was never used and was a $65 a month expense. The airport board was told there must be a phone available to call 911 in the event of an emergency. To keep costs down two old cell phones are being used and charged alternately to comply. The other matter regarded runway lights not being turned on.

The police report for August included 10 arrests/misdemeanors; 2 felonies; 16 citations, 41 warnings, 51 calls for service, 1 accident.

The Volunteer Fire Department had 20 medical, five fire and four other runs in August. Fire chief Todd Trent said the second week of October is Fire Prevention Week and reminded homeowners that the VFD will provide free smoke detectors and install them. Those who rent, he said, must contact their landlords, who are responsible for providing smoke detectors.

Trent said the department also has free carbon monoxide detectors available for those with fossil fuel burners.

Four building permits were issued in August: Kevin and Jill Clothier, storage building; Ernest Smelser, wrecking of shed; Joe and Becky Martin, storage shed; and Scott Sisson, fence.

Atlee Oyler with the Park Dept. recommended replacing five to seven trees in the park per year as the ash trees continue to die. Oyler was asked to price five trees of various sizes and report at the next meeting.

The next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Town Office Building. The public hearing for the 2019 budget will be held that night with the final reading set for Oct. 15 at a special meeting.

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