By TIMOTHY COX
Celina City Council members on Monday voted down a supplemental
appropriations ordinance that is necessary to pay some bills.
The proposed appropriations issue was the most contentious in
a meeting where council members also passed first reading of
a new fire protection contract with Jefferson Township and got
started on meeting a new federal mandate on storm sewer maintenance.
The proposed supplemental appropriations ordinance included
a number of money transfers between funds and appropriation
of money not budgeted for this year. It would have provided
$168,826 for a number of things, including a new dump truck,
the local matching share for a lake boardwalk project, part
of the city’s share of the Havemann Road reconstruction
and payroll expenses for a couple of city departments. Rejection
of the ordinance means those bills cannot be paid until council
takes some action.
It was the $10,000 for the boardwalk and $23,000 for the dump
truck that caused some council members to vote against the additional
Council member Ron Hammons railed against the boardwalk project,
saying it is not something that West Bank Road residents and
others in the city want their money spent on.
“What is a boardwalk going to do for the city of Celina?”
Hammons said. “People think it’s a folly. You might
as well take that money and build a Ferris wheel on Safety Island.”
Mayor Paul Arnold objected to Hammons’ assessment of the
project, which is to be mostly paid for through state money
secured by state Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina. Arnold reminded
Hammons that some people are investing huge amounts of money
into improving the West Bank area.
“People should realize this is not a toy thing out there.
It will create traffic and create money,” Arnold said.
Council members Sharon LaRue and Angie King also opposed the
boardwalk project, along with objecting to the additional $23,000
needed for a dump truck. Administrators originally thought the
truck would cost less.
Council members Denny Smith and Collin Bryan called for a vote
on the issue, which promptly failed 3-2. They supported the
ordinance while Hammons, LaRue and King voted against it. Council
members Bob Nuding and Rick Bachelor were absent.
Auditor Pat Smith said he would have rather seen council members
negotiate on the ordinance at the table and remove any objectionable
items before the final vote. Instead, the process will have
to start over while some bills go unpaid.
LaRue said after the meeting she would support the measure if
the money for the boardwalk and dump truck are taken out.
Administrators plan to bring the ordinance back again in two
weeks for council to reconsider.
Also Monday, council members gave a first reading nod to a proposed
ordinance approving a contract with Jefferson Township for fire
protection provided by the city’s fire department. The
five-year contract is contingent on passage by township voters
in November of a 1.5-mill levy that would raise an estimated
$98,000 annually. Under terms of the contract, the city is to
collect whatever amount the levy raises.
If the levy fails, the contract would be void and the city and
township would have to come up with some other financial arrangement
for next year.
Only Jefferson Township voters outside the city limits will
vote on the fire levy. City residents also would not be subject
to the property tax if the levy passes.
City officials also got started on meeting new storm sewer requirements
but bemoaned the federal EPA mandate that comes with no money
or suggestions on how the program should be funded.
Council members passed first reading of a storm water protection
plan that is the first step in the process. Wastewater Superintendent
Mike Lenhart said this first phase does not include a lot of
costs, except for man-hours from his office. The protection
plan is mainly an educational component that lays the groundwork
for additional storm water management programs in the future.
The plan includes public education and outreach requirements
and also calls for city officials to find ways to limit illegal
discharges into the storm sewer system. City officials also
must craft plans to limit storm run-off at construction sites
and new developments and come up with best management practices
to limit its own pollution of storm sewers.
Arnold reminded everyone that while the sanitary sewer department
is handling the issue, funding for it comes from the street
and general funds. The sewer fund also cannot financially support
any additional spending, he said.
“As the EPA gets more restrictive, it’s going to
have to be addressed in the future,” Lenhart said, suggesting
that a new city utility be created to handle storm sewers.
In other business Monday, council members:
• Passed first reading of an ordinance changing the zoning
classification of property owned by Arthur Boring from B-1,
general business to M, manufacturing. The land is located along
U.S. 127 south of Celina and just north of Schunck Road.
• Heard no comment at a public hearing on establishing
zoning for a recently annexed 22.506-acre property on the northeast
edge of town. Council members then set the zoning classifications
for the parcels within the tract that is to be developed into
a subdivision. Council members had already assigned zoning classifications
for the land but erred in not holding a public hearing.
• Passed second reading of an ordinance accepting the
application for annexation of 25.65 acres of land, also northeast
of town that is targeted for subdivision development.
• Learned that Huffy Found-ation, the charitable trust
of Huffy Corp., has donated $1,000 for playground equipment
at Eastview Park at Arnold’s request.