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The Daily



09-09-03: Celina councilors vote against paying bills


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 spending.
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.


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