St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
Return to Menu

March 13, 2014 Town Council Minutes

Michael Forbes, PresidentAttorney David Austgen
Larry Bustamante, Vice-PresidentSherry Sury, Clerk-Treasurer
Gregory VolkSteve Kil, Town Manager
Mark Barenie 
Ken Gembala 

CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Forbes called to order the regular meeting of the Town Council for March 13, 2014, at 7:02 p.m. (The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

ROLL CALL:
Roll call was taken by Clerk-Treasurer, Sherry Sury, with the following members present: Michael Forbes, Larry Bustamante, Gregory Volk, Ken Gembala. Mark Barenie was absent. Staff members: Steve Kil was present. Chief Willman was present. Chief Frego was present. Chip Sobek was absent. Attorney Austgen was present. Recording Secretary, Susan E. Wright, was present. ef Frego and Chief Willman were present. Chip Sobek was absent. Recording Secretary, Susan E. Wright, was also present.

Presentation:
MR. MARK LOPEZ, CHIEF OF STAFF FOR CONGRESSMAN VISCLOSKY'S OFFICE – EXTENSION OF SOUTH SHORE RAIL

Mr. Forbes announced that Mr. Mark Lopez, a representative of Congressman Visclosky's office, was in attendance to give a presentation on and listen to discussion related to the South Shore railway extension.

Mr. Mark Lopez, Chief of Staff, Congressman Visclosky's office, appeared before the Council. Mr. Lopez noted that he is also a resident of St. John, living on West Springhill Drive. Mr. Lopez complimented the Town on their snow removal efforts; he stated he has been very pleased throughout the course of this year at the wonderful services provided by the Town.

Mr. Lopez thanked President Forbes, the Council, and Mr. Kil for extending the invitation to Congressman Visclosky's office to present the South Shore rail extension plans at tonight's meeting.

Mr. Lopez noted that Congressman Visclosky has long been an advocate for the extension of the South Shore rail line. Mr. Lopez noted that in 2013, a county option income tax was implemented. He stated that the implementation of this county option income tax has triggered the following: lifting of the 2007 property tax freeze, additional revenue for growing communities such as St. John, a property tax replacement credit, funds for Public Safety, Fire and Police, and economic development.

Mr. Lopez explained that economic development is what brings him here tonight. He explained that the approximate one-quarter percent tax will generate approximately $24 million per year. Mr. Lopez reiterated that Congressman Visclosky has long been a proponent of the extension of the South Shore commuter rail line. Mr. Lopez stated that given the implementation of the county tax, Mr. Visclosky felt another effort should be made to be proactive in bringing the South Shore rail extension to peoples' attention.

Mr. Lopez noted that steel mills and oil refineries have stabilized Lake County's economy for the better part of the last generation. Mr. Lopez noted due to technological advances and other factors, Lake County needs to diversify its economy and invest in other alternatives in order to grow its assessed valuation and improve opportunities. Mr. Lopez stated that Congressman Visclosky strongly believes that the expansion of the South Shore commuter rail line is one of these opportunities.

Mr. Lopez stated in 1991, through the efforts of former Hammond City councilwoman, Janet Moran, along with the city administration, funding was sought to acquire approximately five miles of rail line right of way, referred to as the old Monon line. Mr. Lopez explained that this five mile stretch of rail right of way was acquired in 1995.

Mr. Lopez introduced Mr. John Parsons to the Council; Mr. Parsons is one of the operators of the NICTD rail line. Mr. Lopez stated that NICTD, a well-run commuter rail, has been in operation since 1980. He stated that NICTD has about 12,000 riders every day. Mr. Lopez noted that many of these commuters return to the Northwest Indiana region every day and contribute approximately $247 million into its economy.

Mr. Lopez stated Northwest Indiana has the luxury of close proximity to Chicago. He opined that Chicago has a thriving, vibrant economy. Mr. Lopez cited Insight Magazine (January, 2014); the magazine, determined Chicago, Illinois, was the number one urban environment for investment.

Mr. Lopez stated that the communities and counties surrounding Chicago are growing and thriving. Mr. Lopez stated that Northwest Indiana has not fully participated in this investment, and that's why he was here tonight. He stated that if connectivity (South Shore rail extension) can be improved to take advantage of Chicago's vibrant economy it will allow growth for Northwest Indiana going forward.

Mr. Lopez noted that economic development is the motivation to work with local communities. He stated that leveraging local resources will enable access to state dollars, federal dollars and private investment which will help grow the economy. Mr. Lopez reiterated that the one-quarter percent tax will generate approximately $24 million per year.

Mr. Lopez stated he does not dispute that communities have a lot of needs. He noted that the property tax freeze since 2007 was very hurtful to growing communities such as St. John. Mr. Lopez stated that the economic development money provides communities with the opportunity to invest in activities that will generate a return on investment and grow the economy in a way that was planned for.

Mr. Lopez stated one reason for the optimism of the South Shore rail line extension is due to already having acquired the five miles of rail line. He stated that having already acquired the old Monon rail line will eliminate the long, drawn out process of negotiating with railroad companies for right of way. Mr. Lopez stated that if $8 million is secured locally, it will allow leverage of $8 million in funds through the Redevelopment Authority and $16 million in funds from the federal government. After these monies are secured, they can seek to have the construction process begin.

Mr. Lopez stated, in the event the South Shore rail extension becomes a reality, eventually his sons will have the opportunity to access the mass transit system and allow them to connect to the Chicago and its thriving economy.

Mr. Forbes asked for clarification on how the monies would be allocated, $8 million in local monies (CEDIT), $16 million in federal grants and $8 million from the Regional Development Authority. Mr. Lopez concurred.

Mr. Lopez explained to the Council that the State created the Regional Development Authority in 2005. He stated that the Indiana General Assembly determined that the Regional Development Authority should pursue four defined projects, one of the projects being the expansion of the South Shore commuter rail line. Mr. Lopez explained that the Regional Development Authority has dedicated $8 million to leverage local support in order to access the federal support.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Lopez stated, his understanding is that the State General Assembly has identified approximately $4 million to be placed towards the "operation and maintenance" of the rail line, beyond the construction-related activity. Mr. Lopez prefaced his next statement by apologizing if he was wrong; he stated it was his understanding that the Indiana General Assembly closed today and that the $4 million was made available to support the operation and maintenance of the expanded line.

Mr. Forbes stated he has had discussions with Representatives Slager and Niemeyer. He stated he wanted to clarify that the $4 million allocated to the RDA from the tax loophole will sit in a bank account and accumulate over the construction period of the South Shore extension.

Mr. Lopez talked about tax loophole money and the controversy surrounding it.

Mr. Lopez informed the Council that CEDIT monies will be contributed by the following local governments as follows: Lake County 25%; Munster, 34%; Highland, 20%; Hobart, 18% and Whiting, 25%. He stated that the local units of government have expressed to Congressman Visclosky that they wish the money that they provide to be used solely for construction-related activities. Mr. Lopez explained that is why they have looked to the General Assembly to provide operation/maintenance money to run the rail line once construction is complete.

Mr. Lopez stated, if all goes well, construction should begin in three to four years with construction complete in 2023. He explained that the $4 million allocated to the RDA every year will be banked and then utilized for operation and maintenance going forward.

Mr. Forbes asked about the southernmost terminus point for this project being located at the Munster/Dyer border.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Lopez deferred to Mr. Parsons to clarify the qualifications required to secure federal funding. Mr. Parsons explained the federal government performance criteria that must be met in order to receive federal funding. Mr. Forbes stated that there a mix viewpoints from citizens on whether the rail way should be extended. Mr. Forbes remarked, to his understanding, some aspects of extending the rail way past Dyer that would significantly impact the cost of the extension.

Mr. Parsons stated when they are in a position to begin environmental work it will entail preliminary engineering on the entire corridor. Mr. Parsons stated that the affected communities would be consulted with during the environmental work phase. He stated that as a part of this process, costs would be analyzed again. Mr. Parsons explained that costs are a significant driver in terms of qualifying for federal funds. Mr. Parsons stated they want to keep this project qualified for federal money.

There was discussion of future extension of the rail line from Dyer to St. John.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes asked if 5,600 was the correct number for anticipated riders who will use the rail extension. Mr. Parsons stated that this number was correct. For clarification, Mr. Lopez pointed out that of the 5,600 riders, 2,000 of them would be existing riders.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Parsons stated he would be happy to share a bubble map with the Council reflecting the number of riders and their locations.

Mr. Lopez noted that Congressman Visclosky has a history of working with local communities to invest in Northwest Indiana. He stated that Mr. Visclosky has always tried to put infrastructure in place so that the private sector can flourish. Mr. Lopez stated that Congressman Visclosky feels very strongly that it is his responsibility to advocate and provide information so that local units of government can make decisions that are in their best interests.

The Metra line and its proposed extension was discussed.

Mr. Forbes asked the Council if they had any questions. Mr. Kil asked about the location of the five mile right of way. Mr. Parsons stated that the five mile right of way being referred to is called "Airline Junction" and is located near The Times building.

(General discussion ensued.)

The location of the five mile of right of way and the acquisition of additional right of way was discussed. Lease and trackage rights were discussed.

Mr. Volk asked where the northern intersection intersects with the existing track and future train routes.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Lopez what amount of CEDIT monies was being requested of the Town of John. Mr. Lopez explained that the State of Indiana has requested that $8 million dollars be secured from local units of government in Lake County, Indiana. Mr. Lopez stated that they would request 34% of the Town's CEDIT monies. He stated if the Town was unable to provide the 34% requested, anything that the Town was willing to give to get the State closer to the $8 million dollars would be acceptable. He stated the Congressman's office wants to treat everyone equally as they are all a part of the region.

Mr. Lopez stated that they are focusing on "return on investment." He stated that the South Shore rail line extension is economic development, and if the monies are invested wisely there will be a return investment. Mr. Lopez stated that the return investment will grow the economy either through income taxes collected or assessed valuation.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Lopez thanked the Council for the opportunity to speak and their willingness to listen to the proposal; he stated he would answer any questions.

Mr. Forbes invited the audience to make public comment.

Jason Williams, Thiel Place and 86th Court
Mr. Williams stated he has a question and a statement. He stated that he has been commuting for the last eight years. Mr. Williams asked what, if any, impact there would be to existing houses in the eight mile stretch of right of way.

Mr. Williams stated that he that the proposed South Shore rail extension is going to cost the state and region a lot of money. He opined that this money could be better used to encourage local businesses to locate here.

Mr. Williams stated that he has spent the last eight years commuting. He stated he gets home at 7:00 or later almost every night. Mr. Williams stated he does not want his kids to live a commuting lifestyle.

Mr. Williams stated he watched the video that Congressman Visclosky put together. He stated the big point in the video was getting our youth to move back home. He opined that he does not see the extension of the South Shore rail way as a way to accomplish this.

Mr. Williams stated he would welcome Mr. Lopez's feedback.

Mr. Lopez stated that the old Monon line right of way is existing and already in place and there would be no displacement if the lines were restarted. Mr. Lopez stated as far as keeping children here or of kids not wanting to relocate back in Northwest Indiana, if it was due to lack of opportunity, Congressman Visclosky, as an elected official in charge of Lake, Porter, and western LaPorte Counties feels it would be his failure.

Mr. Lopez stated that all of the statistics in terms of ridership on mass transit reflect that young people depend and rely on mass transit. He stated that there are a number of people aged 24 and younger do not even possess a driver's license today. Mr. Lopez stated that statistics show that mass transit use is the highest it's been in 50 years.

Mr. Lopez stated that economic development is the reason the South Shore rail line extension is being pursued. He stated if there are other projects that communities wish to pursue that they feel would bring a greater return on their investment he would not argue. Mr. Lopez stated that Congressman Visclosky feels it is his responsibility to advocate and bring awareness about the expanded commuter rail line because it would bring an immediate return on the investment.

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment on the South Shore rail line extension.

Stephen Hastings, 8740 Patterson Street
Mr. Hastings noted that the South Shore extension was being pursued years ago and the region "missed the boat". He stated that it's kind of hard to put this plan back together. He opined that a better system would be to bus commuters to the other stations.

Mr. Hastings stated that one-quarter percent does not sound like a lot of money, but over the years it is a lot of money. He stated that as long as the Town has the money to take care of the roads, he would be okay with St. John supporting the South Shore expansion if the Town could afford it.

John Rainwater, 8737 Oakwood Drive
Mr. Rainwater stated he has lived in St. John for over 50 years. He stated that it sounds like everyone is sold on the idea of a commuter rail, but it should have been done 50 years ago. Mr. Rainwater stated Northwest Indiana is living 50 years behind time.

Mr. Rainwater stated that there used to be an economy and jobs here but they are all gone. He stated he worked in mills, refineries and installed telephone equipment in local businesses. He reiterated that the commuter rail way should have been done 50 years ago when the Monon line was still running through Hammond, Dyer, and St. John to Lowell.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Rainwater if he was opposed to and/or a supporter of the South Shore extension. Mr. Rainwater stated he would like to see the rail way come in. Mr. Rainwater stated that instead of spending all of this time on the South Shore project there are a lot of other things he would like to get the support of the Town Council for; namely, improving the power system in Town. He stated that the Council should get after NIPSCO to build the substation in St. John so they're closer to the substation and not always out of power.

Mr. Forbes acknowledged that the NIPSCO issues have been discussed before. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Rainwater to confine his comments to the topic at hand, the South Shore rail line expansion. Mr. Rainwater stated that the Council has no interest in the NIPSCO issue.

Mr. Forbes stated that the Council is interested in the NIPSCO matter, and the matter has been discussed several times before. He stated that the substation issue will not be addressed overnight. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Rainwater again if he was in support of the Town investing some if its CEDIT money in the extension of the South Shore. Mr. Rainwater stated he would like to see the South Shore be expanded to Lowell and Valparaiso.

Mr. Rainwater stated that people need to go someplace to work because Northwest Indiana does not have jobs anymore. He stated that Northwest Indiana is the portion of Indiana that built the State of Indiana with all of its taxes that were paid by the people that used to live in Northwest Indiana. He stated that improvements are needed here. Mr. Rainwater stated the South Shore rail extension is being discussed now, but after 2016 it will be forgotten.

Mr. Rainwater stated he would like to talk to someone in the future about getting after NIPSCO. He stated he has talked to engineer after engineer about a piece of land NIPSCO bought on Route 41. Mr. Rainwater asked if anyone is going to get anything for the billion dollars paid for improvements.

Mr. Forbes informed Mr. Rainwater that they are still talking with NIPSCO. Mr. Kil informed Mr. Rainwater that a gentleman who is the head of NIPSCO's gas and electric division is a resident of St. John. Mr. Kil stated he has talked this NIPSCO representative/resident, and without getting the exact details, and he has been informed that NIPSCO has property and they are going to build the substation. Mr. Kil stated he since he does not know, he cannot give an exact time frame for the construction of the substation at the present time.

Mr. Kil stated that they would address the NIPSCO issue independent of tonight's meeting. Mr. Rainwater suggested that the Town get as involved with NIPSCO as they are with South Shore rail extension.

Ken Schneider, 9001 Parrish Avenue
Mr. Schneider thanked Mr. Lopez for his presentation. Mr. Schneider stated that he hoped the Town would consider using the CEDIT funds to extend the South Shore at least into Dyer.

Mr. Schneider stated he sees the rail extension as an investment. He stated he is one of the people that Mr. Lopez referred to that commutes to Illinois every day to make his salary that he brings back into Indiana. Mr. Schneider stated that he travels to and through Orland Park, Mokena and Frankfort. He stated there are several national chain restaurants and stores on LaGrange Road in Orland Park and the reason they are there is because of the train.

Mr. Schneider stated that he believes that if the Town uses the money for an investment in the South Shore rail extension, Northwest Indiana would see a return on their investment.

Mr. Forbes called for additional comment on the South Shore extension. There was no further comment. Mr. Forbes noted that the Council would not take any action on the South Shore extension matter tonight. He stated he appreciated Mr. Lopez and Mr. Parsons presentation and all of the input to the Council.

PUBLIC HEARING:
A. CONSIDER ORDINANCE #1582, AN ORDINANCE ANNEXING REAL PROPERTY INTO THE CORPORATE LIMITS (COLUMBIA COURT)

Mr. Forbes stated that the next item on the agenda was a Public Hearing for Ordinance #1582, or ordinance annexing real property into the corporate limits. Mr. Forbes asked if Columbia Court was going to be the name of the subdivision. Mr. Kil stated that for identification purposes, the parcel is being referred to as Columbia Court.

Mr. Forbes asked Attorney Austgen if the Proofs of Publication for Notice of Public Hearing were in order. Attorney Austgen noted that the Proofs of Publication for the public hearing were timely published in both newspapers on February 18, 2014. He stated that the public hearing could be properly conducted.

Mr. Forbes stated that the parcel of land for annexation was located on 93rd Avenue that abuts Bramblewood to the east, approximately 25 acres. Mr. Forbes noted that the proposed zoning is R-1.

Mr. Jack Slager, representing Schilling Development, appeared before the Council requesting annexation for the approximate 24 1/2 acre parcel. He noted that the parcel almost sits in a hole in the middle of St. John.

Mr. Slager informed the Council that a lot of the parcel is low ground, with flood ways, flood plain and wet lands. He stated that there is a very small portion of the 24 ½ acres that is developable. Mr. Slager stated that Schilling Development would like to annex the entire parcel, and then go through the engineering process and figure out what is actually useable ground. He stated that approximately five to six acres is actually useable ground.

Mr. Forbes noted that the number of nine lots has been mentioned. Mr. Slager stated that it would be eight to nine lots. Mr. Gembala asked if the developer intended to mitigate areas or just use what is usable. Mr. Slager stated it would probably be a little bit of both. Mr. Slager stated there is definitely a portion of high ground located on the northwest corner right on 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Forbes asked if the councilmen had any other questions. Mr. Bustamante asked what type of residences would be built. Mr. Slager stated there would be strictly single family homes on large lots.

Mr. Volk noted that the subdivision would be accessed from 93rd Avenue; he asked if the proposed subdivision could be accessed from the west through Bramblewood. Mr. Slager stated that the proposed subdivision could not be accessed through Bramblewood.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions. There were no further questions from the councilmen.

Mr. Forbes asked about the introduction to the fiscal plan. Mr. Kil noted that the fiscal plan was included in the Council's packets for their review. Mr. Kil stated that it's a very simple fiscal plan as it is not a complicated annexation. Mr. Kil noted that the proposed subdivision will not require the addition of any Town services. He stated that utilities are readily available.

Mr. Kil stated that the purpose tonight was to introduce the fiscal plan and see if there were any questions. He noted that the fiscal plan will be adopted prior to the Ordinance #1582 being adopted. Mr. Kil stated that this would be on the April 24, 2014 agenda.

Mr. Kil noted this was a voluntary annexation so it would become effective 30 days after the date of publication. Mr. Kil stated that Mr. Slager has been provided with an annexation schedule.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions on the fiscal plan. There were no questions from the councilmen on the fiscal plan. Mr. Forbes noted he would the open public hearing for comments on the annexation of the aforementioned property.

PUBLIC HEARING

John Rainwater, 8737 North Oakwood Drive
Mr. Rainwater asked what would happen to the acres of wetland. Mr. Slager stated that any wetlands that are located in the parcel will be preserved or mitigated. Mr. Slager noted that the property is only being annexed at this point in time. Mr. Rainwater asked who would end up with the wetlands. He asked if they would be given to the Town of St. John. Mr. Forbes remarked that he did not believe the Town would take the wetlands. Mr. Kil noted that typically, the Town does not accept wetlands. Mr. Kil stated the wetlands usually remain in their natural state and remain as an out lot.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment. Mr. Forbes closed the public hearing and brought the matter back to the Town Council. He asked if there were any further questions from the councilmen. There were no further questions.

Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to consider Ordinance #1582, on first reading only. "So moved," by Mr. Gembala. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nayes --- none.

NEW BUSINESS:
A. RATIFICATION OF PAYMENT TO INDIANA DEAPRTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (INDOT) FOR UTILITY RELOCATION IN THE AMOUNT OF $92,560.47 (U.S. ROUTE 41 CULVERT REPLACEMENT).

Mr. Forbes noted the ratification for payment of $92,560.47 to the Indiana Department of Transportation for utility relocation, the U.S. 41 culvert. Mr. Forbes stated that INDOT is replacing a culvert under Route 41.

Mr. Kil stated that the project encompasses the culvert/bridge replacement. Mr. Kil stated that he requested the Clerk-Treasurer to issue a check to INDOT. He stated that the motion is probably not necessary, but it would ratify the payment to INDOT. Mr. Kil stated that a Notice to Proceed should be issued any day.

Mr. Forbes noted that the INDOT project will relocate some of the Town's utilities out of the easement. Mr. Kil stated that the Town will be paying the contractor for the utility portion of the work.

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any further questions. There were no further questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain motion. Mr. Volk made a motion to ratify the payment to INDOT in the amount of $92,560.47. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nayes --- none.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:
TOWN COUNCIL:

Mr. Forbes moved on to reports or correspondence.

Mr. Bustamante had nothing to report.

Mr. Volk had nothing to report.

Mr. Gembala had nothing to report.

Mr. Forbes informed the Council that the E-911 discussion is ongoing. He stated that he and Mr. Bustamante attended a meeting with county officials and representative from Schererville, Cedar Lake and Highland. Mr. Forbes noted Mr. Hitchcock was also present at the county meeting.

Mr. Forbes stated outstanding concerns were discussed with county officials at the E-911 meeting. He stated following this meeting there was a meeting of the four communities. Mr. Forbes stated that the four communities have agreed to enter into a joint resolution stating what was heard at the meeting with the county officials. He stated that the resolution, when ratified, would reflect that the four communities are in agreement.

Mr. Forbes stated his understanding is that each community will approve the joint resolution. He noted that the Town of Schererville approved the joint resolution last night. Mr. Forbes gave each councilman a copy of the proposed joint resolution for their review.

Mr. Forbes stated that after the resolution is approved by all four communities it will be forwarded to the Lake County Council with a request for ratification. Mr. Forbes stated that once the Lake County Council ratifies the joint resolution, the four communities will enter into the E-911 Interlocal Agreement.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes noted that the joint resolution will be placed on the agenda at the next meeting.

Mr. Forbes thanked the Public Works crew for all of their hard work during the last rainy, icy snowstorm; he stated the crew did an outstanding job. Mr. Forbes also commended the Police and Fire Departments for their team effort in help to clean off the Town's traffic signals.

(General discussion ensued.)

CLERK-TREASURER:
Ms. Sury had no reports.

ATTORNEY'S REPORT:
Attorney Austgen had no reports.

TOWN MANAGER:
Mr. Kil informed the Council that one of the paramedic/firefighters was plowing snow at the fire station and inadvertently backed into his own vehicle. Mr. Kil stated that the Fire Department's insurance carrier does not cover this specific incident. He stated that the Fire Department will pay the deductible and the outstanding amount after the deductible is a couple thousand dollars.

Mr. Kil had three quotes, Al's Auto Body, Riverdale and M&S. He requested that the Council authorize payment for the damages caused, less the deductible, for the accident.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Gembala remarked that it was an unfortunate accident.

Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to authorize payment per the Al's Auto Body estimate less the deductible. Mr. Gembala made a motion to authorize payment of the Al's Auto Body estimate less the deductible. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nayes --- none.

STAFF:
Chief Willman expressed his appreciation to the Council for their consideration in their review of the snow plowing incident and authorization of payment for the repair work.

Chief Frego informed the Council that Officer Anderson retired effective February 28, 2014. He stated that Officer Anderson wishes to stay involved in the community and has requested permission to become a reserve officer. Chief Frego stated that Officer Anderson is an asset to the Town with 29 years of experience.

Chief Frego stated, pursuant to the requirements of the federal COPS grant, Officer Anderson's replacement has to be hired. Chief Frego stated that the first candidate on the list, respectfully declined. He stated that they moved on to the second individual on the candidate list who is currently a police officer at the University of Indianapolis.

Chief Frego stated that the second candidate is a former resident of St. John. He stated that the candidate is undergoing testing, the PERF will be set up, and he is looking forward to getting him on the force.

(General discussion ensued.)

PUBLIC COMMENT:
Mr. Forbes opened the floor for public comment. He called for public comment.

John Rainwater, 8737 North Oakwood Drive
Mr. Rainwater asked the Council if he could count on hearing something from the them or Mr. Kil related to NIPSCO. Mr. Rainwater reiterated that he has talked to several engineers and they don't know anything. He requested that the Town Council invite a NIPSCO representative that knows something to a Town Council meeting.

Mr. Rainwater stated that downtown St. John has been bypassed by NIPSCO for the last 50 years. He stated that he when he first moved into St. John 50 years ago he was out of power all the time for the first 15 years.

Mr. Rainwater stated then NIPSCO installed a new lines on US Route 41, and everything was beautiful for the next 15 years. Mr. Rainwater stated then NIPSCO cut off his residence off by routing him back to Lake Hills on Cline Avenue.

Mr. Rainwater described to the Council how a portion of the Town's power route is laid out. Mr. Forbes informed Mr. Rainwater that the Council will make arrangements to set up a meeting with NIPSCO so that his concerns can be addressed. Mr. Forbes stated that this probably would be a personal meeting as it would not generate a lot of public interest.

Mr. Rainwater reiterated that he would like to speak to a NIPSCO representative to see what they intend to do. Mr. Kil stated that he will contact the NIPSCO representative to obtain information to set up a meeting.

Mr. Rainwater noted that Lake Central has its own substation. He stated that he previously requested NIPSCO to re-route down town St. John back on the Novak substation. Mr. Rainwater states NIPSCO keeps putting him off.

(General discussion ensued.)

Ken Schneider, 9001 Parrish Avenue
Mr. Schneider asked the Council what 34% of the CEDIT funds would translate into for a dollar amount. He also asked if a tax levy was recently passed to generate over $300,000 per year for road improvements.

Mr. Kil stated that a CCD fund was recently implemented to generate extra funds for road improvements. Mr. Kil stated that the Town's approximate amount of CEDIT funds would be $318,000; the Council will consider contributing 34 % of its CEDIT money to the South Shore rail line extension which would amount to approximately $109,000.

Mr. Forbes called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment. Mr. Forbes closed the floor to public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn the meeting. "So moved," by Mr. Volk. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes – all. Nays – none. (The meeting was adjourned at 8:24 p.m.)

A TRUE COPY

_______________________________________________
Susan E. Wright
Recording Secretary St. John Town Council