July 1, 2014 Town Council Minutes
|Michael Forbes, President||Attorney David Austgen|
|Larry Bustamante, Vice-President||Sherry Sury, Clerk-Treasurer|
|Gregory Volk||Steve Kil, Town Manager|
CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Forbes called to order the regular meeting for the Town Council on July 1, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. (The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)
Roll call was taken by Clerk-Treasurer, Sherry Sury with the following members present: Michael Forbes, Gregory Volk, Mark Barenie, Ken Gembala and Larry Bustamante. Attorney David Austgen was present. Staff members present: Chief Frego and Chief Willman. Steve Kil was present. Chip Sobek was absent. Recording Secretary, Susan E. Wright, was also present.
A. DISCUSSION OF E-911 CONSOLIDATION.
Mr. Forbes noted that the E-911 consolidation was before the Council for discussion and review. He stated that the Council has entrusted him to negotiate and discuss the E-911 consolidation between the Town, Lake County and multiple communities in Lake County. Mr. Forbes opined that the Town is now at a fork in the road. He stated that the Town needs to either sign on to the Lake County Interlocal Agreement, or continue pursuing the second PSAP, which would represent St. John, Schererville and Cedar Lake.
Mr. Forbes stated that the Council should have a copy of the Interlocal Agreement and a copy of the resolution that has been passed by Schererville and Cedar Lake. He stated that Schererville and Cedar Lake are fully supportive.
Mr. Forbes stated that he needs direction, at this point, from the Council. He stated he cannot continue on without knowing what the rest of the Council wants to do. Mr. Forbes stated he is interested in continuing the pursuit of the second PSAP, and he is looking for support for the second PSAP site.
Mr. Barenie stated that he appreciates all that Mr. Forbes has done and is supportive of his thought processes. He stated that the bottom line is the additional work done in the next couple of weeks would ensure that the Council had done their due diligence. Mr. Barenie stated that since Mr. Forbes has been the lead on this issue he would support his stance.
Mr. Bustamante stated that he appreciates everything that Mr. Forbes has done on behalf of the E-911 consolidation issue. He stated without the involvement of Mr. Forbes and Mr. Kil, the Town would not have received the concessions from Lake County that they did get. Mr. Bustamante opined that at this fork in the road, he thinks the Town should sign on to the Lake County Interlocal Agreement. He stated that this matter should be taken care of so the Council can move on to other matters.
Mr. Forbes stated that he appreciated Mr. Bustamante's remarks. He opined that the Council would better represent the residents by continuing to pursue the option of the second PSAP. Mr. Forbes stated that the second PSAP is a viable option and he does not believe the county interlocal agreement should be signed until all of the options are exhausted.
Mr. Forbes noted that if the Town were to sign on the Lake County Interlocal Agreement, there is a clause in the agreement that would allow the Council to back out of the same by July 31, 2014. Mr. Forbes reiterated that the second PSAP is a viable option and he is not prepared to stop exploring the options until they are all exhausted.
Mr. Barenie asked if there has been any progress with Barnes & Thornburg. Mr. Forbes stated that the law firm is currently in the process of collecting information.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Gembala expressed his appreciation for all of the hard work that Mr. Forbes has done along with staff on the E-911 consolidation. He stated that the Council is concerned about maintaining for the Town the same level of service and costs that they currently have. Mr. Gembala acknowledged that there are still unanswered questions related to these issues and the E-911 consolidation.
Mr. Gembala noted that there will be unanswered questions with the Town's system also. He stated that in the event that the Town's system does not work, he doesn't believe the Town has the financial resources to recover on this. Mr. Gembala stated he is very concerned if the Town decides to pursue the second PSAP, they may run into serious problems.
Mr. Gembala stated that the feedback he has received in talking with Town personnel is that they would prefer to go with the Lake County E-911 consolidation. Mr. Gembala opined that he would prefer to go along with the Lake County Interlocal Agreement.
Mr. Volk stated that he is in favor of supporting the interlocal agreement. He stated that nothing will be known until they join in with Schererville and Cedar Lake and get some final numbers. Mr. Volk stated that this should be done so that the Council can ascertain what would be the best option. He noted that there is a 30-day clause to opt out of the Lake County Interlocal Agreement, so he did not see any harm in signing it and moving forward with it.
Mr. Bustamante stated he would like to hear what Chief Willman and Chief Frego have to say about the matter.
Chief Frego stated he is in favor of going with the Lake County E-911 consolidation. He stated his main concern in St. John is public safety for all of the citizens, police officers and firefighters. Chief Frego stated that he has seen what Motorola has put together for Lake County, and the equipment is state of the art. He stated that Lake County's system will give intra-operability to the entire county.
Chief Frego stated that the current system is not acceptable to him. He stated with the current system, the Police Department is not be able to communicate with their neighbors to the west, won't be able to talk to Crown Point, and in some cases they can't talk to each other.
Chief Frego stated if 700 megahertz is being considered, there are no frequencies available because Lake County has all of them. Chief Frego stated he is concerned about the CAD system. He stated he is really concerned about the entire operation.
Chief Frego opined that consolidation works and it has been proven that it works. He stated Illinois has been consolidated for twenty years. Chief Frego reiterated his biggest concern was citizen, police officer and firefighter safety.
Chief Frego stated that the Lake County E-911 consolidation has a good coalition of people. He stated that every department sends a representative. Chief Frego stated that one plan is going to work for everybody. He stated that each PSAP currently has "idiosyncrasies" but when the 911 consolidation is finished it will be standardized.
Chief Frego stated if E-911 consolidation was joined, it would be the first time ever that they had a professional fire dispatch service. He stated that at the present time it is 80 percent of police and 20 percent fire with one dispatcher handling both. He stated that the E-911 consolidation will have a dedicated fire dispatch staff. Chief Frego opined that the fire service/EMS will really benefit from the E-911 consolidation.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Barenie recommended that the staff attend the E-911 commission meetings to keep apprised of what is being discussed.
Chief Willman stated it is very difficult to go and represent a unified Town of St. John. He stated the first question asked of him by other department heads is "are you going to sign?" He stated he is in a position to support what the Council wants. Chief Willman stated that he doesn't have to tell them whether he agrees with them all the time or not, but he doesn't think it presents a unified effort when attending E-911 meetings which at times is awkward.
Chief Willman stated that the Council's position on the county interlocal agreement at the present time doesn't represent the type of security and proactivity that he's always enjoyed here. He stated that this is totally contrary to how things usually work. Chief Frego stated that he is in favor of the county interlocal agreement.
Chief Willman stated that he works with the Cedar Lake Fire Department frequently. He stated he has no problem with a coalition between St. John, Schererville and Cedar Lake. He stated that the only thing that bothers him is that he thinks the Town may be getting rid of some resources that would not otherwise be available. He stated the Tri-Town interlocal agreement will kind of make them an island.
Chief Willman stated that if the Town joins in the county interlocal agreement they will be in with everyone else, on the same frequency, the same paging system and with the same people that they have trained with.
Chief Willman stated that their training center trains approximately 80-90% of the new firefighters in Lake County. He stated this is the type of thing that may be compromised if the Town goes too small. He stated that the St. John, Schererville and Cedar Lake have certain resources, but nowhere near what all 17 departments have.
Chief Willman stated, most importantly, he does not want to "speak a different language than you guys are speaking." He stated that he is waiting for the Council to make their decision. Chief Willman stated he respects the Council and will respect their decision.
Chief Willman stated he would make every effort to attend the E-911 commission meetings. He reiterated that Chief Frego and he feel more acutely the effect (when attending E-911 meetings) of not knowing if the Town will be signing on to the Lake County Interlocal Agreement.
Mr. Barenie asked Chief Frego and Chief Willman if the safety of the residents of St. John will decrease at all if a decision is not reached for approximately three weeks. Chief Frego responded, "Of course not."
Attorney Austgen stated if there was an action to be taken tonight pertaining to entering into a joint interlocal agreement, there is a resolution requirement under the Indiana Code. He stated that the resolution would be "a resolution authorizing and approving entry into a joint interlocal agreement for the operation of a single Public Safety Answering Point and all matters related thereto."
Mr. Forbes noted that this was the resolution he sent to the council members. Mr. Forbes asked if there was a motion "to enter into a resolution authorizing and approving entry into a joint interlocal agreement for the operation of a single Public Safety Answering Point and all matters thereto." Mr. Barenie asked for a resolution number.
Ms. Sury provided the resolution number, 14-07-01. Mr. Forbes asked if there was a motion on Resolution #14-07-01. Mr. Volk made a motion to authorize and approve entry into a joint interlocal agreement for the operation of a single Public Safety Answering Point. Mr. Barenie seconded the motion.
Mr. Forbes requested a roll call vote. Ms. Sury took a roll call vote. Gregory Volk --- yes. Ken Gembala --- no. Mark Barenie --- yes. Larry Bustamante --- no. Michael Forbes --- yes. The motion was carried by roll call vote (3/2). Ayes --- three. Nays --- two.
Mr. Forbes asked if the aforementioned was the only action needed to be taken by the Council. Attorney Austgen acknowledged that this would be the only action needed to be taken by the Council. Attorney Austgen stated that Resolution #14-07-01 will have appended to it the approved interlocal agreement countersigned by Schererville and Cedar Lake to be properly recorded and reported to the Indiana State Board of Accounts.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Forbes informed the Council that there were meetings scheduled for July 10, July 24 and July 31. Mr. Forbes stated that a public hearing is scheduled to be held on July 24, 2014, and bid openings for the Town's road project on July 31, 2014.
Attorney Austgen stated, with the Council's authorization, he would seek an acknowledgement from Barnes & Thornburg of tonight's action, and a time table with an outline of events.
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn the meeting. "So moved," by Mr. Bustamante. Mr. Gembala seconded the motion. The motion was carried unanimously by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none. (The meeting was adjourned at 5:34 p.m.)
A TRUE COPY
Susan E. Wright
Recording Secretary St. John Town Council