St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
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July 10, 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 for the Town Council on July 10, 2014, at 7:03 p.m. (The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

Mr. Forbes requested a moment of silence be observed after the Pledge, to honor the Gary police officer, Mr. Jeffrey Westerfield, who was killed in the line of duty. (A moment of silence was observed.)

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

Mr. Forbes asked for the Council's indulgence to amend the agenda to include Resolution # 14-07-10; Resolution #14-07-10 would declare the month of July, 2014, as Tri Town Safety Village month.

Mr. Forbes asked for a motion to amend the agenda. "So moved," by Mr. Volk. Mr. Gembala seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

NEW BUSINESS:
A. CONSIDER CONDITIONAL SPECIAL USE VARIANCE REQUEST BY SONNY SAHI FOR CONSTRUCTION OF A SPORTS COURT.

Mr. Forbes noted that first item under New Business for the Council's consideration was the request of a special use variance from Mr. Sonny Sahi for construction of a sports court. Mr. Forbes noted that the Board of Zoning forwarded this request to the Council with a favorable recommendation. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kil to elaborate on this matter.

Mr. Kil informed the Council that he is in possession of large drawings of both the landscaping and grading plan for the proposed sports court for the Council's review. He stated that findings of fact from the Board of Zoning Appeals were included in the Council's packets.

Mr. Kil noted the presence of Mr. Keven Koy, representative for Petitioner, Sonny Sahi. Mr. Sergio Gutierrez, Mr. Sahi's landscaper, was also present. Mr. Kil noted the presence of Mrs. Rado, neighbor of Mr. Sahi, who has veto rights on the proposed landscaping and retaining wall.

Mr. Kil stated that the Petitioner is proposing to use noise-deadening Versacourt for the sports court, the addition of extensive landscaping, an aluminum (wrought-iron look) fence and no lighting all of which is reflected in the Board of Zoning Appeals findings of fact. Mr. Kil stated that all of the parties affected by the proposed sports court have been addressed at the Board of Zoning Appeals level.

Mr. Kil stated that he would be happy to answer any questions that the Council may have.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes noted the most important thing is that the neighbors are comfortable with the proposed sports court. Mr. Kil noted all of the neighbors are fine with the sports court as long as the guidelines set forth by the Board of Zoning Appeals are followed.

Mr. Koy stated that Mr. Sahi's highest commitment is to the neighbors for the landscaping and the retaining wall.

Mr. Forbes asked for any other questions or comments. There were no further questions or comments.

Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to approve the conditional special use for a sports court for Mr. Sonny Sahi including the Board of Zoning Appeals findings of fact and the guidelines set forth therein. "So moved," by Mr. Bustamante. Mr. Barenie seconded the motion. The motion was approved by voice vote (4/1). Ayes --- four. Mr. Gembala was opposed.

B. RESOLUTION 14-07-10, A RESOLUTION DECLARING THE MONTH OF JULY, 2014, AS TRI TOWN SAFETY VILLAGE MONTH IN THE TOWN OF ST. JOHN AND ALL MATTERS RELATED THERETO.

Mr. Forbes noted "Resolution #14-07-10, a resolution declaring the month of July, 2014, as Tri Town Safety Village Month in the Town of St. John and all matters related thereto" was before the Council for their consideration. He stated that he had forwarded the resolution to the council members earlier in the day. Mr. Forbes stated that the Town Council of Schererville passed Resolution #14-07-10 yesterday.

Mr. Forbes noted that the resolution, in part, recognizes the hard work done by all of the individuals involved with the Tri Town Safety Village which has made the safety village a success. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion on Resolution 14-07-10.

Mr. Gembala stated he was involved with the Tri Town Safety Village in 1994, when it started. Mr. Gembala stated that he wished to recognize and acknowledge the individuals who worked hard to get the Tri Town Safety Village started. Mr. Gembala noted many individuals struggled to get the Tri Town Safety Village where it is today.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes apologized if it appeared that he excluded or diminished the work of any individuals involved in the Quad Town Safety Village n/k/a Tri Town Safety Village. He stated the project was started a long time ago. Mr. Forbes credited the work of all of the individuals who worked at the safety village from its inception until now.

Mr. Forbes asked for a motion to approve Resolution #14-07-10. "So moved," by Mr. Gembala. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Mr. Forbes stated that in approximately 2010, St. John officials were approached by the late Mr. Perry Ferrini, of the Schererville Town Council. Mr. Ferrini's idea was to re-energize the safety village by retiring the debt and getting the safety village back on track.

Mr. Forbes stated that one of the suggestions made was to bring in Mr. Jarvis as the Tri Town Safety Village. Mr. Forbes stated that Mr. Jarvis is paid $1,000 per month. He stated Mr. Jarvis does so much work, brings in so many donations, advertises the safety village and has engaged multiple schools to visit the safety village. Mr. Forbes stated that Governor Pence presented Mr. Jarvis with the Sagamore of the Wabash award for his work at Tri Town Safety Village.

Mr. Gembala added that the Police and Fire Departments spent a lot of time at the safety village on a volunteer basis. He reiterated that the Tri Town Safety Village success is attributable to the huge efforts of many people. Mr. Forbes concurred.

REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:
A. TOWN COUNCIL:

Mr. Forbes moved on to reports or correspondence.

Mr. Volk had nothing to report.

Mr. Bustamante had nothing to report.

Mr. Barenie informed the Council that Movoto.com is a national website dealing in real estate. Mr. Barenie stated that Movoto.com rates St. John as the fourth safest place to live in Indiana. Mr. Barenie congratulated the Police and Fire Departments for helping St. John make this list.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes noted that the Council has had discussion related to a land acquisition next to the proposed dog park. He stated that Mr. Kil has contacted the property owner and the owner is willing to sell. Mr. Forbes stated that a survey and appraisals will have to be done. He asked the Council if they wished to move forward with the land acquisition.

Mr. Gembala stated it would be a huge advantage to the Town if they could acquire the land at a reasonable cost. He opined that the Council should proceed to the next step. Mr. Volk asked about costs. Mr. Kil stated that a plat of survey would cost approximately $400-500. Mr. Kil stated when the plat of survey is done, he would have to hire two appraisers. Mr. Kil stated that the landowner will select two appraisers from a list containing the names of five appraisers that he provided to her.

Mr. Kil explained that once the two appraisals are received, the average value of the two appraisals is ascertained and an Offer to Purchase can be prepared if the Council so desires. Mr. Kil stated that an amount not to exceed $5,000.00 should be enough to have the survey and appraisals done.

Mr. Forbes asked for a motion. Mr. Volk made a motion to approve the next step of the land acquisition, a survey and two appraisals not to exceed $5,000.00. Mr. Gembala seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

CLERK-TREASURER: Ms. Sury was absent. Ms. Kokot had nothing to report.

ATTORNEY'S REPORT:
Attorney Austgen had no reports.

TOWN MANAGER:
Mr. Kil noted that the Council has a copy of a letter from Bob Davis, foreman, Public Works, with accompanying pictures related to a 1986 Chevy dump truck. Mr. Davis advises that the Town is in possession of a 1986 Chevy dump truck.

Mr. Kil stated that the dump truck has been parked at the Public Works Department for quite some time. Mr. Kil stated he has been informed that the truck has no value. He recommended that the Council declare the 1986 Chevy dump truck of no value so he can dispose of the same.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Gembala made a motion to declare the 1986 dump truck of no value and authorize Mr. Kil to dispose of the same. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kil to elaborate on the Ford Explorer. Mr. Kil stated that he has had discussions with Chief Willman related to the Ford Explorer. Mr. Kil stated that the Explorer has 130,000 miles and has gone through three transmissions; he stated they do not want to put any more money into the vehicle.

Mr. Kil explained that his request was two-fold. First, he was seeking authorization to purchase a new Tahoe through the state bid program, and second, authorization to add the Ford Explorer to the equipment disposal list for bids.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes requested that the Explorer be added to the equipment disposal list and that research be done on the Tahoe in order to ascertain costs. Chief Willman stated he would obtain a price for the Tahoe and submit the same to the Council.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion authorizing Mr. Kil to place the Ford Explorer on the equipment disposal list for bid. "So moved," by Mr. Barenie. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

STAFF:
Chief Willman had nothing to report.

Chief Frego stated that there are three towns located in Lake County, Indiana, who ranked among the top ten safest places to live in Indiana. Chief Frego stated that the Fire and Police Departments work well together. He thanked the Council for the support that they have shown to the Police and Fire Department for all of the years he has been working for the Town.

The Council members thanked Chief Frego for his remarks

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

John DeVries, 9794 North Hickory
Dr. DeVries congratulated the Police and Fire Departments for the high ranking in the "safest places to live in Indiana." He stated it is very comforting to know that safety is a big concern.

Dr. DeVries addressed the Council about the T.I.F. districts. He stated he is a liaison for Lake Central School Corporation. Dr. DeVries stated it is his understanding that most of the area talked about for T.I.F. districts will not be in St. John Township and will be further south than what would affect the school district.

Dr. DeVries stated that the school corporation had previously obtained a bond issue through a referendum. He stated that his understanding is the referendum, having been passed already, will not be waived for the fees for individuals or businesses developing in the T.I.F. district.

Mr. Kil stated that if a business or individual comes into the T.I.F. district and the Town issues a bond or does financing, whatever taxes that are collected will stay with all of the taxing units. Mr. Kil stated that there will be no negative net impact at all.

Dr. DeVries highly recommended the use of frontage roads in the event that further development takes place in Town. He stated that due to all of the businesses along the highway, now, it is somewhat of a nightmare to get access onto Route 41. Dr. DeVries stated that navigating Route 41 is challenging now and could become disastrous at some point. He recommended frontage roads for Route 231 also.

Mr. Forbes stated that he has been an advocate of frontage road systems for as long as he has been involved in the Town. Mr. Forbes stated in moving forward, the frontage road issue would be carefully monitored.

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 unanimously by voice vote (5/0). Ayes – all. Nays – none. (The meeting was adjourned at 7:34 p.m.)

A TRUE COPY

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