St. John Indiana - Founded 1837
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May 7, 2015 Town Council Minutes

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

Mr. Forbes called the May 7, 2015, special meeting of the St. John Town Council to order at 7:03 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

Clerk Treasurer, Sherry Sury, took roll call with the following members present: Michael Forbes, Larry Bustamante, Mark Barenie, Gregory Volk and Ken Gembala. Staff members present: Steve Kil. Chief Fred Frego. Chief Fred Willman was absent. Chip Sobek was absent. Attorney Austgen was present. Recording Secretary, Susan E. Wright was also present.


Mr. Forbes noted the first item under New Business was discussion of the mutual aid agreement for the Northwest Indiana Regional S.W.A.T. He asked Mr. Kil to brief the Council on this matter.

Mr. Kil informed the Council several years ago the Town of St. John opted into a small S.W.A.T. organization with the Town of Munster. He stated the mutual aid agreement would add the St. John/Munster organization in with the county S.W.A.T. team. Mr. Kil stated his recommendation to Chief Frego was that St. John join the county S.W.A.T. team.

Chief Frego noted that the Town of Munster police department will be joining the county S.W.A.T. team. He stated there will be ten communities participating in the county S.W.A.T. team with the addition of St. John and Munster. He stated more resources would be available to the Town upon joining the county S.W.A.T. team.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated if the Council was agreeable with this matter, Attorney Austgen could draft a resolution for placement on agenda for the next Council meeting.

Mr. Forbes asked the Councilmen if any were opposed to the proposed mutual aid agreement. No opposition was voiced.


Mr. Forbes noted Ordinance #1607, an ordinance amending the 2015 salary ordinance was next for the Council’s consideration. Mr. Forbes noted first reading was done for Ordinance #1607.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions or discussion on Ordinance #1607. There was no discussion. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion on Ordinance #1607 on first reading. The Councilmen made no motion.

Mr. Forbes stated he would table Ordinance #1607 for lack of a motion.


Mr. Forbes noted the next item for the Council’s consideration was Ordinance #1606, an ordinance for the Town snow cleaning regulations. He asked if there were any questions on Ordinance #1606.

Mr. Forbes noted there was some discussion on this ordinance, and the purpose is to address the snow that is pushed down driveways and into the streets. He stated that there is concern about the hazard that this practice creates for the plow trucks.

Mr. Forbes remarked Ordinance #1606 includes a fine as follows: first violation not to exceed $50.00, second violation, $100.00, and $150.00 for the third and each subsequent violation within a twelve month period.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Forbes remarked that most of the problems related to the snow removal are attributable to contractors and not individual homeowners. He stated that he would have liked to have had more time to investigate this matter.

Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to consider Ordinance #1606 on first reading. “So moved,” by Mr. Volk. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/1). Ayes --- four. Nays --- one. Mr. Forbes was opposed.

Mr. Forbes noted that Ordinance #1606 would be on Council’s agenda at the next meeting.


Mr. Volk stated he was approached by residents who live on Hart Street near Three Springs subdivision. Mr. Volk stated the duplexes on the west side of the street back up to the railroad tracks. He stated that these residents requested that the Council look into a silent crossing for Joliet Street and 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Kil stated that he would conduct preliminary assessment to ensure that the proper electronics exist at the railroad crossings to accommodate a quiet zone. He stated he would inform the Council if these crossings meet the criteria for a quiet zone.

Mr. Forbes noted he investigated this matter a few years ago, and determined that none of the railroad crossings in Town meet the criteria to become quiet zones. He stated without the minimum preliminary specifications, there would be significant costs, to be borne by the Town, of approximately $250,000.00 to $400,000.00 for each crossing to make them “quiet zones.”

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Volk stated he informed the residents of the costs, but wanted to bring the matter to the Council for discussion. Mr. Kil stated there may be a possibility that the quiet zones could be incorporated into future projects.

Mr. Bustamante had nothing to report.

Mr. Gembala had nothing to report.

Mr. Barenie had nothing to report.

Mr. Forbes thanked Steve Kil, Kenn Kraus and Denny Cobb for making an effort to meet with an INDOT representative. He stated these gentlemen met with the INDOT representative in the LaPorte office and explained the Council’s concern with the proposed island at the Lake Central intersection. Mr. Forbes stated these discussions went very well.

Mr. Forbes stated based on these discussions, the island has been removed and the intersection has been modified. The striping will be modified at the 93rd Avenue intersection to include a center turn lane.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil informed the Council that Mr. Mark Hill passed away. He noted Mr. Hill will definitely be missed.

Mr. Kil stated he has been working on acquiring easements for the Lift Station One project. He explained out of four individual property owners, he has secured two easements and two verbal agreements to sign easement agreements.

Mr. Kil stated he has a signed agreement from Mr. and Mrs. Dale Huseman, and Mr. Raymond Wachter. He stated the total amount to purchase both the temporary and permanent easements is as follows: Mr. Wachter, $1,450.00, Mr. and Mrs. Huseman $16,800.00. Mr. Kil recommended that the Council accept these easement agreements and authorize payment for the same.

Mr. Forbes asked if there was any discussion. There was no discussion. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to authorize payment for the aforementioned easements in the amounts of $1,450.00 and $16,800.00. “So moved,” by Mr. Bustamante. Mr. Gembala seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Chief Frego had no report.

Clerk-Treasurer, Sherry Sury, had no reports.

Attorney Austgen asked that the Mr. Mark Hill family be kept in everyone’s thoughts and prayers. He stated Mr. Hill was an incredible man and a special person.

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

Mr. Joe Hero, 1723 South Oakridge Drive
Mr. Hero stated he wanted to remonstrate against Ordinance #1606. He stated the ordinance makes no sense. He stated when the snow gets heavy and deep the Town plows snow into everyone’s driveway. Mr. Hero stated that sometimes there is nothing else to do but push the snow back into the street. He recommended that the Town acquire a snowplow that would alleviate blocking residents’ driveways. He reiterated that the ordinance makes no sense and looks totally stupid.

Mr. Hero asked Mr. Barenie if he has had any contact with Mr. Fryzell since Mr. Fryzell’s retirement from the police department. Mr. Barenie stated he would not respond to the question.

Mr. Hero asked about the status of the lawsuits that were precipitated by activities in the police department. Mr. Forbes noted due to ongoing litigation, the Council could not answer his question.

Mr. Hero asked if the Town Council has taken any measures to “protect the women employees of this community in light of the lawsuits.” Mr. Forbes again noted, due to ongoing litigation, the Council could not answer his question. Mr. Hero remarked that ongoing litigation has nothing to do with the Town’s policy on how they protect women employees.

Mr. Hero asked if the Town Council was investigating these issues. He stated there were rumors the state police were investigating. Mr. Hero asked who was coordinating efforts to ensure that the issues raised in the lawsuits, if true, do not occur again. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Hero if he had any further comment.

Mr. Hero had no further comment.

Mr. Adrian Bugariu, 11747 West 90th Avenue:
Mr. Bugariu noted on West 90th Drive, all of the driveways except his were cleared of snow. He stated he had approximately two feet of snow still remaining in the street. Mr. Bugariu stated the plow goes from the middle of the street into his driveway approximately four feet. Mr. Bugariu concurred with Mr. Hero’s comments on the Ordinance 1606.

Mr. Bugariu stated he sent a note to the Town Council. He stated, (pointing) “I want this guy, that guy, John Mainwaring and Dave Austgen out.” He added, “And this gentleman (pointing) and Forbes, out of our town.”

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

Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn. “So moved,” by Mr. Gembala. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none. (The meeting was adjourned at 7:24 p.m.)


Susan E. Wright
Recording Secretary St. John Town Council