December 17, 2015 Town Council Minutes
|Michael Forbes, President||Attorney David Austgen|
|Larry Bustamante, Vice-President||Steve Kil, Town Manager|
|Gregory Volk||Clerk Treasurer, Sherry Sury|
CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Forbes called the December 17, 2015, regular meeting of the St. John Town Council to order at 7:18 p.m.
(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)
Clerk Treasurer, Sherry Sury, took roll call with the following members present: Michael Forbes, Larry Bustamante, Gregory Volk and Ken Gembala. Mark Barenie was absent. Staff members: Chief Fred Willman, Chief Fred Frego. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Chip Sobek was absent. Attorney Austgen was present. Town Council Recording Secretary, Susan E. Wright was present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
NOVEMBER 19, 2015, REGULAR MEETING.
Mr. Forbes noted the first item on the agenda for the Council’s attention were the meeting minutes for November 19, 2015. He asked if there were any questions on the meeting minutes. There were no questions from the councilmen.
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to approve the minutes of November 19, 2015. Mr. Volk stated he would make that motion. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gembala. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
MR. JOHN MINEAR, DIRECTOR, LAKE COUNTY SOLID WASTE DISTRICT
Mr. Forbes noted the first item on the agenda was a presentation by Mr. John Minear, Director of the Lake County Solid Waste.
Mr. Minear stated he has been visiting all of the communities and introducing himself. He stated he will continue to work with the communities. Mr. Minear stated what he wanted to talk about really involves the Town’s staff. He stated every year grants are given out to the communities. Mr. Minear stated last year, prior to his arrival, there were some glitches in the manner in which checks were distributed. He stated part of that is because the Town’s staff is asked to do a lot of work. Mr. Minear stated this year he has directed the Lake County Solid Waste (LCSW) staff to contact the Town’s staff. Mr. Minear stated the LCSW staff will be coming to the Town’s offices with their laptops to do the reports.
Mr. Minear stated his staff will fill in and retract for the Town, and provide all of the data. He stated the checks will be issued in March for the first round and then again in July. Mr. Minear stated he realized that the Town’s staff has tasks other than filling out reports. He stated the LCSW staff will be working closely with Town staff. Mr. Minear stated a representative of the LCSW District will contact Town staff to set up the meetings for after the first of the year.
Mr. Minear stated his office is always working on a budget. He stated the commodities and recycling prices have dropped to an all-time low across the nation and this has had a major impact on a lot of the LCSW District programs, especially the electronics program. Mr. Minear stated in 2015 the LCSW District was not charged for the collection of electronics. In 2016 the LCSW District will go from a zero cost for electronics to approximately $180,000, an unbudgeted impact. He stated this past week LCSW District has made some adjustments to the budget so the program can be continued. He said LCSW District is looking at neighboring counties to possibly lower the cost even further. Mr. Minear stated there would be no revenue increases.
Mr. Minear stated these are some of the major things going on right now. He stated that there are some issues that he will need to speak to the Council members about regarding the LCSW District and trying to pay down some debt where they have accrued high volumes of interest. Mr. Minear stated the LCSW District is putting together a plan for this. He stated he will be back to address the Council with strategies and plans.
Mr. Minear noted that there is a huge crowd tonight so he would conclude his presentation. He stated if there were any questions, he would be happy to answer them.
Mr. Forbes thanked Mr. Minear for appearing before the Council.
A. ORDINANCE NO. 1618, RE-ZONE OF GREYSTONE SUBDIVISION FROM R-2 RESIDENTIAL TO R-2 PUD/C-1 PUD AND R-3 PUD (FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION FROM THE TOWN COUNCIL.)
Mr. Forbes noted Ordinance No. 1618, rezone of Greystone subdivision from R-2 Residential to R-2 PUD/C-1 PUD and R-3 PUD. He stated the Plan Commission forwarded this matter to the Council with a favorable recommendation. Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions or comments. There were no questions or comments.
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1618. “So moved,” by Mr.Volk. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
B. RETIREMENT OFO POLICE CHIEF AND DISPOSITION OF SERVICE WEAPON.
Mr. Forbes noted the next item on the agenda was the acceptance of the retirement of Chief Fred Frego and the disposition of his service weapon. Mr. Forbes highlighted some of the achievements during Chief Frego’s tenure in St. John. He stated Chief Frego has overseen an increase in officers from 12 to 19; improved the Police Department’s Records Management System by being one of the first agencies to join into the Lake County Spillman system; implemented mobile data terminals in all police vehicles; increased training opportunities for officers; introduced and implemented the use of tasers as an additional non-lethal use of force; sent supervisors to attend and pass staff and command training through Northwestern University; implemented a school resource officer at Lake Central High School; introduced police department clerks that could fulfill payment of reports, tickets and accidents outside of normal business hours and most recently, oversaw the accreditation of the St. John Police Department through the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police.
Mr. Forbes thanked Chief Frego for everything he has done for the Town of St. John. Chief Frego thanked Council for giving him the opportunity to work for the Town. Mr. Volk stated he would echo Mr. Forbes sentiments, and it was great working with Chief Frego.
Mr. Forbes stated the past practice of the Council has been to grant retiring officers their service weapons, per the Council’s approval. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to accept Chief Frego’s retirement and provide him with his service weapon upon written agreement. “So moved,” by Mr. Bustamante. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
C. CONSIDER APPOINTMENT OF POLICE CHIEF.
Mr. Forbes stated the next item on the agenda was to Consider the Appointment of a Police Chief. Mr. Forbes stated this individual will take up the position of Chief of Police on January 1, 2016. Mr. Forbes asked Attorney Austgen to enlighten the Council on this matter.
Attorney Austgen informed the Council that earlier this evening the Board of Police Commissioners met in a special public meeting. He stated at this meeting the Police Board made a motion and approved the motion to recommend to the Town Council that a conditional offer of employment be tendered to Mr. James Kveton and specific terms for employment.
Attorney Austgen read the terms of employment as follows: salary will start out at $88, 374, 2016 Chief’s salary per Ordinance No. 1617; the job performance will be reviewed six months after start date at which time there is eligibility for up to a six percent salary increase at the discretion of the Town Council; the review and potential salary increase will be independent of any annual salary increase contemplated and/or given to all Town employees for 2017; vacation, the new chief will receive four weeks of vacation at the start of his employment; vehicle, a free vehicle will be provided (vehicle provided will be Chief Frego’s unmarked 2014 Ford Explorer); sick time, there will not be any advance sick time but the new chief would accrue sick time consistent with the current Town policy covering same under ordinance; teaching, part-time, Mr. Kveton will not teach beyond his current semester thereby terminating his teaching by January 1, 2016; attendance at the annual IACP conference will be permitted, which is currently allowed for; personal days and holidays, there will be a total of 12 days per year pursuant to the current department policy; uniforms, an allowance will be given to the new chief as to all sworn police officers at $1,000.00 annually per the salary Ordinance 1617; service weapon, the Town will provide the service weapon which will be the standard service weapon issued to all sworn officers, currently, the department uses Glock; health/dental/ vision and life insurance, the new chief will have eligibility to participate in the Town’s benefit plan that all full-time employees are eligible for, he will not be reimbursed in any way for current insurance that he currently utilizes, it is his choice to participate or not in the Town offered benefit plan; moving expenses, the Town will reimburse up to $1,500 in moving expenses provided the new chief provides the Town receipts showing costs actually incurred; account, the Town will deposit $10,000 annually for an account to be used for this purpose, the Town will assist with setting up the account, the $10,000 annual contribution is all inclusive of costs to establish a plan as well as the direct contribution into the plan; residency, residency shall be required within 14 months from start date of employment, it is to be understood that the new chief shall maintain a temporary residence that shall be the primary domicile as soon as possible after the start of his employment, this temporary residence can be (unintelligible) in Lake County, Indiana, he shall be readily able to respond to the needs of the Police Department; cell phone, the new chief will be provided by the Town cell phone, like and kind to the current phone used by Chief Frego (Samsung Droid).
Attorney Austgen informed the Council that the recommendation of the Police Commission to tender a conditional offer of employment is based upon the terms that he read into the record.
Mr. Forbes stated, for the public’s information, upon receiving word of Chief Frego’s retirement, three firms were vetted to search for a new chief for the Town of St. John. From the three firms, a group calling themselves GovHR was hired to vet potential candidates for the chief’s position. Mr. Forbes explained that 65 individuals sent their applications to GovHR for the chief’s position; some of the officers who applied for the position were officers from the Town’s own police force. He stated GovHR vetted all 65 applicants and whittled the list down to five candidates who were recommended to the Police Commission.
Mr. Forbes stated that of the five recommended candidates, the St. John Police Commission interviewed four candidates as one candidate dropped out. From the initial interview, three candidates were recommended for continued interview. These three candidates were interviewed by the Town Council members with the Police Commission members present. Mr. Forbes stated that the Police Commissioners made their final selection today, and this recommendation is now before the Council
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to tender a conditional offer of employment to Mr. Jim Kveton, with the terms and conditions as read by Attorney Austgen. “I’ll make that motion,” by Mr. Volk. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion.
The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
D. AUTHORIZATION TO HIRE A FULL-TIME FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC.
Mr. Forbes noted Authorization to Hire a Full-Time Firefighter/Paramedic was next on the agenda. He stated that this year, in the budget, the Town had anticipated hiring another police officer. In discussion after the fact, it was determined through ambulance calls and activities of the Fire Department, it would be best interests of the residents to hire a full-time paramedic/firefighter.
Mr. Forbes stated that based numbers the Town had budgeted for a police officer, they could easily hire the full-time firefighter/paramedic. Mr. Forbes stated that there should be money left over, and this matter should be revisited in July and possibly hire another firefighter/paramedic.
Mr. Forbes stated that he was looking for a motion to grant authorization to Chief Willman to hire a full-time firefighter/paramedic. “I make that motion” by Mr. Bustamante.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Forbes stated that Mr. Bustamante had made a motion to authorize the hiring an additional full-time firefighter. Mr. Gembala seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
E. RESOLUTION NO. 2015-12-17, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A TRANSFER OF FUNDS.
Mr. Forbes stated Resolution No. 2015-12-17, a Resolution Authorizing a Transfer of Funds. Mr. Forbes asked Ms. Sury to enlighten the Board. Ms. Sury explained this was a transfer or a transfer up of appropriations from one line item to another. She stated that there are four categories in each fund and it’s simply moving money, for example, from a 400 category to a 300 category. Ms. Sury explained a 400 category is capital outlay and a 300 category is other services and charges. Ms. Sury stated at the end of the year the Clerk must go through all of the funds and make sure nothing has a minus sign. She stated, fortunately, this year they did not have to take any money out of her budget or the Town Council to give to Fire, Police or any other department. Ms. Sury stated everyone was self-sufficient that way and “We’re in pretty good shape.”
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain motion to adopt Ordinance No. 2015-12-17. “So moved” by Mr. Bustamante. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
F. CONSIDER UPDATE TO THE TOWN’S CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN, PURSUANT TO I.C. 6-3.5-5-7-15 (CAGIT).
Mr. Forbes stated next on the agenda was to Consider an Update to the Town’s Capital Improvement Plan, Pursuant to I.C. 6-3.5-5-7-15, CAGIT. Mr. Forbes stated this matter is necessary to receive the Town’s CEDIT money. He asked Mr. Kil to elaborate.
Mr. Kil stated this plan mirrors the one that was first done in 2014 in that the money that the Town is going to receive from the County (income tax money) will be earmarked for street repairs and improvements. He stated that there are a lot of street repair/improvements left to be done.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to adopt the updated Capital Improvement Plan. “So moved,” by Mr. Volk. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
G. RESOLUTION NO. 2015-12-17A, CONSIDER EXTENSION OF LOAN (CUM SEWER).
Mr. Forbes stated the next item on the agenda was Resolution No. 2015-12-17A, Consider Extension of Loan (Cum Sewer). Mr. Forbes stated that this extension has been going on for a long time, but he believes it is nearing the end.
Mr. Kil stated he strongly believes that Town should be able to pay this loan back very quickly. He stated that this is like a safety net, so to speak, in case the full amount can’t be paid back all at once. Mr. Kil stated they would like to extend the loan one more time. He stated that this money was not borrowed from an independent source, it is an internal loan so there is no interest. Mr. Forbes stated this was basically a bookkeeping matter for the State Board of Accounts. Mr. Kil concurred.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain motion to adopt Ordinance No. 2015-12-17A. “So moved” by Mr. Volk. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
H. RESOLUTION NO. 2015-12-17B, A RESOLUTION FOR ENCUMBRANCE OF FUNDS.
Mr. Forbes stated the next item on the agenda was Resolution No. 2015-12-17B, A Resolution for Encumbrance of Funds. Mr. Forbes asked Ms. Sury to elaborate. Ms. Sury explained that this is money that would be expended from the budget of 2015 and payable in 2016 because the invoices weren’t available. She stated these expenditures would not reflect in the 2016 budget.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain motion to adopt Ordinance No. 2015-12-17B. “So moved” by Mr. Volk. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
I. ACCEPTANCE AND FILING OF ANTI-NEPOTISM CERTIFICATIONS.
Mr. Forbes stated the next item on the agenda is Acceptance of the Anti-Nepotism Certifications. He stated all of the elected officials must sign the anti-nepotism policy each year. Mr. Forbes stated that the anti-nepotism policy contains language wherein the official who signs it pledges not to hire relatives, et-cetera. Mr. Forbes passed documents out to the councilmen for their review and signature.
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to approve Acceptance of the Anti-Nepotism Certifications and file same with the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office. “So moved,” by Mr. Gembala. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
J. CONSIDER ANNUAL CONTRACT WITH THE ST. JOHN TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE FOR FIRE PROTECTION SERVICES.
Mr. Forbes stated the next item on the agenda for the Council was to Consider Annual Contract with the St. John Township Trustee for Fire Protection Services. Mr. Forbes asked Chief Willman if he had reviewed the contract. Chief Willman stated he had reviewed contract and it is the same as the 2015 contract and there is no increase.
Mr. Kil stated he has had e-mail correspondence with the St. John Township Trustee, Jean Shepherd, who informed him that the budget could not support an increase for anyone. He stated the contract amount was the same as it was in 2015, $58,853.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to accept the Annual Contract with the St. John Township Trustee for Fire Protection Services for the amount of $58,853. Mr. Gembala made a motion to authorize Town Council President, Michael Forbes, to sign the 2016 St. John Township Fire Protection Service Contract. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:
Mr. Forbes moved on to Reports and Correspondence.
Mr. Forbes moved on to Reports and Correspondence.
Mr. Gembala stated that the last six years he has served on the Town Council it has been a privilege working with the Council members and serving the citizens of St. John. Mr. Gembala stated even though there were some disagreements, the Council worked together to reach many goals, water and sewer repairs, water main replacement, the Veterans Park and the dog park.
Mr. Gembala thanked the citizens of the Town for their support. He thanked the Council members, the Chiefs, the Town Manager and the Town employees for their help and cooperation.
Mr. Gembala expressed special thanks to Mr. Forbes, Mr. Barenie and Mr. Volk for having faith in him when he joined the Council six years ago. Mr. Gembala noted the national recognition the Town has received in the last couple of years. He opined this will continue and the Town will be even better due to the make-up of the new Council.
Mr. Volk had nothing to report.
Mr. Bustamante reminded the citizens that Saturday, December 19, 2015, would be the last Christmas in the Park. Mr. Bustamante thanked Mr. Phil Wieland for the very nice write-up in the newspaper.
Mr. Bustamante stated he would not toot his horn. He stated it was a privilege and an honor to serve as a councilman for the citizens of St. John. Mr. Bustamante thanked the citizens for the opportunity and the privilege of serving them.
Mr. Forbes had one Request to Purchase from the Fire Department for a Lifepak monitor/defibrillator in the amount of $29,865.26. Chief Willman stated that the Fire Department has three monitor/defibrillators in use at the present time and one was from when they started in 2002. Chief Willman stated that the Fire Department is maxed out and they don’t have any extra monitor/defibrillators; he stated this item will allow the Fire Department to provide advanced life support service to the citizens.
Chief Willman stated with the purchase of second Tahoe, they are going to outfit it as an advanced support, non-transport vehicle. He stated with the second Tahoe outfitted as such, the Department will have more ability to move around more quickly.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to authorize purchase of the Lifepak monitor/defibrillator from Physio Controls, Incorporated, in the amount of $29,865.26. “So moved,” by Mr. Gembala. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0) Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
Ms. Sury read a statement as follows:
“I want to thank the residents for their support and words of encouragement expressed through chance meetings and from the calls and cards I have received. Since I was not invited to attend the Christmas luncheon, I wanted to say a farewell to the employees and thank you for all of their support.
“It has truly been an honor and a privilege for me to serve as the St. John Clerk-Treasurer since 2003 and uphold the principles of honesty and integrity of this office. Throughout my tenure, I continually utilized the knowledge I attained of municipal government instilled in me from the predecessors I served under, Betty Seidelman and Judy Companik, and also by attending the schooling sponsored by the Indiana League of Municipal Clerk-Treasurers and the State Board of Accounts.
As I leave on December 31, in my heart and with a clear conscience, I know I continually honored the oath of office I pledged to, assumed the responsibilities and performed the duties as specified by state statute despite the consequences I endured.
And lastly, I wanted to address this Council. This is the last time you will be able to publicly embarrass and humiliate me. I have been a full-time working clerk-treasurer since 2003 and my time sheets attest to that up until my illness in the middle of 2014.
I wanted to say ‘Shame on Mr. Barenie,’--- he’s not here --- for attacking my disability last month. And, uh, it is recorded digitally, yet not in the transcript of the minutes that you approved tonight.
I hope none of you are ever stricken with an illness that is intensified with work-related stress, leaves you in a near death state and requires hospitalization for six weeks. Whereas, when you are released, you have to accept that you have to learn again how to breathe --- which takes almost a year. You have to learn how to stand, walk, bathe and dress. And, yes, use the facilities without assistance.
In my opinion, this Council truly lacks empathy and professionalism as evidenced by your words and actions. Thank you.
Attorney Austgen had no reports.
Mr. Kil had nothing to report.
Chief Fred Willman presented the Fire Department’s November, 2015, monthly report to the Council.
Chief Fred Frego stated he would like to say a few words. He told the Council it was an honor and a privilege to be St. John’s Police Chief for the past 11 ½ years. He thanked this Council and the previous councils for their support and cooperation over the last 11 ½ years; many good things have been accomplished.
Chief Frego thanked his staff and the department heads, he stated they all worked well together.
Chief Frego expressed special thanks to Chief Willman; he stated they worked together with great cooperation as a team and always with the same goal in mind, public safety.
Chief Frego wished everyone the best of luck and success in the future.
PAYMENT OF BILLS:
Mr. Forbes moved on to payment of the bills for the Corporation. Mr. Forbes stated before the Council approves the docket he requested they “Remove an item for a vendor that’s on Page 5 of 5, it is the fourth item down. It is item – it is Vendor No. 711, Mr. Jeffery Gunning, Clerk-Treasurer, legal”. Mr. Forbes stated he would like to remove the 23-page bill in the amount of $55,080, that was handed to the Council just two days ago. Mr. Forbes noted the Council needed additional time to review this 23 page invoice.
Mr. Forbes stated that he was going to ask for a separate motion to remove the 23 page bill. Mr. Volk made a motion to remove the bill for review. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion on payment of the bills on the revised docket in the amount of $1,332,883.96. Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions on the bills. There were no questions on the bills. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to approve revised docket. “So moved,” by Mr. Bustamante. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
Mr. Forbes opened the floor to public comment. He asked anyone wishing to speak to provide their name and address for the record.
P U B L I C C O M M E N T
Sharon (unintelligible last name) 11423 State Line Road:
She asked why Ordinance No. 1618 was approved without public comment. She stated she was at the Plan Commission meeting when this was brought up, asked if she could speak and it was denied her. She stated she came here, thinking she would be able to speak. She stated now it’s approved... and why wasn’t she able to speak?
Mr. Forbes explained that the Plan Commission held a public hearing on Ordinance No. 1618 wherein all public comment was accepted. Mr. Forbes stated he believed she attended a study session. She asked how was she to know that.
She stated this is going to affect her; she lives on State Line Road. She stated traffic is so bad on 101st right now that you can’t even cross it when you’re going south. She stated if you allow this subdivision and all these businesses to go in there, you are making our home life and where we live unmanageable. She said it was ridiculous. We don’t have the roads to facilitate this type of development. She didn’t understand why they would approve this type of development.
She asked why isn’t the developer required to pay an impact fee to improve the roads. Why are the taxpayers stuck with paying for the roads? Mr. Forbes stated that the subdivision development still has to be reviewed. He stated this was just for a zone change. All of the topics that she mentioned will be discussed during the subdivision platting process. She asked how the public can get in on this? Mr. Forbes told her it would be at the Plan Commission meeting and there will be both study session and a public hearing on this matter. He stated this matter will be noticed in the newspapers, it will be noticed on the Town Hall directly outside the Clerk-Treasurer’s office and on the Town’s website as it has been in the past.
Mr. Forbes asked her if she lived within 300 feet of the property. She stated she lives on State Line Road, but this development is going to affect everyone who lives in this area. She stated she moved to her location because it was a rural area. She stated the people who are developing this property are making millions of dollars on the backs of the residents. She stated this is not right, and the Council should consider this.
She stated this is not acceptable and she can’t believe the Town of St. John would allow this to happen, She stated these properties were farms and now St. John is moving out to her rural area and the residents don’t want St. John out by them. She stated they want their location to remain a rural area. She stated it was a shame because everyone has to put up with all of the traffic. She stated you don’t understand what it’s like unless you live out there. She stated nobody will let you out. She stated you have to go all the way around the back to avoid the traffic.
She asked how many homes were going to be in the development. The audience answered with 400. She noted it was changed from R2 to R-2 PUD, she asked what this meant. Mr. Forbes stated it would be a residential area which gives flexibility in the development.
She asked Mr. Forbes to explain to her what this meant? Mr. Forbes stated it would be easier for her to come of the Plan Commission. She asked Mr. Forbes if she could call him and find out when the Plan Commission meeting is. Mr. Forbes responded, “Absolutely.” He directed her to call the Town Hall and they would provide his number.
Ms. Haluska stated she wanted to take this opportunity to thank Councilman Bustamante and Councilman Gembala, she stated is has been a pleasure. Ms. Haluska stated she will also miss Chief Frego.
Ms. Haluska extended a special thinks to the St. John Ambulance Service. She stated she was glad that they are adding paramedics speaking as one who recently experienced the need for the services of a paramedic. She stated she was up one morning at 3:00 a.m. doubled over in pain and her husband called an ambulance. She stated that the lady and gentleman who responded to the ambulance call were amazing and it was life-saving.
Ms. Haluska directed her comments to Mrs. Sury. She wished Mrs. Sury continued health and told her she would miss her. Ms. Haluska cleared up some confusion on Mrs. Sury’s part; Ms. Haluska informed her that she had been invited to the Christmas luncheon, as all members were invited to the Christmas including the incoming clerk, her deputy and the incoming councilmen.
Mrs. Sury asked if the invitation was sent via e-mail. Ms. Haluska acknowledged the invitation was sent via e-mail. Mrs. Sury responded, “I never got that, never got it.” Ms. Haluska apologized for her not having received it. She reiterated that Mrs. Sury and her staff were invited. Mrs. Haluska stated she did not know why a call wasn’t given and stated she would take that responsibility. She again wished Mrs. Sury continued health and a great retirement. Mrs. Sury thanked Ms. Haluska. Ms. Haluska wished good luck to the incoming clerk and councilmen.
Ed Everett: (no address provided)
Mr. Everett stated that he has lived in St. John for about 15 years. He stated approximately a month and a half to two months ago “You guys” came out surveying the property. He stated the surveying was taking place by the subdivision. Mr. Everett stated he lives just off of 101st Avenue on White Oak.
Mr. Everett stated he was told that the Town had the plan of extending the bike path from 102nd down to the new subdivision. He stated they were talking about his yard and he was told there was a lot of room to work. Mr. Everett stated he only has a ten foot easement.
Mr. Everett asked what the plan was or where the path would go at this time? Mr. Kil stated that the new subdivision, the Preserve is going to put a bike trail in at what is Schilton Hills all the way down to White Oak to 101st, cross White Oak to the east side then come back to the existing bike trail.
Mr. Kil explained that because of the new development and the connectivity of the bike trails the surveyors were simply asked, by the Town, to determine what the route could be. He stated there could be sufficient right of way or there may not be, it wouldn’t be known until the survey is completed. Mr. Kil stated that the surveyor is establishing what right of way and easements exist, if any. He stated a plan will be drawn, which can’t be done until there is a survey.
Mr. Everett asked if he could get a copy of the survey. Mr. Kil stated he would give him a call or e-mail it to him. Mr. Kil directed Mr. Everett to provide him contact information after the meeting.
Donna Safford: (no address provided)
Ms. Safford stated she lives in the Lake Hills subdivision in a townhome. She stated that she has been experiencing some problems with her roof. Ms. Safford stated she is trying to get the homeowners association to help her out to get the builder to fix the roof. She stated that there should be some type of extended warranty on the roof.
Ms. Safford stated that this issue has been going on for approximately two years. She stated that the homeowners association informed her there was no help or assistance they could give. Ms. Safford stated she called Todd Olthoff herself and informed him of the situation. She stated she had a roofing company in Town come out to check the leak and they told her she had a “phantom leak,” and they couldn’t locate the leak. Ms. Safford stated she has several leak spots on her ceiling in her house.
Ms. Safford also stated that the roofer she hired had told her they would have to start pulling up shingles in an attempt to locate the leak. She stated, in the meantime, the dampness caused mold and warped wood in her attic.
Ms. Safford stated that Todd Olthoff told her that he can’t do anything and there’s no warranty for the roof. She stated she believes this is incorrect and there should be an extended warranty for the roof. She stated Mr. Olthoff won’t even come out and look at it, and she thinks he should, at the very least, come out and look at it to assess what is going on. She stated she’s only lived there nine years and the roof started leaking in eight years. She asked what she should do, who she could call.
Mr. Forbes stated he sympathized with Ms. Safford’s problem, but this was between her and her builder. Ms. Safford stated she can’t get anywhere with her builder. She stated she wanted to ask the Council if they could intervene for her, do something for her as a homeowner and get the builder to do something.
Mr. Forbes told Ms. Safford she may have to get an attorney. Ms. Safford stated Todd Olthoff even said something about a 30-year warranty. She stated when she asked him about the 30-year warranty he skirts around the issue and tells her he can’t warranty anything.
Attorney Austgen stated it is a warranty and a contract issue. He recommended that President Forbes direct Mr. Kil to contact Todd Olthoff and intervene on the review of the circumstances, the phantom leak assessment.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Kil stated he would call Todd Olthoff. Mr. Forbes stated Mr. Kil would call Todd Olthoff and, hopefully, will facilitate a conversation. Ms. Safford stated that Mr. Olthoff flat out did not want to deal with the issue. She stated he skirted around everything she had to say. Ms. Safford stated it is not right that Mr. Olthoff just left her out in the cold on this issue.
(General discussion ensued.)
Dale Robert, 11190 Heron Lake Road:
Mr. Robert stated he was going to answer Ms. Safford’s question.
He stated he is shocked that the Council does not know of the existence of a complaint form available in the Building and Planning Department. He stated these complaint forms are for contractors and addresses these types of problems.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Robert stated that Ms. Safford does have a right to go to the Building and Planning Department, fill out the complaint form and have the contractor appear before the Board of Contractors. He stated the Contractors Board is supposed to have meetings every month, but has not had one in about a year.
Mr. Robert asked if the Town is going to have developers maintain the entranceways to their subdivision. Mr. Kil stated these entranceways are generally maintained by the homeowners associations.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Robert stated the Heron Lake Estates and Heron Lake Park entranceways are not maintained. He stated he wanted to address the Council about this. Mr. Robert stated there was typical overgrowth this summer off of Patterson and 86th Place. He stated this overgrowth is covering up the fire hydrant. Mr. Robert requested that this weed problem be addressed.
Mr. Robert noted most communities around have the markers on their fire hydrants (flags) so the hydrants can be seen easily if there is a lot of snow. Mr. Forbes stated that these markers are on the most difficult to locate hydrants in Town, but not on all of them. He informed Mr. Robert that the firefighters have an app on their cell phones that locates the fire hydrants so the firefighters are well aware of where they’re at.
Tom Parada, 9535 Joliet Street:
Mr. Parada stated he had a couple of comments and questions. Mr. Parada directed his remarks to Ms. Sury. He said he was speaking for himself, but he knows a lot of people feel the same way he does. He stated he appreciates very much Ms. Sury’s past 25 years of service to the Town. He stated he regrets that for the past two years it has felt more like a tour of duty than a job. Mr. Parada opined that Ms. Sury has become a casualty, physically and emotionally, of this war. Mr. Parada stated he understands because some of the powers that be in Town did the same thing to him; however, his problem will be dealt with at another time in another forum.
Mr. Parada stated it is a black eye on the Town of St. John that a person of Ms. Sury’s stature, knowledge and experience should be treated so poorly. He stated it should make her feel better to know that by not bending the rules and breaking laws that she operates on a higher level of morality and integrity than some of the Town government do. Mr. Parada wished Ms. Sury nothing but the best in the future that lies ahead and good health and God bless.
Mr. Parada stated his next comment was for Mr. Barenie, but Mr. Barenie is not here tonight. He stated his problem with Mr. Barenie is at the last Town meeting he made some pretty derogatory statements about Ms. Sury and needing a full-time clerk. Mr. Parada stated that the Town had one until they all made her sick.
Mr. Parada stated that Mr. Barenie has missed about 29% of the meetings in the last three years. He said, for this reason, Mr. Barenie might think of resigning and get someone in his place that would be more interested in the day to day operations in this Town. He said it was embarrassing for Mr. Barenie to make a comment like that to Ms. Sury when... if that’s not the pot calling the kettle black, Mr. Parada doesn’t know what is.
Mr. Parada asked Mr. Kil when he was going to get his documents that he was promised on the 20th of last month. He stated Mr. Kil keeps sending him to Ms. Sury’s office and there is nothing there. Mr. Parada asked what happened to the documents he ordered. Mr. Kil stated he didn’t know what documents that Mr. Parada had ordered. Mr. Prada responded, “You don’t know much, do you?”
Mr. Forbes noted that Mr. Parada had made a public information request of the clerk-treasurer. Mr. Parada concurred. Mr. Forbes informed Mr. Parada that the clerk-treasurer is responsible for getting these documents delivered to him.
Mr. Prada asked: Why did I get a letter from Mr. Kil, signed by Mr. Kil saying that I was going to get these documents on the 20th? Where does the buck stop? Mr. Forbes: Right there. (indicating). Mr. Parada: No. No. I’ve been to her office five --- Yeah. Go ahead and laugh. I’ve been to her office five times. There are no documents there for me. Anything to say here, mister? Mr. Forbes: Not to you. Mr. Parada: Okay. Where are my documents at, Mr. Kil? Not much to say? You know, I seem to have that effect on you. Mr. Kil: I don’t know --- I don’t know what you’re--- Mr. Parada: I seem to have that effect on you. Mr. Kil: ---talking about. Mr. Parada: That whatever I say to you, you don’t have much to say. Mr. Kil: I don’t know what documents you’re talking about. Mr. Parada: Okay. The survey of my property and the appraisals. Or I should say the assassinations of my property. That’s really a better term. Mr. Kil: Mr. Swets appeared in my office because he said you did not want to. Mr. Parada: Uh-uh. Mr. Kil: I handed the appraisals, I believe, to Mr. Swets--- Mr. Parada: No, I was ill. I was when Mr.--- I came into --- Mr. Kil: I gave those to Gerry, quite a while ago. Mr. Parada: I came in to see you today and you were busy so I left. Mr. Kil: What documents did I give you when you said Mr. Parada didn’t want to come and see me? Mr. Swets: You gave me absolutely nothing. I left your office--- Mr. Parada: Where are my documents? That’s what I want to know. You get two weeks to furnish those. I put the --- I put the --- I want to say the --- it must have been on the 13th. Where are my documents? Anything?
Mr. Forbes asked if Mr. Parada had any additional comment.
Mr. Parada: Yeah, I do, but I’d like to be --- I would like an answer to where my documents are. Mr. Forbes: I suggest you go talk to the clerk-treasurer’s office. Mr. Parada: I have been to the clerk-treasurer’s office. Mr. Forbes: Well, there seems to be a problem with the clerk treasurer’s office. Mr. Parada: No, she never received them. Yeah. Laugh. Laugh. That’s funny. That’s funny. First you try to throw me out of my house and offer me $31,000 for it, and now I can’t even get the documents that I’m entitled to. Anybody got an answer? Mr. Forbes: I did tell you. Mr. Parada: Yeah. Mr. Forbes: You need to go to the clerk-treasurer’s office. Mr. Parada: I ‘ve done that. Mr. Forbes: Then there seems to be a problem--- Mr. Parada: How many --- do you want me to camp outside? Mr. Forbes: --- with the clerk-treasurer’s office. Mr. Parada: Do you want me to camp outside and wait until they show up?
Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Parada had anything else for the Council tonight.
Mr. Parada: Let me think. Let me think. I’m not sure I remember. Let’s see. Do I have anything else for you? No, I guess not. Other than I’m going to file a complaint that I haven’t got my documents. Okay. And --- yeah, I do have one more thing. As long as I’m up here, I do have one more thing to say. You know what, in the terms of the last week since Mr. Kil is charged with a Class A Misdemeanor that is punishable by $1000 --- a $10,000 fine and a year in jail. I would like to demand his resignation as Town Manager of this Town. Now, I’m through. Find my documents.
Gerry Swets, 9490 Joliet Street:
Mr. Swets stated in answer to Mr. Kil’s question about Mr. Prada’s papers, he received nothing from Mr. Kil. He said Mr. Forbes was in Mr. Kil’s office when he was there. Mr. Kil stated that this was a while ago. Mr. Kil’s recall on the day of Mr. Swets visit was that drawings were put up on the board prior to Mr. Forbes being there. Mr. Kil stated he could’ve sworn he gave the documents to Mr. Swets because Mr. Swets specifically told him that Tom Parada did not want to come into the Town Hall. Mr. Kil stated he honestly believes he gave the documents to Mr. Swets. He said, if for some reason, he didn’t receive a copy of them, the Town would be more than happy to provide that.
Mr. Kil reiterated that Mr. Swets specifically told him that Mr. Parada did not want to come in. Mr. Kil stated he handed the documents to Mr. Swets, and he would be happy to give them to him again.
Mr. Swets stated he would stay within his allotted time to speak. He thanked Ms. Sury for her years of service to the Town. Mr. Swets thanked the Mr. Bustamante and Mr. Gembala for their years of service to St. John.
Mr. Swets stated as he reflects on the year 2015 he has seen a lot of political cartoons on the internet and in the newspaper. He stated he almost expected to see a cartoon of St. John with political heads.
Mr. Swets stated as he read the Times over the year, in March he saw a couple of lawsuits that had to do with the Police Department and also named Mr. Kil; in June it was the offering of early retirement of over $30,000 to 12 employees in appreciation of their years of service. Mr. Swets stated companies offer early retirement to improve their financial situation as well as the financial situation of those who accept it. Mr. Swets stated the Town is running a business with taxpayer money.
Mr. Swets state that the Town did not use the early retirement as a plan to reduce the Town’s overall expense since all of the employees were replaced. Mr. Swets stated, “You just gave them all $30,000 to retire.” He stated there were probably a lot of people who served the Town over the years and in their retirement could have also used a little cash; Mr. Swets stated this is not the Town’s responsibility.
Mr. Swets stated that the Town wants their new Comprehensive Plan, targeting his house and every other house, except for three, from Route 41 all the way to the tracks on Joliet Street and Thielen Street for the new Town Center. Mr. Swets stated the residents fought against that and the Town listened and the residents appreciate that.
Mr. Swets stated, but then on election eve, our political action committee, in an effort to save our homes put out signs on the ground in polling places only to have them stolen by Mr. Kil. Mr. Swets stated he was caught on video when he took the signs and it seemed like he was proud of the fact. Mr. Swets stated that Mr. Kil said he was authorized to take the signs by Mr. Austgen. Mr. Swets asked Mr. Kil if that is what he said. Mr. Kil stated he had no comment. Mr. Swets stated it was also reported there were a couple of witnesses there, and Mr. Forbes was one of them.
Mr. Swets stated he would ask the question again because it hadn’t been answered, what made you think you could take down those signs? Mr. Swets stated that some statues and ordinances were vaguely quoted which did not apply to political signs.
Mr. Swets stated by taking the signs you affected the outcome of the election. I truly believe that. He stated the residents weren’t out there marching or protesting. Mr. Swets stated the residents were doing what Americans do best and that is come to the polls and vote for the people that we wanted to. He stated their freedom of speech was silenced, their voice and opinions stolen and laws and civil rights were violated. Mr. Swets stated that everyone knows it’s illegal to steal campaign signs; he stated he learned that when he was a little kid. Mr. Swets stated the Council claims to think otherwise. He stated that the state police and the county prosecutor seem to think otherwise and they agreed with the residents and Mr. Kil was charged with conversion. Mr. Swets stated, based on these incidents, Mr. Kil, we’re asking you to resign as Town Manager, give his resignation to this Council and to the Town.
Mr. Swets stated at times our jobs become routine and we do the best that we can but sometimes our clients, our constituents become faceless. Well, we’re not faceless. Mr. Swets stated that sometimes, maybe, people are given too much power and power can corrupt. Mr. Swets stated maybe the Council has given Mr. Kil too much power without enough accountability, and they let him do as he pleases, forgetting that he is a public servant here to serve the residents of St. John.
Mr. Swets stated today when organizations make mistakes that are egregious or bad, the head of the organization is accountable. Mr. Swets told Mr. Forbes that he was accountable. He said Mr. Forbes was quoted in the Times in March as saying, “The Town of St. John does not now, never has and never will condone any inappropriate work place environment, conditions or improper actions.” Mr. Swets told the Council that they heard what he had to say.
Mr. Swets stated he hoped for those councilmen who are returning next year, they are wise enough to elect a new council president. Mr. Swets, addressing Mr. Forbes, stated, based on all this information, we are asking you to fire Mr. Kil if he does not resign. Mr. Swets stated, and once this is done, the residents are asking for Mr. Forbes resignation.
Judy Stahlhut, 11315 Valley Drive:
Ms. Stahlhut stated she has lived in this Town for 18 years and she has never had a problem with the Town Council. She stated she represented Hunter’s Run Homeowners Association for 15 of those 18 years. Ms. Stahlhut stated she stands in support of Mr. Kil, Mr. Forbes and the entire Town Council.
Ms. Stahlhut stated some people in our community do not know how to read sign ordinances. She stated those of us in the community who saw those signs were appalled, and we could not understand why the signs were allowed to stand on those posts in those properties when they were public properties.
Mr. Forbes instructed the audience not to interrupt when someone is at the podium and has the floor.
Ms. Stahlhut stated she believes the Town Council needs the voters support. She stated she is tired of seeing the harassing and haranguing some people give their government officials. Ms. Stahlhut stated people need to stand up and support them.
Mary Robert 11990 Heron Lake Road:
Ms. Robert addressed Mr. Kil. She asked him if she had told him about signs on 93rd Avenue, prior to the 30 day ordinance, that they were allowed to be up and he did nothing about these signs, but he was worried about the other signs. She stated, “Shame on you.” She stated she had asked for Mr. Frego and Mr. Kil to be put on administrative leave last March until this thing was resolved. She stated it should have been done then because Mr. Kil has gone and embarrassed the Town again.
Joe Hero 11723 South Oak Ridge Drive:
Mr. Hero stated he received a threatening letter from Mr. Kil about the signs saying he had 45 signs in his possession here in Town. We videotaped Mr. Kil taking signs. We saw Mr. Forbes with Mr. Kil at the same location. Mr. Hero stated they have witnesses who say they saw Mr. Kil and Mr. Forbes at the Town Hall together, simultaneously.
Mr. Hero: Now, is that true or not, Mr. Forbes, were you there when he was taking those signs? Do you want to answer or are you too timid to admit that you, as Town Board President, witnessed him taking signs? You put your car next to his. You had a conversation with him and then you got out of the car and took more signs. Do you deny that? Do you deny that, Mr. Forbes?
Mr. Forbes: Mr. Hero--- Mr. Hero: Do you deny that? Mr. Forbes: You know I was at Kolling school. You know I was there putting out my signs. Mr. Hero: Did you---
Mr. Forbes: You know I left before you did. Mr. Hero: Did you see Mr. Kil converting --- stealing those signs? Yes or no. Mr. Forbes: I did not see Mr. Kil stealing signs. Mr. Hero: Were you blind? Mr. Forbes: No. I did not see him taking --- stealing signs. Mr. Hero: Let me ask you this, every time a policeman does some little misdeed or is alleged to make a misdeed, you take away his gun, you take away his car and you put him on administrative leave? Now, we have three policemen on administrative leave. Some of these policemen are connected to women who have filed lawsuits against the Town. We’ve seen where people who filed a complaint have been terminated. Now, you as the Town Council, you know that Mr. Kil has been charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. Okay. Now, I’m asking you right now to take a vote to terminate Mr. Kil. Will you do that? There’s only one answer, yes, no or silence. If silence is no then you’re all part and agree that what he did was correct. Will you take a vote on this now to terminate Mr. Kil?
Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Hero if he had any other business before the Council.
Mr. Hero: Yes. I take that as, no, you support his actions. Now, are you paying Mr. Kil’s attorney’s fees to defend himself? Are you going to do that? Please take a vote right now, yes or no, that you’re going to pay for Mr. Kil’s attorney’s fees in this criminal charge against him. If you say yes, make the resolution and pass it. Or say no, or if you say nothing, in your silence, I take that as a no and that you condone what he did. Is there a motion to pay his attorney’s fees? Mr. Forbes: You are on the wrong side of the counter to be asking for motions, Mr. Hero. Mr. Hero: Okay. Then I take that as a no, that you condone what he did? Now, we have --- you approved the bills today. Mr. Austgen submitted bills concerning these signs. Did you approve those bills today? Does that mean that you agree with Mr. Austgen that this was a zoning violation and that what Mr. Kil did was proper? If you agree with that, would you make a motion to say, yes, we agree, or, no, we don’t agree? Or by your silence does that mean you condone those bills? Do you view those bills as political work or as work for the Town? Can I get an answer? Is it political work or is it work for the Town?
Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Hero if he had anything else for the Council.
Mr. Hero: Previously, the Town approved bills to do political work to check the filing of Sherry Sury. You approved those bills, this whole Council did. Now, you’ve approved the bills of the Town attorney here regarding this matter. So to me, that’s two instances, I’ll call them two counts of political work, in my opinion. Okay. That is the money of this Town. Do you condone what you did? Do you view that as a misappropriation of Town funds? Give me a yes, no, or by your silence I --- I assume you approved that. You’re smiling again, Mr. Forbes. Mr. Forbes: You humor me. Mr. Hero: Well, I guess --- I guess there’s one shoe that’s fallen now and I think there may be more shoes falling.
Mr. Forbes called for further 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. Volk. Mr. Bustamante seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none. (The meeting was adjourned at 8:46 p.m.)
A TRUE COPY
Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council