May 26, 2016 Town Council Minutes
|Michael Forbes||Clerk-Treasurer, Beth Hernandez|
|Mark Barenie||Town Manager, Steve Kil|
|Steve Hastings||Chief Fred Willman|
|Christen Jorgensen||Chief James Kveton|
CALL TO ORDER:
Mr. Forbes called the May 26, 2016, regular Town Council meeting to order at 7:12 p.m.
(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)
Clerk Treasurer, Beth Hernandez took roll call with the following council members present: Michael Forbes, Greg Volk, Mark Barenie, Steve Hastings and Christian Jorgensen. Town Manager, Steve Kil, was present. Chief Fred Willman and Chief James Kveton were present. Attorney David Austgen was present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: March 24, 2016
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions on the meeting minutes. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated that he would entertain a motion on the minutes. Mr. Volk stated that he would make a motion on the meeting minutes of March 24, 2016. Mr. Hastings seconded the motion. Abstention made by Mr. Jorgensen. The motion was carried by voice vote (4/1). Ayes ---four. Nays ---none. Abstained ---one.
Mr. Forbes opened the floor to public comment.
Gerry Swets 9490 Joliet Street:
Mr. Swets stated:
Dear Council Members,
Back in November on Election eve, when the homeowners PAC’s illegally placed voting signs were pulled from the polling places by Mr. Steve Kil, the Town Manager. You stole our free speech. You stole our rights to the first amendment. You stole our rights as voters to campaign for or against the candidates of our choice.
We didn’t like how you were running the town. The comprehensive plan to destroy the homes on Joliet and Thielen Streets were an issue. Approving 80 foot lots, smaller than what is allowed on your own ordinances. Continuing to build and grow without current and effective plans to handle all of the traffic and additional support personnel like fire and police. Lawsuits from women employees who were charging of sexual harassment and battery and nothing was being done.
We tried to speak out against you. Not with protests and marches, but at the voting booth, the American way. You took our signs, you took our voice, and you took our votes. Mr. Forbes you won by 85 votes. If we could have changed one vote by one of the 44 signs that were removed, you would have been defeated. Don’t you think that is kind of like stealing an election? If there are no consequences to that it could happen again. It could happen all over the town, all over the county, and all over the country.
What’s the price to influence an election by removing signs? Well, in Indiana the crime of conversion is a misdemeanor with up to a year in jail and a $10,000.00 fine.
We asked in November for you Mr. Kil and Mr. Forbes, for you to resign. We asked you to put him on administrative leave or to fire him. We asked in December. We also asked at both Council meetings in January. What was your response? Absolutely nothing. As if, you hadn’t even heard our voices. Didn’t hear us speak. You refused to answer our questions. So, I am wondering if maybe the reason why did nothing is because maybe you might have been involved.
One of your responsibilities as elected officials is to listen to all of your constituents. If you would have listened and responded you may have had one less lawsuit to deal with. You left us with no alternative. We tried and we tried.
Now, you’ve resorted to the court of public opinion to judge the merits of this case. We’ve seen newspapers and emails loaded with misinformation and lies to get everyone to think that this group of homeowners are bad guys, when in fact we are just seeking justice. Mr. Jorgensen stated in the newspaper that we sandbagged him with this lawsuit and why didn’t we come to them. Well, we did at every meeting for three months.
So, what about the lawsuit? Since I am a spokesperson for the PAC and not an officer---actually since the officers are not here I will cover that.
Mr. Forbes stated to Mr. Swets, “We aren’t going to talk about the lawsuit”. “It is an inappropriate atmosphere for this.” Mr. Austgen added that it is a pending litigation.
Mr. Swets responded that he didn’t ask for responses to anything. He is simply making statements. That is what a public session is for. I didn’t make any accusations. I didn’t ask you for any comments. I just want to make a public statement. Mr. Swets said that we are in the newspaper making public comments about this lawsuit that are inappropriate. He thinks it is appropriate to be able to respond to that. If they won’t allow them to respond then he will just sit down.
Mr. Swets finished by stating that he would like to address it some more, but his wife is waiting for him to pick her up at the airport.
Libby Popvic 12210 Northcote Court:
Ms. Popvic stated that with respect to the comments regarding the lawsuit, her comment was only regarding specific settlement negotiations. If this is not the form or the appropriate time, Ms. Popvic stated she would withdraw her comments.
Mr. Forbes responded that we cannot discuss the litigation.
Mr. Jorgensen stated that the idea is that we cannot be asked direct questions, so we will not be responding. His understanding is that the public can make a comment. So, you can make a comment about whatever she wants to, but she cannot ask a direct question.
Ms. Popvic stated that to that extent, she was not going to be addressing any questions. She would simply be making comment. Ms. Popvic noted that she is the treasurer of the St. John Republican Party. To any extent that any settlement negotiations are in discussion, which she understands may not be discussed, she stated that it is her opinion, respectfully, that it would be pre-mature at this time. They are not supported by the factual background or the case precedent. That was her only comment for tonight.
Mrs. Hernandez asked Ms. Popvic to please state her address. Ms. Popvic: 12210 Northcote Court.
Vince Casboni 9679 White Oak Avenue:
Mr. Casboni started, “Everybody’s talking about traffic studies, the Casboni’s have done three of them now”. The first one was done November 24, 2015 on Wednesday at 3:10 p.m. to 6:31 p.m. for a total of three hours and twenty-one minutes. Traffic study was down on White Oak Avenue from 93rd to 101st and from 101st to 93rd. 925 vehicles passed their home. Wednesday, December 9th from 3:05 p.m. to 6:05 p.m. for three hours exactly. Again, White Oak Ave. from 93rd to 101st and 101st to 93rd. Mr. Casboni said he also did 93rd from Monix Drive to Hilltop Drive. The combination of the two together, in three hours, was 2,619 vehicles.
Mr. Casboni stated that himself and Anthony did another study last Monday, May 19th from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. There were a total of 3,268 vehicles in fifteen hours. One particular time, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., they had 508 vehicles pass their house. Mr. Casboni claimed, “That’s a boulevard, a boulevard!” However, we are still allowing subdivisions to go up with two lane roads.
Amy Jorgensen 10157 Wellington Court East:
Ms. Jorgensen said that as a St. John Republican Chairman she would first like to say thank you for the dedication and hard work on behalf of our town. It is a pretty thankless job most days, especially during the public comment section.
Ms. Jorgensen stated she has one comment. She has been following the newspaper, talking with many of her neighbors, and to a lot of the republicans in town. The response she is getting is absolutely overwhelming with dozens and dozens of people saying the Ordinance has been repealed. That is a victory the PAC can celebrate, but everyone is asking that the town hold firm and not give a single dollar to the ACLU or to the PAC they represent.
Dale Robert 11990 Heron Lake Road:
Mr. Robert stated at our December Council meeting Donna Stopper came up for a complaint about a contractor. They built her townhome in Lake Hills. There was no response from this Council in what she could do. So, Mr. Robert came forward and told Ms. Stopper that she can file a complaint. In December of 2015, Ms. Stopper filed a complaint in the Building Department. At that time, the Building Commissioner did nothing. The Building Commissioner continued without action then and through the meeting on April 4th.
Mr. Robert stated that at the February Council meeting he came forward with a packet from the attorney’s office and asked Mr. Forbes, “How much is this going to cost us?” They used to do that in the building department for a minimal amount of money. Mr. Robert says that still nothing was done.
In February, Mr. Robert received another packet from the attorney’s, Mr. Muenich. In March, another packet. Mr. Robert stated that it was all wasted paper talking about the complaint about Mr. Stopper’s problem in bringing Oltoff Construction to the Contractor’s Board. Mr. Robert explained that when Ms. Stopper showed up to the Contractor’s Board meeting, she was not prepared to discuss her case. At that meeting, the Contractor’s Board, excluding Mr. Robert, dismissed Ms. Stopper’s case against Oltoff and doing anything for Ms. Stopper who still has leaks and probable mold in her attic. Mr. Robert added, “The only one who made out on that was the attorneys”. The attorney’s fees that cost the town, not a lot of money, but it was the principle of it. Mr. Robert questioned why we are spending unnecessary money. The total cost for the Stopper matter was $2,486.61. He claimed this was wasteful spending by Mr. Kil. The meeting night cost $405. Mr. Robert: “Grin if you want Mr. Forbes; you are just as bad.”
Mr. Robert continued with a comment on last Sunday’s newspaper article. Mr. Forbes: Mr. Robert your time is up. Mr. Robert: Mr. Jorgensen, have you ever heard the phrase loose lips sink ships? Mr. Forbes: Your time is up, Mr. Robert. Mr. Robert: You need a life jacket.
Mr. Forbes stated that he would like to address one thing with Mr. Robert before he leaves. Mr. Forbes: You brought that individual to the Contractor’s Board. Mr. Robert: No I didn’t. Mr. Forbes: As soon as you invited her to file a complaint at the Contractor’s Board; that started the attorney’s clock running. So, that is completely on you.
(General discussion ensued.)
Rita Berg 10351 Joliet Street:
Ms. Berg stated that she came to the meeting with a different concept, but she would oblige the Council by not talking about what they don’t want to talk about. Ms. Berg said that she would like the Council to know that she joined the PAC because there are many people in the PAC that she respects. These people are interested in the Town and interested in getting things done properly. Ms. Berg stated she doesn’t want to see things done improperly, but she wants to see them done properly. She thinks the PAC is trying to get that going in our Town. She asked the Council to try to please not fight with the PAC too much on this. They are not interested in money. The PAC can care less about money, except when they have to incur expenses. When they have to incur lawyer’s expenses and that type of thing, is when they ask for money. Ms. Berg claimed they have no desire to use the money for anything other than helping the Town.
Mary Robert 11990 Heron Lake Road:
Ms. Robert noted to Mr. Kil that she asked that he be put on administrative leave in March of 2015. Ms. Robert: I don’t think your nervous laughter is appropriate at meetings to laugh at people. I wish you would conduct yourself in a better manner. I did not plan on saying that this evening, but I think it is downright shame to laugh at your constituents like that.
Mr. Forbes commented that Mr. Kil is not an elected official so constituents implies Town official. Ms. Robert: the Town folk.
Ms. Robert claimed that she was told when her subdivision was finally finished, their streets would be done. Ms. Robert: Not done yet. The Town is going to be getting its one percent in June. She asked what we are going to do with it. 75% of it has to go to infrastructure. Ms. Robert: I think Mr. Kil needs to live up to some of his promises that he doesn’t recall.
Ms. Robert stated the widow of the town’s VFW President has a flooded backyard. She called Public Works and they told her they were too busy. Then someone came out, but they have since retired; never made a report. Ms. Robert: She can’t even mow her own lawn. She is not a young woman. 9511 Primrose; I hope someone can look into that. She does very much for our VFW.
Mr. Forbes: What was the address again? Ms. Robert: 9511 Primrose
Ms. Robert said she would like to know why our police officers are retiring at such a great rate. At such a rate that we are unable to fill those spots or have officers properly trained. Ms. Robert claimed that we put a lot of stress on the Police Chief. There is another officer on leave for quite some time. Ms. Robert would like to see that addressed. She would like to know how many officers we have out on the street during each shift.
Ms. Robert: Can you answer that Chief? How many cars? Mr. Forbes: This is not a discussion. Ms. Robert: Ok. I’ll take that to the Police Commission. Thank you.
Maureen Wozniak 10471 White Water Crossing:
Ms. Wozniak stated to her understanding we are not discussing the lawsuit, but as a taxpayer of St. John, she would hope there is consideration not to settle.
Elliott Segara 7864 Three Springs Drive:
Mr. Segara stated as a concerned taxpayer of St. John, he opposes any financial settlement with the PAC. Not one red cent.
Ms. Hernandez called Joe Hero.
Mr. Forbes asked that attendees not harass or react to any comments made by people at the podium. He stated it seems to be coming from one side of the room whenever it counters their position. He asked that all act respectfully.
Joe Hero 11723 South Oakridge Drive:
Mr. Hero said that he read the newspapers about, to quote, the damage of things. Mr. Hero does not believe any of it should be charged to the tax-payers. It should be taxed to the perpetrators. Normally, insurance companies cover stuff. To what Mr. Hero has read, there is no insurance coverage. All damages should be assessed to the perpetrators, those who support the perpetrators, and to those who are with the perpetrator. We should look at why the insurance company does not cover this.
Mr. Hero stated that Mr. Jorgensen was a $100.00 contributor to the PAC. He is negotiating for the Town as a Councilman. Mr. Hero stated Mr. Jorgensen should abstain. There is a conflict of interest. Being the second largest contributor to the PAC and now attempting to negotiate the lawsuit through the newspaper is inappropriate. Mr. Hero suggested Mr. Jorgensen needs to file a Conflict of Interest Statement with the Town. Taxpayers should not have to pay for the misdeeds at the expense of Public Officials. The Public Officials should compensate the Town for any and all costs. That is what all the tax-payers want.
Gary Curtis 12600 102nd Avenue:
Mr. Curtis asked that no taxpayer’s dollars be spent on these lawsuits.
Rob Kmetz 8581 Fair Oaks Lane:
Mr. Kmetz echoed absolutely no tax-payer dollars should be spent settling with the PAC. The ordinance was repealed. They got what they wanted. There is no need to spend money settling with them.
A. CONSIDER RESOLUTION NO. 2016-05-26, AUTHORIZING AND APPROVING ENTRY INTO JOINT INTERLOCAL COOPERATION AGREEMENT FOR MEMBERSHIP PARTICIPATION IN THE NORTHWEST INDIANA REGIONAL SWAT TEAM.
Mr. Forbes referred to a brief conversation with the Chief and asked the Chief if he felt this was the way for the Town to go. Chief Kveton stated that he met the representatives from the regional SWAT team and the representation of the County Sheriff’s Department. Chief Kveton responded that based on the information he received, this is the way for the Town to go.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions. There were no questions.
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to approve resolution no. 2016-05-26. “So Moved,” by Mr. Hastings. Mr. Volk seconded the motion. Motion carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.
B. CONSIDER ORDINANCE NO. 1624, AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A LOCAL OPTION INCOME TAX Y2016 SPECIAL DISTRIBUTION FUND FOR DEPOSIT OF A ONE-TIME Y2016 LOIT SPECIAL DISTRIBUTION AMOUNT RECEIVED, OR TO BE RECEIVED BY THE TOWN OF ST.JOHN, CONSISTENT WITH THE TERMS AND PROVISIONS OF RECENTLY ADOPTED S.E.A. 67.
Mr. Forbes noted the next item for Council’s consideration was Ordinance No. 1624. Mr. Forbes asked if this is something we have to do every year if we want the disbursement from the County. Mr. Austgen responded that it is a special one-time distribution that was authorized by this legislation for this year. Mr. Austgen added if it is re-done in ensuing years, we will face that opportunity. Mr. Austgen reiterated that this is described as a one-time distribution.
Mr. Barenie asked if there is an amount or an estimate. Ms. Hernandez responded roughly $333,000; a substantial amount. Ms. Hernandez stated that we have received the check. We need the ordinance passed in order to have a fund in which to deposit it.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to consider Ordinance No. 1624 on first reading. “So moved,” by Mr. Hastings. Motion seconded by Mr. Barenie. Motion carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.
Mr. Forbes stated he would like to entertain a motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1624. “So moved,” by Mr. Barenie. Motion seconded by Mr. Hastings. Motion carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.
C. CONSIDER ORDINANCE NO. 1625, BEING AN ORDINANCE APPROVING THE ESTABLISHEMENT OF A CASH RESERVE FUND OF THE TOWN’S WATERWORKS UTILITY.
Mr. Forbes noted the next item for Council’s consideration was Ordinance No. 1625. Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Kil if he would like to share information highlights on this. Mr. Kil responded that this will allow us to place money from the water account into the special fund where we can then loan it to other utility funds or do special projects and things of that nature. Mr. Kil asked that we consider this ordinance on first reading only and then there will be action needed by the Water Board prior to its adoption. Mr. Kil reiterates that it is a first reading ordinance only tonight.
Mr. Austgen asked Mr. Forbes to note that this was vetted by our financing attorneys at Barnes & Thornburg. Mr. Forbes said he appreciated the information.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions on this item. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated that he would like to entertain a motion for Ordinance No. 1625 on first reading only. “Somoved” by Mr. Barenie. Motion seconded by Mr. Jorgensen. Motion carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.
D. CONSIDER NO. 1626 BEING AN ORDINANCE APPROVING A TEMPORARY LOAN FROM THE WATERWORKS UTILITY OF THE TOWN TO THE SEWAGE WORKS UTILITY OF THE TOWN.
Mr. Forbes noted the next item for Council’s consideration was Ordinance No. 1626. Mr. Forbes asked for clarification that this was basically transferring money from water to sewage works. Mr. Kil stated that was correct. Mr. Kil said again this was a first reading only.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions on this item. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion for Ordinance No. 1626 on first reading only. Motion made by Mr. Volk. Motion seconded by Mr. Hastings. Motion carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.
E. CONSIDER ORDINANCE NO. 1627, BEING AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING THE “TOWN OF ST.JOHN PET PARADE SPECIAL REVENUE FUND”, AND ALL MATTERS RELATED THERETO.
Mr. Forbes stated the next item was the consideration of Ordinance No. 1627. An ordinance establishing the Town of St. John Pet Parade special revenue fund, and all matters related thereto. Mr. Forbes: Obviously a Pet Parade. Ms. Hernandez: Right. Ms. Hernandez explained Sonya Furman sent out an email which several members received. Ms. Hernandez mentioned the email expressed they would like to do a pet parade and that there were several fees attached. Ms. Hernandez said the fees included a $20.00 entry fee and $30.00 would be the maximum fee charged for pets participating. Mr. Kil agreed the numbers were correct. Ms. Hernandez stated they would take those funds and donate them this year to Match the K-9 and going forward, if it’s successful, they would take the funds and donate them to the Town in some way. Mr. Kil added they would probably be donated to Animal Control.
Mr. Forbes stated that by establishing this fund, it would allow us to collect funds for this project. Ms. Hernandez stated that was correct. An ordinance is needed to collect the donations and to establish fees.
Mr. Austgen commented that this is similar to other special funds we have had in the past. Such as, Christmas in the Park, Farmer’s Market and Haunted House.
Mr. Forbes asked if there were any questions on this ordinance. There were no questions. Mr. Forbes stated that he would like to entertain a motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1627. Motion made by Mr. Barenie. Motion seconded by Mr. Hastings.
Mr. Forbes corrected that he would like to entertain a motion to consider Ordinance No. 1627, rather than adopt. Mr. Forbes stated he would like to entertain a motion for Ordinance No. 1627 on first reading. First motion made by Mr. Barenie. Motion seconded by Mr. Hastings. Motion carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.
Mr. Forbes stated he would now like to entertain a motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1627. First motion by Mr. Barenie. Motion seconded by Mr. Hastings. Motion carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.
F. CONSIDER DONATION TO THE NICK FOUNDATION (THE NORTHWEST INDIANA CANCER KIDS) IN THE AMOUNT OF $500.00.
Mr. Forbes stated the next item on the agenda was the consideration of a donation to NICK foundation, the Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids, in the amount of $500.00. Mr. Forbes stated we have done this the last few years. Typically we donate $500.00 and the dinner seats to a needy family within the NICK foundation. Mr. Forbes asked if everyone is okay with that. All agreed.
Mr. Forbes stated that he would like to entertain a motion to make the $500.00 donation. First motion made by Mr. Volk. Motion seconded by Mr. Jorgensen. Motion carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes---five. Nays---none.
REPORTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:
Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Barenie if he has anything to share. Mr. Barenie stated he has a few items.
Mr. Barenie asked how the sidewalk bid requests were going. Mr. Kil answered the engineer is still working on it and getting his calculations and by next meeting there will be a cost estimate.
Mr. Barenie stated he had a question for Ms. Hernandez on the expense vouchers. Mr. Barenie: If it doesn’t cause any additional work, I would ask that you print on both sides of the paper. Ms. Hernandez: I do print on both sides of the paper.
(General discussion ensued.)
Mr. Barenie stated that when going through the expense vouchers he came across some normal payroll tax payments that he followed out. It appeared we have received a third or fourth penalty from 2015. The penalties regard payroll taxes that were not handled. The penalties are approximately $2,300.00 or $2,400.00. Ms. Hernandez stated that was correct. She was going to acknowledge those in her report, but she would answer now.
Ms. Hernandez stated that yesterday (May 25, 2016) we received an additional IRS penalty. This time it was for the fourth quarter of 2015. It was for failure to make a proper federal tax deposit. This penalty is in the amount of $2,315.67. Ms. Hernandez said she spoke with our auditor as far as how to handle this penalty. The auditor advised that we make this payment immediately as to not incur any additional fees or fines. However, she is still auditing. She is in the middle of disbursements right now. Ms. Hernandez said if the auditor detects a trend of penalties, the previous administration may be held accountable for the fines. Ms. Hernandez shared that we drafted a letter to IRS requesting forgiveness for this penalty. Being this is our fourth penalty, she is unsure they will give forgiveness. She believed it was worth an attempt to see if they would waive the fee.
Mr. Barenie thanked Ms. Hernandez for her efforts in the report.
Mr. Forbes asked Ms. Hernandez if she will need approval for that payment. Ms. Hernandez answered that it was technically a can-pay because if it is not paid in time we will incur additional fees. Ms. Hernandez told Mr. Forbes it will show up on the next docket but will have been paid.
Mr. Hastings had no reports. Mr. Volk had no reports.
Mr. Jorgensen said he would like to thank everyone who came tonight to speak in public comment. He noted everyone had a lot to say and seemed to be keeping up with current affairs. Mr. Jorgensen addressed Ms. Berg specifically to express his appreciation and respect. In regards to her comments, he asked that she seek clarification on some of the things she spoke about.
Mr. Jorgensen stated he would like to acknowledge Mr. Robert’s threat on loose lips sinking ships. He said he appreciated the comment and would keep that in mind. Mr. Jorgensen continued by thanking Mr. Hero for clarifying that he is against the taxpayers funding any settlement.
Mr. Forbes stated that he had been approached by the consultants for the Lake Hills Haunted House. He asked for members to verify they are ok with doing the event this year. He will sit down with the consultants and bring a contract to the next Council meeting, if it is acceptable to do the event. Everyone confirmed the project was okay.
Ms. Hernandez stated that her Chief Deputy, Marilyn Hrnjak, was in attendance and would like to introduce herself. Ms. Hrnjak said that it is her pleasure to serve the Town of St. John, the residents, and all the Council Members. After working with Ms. Hernandez for the last two months, Ms. Hrnjak is proud to be second in command to someone so special. Ms. Hrnjak stated that Ms. Hernandez is ambitious and knowledgeable. She is tenacious when it comes to her desire to learn and to do things the right way. Ms. Hrnjak explained that she has been a Northwest Indiana resident her entire life. Moving can be stressful, but when Ms. Hrnjak and her husband moved to St. John 16 years ago, they settled right in. She stated that it is a very welcoming family community and she trusts it will stay that way. Ms. Hrnjak briefed her education and professional background as an attorney and as Executive Chief Deputy for Lake County Superior Courts. She expressed that she is proud to work for the Town of St. John and thanked the attendees.
Mr. Forbes welcomed Ms. Hrnjak to the team.
Ms. Hernandez then referred back to the audit. She stated the State Board Accounts estimates roughly another month until completion of the audit. They are currently in the early stages of auditing distributions. Ms. Hernandez: Basically, the process will look like this. Upon completion we will receive an exit report with the findings and comments they feel need to be addressed. From there, we will be allotted a time frame in which we are to complete a corrective action plan. We will formally state how we intend to address those findings and concerns. Ms. Hernandez said that as of now the auditor has shared that there will be some comments. Ms. Hernandez is unsure of what they will be, but she is aware they are coming.
Ms. Hernandez stated that last meeting there was a brief discussion regarding new software. Last January when she took office we began the process of interviewing software vendors for an overhaul of our currently outdated system. We have met with Harris ERP, BS & A, and New World. Ms. Hernandez stated that she wanted to emphasize when she says, “We” that includes representatives from each department who have participated in webinars and interviews. She stated that she would not feel comfortable making a decision without the Town’s input. New World was the overwhelming favorite amongst departments. It is user-friendly and offers everything the Town needs such as a financial management suite, payroll and human resources, and utility management. Those would be used out of the Clerk-Treasurer’s office. They have Enter-Gov which would be used out of the Building and Planning office, a suite for Parks & Recreation and an E-Suite application, which would allow for online payments. It would provide a citizen self-service portal for online registrations, and an employee portal as well. Ms. Hernandez stated that granted the council accepts, she has requested that New World attend the next Town Council meeting. They would provide a brief presentation of the software and the benefits it brings to the employees and the residents of our town. Ms. Hernandez asked if that is something we are willing to entertain. Mr. Forbes: Absolutely. Ms. Hernandez: Ok, I will get that in place.
Ms. Hernandez stated that she would also like to mention internal controls. Today she and Ms. Hrnjak attended a seminar in Morrocco to discuss the importance and implementation of internal controls. The creation of internal control is the law. There are certain check points that we must meet in order to be in compliance. The first item we need to accomplish is having our employees attend a webinar session on internal controls. The webinar is on the State Board of Accounts website. Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Kil are in the process of scheduling two training sessions. There will be an A.M. and a P.M. session, so that all employees can attend. The second item is the creation of an ordinance stating that we will adhere to the internal controls that we put into place. This ordinance needs to be completed by June 30th. From there, it is stated that the Clerk-Treasurer is the responsible party in planning and designing, implementing, and training of the internal control structure. The Town Council is the oversight body. They are responsible for overseeing that the internal controls have been implemented and are being followed by personnel. Ms. Hernandez: This will be quite an extensive undertaking. There are three types of objectives with five components and seventeen different principles that need to be addressed. They need to be addressed in different policies, procedures, and possibly ordinances and resolutions. Ms. Hernandez stated the probable first step will be to review all of the current financial ordinances. Then begin to write policies and procedures. Evidence of the work needs to be in place by December 31st of this year. Areas that were suggested to be considered priority include: Payroll and leave time, credit card usage, purchasing, petty cash vs. cash change, Bank Recs, vendor disbursements, financial reporting, receipting, customer service, computer systems and informational technology, investments, capital assessments, and contraction fees. Ms. Hernandez stated that she would love to work with anyone interested in giving input on these matters.
Mr. Austgen had no reports.
Mr. Kil stated that he would defer to the Chief’s report.
Chief Kveton informed the Council that Mr. Turturillo has retired. Chief Kveton described Mr. Turturillo’s professional background. He stated that Mr. Turturillo served in the Cook County Sheriff’s police. He served in the Jails of Cedar Lake Police and also worked in a private sector as a certified trained CPA. While on the St. John Police Department, he was a D.A.R.E officer, supervised the civilian clerks, and was a voice stress analyst. Chief Kveton stated that Mr. Turturillo was a distinguished police officer and wished him the best on his next step.
Chief Kveton noted that he recently completed testing for certification in Indiana. He passed all phases of testing, so he is now a policeman in Indiana.
Chief Kveton stated that we are in the process of doing an emergency hire. He acknowledged officer Turturillo’s retirement and the recent resignation of another officer. The emergency hire process is intended to fill two police positions. Applications will be handed out until the end of business on Saturday.
Chief Kveton reported that this past Tuesday they had extra officers patrolling for the last day of school in St. John. He thanked the St. John Police Department and Chief Willman. Chief Kventon added that Chief Willman assisted in training all of the officers to administer NARCAN, which is an antidote to opiate overdose. Chief Kveton stated that a burglary had been reported in Dyer. Our Corporal, Jay Dahlin, located the individual and took him into custody. He thanked Mr. Dahlin for his good work.
Chief Willman stated that in the month of April 2016 the St. John Fire Department responded to 99 requests for assistance. There were 70 within the limits of St. John. There were 20 in the unincorporated limits of St. John Township. There were nine in all of the destinations including mutual aid. Mutual aid was to Lake Hills Fire EMS with and ALS for residential medical emergencies times 5. Mutual aid was also to Schererville Fire EMS with an ambulance for medical emergencies times two.
Chief Willman said that Monday night activities in April included a hands-on fire training that was designed as a review. This included procedures that should be followed when performing on-site rescue on the fire ground. The drills were done at the training site by four of our own Indiana department of Homeland Security and fire certified fire instructors. The sessions were divided into two scenarios. First was primary search in an area with heavy smoke and no water availability. The second scenario was a primary search with a charged unintelligible line. This enables the rescue personnel to stimulate efforts that make it possible to hold back live fire and construct a path out of the building.
Chief Willman stated there was an EMS in-service that had a two part course known as PHTALS. It stands for Pre-hospital trauma and life support. This course is a requirement of Franciscan St. Anthony health in Crown Point who is our medical director. The second session will be completed this month at our EMS in-service in May. The last part of training was a joint training with the Lake Hills Fire Department. The ISO requires that St. John and Lake Hills train together no less than four times a year to keep our automated agreement valid and stable. This incident was reviewed in an initial attack in an unincorporated response area where no municipal water source exists. There are no hydrants available. Water must be brought to the scene in tankers. Lake Hills provides that resource from their tanker which holds 3,000 gallons. There are many other departments that will also bring us water. Lake Hills is the closest and will respond automatically, as part of our agreement.
Mr. Forbes thanked both Chief Kveton and Chief Willman for getting the NARCAN procedure in place and training the officers.
(General discussion ensued.)
PAYMENT OF THE BILLS:
Mr. Forbes moved on to payment of the bills for the corporation. He stated the general APV docket is six pages. Mr. Forbes stated the total amount of the bills was $982,219.41. He asked if there were any questions on the bills. There were no questions.
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion. Motion made by Mr. Volk. Mr. Jorgensen seconded the motion. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
Mr. Forbes stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn. “So moved” by Mr. Hastings. Seconded by Mr. Jorgensen. The motion was carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none. (The meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.)
Beth R. Hernandez