The Brazil City Council conducted the following business during its regular meeting Tuesday evening:
Mayor Tom Arthur told the Council the goals he included in his State of the City address on Monday will be written up officially, along with department goals. Those will be available for the first Council meeting in February.
The Mayor also mentioned he received an e-mail from a person writing from Brazil, South America, who had looked at the new city Website.
He also mentioned there are a couple bills before the General Assembly that could impact the area.
Senate Bill 405 deals with elections in cities and towns. Winners of the 2007 election wouldn't take office until Jan. 1, 2009. This would give officeholders an extra year, eliminating elections in 2011. Most officials responded in opposition, including Arthur.
Senate Bill 279 eliminates the good character requirements for anyone opening a hazardous waste site or landfill. For example, to open the I-70 transfer station, a need first had to be demonstrated.
"This would eliminate that. Anyone can open a landfill," he explained.
Councilman Marty Beasley pointed out the logic behind the bill is that it would potentially reduce the burden on the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management, which would theoretically create savings in state funding. The Mayor added there could also be some nonpublic reasons behind the bill.
Senate Bill 280 would allow county commissioners to opt out of being part of a district for solid waste management. This could potentially save in administrative costs, but no tax dollars go into that, Arthur said. The district handles curbside recycling and the Tox-Away Day, vitally important services.
The Council voted to appoint Police Chief Mark Loudermilk as representative to the Humane Society Board of Directors, which conducts meetings at 7 p.m. the first Monday of each month.
The Council approved the second reading of Ordinance 1-2005, which authorizes the City of Brazil to make temporary loans in anticipation of current revenues that have been levied and are being collected for the current fiscal year. Arthur said he would send letters to the banks on Wednesday. Councilman Jim Sheese also asked about an article printed in The Brazil Times regarding the alleged breaking of the animal control contract between the City of Brazil and the Clay County Humane Society. The issue had not been discussed at the previous Council meeting, Sheese noted.
While Mayor Tom Arthur said he couldn't recall why the issue was originally raised (it was part of the discussion of the Brazil Police Dept.'s new Standard Operating Procedures manual), he explained it was discussed during the Jan. 11 meeting of the Brazil Board of Works and Public Safety, of which Councilman Bill Lovett is a member.
Sheese requested clarification as to how the animal shelter was in violation of the contract, as his review of the contract didn't reach that conclusion. Arthur explained a call had been made regarding a sick stray puppy, which would normally constitute an emergency, was later determined to be a family pet the shelter did eventually retrieve.
Clarifying for the Council and the public, City Attorney Joe Trout noted that both the Mayor and Councilman Sheese were correct in their interpretations of the contract. While the shelter is bound to retrieve animals in emergency circumstances, including sick stray animals, the puppy was determined to be a pet. The Brazil Police Dept. has taken on the responsibility of confirming animal emergencies.
While Sheese noted he didn't understand why the newly signed contract, which was the subject of numerous discussions and additional sessions before going into effect, was deemed a newsworthy topic, he and the Council as well as Trout and Arthur, agreed they wished to continue a positive relationship with the shelter. The Mayor also added animal pickups have been running smoothly in the past two weeks.
Brazil Police Dept.
Police Chief Mark Loudermilk reported that the hiring of two officers is going well, and they are undergoing their physicals at this time. Another officer is going to the academy and recently passed his agility test. Loudermilk said the agility test is much more challenging than it once was, and 25 of 125 persons didn't pass.
The department was also able to hire a new dispatcher for the swing shift as one recently resigned. The new dispatcher worked as chief radio operator in another area for 16 years.
"We got real lucky to get an experienced radio operator," Loudermilk said. "We're not usually that lucky."
At the Mayors Roundtable at Indianapolis, everyone the police chief spoke to was impressed by the cost-effectiveness of the Web site, he added.
Brazil Fire Dept.
Fire Chief Tobey Archer reported that Mike Rightmyer of McAllister Power Systems was in last week to evaluate Engine No. 221 for replacement of the diesel engine. The fire engine will be marked out of service and scheduled for engine replacement at Indianapolis. Rightmyer advised that installation will only require three days. Engine No. 221 is one of the two initial arriving apparatuses and is used to immediately establish a water supply from the hydrant to the lead attack engine.
The department is also addressing some space concerns with some of the companies that have given estimates for the engine bay exhaust system. Hoses four to five inches in diameter will hang down from the ceiling to connect directly to each engine's exhaust pipe. This limits the space between the engines in an area that is already confining. Different designs and applications are being reviewed with these companies.
City Planning Administrator Michele Driscoll reported demolition and cleanup of a property at 912 N. Ashley St. has been completed, and four other properties are on the to-do list. Money from the unsafe building fund will go toward those projects. A 90-day extension has ended for 617 S. Grant St.
The Board of Zoning Appeals also approved a mobile home.
The last zoning map is dated 1982, she noted, and copies of all zoning changes. Most are written with legal descriptions.
On Thursday, Driscoll said, she will take part in a grant-writing workshop at the LEAAP Center.
4Community has also provided a number of great ideas, and Driscoll said she wanted to work with that as well as the master plan.