The following business was conducted at this week's meeting of the Brazil City Council:
The Council conducted a public hearing for additional appropriations for the Economic Development Fund.
Last year, the General Fund was at $1,674,000, and this year it is $2.2 million, Arthur said. The Motor Vehicle Highway (MVH) Fund is up from $205,000 to $414,000 due to elimination of some negative cash balances.
The Council approved CF-1, Compliance with Statement of Benefits, Brazil Investors, LLC.
Brazil Police Department
Two new officers were sworn in during the meeting. Officers Kenny Hill and Joshua Krause will begin work at the department this week.
While Chief Mark Loudermilk is on vacation, Capt. Andrew Whittington was in attendance to present the Council with the department report.
Protective equipment, including cut-resistant gloves, tack vests and drug kits for field tests will be acquired with grant funding. Meanwhile, the department is still working toward its planned take-home vehicle program, which may be in place next month. It will be financed with seizure funds, which total about $51,000.
Loudermilk has been working with the Indiana State Police regarding traffic management when the interstate is closed, and has also been working with West Central Village for crime control purposes. The Chief has also been attending board meetings of the Clay County Humane Society as a city representative.
Brazil Fire Department
The fire department will be using new computers in its operations, Chief Tobey Archer reported to the Council.
At the Feb. 8 meeting of the Clay County Chiefs Association at Poland, the Brazil department received the computers awarded to the Clay County Emergency Management Agency with a grant from the Indiana State Office of Homeland Security.
The laptops include the Thinkmap program used by the county's 911 dispatch center, and Archer also attended a one-day conference for Thinkmap. The Aloha and CAMEO programs can assist the department with responses related to hazardous materials. A laptop will be installed in the lead engine with mounting brackets provided through the grant, and waterline and hydrant locations can be added to the program. The BFD pre-incident program can be linked to the map.
On Feb. 10, Archer also attended the Clay County Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting at Clay City. The committee addressed concerns about mandated federal guidelines in incident command operations, state-mandated probationary firefighter training requirements and the progress in the completion of the county's haz-mat trailer.
Along with Assistant Chief Jake Bennett, Archer attended the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Workshop at Crawfordsville. The workshop included information about requirements and details of this year's Office of Homeland Security grant process and application submission. Representatives from the Indiana Fire Marshal's Office were on hand to relay information about required safety programs, which the BFD is reviewing for future implementation.
Engine 221, the 1989 Pierce pumper truck, was marked out of service and taken to MacAllister's Power Systems, Indianapolis, for replacement of its diesel engine. The engine will be back in service Wednesday.
Northview High School student Ricky Stedman spent a day as a job shadower through Western Indiana Employment Services. The student stayed busy throughout the day, which included multiple runs.
Archer met with John McFarland, Director of Safety and EMS for Trans-Care Ambulance, on Feb. 10. They covered some of the concerns of the department regarding mutual assistance and medical capabilities.
Properties on Leavitt, Sherman and Church streets have been condemned, and six more houses will be inspected, Planning Administrator Michele Driscoll told the Council. Findings and recommendations will be presented at a later date. Three others are partially condemnable, and Police Capt. Andrew Whittington will create an identification badge for Building Inspector Ron Keen.
Several calls have come in from residents concerned about the amended trash pickup ordinance, and Driscoll said she has sent several warning letters. Those with special circumstances can work with the city if they cannot comply with the new amendment.
Driscoll has also been contacting several cities about grass nuisance guidelines. Brazil allows up to 12 inches of lawn growth, and some cities require a six-inch length, which she thought was somewhat extreme.
Notification is the biggest concern, and newspaper publication often takes too much time. Some cities post a sign and photograph it on the property owner's lawn. Other cities also bid out lawn mowing services, while others operate on a contract. The Clay County Sheriff's Department is leery of using inmates for that type of labor on private residences due to liability concerns, she explained.
"So that's something else to think about. I know I keep
the Street Department very, very busy," she said.
City Attorney Joe Trout noted he too is unimpressed by the delays caused by publication in newspapers. While some cities tack the cost of mowing private properties not in compliance with the maximum grass length on to property taxes, others opt to put liens on properties in violation. He added that Driscoll's ideas would help beautify the city and enhance its aesthetic appeal.
"I think overall she had some great ideas," he said. "We can't be in the business of simply mowing everybody's grass for free."
Meanwhile, Driscoll praised the efforts of one resident who made significant strides in property clean up, removing tires, couches, trees and brush in a vacant lot near Page's supermarket.
"It's all cleaned up," she said. "He did a beautiful job, and I'd like to publicly thank Mark Childs for that."
While she waits for a map to update zoning, she also asked about extra funds in Economic Development. Through her research on grant funding, Driscoll said she's discovered that most grants require a matching fund of some type.
"It would go a long way in getting that grant money and completing the master plan," she said.
Hoosier Codification is still interested in working on updating the city's codification, a project that has been lapsed for some time. City Attorney Joe Trout explained that 90 percent of the project is complete, and using an alternate company to complete it would incur additional fees as the previous work would have to be checked again. The project has already been paid for, and Trout said he would like to see Hoosier Codification complete it.