The Brazil City Council conducted the following business at its first March meeting:
Barbara Martin inquired about the status of the emergency sirens for the city, explaining she has become increasingly concerned as tornado season nears. The city has been working in conjunction with Township Trustee Marcia Tozer on the project, which involves installing three sirens in various locations.
Councilwoman Ann Bradshaw explained the city now has three easements for the properties of the siren locations.
Martin also questioned the Council about problematic city streets like Ashley and Pinckley, and Mayor Tom Arthur said the cost estimate for repair of Ashley Street is $108,000. Meanwhile, City Engineer Brian Pohlar said he has taken a closer look at the roadway.
"We're still looking at it. It's not something that's going to happen overnight. The drainage is not easy," he said.
Meanwhile, Raymond Martin pointed out the level of the sidewalk is only slightly higher than the surface of the road itself.
Pohlar said funding from the state from the Indiana Department of Transportation is in high demand from areas all over Indiana.The Pinckley Street project will cost $1.2 million. Of the proposed projects on a list, only the first eight were selected. Brazil was supposedly listed as number nine. If the state calls for projects again, Pohlar said the city will submit it a second time.
Barbara praised the efforts of Brazil Planning Administrator Michele Driscoll, but also asked the Council about beautification strategies on National Avenue/U.S. 40. The aesthetic quality of the buildings and area along the well-traveled street is lacking, and could potentially discourage prospective residents or new businesses from settling in Brazil.
Mayor Arthur explained that he met with an INDOT official at Crawfordsville recently. Previously, the U.S. 40 project was held up by a retention pond. But with the formation of Brazil Main Street, a non-profit group of about 15 citizens, beautification efforts will be under way.
The key components of the group's mission are organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring. The group will meet twice a month, and Arthur said he attended a presentation about strengthening the potential of Main Street organizations.
The Council reviewed cemetery mowing bids, and voiced their concern about grass clippings being left on the lawn. Members emphasized removal is a priority in their evaluation of bids. While D&G representatives were on hand to answer questions, the Council will conduct interviews with the other companies prior to their regular session on March 22. The interviews are scheduled for 6 p.m. and are open to the public.
The Council approved CF-1, Compliance with Statement of Benefits, for three groups: Britt Tool, Incorporated/Britton Family Limited Partnership; Eutectic Resources, Inc./Genesis Enterprises, Inc.; Brad J. Emmert and Kim A. Emmert-O'Dell.
Brazil Police Department
Brazil Police Chief Mark Loudermilk told the Council the department recently received a grant for $400 from Wal-Mart for child restraint seats for needy families. The seats are used to replace those damaged in car accidents, and Loudermilk said he will develop a protocol to establish distribution guidelines.
The department will also be remodeling its offices. Renovations include four new lights, paint, carpeting and new furniture. The remodeling is broken down in four phases as the funds are available. A waiting area will be established for visitors, and the department will take advantage of computers and electronic files to reduce storage space requirements for paper documents. A railing will be included for the staircase, and a phone will be available for those who may need an officer to come to them. Loudermilk said he is also looking at a handicapped parking space.
The take-home car program is moving along, and Loudermilk said he will go to Ohio to pick up two used vehicles for the take-home program.
The Brazil Police will be handing out gun locks and fingerprint kits free of charge at the Home Show this weekend at the fairgrounds.
Councilwoman Pat Heffner asked about plans for a new drug after noting the death of former K-9 unit Rocky, the first Clay County Sheriff's Department K-9. Loudermilk explained that with a department this size, it is difficult to designate an officer for that purpose, and the rules and guidelines surrounding training and a K-9 handler are quite strict. While the county was lucky enough to have a dog for a time, a K-9 unit would likely be a greater benefit to the Sheriff's Department, where it could be used for interdiction purposes on the interstate. A drug investigator might be a better option for BPD.
"It's difficult to maintain a dog program, and it is quite costly," he said. "We're just a little small. In theory, it sounds great. Smaller departments are moving away from it."
Councilman Jim Sheese asked about the possibility of two law enforcement agencies sharing a dog, but Loudermilk said a K-9 unit must be part of a single agency.
"I think a lot of people are really concerned about the drug problems," Heffner said.
Brazil Fire Department
Fire Chief Tobey Archer said the BFD will be handing out smoke detectors free of charge at the Home Show at the fairgrounds this weekend.
The Council inquired as to the state of the new fire engine, and Archer said it seems to be working well.
The fire chief also attended the State Fire Marshal's Chiefs Orientation at Greencastle on Feb. 26. Firefighters have been preparing for the upcoming ISO rating inspection on March 15.
Preventative maintenance and pump testing was completed on both pumper engines and the ladder engine. Some minor repairs are in need but all three engines passed inspection. Pump testing was completed at Craig Park.
Planning Administrator Michele Driscoll reported that a Brazil clean-up campaign is scheduled for April, and dumpsters will be available for the event. Volunteers will also be necessary for the project.
Parks and Recreation Board
Councilwoman Pat Heffner reported vandals damaged the storage area of the park pavilion. The board reviewed mowing bids, and purchased a 1994 Dodge truck at $4,000 after the previous truck burnt in the City Garage fire.
Big holes in the streets are being dealt with by the Street Department employees as they continue to master the Durapatcher, which can be used at 20 degrees and above.
Councilwoman Ann Bradshaw noted the patches in potholes don't seem to be staying put, citing Vandalia and Hendrix streets. Councilman Marty Beasley pointed out the county employees were gracious enough to assist in training, and said though some of the patches are not working, other patched roadways look good.
Meanwhile, Councilman Jim Sheese stressed it is crucial to determine the cause behind the improper road repairs in order to remedy the problem in a timely manner. The problem may be technique, and the sooner the method can be observed by a person experienced with the Durapatcher, the quicker the situation can be alleviated.
Mayor Tom Arthur said heavy trash pickup is finished, and Wesley and Church streets have street signs and will officially be rededicated at a later date. The street sweeper will be used when temperatures are above freezing.
The Brazil City Council regularly meets the second and fourth Tuesday of the month in Council Chambers at City Hall. Meetings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public. A work session to interview cemetery mowing bid candidates will start at 6 p.m., and City Engineer Brian Pohlar will be on hand to further explore water study questions at 6:30 p.m. Both sessions are open to the public.