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Town Council Meeting Minutes and Recordings 2019

Meeting Minutes

01-24-2019 Town Council

January 24, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

TBD, President Gerald Swets Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Mark Barenie, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes, Secretary Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Libby Popovic    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the Town Council Regular Meeting to order on January 24, 2019 at 7 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Clerk-Treasurer Beth Hernandez. The following Board Members were present: Michael Forbes, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie Staff present: Steve Kil, Town Manager; Chief Willman; Chief Kveton; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS:

Mr. Barenie introduced and welcomed the new Council members, Mr. Gerry Swets and Ms. Libby Popovic, and asked them to say a little bit about themselves.

Mr. Swets stated that he grew up in Highland and moved to St. John twenty years ago when he and his wife bought a 100-year-old house and restored it. Mr. Swets commented that he loves living in St. John as it is nice, open, and quiet.

Mr. Swets works for a technology company as a direct manager covering five counties in Northwest Indiana. Mr. Swets is a member of the Community United Reformed Church where he's served on the board for a number of years. Mr. Swets stated that he looks forward to serving the Town of St. John.

Ms. Popovic stated that she grew up in Portage and graduated from Portage High School; her husband grew up in Valparaiso. They have three children that keep them very busy: One is in elementary-school; one is in middle-school; and one is in high-school.

Ms. Popovic stated that St. John is a wonderful town and that she has seen a lot of changes over the last twelve years or so. She further stated that she has a strong personal interest in making sure that the Town grows economically, financially, conservatively in a good way.

Ms. Popovic has been a practicing attorney since 1998. She attended Loyola for her undergraduate degree, Chicago-Kent College of Law for her law degree, and has her business degree from IIT Stuart School of Business, a master's in professional responsibility and an MPA. Ms. Popovic is the managing partner at her law firm and runs the transactional department doing a lot of real estate. Previously, she was a Cook County State's Attorney and did a number of criminal cases.

Ms. Popovic commented that she's looking forward to being on the Town Council and has been bending everyone's ear to learn about the Town and about this process. She stated that she is in what she calls St. John Town Council boot camp right now, so she is learning and asked for everyone's patience and looks forward to working with everyone.

Mr. Barenie congratulated the new members and stated that he looks forward to working with both of them.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the December 27, 2018 meeting and asked for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie opened the floor for Public Comment.

Margaret Toren (9495 Julia Drive): I want to thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak. I'm excited about the new year and all the possibility it holds for the Town of St. John. My husband and I are avid bicyclists and would like to encourage the Town Council, the Town Planners, and the Parks and Recreation Departments to put bike paths at the top of your project list for 2019.

I would like to remind the Council that this year, 2019, the State of Indiana has offered local municipalities the largest amount of trail funding in the Indiana's history. The State has launched a $90 million funding opportunity, um, called "Next Level Trails" that targets the development of regionally and locally significant trails throughout Indiana. The funding aims to encourage, incentivize, and accelerate local municipalities with trail development. The current and initial round of applications –

(Someone in the audience shouted that couldn't hear. Mr. Forbes responded that Council can.)

It is on? Is this better? I don't – I'll just keep going. This is about bike trails and the, um, funding that the State of Indiana has, kind of, offered for different municipalities. The current and initial round of applications, uh, for $25 million of the $90 million grants are being accepted from January 1 to January 15. I would strongly encourage the Town Council to assemble the necessary decision makers and move towards applying for this funding, if not this round, but for the next. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9399 Franklin Drive): Welcome, Ms. Popovic, Mr. Swets. Mr. Swets was elected by the town's people in St. John with a 64 percent vote margin, and what that tells you, I believe, is that the people in the town are looking for something new and different.

Uh, we've got some positions opening up on the Planning Commission, BZA, and various other boards. Mr. Jorgensen left this town to go to work in the county, and it's my opinion – and I don't stand alone when I speak with my opinion, but I'll keep it to mine – that Mr. Jorgensen is now left St. John and should leave no fingerprints behind. So what I suggest is that he not be considered for any commissions or boards, especially the Police Commission, because, uh, we have a transparency problem. And until that transparency problem is solved, I don't think that any of the people involved in it should be appointed to any commission that has anything to do with it. Uh, basically, he left. He has new brand new position; I think he ought to concentrate on that and forget about concentrating on St. John. Thank you.

Julie Stevens (9040 West 103rd Street): I'm new to the community. I moved here in April of 2018. As a new community member, I've made a choice to jump in with both feet and get involved to make St. John the best that it can be. What brings me to the podium tonight is the November 2, 2015 incident involving our Town Manager, Steve Kil. I understand that he broke the law and was caught on video stealing signs that were posted in opposition.

Mr. Svetanoff: Excuse me, ma'am. We're here for public comment tonight considering agenda items that are before our Town.

Ms. Stevens: I can't speak as a new town member to – it's a public comment. I just want to express my opinion about something as a new town member.

Mr. Svetanoff: I understand.

(Inaudible, multiple speakers. Mr. Svetanoff attempted to quiet the room to speak.)

Mr. Svetanoff: Hold on. First of all, we don't need shouting from the crowd.

(Shouted from the audience, “We don't need cut off when we're speaking either.”)

Mr. Svetanoff: Let me speak. Thank you. We have a Civility Ordinance within the Town.

Ms. Stevens: I'm being – I'm being civil. I'm stating – I'm stating facts. This is – is it not a fact that on November 2 of 2015 there was that interest – that incident?

Mr. Svetanoff: Listen, we are here for Town business tonight. We will stick to the agenda topics.

Ms. Stevens: I'll – okay. Can I – may I speak? Not – I'm – not according to my script.

Mr. Svetanoff: You can speak.

Ms. Stevens: Well, thank you. Thank you. All I – what I wanted to do is address this particular incident in an appeal to our new, two new Town Council members to please, um, use this opportunity to make some changes, effect change and move forward in a way that is ethical, which I feel has not been done in the past, from what I understand. And there's no denying the facts of the incident that occurred, which I guess I can’t state that incident right now; but that is a fact. And I was very disturbed as a town’s person that this person is still our Town Manager.

And with all due respect, I'm sure there are many skills that he possesses that make him, uh, Town Manager in some aspects; but as far as ethics, I have concerns. This is my town too. And too, as a town's person, I feel it is my right to speak up and appeal to these people to effect change.

(Mr. Barenie thanked Ms. Stevens and asked her if she had another point as she still had a minute left to speak.)

Well, I – I know; but it's – I'll end my statement by saying I'm very optimistic for the future of our Town. In the short time I have been here, it seems that the community interest and involvement has really ramped up; and I'm very excited about that. And, again, to the new Council members, I am placing my confidence in you for change and raising the standards of our town to address these issues, which I was unable to speak on. Okay. Thank you.

Jerry Shallon (12095 South Oakwood Drive): I'd just like to, uh, comment and agree with Bryan's comments on, uh, Mr. Jorgensen's appointment to the board. And, uh, think he should focus more on his new county job. Uh, he's a freshman at it; put a lot of time into that. And, uh, we need a board that starts with a clean slate, somebody that hasn't been involved in what's been going on with the Police matters. I don't think anybody really knows what happened. Okay. Thank you.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): A few things I'd like to speak out on: One, I'm going to cover present board and commission appointments; and I'm going to state it as simple as this: No board or commission appointment should be made that even have the appearance of inappropriateness. It's time we turn over a new page in town with ethics; and, uh, so consider that with all of your appointments – not just one, but every single one, every line item. I – I'd – ethics has to be number one. Any appearance of inappropriateness or conflict, it should be thrown out, even if the person's a great person, a qualified person. It's all about doing the right thing first.

Second thing, this is on your agenda. The – the, uh, Safety Village, and I – I must admit I'm not fully educated on the numbers involved in it. Um, but the number seems to have grown dramatically, so, um, I suppose I'll hear an explanation soon about why the number is so high and how – how it would be equal to Dyer and Schererville or calculated on a per capita basis with Dyer and Schererville, because we have different populations. I'm fully, uh, supportive of the Tri-Town Safety Village, but I want to make sure that we're not putting in any more than we need to for that.

Um, lastly, I'd like to, um, second what, um, she said about the bike trails. I've read up on that myself. In fact, I even have a – a suggestion to revise our, uh, subdivision ordinance to better provide for that while subdivisions are being built; and I'll be bringing that to the Plan Commission shortly regarding, uh, installation of 10-foot sidewalks on our major thoroughfares as they attach the subdivisions.

We actually have a clause in our ordinance, but we're not using it currently, so we'd like to make that more ironclad. So I fully support the bike trails, and hopefully we can get that going. Thank you. And welcome to the new members.

Tom Parada (9535 Joliet Street): I am the chairman of the St. John Homeowners PAC. A few things I would like to say: Number one, I would like to see an eth – ethics clause be imposed in this town. Okay. There hasn't been one, and it's been a free-for-all. Okay. The other thing I want to say about the procedures about the meeting; and, um, I feel it's wrong to cut someone off. And, sir, you and I are going to have a problem if this is going to go this way. And I'm going to tell you why. Uh, already, the basics of Robert's Rules of Order has been changed.

There should be a second opportunity for someone to speak, and I'm going to tell you why. It gives you the right to do two things: If you come in here and you have no possibility – uh, let me change what I was saying there. If you come in here and you have something you want to say and then you are later corrected and you find out more information and it allows you to put on the record that you have been wrong, you should be able to do that. And the other thing is, you should be able to rebut based on your accurate opinion. You should be able to rebut what someone else has been saying. Okay.

I want to – by the way, I want to welcome the two Council members. We appreciate you being here very much. Couple other things I want to address real quickly. Uh, I believe there is a problem with ethics in this town, and I think it needs to be addressed. I would like to see what the new people that are here – I know one, for sure, I can count on. But I would like to see a Town Council that does something besides signing building permits, plain and simple.

We need improvements in this town. Our roads are going to hell. There are many other place – places in this town that need work. And they have not been getting addressed at all. And think that needs to be encouraged. And I do want to say one more thing about Mr. Jorgensen: I worked as hard as anybody to get him elected. Now he went on to the county, and that's fine. But I hope the people in the county realize that the day he got elected, the romance was over. Because the second he became a part of this board, he took the St. John Homeowners PAC and stuck – stuck them right in the back with a knife; and I know he's gone. Good riddance.

But I'm – I'm addressing more the new people than the old people. We are counting on you to do the right thing. Okay. We are counting on you to bring about change in this town. And we are counting on you to answer our questions, which was another thing. It was answers were optional. We don't want that. We've had experiences in the past Willow Ridge where we needed to contact Town Council members. We never got – never heard back, a word back from them. That's wrong. You people – when are we supposed to speak to you? When do we get our turn to have our questions answered?

(Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Parada to wrap it up.)

Okay. I will. The only thing I want to stress is what I said, ethics. Building is fine; let's take care of other things first. Okay. Thanks, folks. Bye-bye.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): The reason I came up is, uh, we had two – I think it was two years ago that we talked about a road impact fee. And we haven't heard anything about a road impact fee. I believe that, uh, the tax payers of St. John deserve, uh, a road impact fee. We should not have to pay for all of the improvements of roads that these developers are coming in and adding traffic to our roads.

And secondly, uh, I'm, uh, in congruence with the lady who talked about the running and bike paths. I believe that the Town Council should have a committee on bike paths and running paths. Um, we're the only town in Lake County that doesn't have a coordinated plan for bike and running paths. Griffith has one. Highland has one. Hammond has one. Uh, Crown Point has one. Dyer has one. But we don't. Um, I just believe that we're – we need to move into the next century with plans for, uh, families, children, elderly, and, uh, that's my belief. And I want to welcome the two members. Uh, I appreciate your efforts to, uh, give your time to the Town of St. John. Thank you.

Mary Therese Robert (11990 Huron Lake Road): It's a new year. Two new faces, welcome. Going forth, as a tax-paying, registered voter, these are the things I expect now from this Council: Transparency. If you refer to the article from the Times – I will read it.

"Founding Father Patrick Henry said, 'The liberties of the people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.’ If we truly believe our government is one of, by and for the people, we must also believe in the notion that as public servants we are merely extensions of those that we serve."

In transparency, I don’t believe Mr. Jorgensen should be seated on any board or commission as long as we have an issue out there. I think we need to get a competent Town Manager. I think human resources needs an advocate – the employs need an advocate for human resources. Stop ignoring us.

We came out; we voted – two-thirds for Mr. Swets in one of the biggest turnouts in St. John. I know; I worked the election.

If you refer to the editorial from the Hammond Times, road planning is a must for development. In 2018, these are the following permits that were pulled in the surrounding communities that will be using our roads: Cedar Lake, 181; Crown Point, 243; Dyer, 32; Lowell, 94; Schererville, 61; Winfield, 52. In addition, 310 from our town alone.

Also, if you refer to the article, a St. John – St. John's Divided House Cannot Stand. You must learn to work together. You are elected officials; you represent us. Please do so. We need to stop the awes and the eye rolling and the talking amongst ourselves when your constituents are here. We are the ones that voted you in office. Thank you.

Theresa Birlson (9520 Joliet Street): I'd like to welcome the new members to the Council. And I would like to ask that this new Council show respect to business owners and home owners in this town by refraining from the use of eminent domain to take property of business owners, like the Thiel Cabinet Shop – Mr. Parada, and Mr. Schafer's property – without an extremely, very important, necessary reason.

That being said, I ask you to rethink the roundabout plan that was put forth to connect the shops on 96 with Joliet Street. This roundabout has been shown at previous meetings not to be the only option. I hope you'd consider other, more less invasive and less costly alternatives. And the money that you could save from putting that roundabout in could be used to make the much needed improvements at 93rd and Wicker to improve that intersection because its rating is horrible. And that would help everyone in the town and people going through the town. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Richard Janowiak (13000 West 85th Avenue): I have a question for a board member, and – cause I'm notice quite sure how it runs in Indiana – but who’s in charge of this board and these meetings, the board or the village attorney? He has no right to cut anybody off and tell them what's going to be said and not said. That's the board's journey. He's paid to advise us, this board, and do other stuff.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I'd like to welcome Libby and Mr. Swets as a breath of fresh air to this Council. Don't you think that's the way it should be? We look at what happened in Mr. Swets election. It's a wave of dissatisfaction with the incumbents on this Town Council. We have a second chance now in May and in November to clean out the rest of the Council. So I urge all those people who attend here to do that.

Secondly, after welcoming those two, I'd like Libby to use her state's-attorney in Illinois experience to start investigating some of our contracts and bids and the process we do that. And work with the Clerk-treasurer, who does a fantastic job, and start get down to the root cause of how all this stuff and the money we spend.

The third thing is, I don't think we should keep Mr. Austgen on the payroll anymore. We got an attorney. There's no need to do that. If he can't handle it, he should hire some assistant to do it.

The last thing I would like to do is, we got to look at development in this town. It's going at an uncontrolled rate. The roads are not being widened to accommodate traffic. That is the biggest problem you got. So I encourage the new members not to fall into the hands of the old guys sitting here. Take a new path; work together. There will be another new councilman pretty soon; and there'll be two more by November. So look at the future. Make your coalition, but work for the people of the town.

And I would like to reprimand this Town Attorney for cutting that first lady off. I think that's totally inappropriate. Public comment is for the people to address their grievances to this board, to bring problems that they see to this board. Why should we have public comment if we can have your attorney shut us up? That is not the way democracy works. It is time to be civil. And the civil starts on that side of the counter there. Thank you.

Having no one further requesting to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Professional Services Agreement with Cender & Company, LLC
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Professional Services Agreement with Cender & Company, LLC.

Mr. Barenie noted that the next three or four items are to consider their extensions of professional services for the next year.

Mr. Barenie asked if the board had any questions or comments on this matter. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to retain Cender & Company as the Town Financial Advisor by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

B. Professional Services Agreement with Haas & Associates
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Professional Services Agreement with Haas & Associates.

Mr. Barenie asked if the board had any questions or comments on this matter. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the Professional Services Agreement with Haas & Associates by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

C. Professional Special Services Agreement with Austgen Kuiper Jasaitis, P.C.
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Professional Special Services Agreement with Austgen Kuiper Jasaitis, P.C.

Mr. Forbes commented that as part of this special service agreement with Austgen Kuiper Jasaitis, P.C., there are some very special and specific items that the firm will be handling, which are listed out on the contract. Austgen Kuiper Jasaitis, P.C. will start no new business with the Town; however they will be retained until these specific, ongoing matters are resolved.

Mr. Barenie stated that there are matters that Mr. Austgen's firm will continue as they have been going on for about five or six years; and it would cause a tremendous amount of redundancy and cost, to pay both attorneys, to transfer them to Mr. Svetanoff. Mr. Barenie stated that he believes the Council made the best decision it could for the Town on this item.

Motion to approve the Professional Special Services Agreement with Austgen Kuiper Jasaitis, P.C., by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

D. Consider Appointment of the Members of the Town Council to the Utility Board and Redevelopment Commission
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider appointment of the members of the Town Council to the Utility Board and the Redevelopment Commission.

Motion to approve the members of the Town Council to the Utility Board and Redevelopment Commission by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

E. Consider Release of Surety Bond for Silver Leaf –Phase 2E in the Amount of $89,849.36 and Accept Maintenance Guarantee
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider release of Surety Bond for Silver Leaf, Phase 2E, in the amount of $89,849.36, and accept the Maintenance Guarantee. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Mr. Barenie requested any questions, discussion, or motion.

Motion to release the Surety Bond for Silver Leaf, Phase 2E, in the amount of $89,849.36, and accept the replacement Maintenance Guarantee by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

F. Consider Release of Surety Bond for Mill Creek –Phase 4 in the Amount of $64,418.38 and Accept Maintenance Guarantee
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider release of Surety Bond for Mill Creek, Phase 4, in the amount of $64,418.38, and accept the Maintenance Guarantee. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to release the Surety Bond for Mill Creek, Phase 4, in the amount of $64,418.38, and accept the Maintenance Guarantee by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

G. Consider Release of Surety Bond for Meadow Gate –Unit 11C and 12B in the Amount of $51,675 and Accept Maintenance Guarantee
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider release of Surety Bond for Meadow Gate, Unit 11C and 12B, in the amount of $51,675, and accept the Maintenance Guarantee. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to release the Surety Bond for Meadow Gate Units 11C and 12B, in the amount of $51,675, and accept the replacement Maintenance Guarantee by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

H. Consider Approval and Acceptance of the 2019 Fire Department Roster
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider approval and acceptance of the 2019 Fire Department Roster as presented by the Fire Chief, which is an annual maintenance item and asked if the board had any questions or comments on this matter. Mr. Barenie stated that this is an annual maintenance item.

Motion to approve and accept the 2019 Fire Department Roster by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie thanked the Chief and commented that his department does a great job for the Town.

Chief Willman thanked the Town Council.

I. Resolution No. 2019-01-24, a Resolution Adopting Joint Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with the Town of Schererville for Building Inspection Services
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Resolution No. 2019-01-24, a Resolution adopting Joint Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with the Town of Schererville for building inspection services.

Mr. Barenie stated that this agreement has been in place for over twenty years.

Mr. Kil advised that we've been doing this for as long as he can remember. It is in place so that if one community runs short on inspection services, whether the inspector is out sick or gone, the other community will fill in with their inspectors. This is a reciprocal agreement between the two communities; and at the end of the year, any incurred costs are settled.

Mr. Kil stated that he does not have the originals back from Schererville yet; Diane promised that they would be in the mail today, but they did not show up.

Ms. Hernandez stated that we did get the originals today.

Mr. Kil asked her if she has them. She responded in the affirmative. Mr. Kil apologized and stated that he was not informed that we had received them in the mail today.

Mr. Kil advised that the agreement remains the same each year and that they simply change the date.

Mr. Barenie stated that it would be good to know how we came out at the end of the year. Mr. Kil responded that we came out even.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Mr. Forbes asked if there is discussion as Mr. Swets looks as if he's contemplating something. Mr. Swets responded that he has difficulty approving things that he hasn't actually seen in front of him ahead of time.

Mr. Swets asked if there is an urgency to this; because if not, he would prefer to defer anything that comes in last minute in order to have time to look at it before approving it. Mr. Swets stated that if they could talk him off the ledge on this one, then he'd be happy to move forward on it.

Mr. Forbes stated that he understands Mr. Swets position. This is has been done so many times that is has become a fact of matter; however, if Mr. Swets would like to defer the matter, he would second his motion.

Mr. Swets stated that he wants to make sure there is not a time issue on this. Mr. Kil responded that there is no sense of urgency.

Motion to defer the approval of the Joint Interlocal Cooperative Agreement by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

J. Consider Uniform Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement of Clifford Wroe
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the Uniform Conflict of Interest disclosure statement for Clifford Wroe.

Mr. Kil advised that Mr. Wroe files this every year, as he has small company that does wiring and camera work, in the unlikely event that a conflict of interest would ever arise.

Mr. Barenie stated that this a good example of how we have a policy and procedure on ethics and disclosure. Conflicts can happen, and they can be fine.

Ms. Popovic concurred. The Conflict of Interest Disclosure, in and of itself, shows the transparency when there could be a potential conflict. There doesn't have to be a per se conflict of interest; it would be a potential or possible future conflict of interest. This helps with transparency and avoids those types of situations.

Mr. Barenie asked if the board had any further questions or comments on this matter. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement for Clifford Wroe by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

K. Consider Annual Donation to the Safety Village in the amount of $27,500
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the annual donation to the Safety Village in the amount of $27,500.

Mr. Barenie stated that this is an annual donation the Town makes and that thousands of children have benefitted by attending the Safety Village. He further stated that, based on population, we do pay more than the other communities; however, that is a conscious decision that the Town has made for years.

Mr. Forbes stated that there have been many discussions on this. Originally, the Safety Village was primarily run by donations. For years it operated on donations, eventually, the well became dry, which is why the board of the Safety Village asked the three communities that participate in the program to fund it. The operating budget is $84,220, which divided by three, is about what we donate.

Mr. Forbes asked if Schererville still pays the mortgage on the building. Mr. Kil responded that the property and everything is owned by Schererville; and we only help with the operating costs. Schererville bailed them out because it got to the point it wasn't self-sustaining. The Safety Village has to have someone run it, people to man it, and teachers. There are thousands of children that go through it, so it is extremely active.

Mr. Kil stated that Mr. Jarvis asked for a slight increase this year. We previously paid $25,000 a year in the past. Mr. Kil commented that, like everything else, costs are going up.

Mr. Forbes stated that the Safety Village isn't static and that programs are being added and changed.

Mr. Kil stated that pipeline safety has been added. The Marathon Pipeline Company built an entire pipeline yard. There is a Veterans Museum, a fire house, and it is incredible. The number of schools and children that utilize this keep increasing each year.

Mr. Kil noted that they try to keep the prices as low as possible so they don’t deter children from coming because the purpose of the Safety Village is to educate the children.

Mr. Barenie asked if the board had any questions or comments on this matter. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to authorize a donation to the Safety Village in the amount of $27,500 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

L. Ordinance No. 1678, Seized Asset/Forfeiture Fund
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1678, Seized Asset and Forfeiture Fund, which repeals and replaces Ordinance No. 861.

Mr. Kil stated that this was the first ordinance that Mr. Svetanoff has prepared for us; and he did a fine job on it and turned it around in record time.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that Chief Kveton contacted him regarding this ordinance, which will repeal and replace an existing ordinance from 1991. When the Town receives a forfeiture of certain assets, believed to be employed in or derived from unlawful enterprises or criminal activity which were recovered or confiscated and seized pursuant to the laws of the United States, we get a portion of those seized funds. Those seized funds have to go into a dedicated account, which will be called the Forfeiture and Seized Asset Funds.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that, under the guidelines that have been established by the US Department of Justice and the US Department of the Treasury in 2018, the ordinance lays out certain expenditures that can be made out of this actual fund itself which are listed in the ordinance. There is a section in there which calls for the Town Council to appropriate any expenditures coming out of this fund, so this will have to go through Town Council vetting before any expenditures are made.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that this is something that's been needed for a long time, and we were finally able to get it done. He is hoping that it does get approved tonight and asked if there were any questions.

Chief Kveton stated that they have a Police Department policy that will mirror the ordinance.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that he has reviewed the policy, and it seems to be in order.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1678 on first reading by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1678.

Mr. Swets stated that one of his frustrations when he was on the other side of the dais was when ordinances like this came forward that were approved; and the public really never had an opportunity to look at them or read them to either speak in favor of remonstrate against the ordinance. He further stated he would like the practice of accepting them on first reading to be used only when it is necessary for time constraints.

Mr. Swets asked if there are time constraints on this that it needs to be done this quickly. Mr. Forbes responded that in this instance, it would be in our best interest to approve this as quickly as possible.

Mr. Swets stated that he doesn't have a problem with it then; however, in the future, he would like to see us go through the two steps at two separate meetings when possible.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil if there is a precedent for first reading and adoption of ordinances on first reading.

Mr. Kil advised that there isn't a precedent; however, it is dependent on the issue. For example, an annexation automatically requires two readings; the Budget Ordinance adoption has to have two readings. There are other instances, such as an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, the law requires one reading, so you won't ever see or hear a motion to consider on first reading, and that amendment would go directly to adoption.

Mr. Kil advised that for all other ordinances, in order to unanimously consider it on first reading, the word unanimous controls.

Mr. Forbes requested confirmation that any ordinance that it is not specifically called out by law does not require the time between the reading and adoption. Mr. Kil confirmed the same and stated that if it is unanimously considered on first reading, it can immediately be adopted. He further stated that this ordinance is a perfect example.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1678.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1678 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is Reports and Correspondence and asked for the same.
TOWN COUNCIL
Mr. Forbes stated that he would like to address the bike trails that were mentioned this evening. He stated that he found out about the grant early in January for the bike trails and has been putting together a plan to make the application. He has been speaking with several developers who are interested in donating easements to the Town so we don't have to purchase land to install the bike trails. If that land is donated to us, it has a monetary value to it, and we can use that value as our matching portion to the grant.

Mr. Forbes stated that he is hopeful that we get into the second round of the bike trail grant.

Mr. Forbes stated that there was a comment made that we don't have a coordinated bike trail plan; however, we do have one. Mr. Forbes advised that it is part of the Comprehensive Master Plan. He further advised that anytime something comes up in front of the Plan Commission, he always looks for the opportunity to get a bike trail in order to connect some of the older sections of St. John where they don't have sidewalks.

Mr. Barenie stated that we would love to have some on the east side. Mr. Forbes responded that he has a plan for that.

Mr. Kil stated that the Mr. Forbes has also been working with the Parks Department on this, and it is part of the Park Master Plan.

Mr. Forbes advised that there is an Ethics Ordinance in this Town and has been for a very long time. Mr. Forbes stated that he was here when it was written. He further stated that the accusations of lack of transparency and lack of ethics in this Town are absolutely absurd.

Ms. Popovic stated that she'd like to thank everyone for welcoming her. She further stated that she is still getting her feel for this; we're all in this together, and civility should be across the board both ways. Ms. Popovic added that she does believe that we should have transparency and cordiality between each other.

Ms. Popovic stated that she is very interested in the bike path and thinks it's a great idea. She noted that she has seen the Comprehensive Plan, and there is something in the works with that.

Ms. Popovic advised that as far as the Ethics Code, there is one; and maybe we can disseminate it next time so we can all be on the same page with that.

Mr. Swets stated that he would like to thank the residents of St. John for putting him here. He stated that he is tickled to represent them, and he hopes that through the course of the next four years that he will be able to represent them well. Mr. Swets noted that this is his first meeting and he has a lot of goals and things he would like to accomplish, but he also believes that those things need to be done as we work together with the other Council members.

Mr. Swets stated that he would like to ask the residents to give the Council time and be patient as the Council works through some of the issues that we have in this town. He further stated that he prays that the Lord gives him the wisdom to make wise choices through this year, and he looks forward to their support. Mr. Swets thanked everyone.

Mr. Barenie stated that the Hammond Times makes a person sign an ethics agreement of some sort when running in an election.

Mr. Forbes stated that there is an ethics statement through the Times. We participate in the Shared Ethics Advisory Commission, and we are members of that.

Mr. Kil stated that Ms. Hernandez is our representative on the Shared Ethics committee.

Mr. Forbes stated that we do have an Ethics Ordinance, and we were among the first to have one. Mr. Barenie concurred.

Mr. Barenie stated that, perhaps, we can make a copy of that available at the next meeting.

Mr. Barenie stated that we may be able to do some homework and address more of the issues raised by the public at the next meeting.

CLERK-TREASURER
Ms. Hernandez thanked the Public Works Department for their fantastic job during the last snowstorm. Ms. Hernandez asked the Council to give her consideration again this year the ability to contract with Umbaugh, which is not on the agenda. Their fee did go up, so it is $180 an hour.

Mr. Swets asked if that is an issue that has urgency or if it something that can wait. Ms. Hernandez responded that there is urgency in that there is end-of-year reporting.

Mr. Swets stated that he thinks it is important that there is a series of checks and balances; and it's not like there's an additional cost there because if that work was going to be done by one accounting firm, we would have to pay those hours as well, so he thinks it's a good idea.

Ms. Hernandez stated that Umbaugh provides her with assistance their annual budget, estimated revenues, levy appeal consulting, the annual report requirements by the State Board of Accounts, additional appropriations, cash flows and potential investments, and bank reconciliation.

Ms. Hernandez stated that she's done research on Cender & Company and believes the way the Cender & Company is assisting the Council is not the same way that Umbaugh is assisting her.

Mr. Barenie stated that he works with financial firms and has for years. There is a huge benefit for that to be centralized into one financial advisor or professional advisor. The Council would prefer to have one person who actually knows what's going on for both sides.

Ms. Hernandez stated that since she is personally responsible, financially, for any mistakes, she would prefer to work with a firm that she feels she is getting solid and sound advice and direction from.

Mr. Barenie stated that he can appreciate her comments, but he thinks Cender & Company could do a good job too. Ms. Hernandez stated that she doesn't disagree, but she would prefer the advice of Umbaugh.

Mr. Forbes stated that Cender & Company has done a phenomenal job for the Town for as long as they've been under contract with the Town. They have assisted the prior Clerk-Treasurer of this Town with no issues. Mr. Forbes further stated that he is fine with just having one financial advisor for the Town.

Mr. Swets stated that he would like to see a report and doesn't like taking action on things that he has not seen and read in advance. Ms. Hernandez stated that he can review the email of their scope of services.

Ms. Popovic asked if Cender & Company would have a separate contract with Ms. Hernandez and another with the Council. Ms. Hernandez stated that Cender & Company wouldn't have a contract with her. They would cover whatever services the Council would provide, and she would pay Umbaugh out of her budget for the services he provides her.

Mr. Barenie stated that we would defer this.

Ms. Hernandez stated that she'd continue using them in the meantime because she has the authority to work with them and she will. She further stated that she wants everyone to know that she wants a contract with Umbaugh, what their hourly rate is, and what services they will be providing.

STAFF
Chief Willman reported that during the month of December 2018 the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 153 requests for assistance. There were 119 within our incorporated limits, 27 within the unincorporated limits of St. John Township, and 7 in District 3, which is all other destinations including Mutual Aid. Mutual Aid went to Schererville, Fire and EMS; Lake Hills, Fire and EMS; Crown Point, Fire and Rescue; and Cedar Lake, Fire and EMS.

Monday night activities for December included the monthly business meeting of the volunteer division on December 3. We held our annual election of the Board of Directors of the 501(c)(3) corporation.

December 10, we held a fire training that was a general review of the procedures involving the use and care of our self-contained breathing apparatus units when we need to use them at a working fire. This training included wearing and caring for the self-contained breathing apparatus in a fire or hazardous-materials incident. Our instructors also covered the “Pak-Tracker” instrument that is used to find a fire fighter that might be down in a life-threatening environment. We also used both the in-house compressor and the remote cascade unit. The remote unit is installed on our Rescue Truck so we are able to refill air bottles when we are on the scene.

The final training for 2018 was an EMS in-service with the “LUCAS-2” CPR adjunct machines that we now have on all three rigs; and we reviewed the process to use NARCAN when we are faced with an unresponsive patient that has overdosed on drugs.

The total number of responses for St. John Fire in 2018 was 1796; approximately 72 percent, or 1300, were rescue and emergency medical services within the community. Thank you.

Chief Kveton reported from December 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 17,984 miles and responded to 524 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 29 arrests with 50 charges being filed. There were 259 traffic citations issued, along with 270 written warnings, for a total of 529 citations being issued during the month.

Vehicle thefts totaled zero ($0), other thefts totaled $776, and recovered property totaled $49.

We are in the midst of two very significant investigations that were reported to us in the last month. There was a very significant report of damage to the Shrine of Christ's Passion totaling $80,000 that is currently an ongoing investigation. Also, the Clerk-Treasurer's Office reported fraud to their funds of $17,000.

Chief Kveton reported that they are very proud of two things at the Police Department: For the last two and a half to three years, the St. John Police Department, with the help of Cliff Wroe, has a police data initiative on their Web site which has 15 different categories explaining all the different things the Police Department does. You can see all the traffic stops, accidents, calls for service, community outreach efforts, as well as a tremendous amount of public information that is available. We are one of only three agencies in Indiana that does that. NIBRS is a new reporting system through the federal government on crime reporting, and we're the first agency, with the help of Roger Patz and Cliff Wroe, to comply with that process in Lake County.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $442,300.15, dated January 10, 2019, and $725,577.32, dated January 24, 2019, and asked if there were any questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to pay the bills by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Forbes.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 8:12 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

02-07-2019 Town Council

February 7, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the Town Council Regular Meeting to order on January 10, 2019, at 7:01 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Marilyn Hrnjak with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie. Staff present: Steve Kil, Town Manager; Marilyn Hrnjak, Chief Deputy Clerk-Treasurer on behalf of Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer, Chief Willman; Detective Commander Steve Flores on behalf of Chief Kveton; and Joseph Svetanoff.

Absent: Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer, and Chief Kveton.

WELCOME NEW TOWN COUNCIL MEMBER:

Mr. Barenie welcomed Rose Hejl and asked her to say a little bit about herself.

Ms. Hejl stated that she is excited for this next year; she looks forward to learning more about our town and helping it to continue to prosper and grow and go in the right direction. Ms. Hejl expressed her gratitude.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie welcomed Rose Hejl and asked her to say a little bit about herself.

Ms. Hejl stated that she is excited for this next year; she looks forward to learning more about our town and helping it to continue to prosper and grow and go in the right direction. Ms. Hejl expressed her gratitude.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie opened the floor for Public Comment.

Edward Conn (9227 West 91st Court): I live in Lancer estates, for the past 16 years. I believe once we take that voluntary oath to serve and protect, both locally or abroad, we instantly become brothers and sisters that last a lifetime. It pains me to see what is happening to our first responders in this country and within the region.

Sadly, our sleepy little town of St. John may have been once; it is growing faster than most communities around us. Growth that will, ultimately, affect our residents and first responders that follow such growth. Our men and women will be faced with uncertainty and stress with each new traffic stop, calls for help, robberies, and so on.

Our men and women deserve to have leadership and a chief of police that, ultimately, stands behind them, not against them. Our responders do not need a leader who disrespects them, intimidates them, harasses them, and to cause physical harm to them, as alleged by a number of our officers.

Our residents have been left in the dark for months through the supposed investigation and charges brought forth by our officers; yet our police and fire commissioners hold closed-door meetings and fail to provide us with the minutes of said meetings, since July of 2018 to date. Meetings during an investigation that no one seems to want to take control of, especially when said allegations towards the Chief is allowed to be present at each meeting. This type of investigation should have been handled by an outside authority, such as the county or state level, as asked for on December 29, 2018, by our Town Clerk-Treasurer, with no answers coming forward since.

This is not the only mishandling of issues, which goes back to the Lake Central School Board hearing with regard to a beloved teacher, a teacher who was hung out to dry because of the inabilities of said Chief to properly investigate the claims against this teacher. Rather, we saw the anger side of said Chief at this hearing when he stood up, interrupted the residents, and scolded them for speaking out too loudly, and then proceeded to pat himself on the back for the next ten minutes of his storied career in law enforcement.

Mr. Svetanoff: Excuse me, sir.

Mr. Conn: Yes, I’m almost done.

Mr. Svetanoff: Can we please stick to Town business.

Mr. Conn: This all relates to the Town business, the way I look at it, sir.

Mr. Svetanoff: School board issues have nothing to do with the Town.

Mr. Conn: I don’t have much. Okay. Well, that was all I had on it.

I strongly ask that the Town Council quit hiding the results of this investigation to the residents of St. John. I believe seven months is more than sufficient to conclude such an allegation. If this was a public allegation against another public member, it would be with charges pressed or no charges and parties notified in a manner of days.

I would also strongly object to the voting in of former president of police and fire commission to be awarded a seat on this Council based on the past handling of charges and complaints. I would also strongly object to the voting in of a new president of the police and fire commission by a former leader of this Council, who was also involved in these past complaints with no resolve, only seen to be hiding behind a position and appearing to protect this Chief, an individual has moved onto the county level, yet seems he feels to deserve this role.

Lastly, due to the issues that continue to occur within our town, I believe it might be time to vote for a citizens’ oversight committee, made up of our residents that review said complaints and the handling of them. Thank you.

Julie Stevens (9040 West 103rd Street): I come to the podium tonight to address our newest Council member. As a member of the Police Commission board for many years, and most recently acting as the chairman, you came to the meeting on December 27, 2018, to deliver a statement to the Town Council from Attorney John Reed, representing the Police Commission board. The message was in regards to the investigation of the alleged incident involving Chief Kveton.

John Reed’s statement included, “I have requisitioned all the documents from the former legal counsel and am in the process of reviewing all additional documents that have been provided to me. The Commission and I will prepare a summary of the entire investigation, including the investigative process, and then provide a recommendation to the Town Council. The Town Council may, then, choose to act upon the recommendation, or not, in their absolute discretion.”

So to you, as the chairman of the Police Commission board, if you haven’t delivered the investigation summary and the recommendation to the Town Council, we’re waiting for that to be done. If you have delivered it, now that you are a member of the Town Council, we are, again, waiting for you to make that investigation summary and the recommendation public record. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): Mr. Kil, I put in a public request a few months back; I have a copy of it here on my phone. I believe you put out a media immediate release, and you announced, uh, as of November 14, that people had 30 days in which they could submit their applications for Council membership and/or commissions. You also stated at the end of that, that all applications must be entered and in your hands by the 14th of December. So I just want to, kind of, remind people of the rules before we start making any of this, appointments tonight and/or looking at the dates when these people put their applications in to be placed on these councils and/or committees. Thank you.

Mary Therese Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): I just want to state I agree with the previous three statements, made by Mr. Conn, Mr. Blazak, and Mrs. Stevens; in addition, to remind the Council, the caucus will not be electing you next time. Thank you.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): I want to welcome the new members, all, tonight. And also, I, uh, charge them – well, the entire Council with, um, giving us the information on the, uh, Road Impact Fee that have – have – we’ve asked for, for two years. And I also challenge the Council to set forth and send to the Indiana State Police the investigation on the police department. You supersede – the – the Council supersedes the Police Commission. You should sup – you should send to the Indiana State Police the commission to investigate the police department.

And also, for all of the boards that you are appointing, the Police Commission hasn’t, uh, been in – had a meeting, because of lack of quorum, for I don’t know how long. Uh, you should require your board members to go to the meetings. If they don’t go to the meetings, kick them off and get new members that will go to the mem – the meetings. Thank you.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): Good evening, everyone, uh, ladies and gentlemen of the Council. A few things: First, I’d just like to say, um, the three-month break is over, I suppose. Um, not a lot of real business has been done. I understand that, a lot of administrative and administerial work. So now we have all seats filled, and I guess we’re going to be looking for things to get accomplished.

There’s a lot of things that have been put on the back burner for a long time. So I will start on a list of a few that, uh, are probably more time sensitive than others. Um, one, uh, was just mentioned by Mr. Wolf. It’s the Road Impact Fee. Um, the incumbent members are aware of my view on it, uh, the research I put into it, a great deal of research. We have four leading towns in Indiana that have implemented this fee, in fact, so successfully that they’ve actually increased it and renewed it. Um, yet we have a resistance in town that the fee will create issues with development, and I argue that it will actually, uh – without the fee, we’re going to have issues with development because we’re not going to have roads to put them on. So please bring the Road Impact Fee back to the front burner.

Um, I will re – resend the correspondence I sent last summer, and, uh, please take it under advisement and get it going. We issued 350 permits, give or take, last year; and, um, if we had that fee in place at 40 percent, you would have recouped $600,000 plus, which is about what you put into the, uh, matching for the grant last year. And that money would have been freed up for Public Works, first responders, and so forth. So we’re making poor financial choices at this point.

Um, the second issue is the, uh, police – I’ll call it the police department matter. And at this point, I’m worried a little less about the police department because now it’s morphed into a Police Commission and Town Council matter. So I’m looking for our leadership to grab it by the horns and deal with it. Either let’s absolve it, or let’s take action. Whatever we need, we need disclosure. So if – if it wasn't for Beth Hernandez, we would know nothing about it at this point. And it’s, I think, seven months in.

So, um, just to be fair to the public, it needs to be handled one way or the other. Uh, the Chief should be cleared, or the Chief should be dealt with or whatever’s – I mean, I have no idea. We’re completely left in the dark, and it’s really an uncomfortable feeling. And I’ve heard, uh, folks up here say that they’re transparent time and time again. Well, this is not transparency, so, uh, I call you to do your duty and – and deal with it and bring us the results. We’d appreciate it. Thank you.

Richard Janowiak (13000 West 85th Avenue): For the third meeting in a row, I’ve watched the village attorney interrupt a citizen during public address. At what point does he run the meetings and tell people what they can or can’t talk about in an open session? Could anybody answer that for me? Or am I wrong; does he run these meetings?

(Mr. Barenie stated that Mr. Svetanoff does not run the meetings.)

But maybe – maybe somebody from the board could do the – the business instead of the attorney then.

Mr. Barenie stated that it is important to have mutual respect; we are all St. John residents and want the best for the town. St. John is an award-winning town, and we have a lot going for us.

Mr. Barenie stated that if Public Comment is kept more professional, like it was at tonight’s meeting, the Council will do a better job of hearing some of the good ideas or comments that come out of public comment. He further stated that sometimes we get turned off; someone can shut down when it is negative, negative, negative. Mr. Barenie stated that we will come back and make comments on your comments the best we can.

Mr. Swets stated that he agrees with Mr. Barenie; however, as long as the public is civil in their statements, we need to give them a little leeway, if they wander from the agenda a bit, to make a point.

Mr. Barenie agreed that we should give a bit of latitude because someone may come in with a great idea that is new. However, personal attacks should be averted.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is the election of officers for the chair of President and Vice President and entertained any nominations from the Council members.

Nomination for Mark Barenie as President and Michael Forbes as Vice President by Mr. Forbes.

Nomination for Mark Barenie as President and Gerald Swets as Vice President by Ms. Hejl.

Having no further nominations, Mr. Barenie asked for roll call votes.

Roll Call vote for Mr. Barenie as President:

Mr. Forbes Aye
Ms. Hejl Aye
Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Swets Aye
Mr. Barenie Aye

Nomination carries.

Roll Call vote for Mr. Forbes as Vice President:

Mr. Forbes Aye
Ms. Hejl Nay
Ms. Popovic Nay
Mr. Swets Nay
Mr. Barenie Nay

Nomination fails.

Roll Call vote for Mr. Swets as Vice President:

Mr. Forbes Nay
Ms. Hejl Aye
Ms. Popovic Aye
Mr. Swets Aye
Mr. Barenie Aye

Nomination carries.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. 2019 BOARD and COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is the 2019 Board and Commission Appointments and asked for the same.
BZA
Motion to appoint Brendan Sheeran, term expires 12-31-2020; Drago Popovic, term expires 12-31-2021; and John Kennedy appointed to the BZA from the Plan Commission, term expires 12-31-2019, by Rose Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.
EDC
Motion to appoint Randolph Palmateer, Gina Fezler, John DeYoung, William Keith, Kelly Stoming, Steve Kil, Mark Barenie, Richard Setlak, term expires 12-31-2019, by Rose Hejl.

Discussion ensued.

Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

Mr. Swets questioned appointing people that haven’t even applied for positions. Mr. Forbes responded that sometimes it is simply reappointing people that have been doing the job well. Mr. Swets countered that they did not even reapply for the position.

Impact Fee Review Committee
Motion to reappoint Julie Urbanski, Tom Cummings, Frank Buck, Vince Frassinone, and Tim Cabellero by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.
Park Board
Motion to reappoint John Rainwater to the Park Board by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.
Plan Commission
Motion to appoint Detective Commander Steve Flores, Steve Kozel, and Michael Forbes as staff appointments and appoint Nick Georgiou to fill the one-year term by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl.

Discussion ensued.

Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

Police Commission
Mr. Swets said: “I think Mr. Jorgensen has had many months, um, acting as Council President, to help influence the decisions and the decision-making process and the investigations that have been going on in the Police Commission. I’m afraid if we would appoint him to the Police Commission, uh, a shadow of doubt may be placed on everything that he does or that commission does going forward. I think we need a fresh start with a new board, a new investigation, to get this resolved. It’s been way to long. Um, and appointing Mr. Jorgensen, I believe is – is a mistake in this area.”

Motion to appoint Robert Kmetz, to fill one Republican spot; Michael Pena, for the Democratic spot; and David Kristovic to fill the other Republican spot by Mr. Swets. Motion fails for lack of a second.

Motion to appoint Christian Jorgensen, Speros Batistatos, and Mark Lareau to the Police Commission by Ms. Hejl.

Discussion ensued.

Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

Sanitary District
Motion to reappoint Richard Setlak, Ken Gembala, and Robert Kmetz to the Sanitary District by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.
Building Corporation
Motion to appoint Ronald Estep, Michelle Haluska, and Robert Meinzer to the Building Corporation. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.
Waterworks Board
Motion to appoint Wayne Pondinas to take the position that was Stephen Hasting’s by Mr. Swets. Motion fails for lack of a second.

Motion to appoint Michael Forbes, Ken Gembala, and Libby Popovic to the Waterworks Board by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

Shared Ethics Advisory Commission
Mr. Forbes stated that he had a discussion with an individual today who was recommend by Mr. Bellamy and requested that this appointment be deferred until he has more information to give to the Council.

Mr. Barenie asked if there are any other recommendations for this vacancy. Hearing none, Mr. Barenie deferred this appointment.

Ethics Committee

Motion to reappoint Dr. Eddie Lapina to the Ethics Committee by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Liaison Assignments

Mr. Barenie advised that the Liaison Assignments are the next item on the agenda and entertained a motion for the same.

Motion by Mr. Forbes to assign:
Rose Hejl as liaison for the Police Commission,
Libby Popovic for the Fire Department,
Mark Barenie for the Chamber of Commerce
Mark Barenie for the Economic Development Committee,
Gerald Swets for the Lake County Solid Waste District,
Michael Forbes for the Plan Commission,
Michael Forbes for the Park Board,
Michael Forbes for the Board of Zoning Appeals,
Steve Kil for the Safety Village Board of Directors,
Gerald Swets for NIRPC.

Seconded by Rose Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

B. AUTHORIZATION for ENCUMBRANCE of FUNDS from 2018 to 2019
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is authorizing an encumbrance of funds from 2018 to 2019.

Mr. Kil advised that this is another housekeeping matter that we have done several times in the past. Mr. Kil explained that it is to encumber approximately $127,000 in funds from the 2018 Budget into 2019 Budget for goods and services purchased in 2018, but the bills were received in 2019, such as salt and NIPSCO. This authorization would allow that money to be carried over into 2019.

Mr. Barenie asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to authorize the encumbrance of certain funds as presented by the office of the Clerk-Treasurer by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Forbes. Seconded Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

02-28-2019 Town Council

February 28, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Regular Meeting to order on February 28, 2019, at 7:54 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Clerk-Treasurer Beth Hernandez. The following Board Members were present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Staff present: Steve Kil, Town Manager; Chief Willman; Chief Kveton; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the January 24, 2019 regular meeting and the February 7, 2019 special meeting and asked for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and read the Civility Statement as a reminder. In February of 2016; the Town Council adopted Ordinance No. 1623, which is referred to as our Civility Ordinance for public meetings.

The Ordinance covers, in part, that any individual who makes personal, impertinent, or slanderous remarks, or who becomes boisterous or delays or interrupts the proceedings or peace of the meetings of the Town Council, or any other board or commission, who refuses to obey the orders of the Council or its presiding officer shall be barred from further participation in the proceedings. In the event of any disturbances or disorderly conduct during the public meeting, including but not limited to yelling, catcalling, or using abusive or offensive language, the presiding officer shall authorize to restore order and direct appropriate actions, including but not limited to having a person physically removed or escorted from the meeting and Town property for the same.

If necessary, persons addressing the Town Council or other Town public bodies are to remain in a decorum of civility in presence of public comments and to avoid repetitive comments. Finally, we request that the comments be restricted to agenda topics, which are inclusive of tonight’s agenda only. Other comments on topics not related to tonight’s agenda could be considered impertinent and repetitive and could potentially not be allowed at the sole discretion of the presiding officer.

Mr. Barenie advised that topics deemed to be impertinent will be identified as we get them moving forward.

Mr. Barenie opened the floor for Public Comment.

Wayne Pondinas (8781 Verbena Court): In your first January meeting, several of you Council members attempted to explain how you would have been transparent and ethical when it relates to Town business. However, first – the first opportunity to prove that statement was our special meeting held February 7, uh, 2019, for board appointments. At that appointment, we all witnessed what turned out to be the opposite of ethics and transparency when all of you, excluding Mr. Swets, chose to ram through appointments of people who had not properly applied within the deadline, and some of whom did not even complete an application.

When Mr. Swets attempted to discuss these appointments, you looked in disbelief and continued on with your pre-determined appointments. It is a shame for these residents who showed interest and took time to complete an application within the required deadline to be tossed aside, as well as evident by your choices, they had no chance in the first place. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the opposite of ethical and transparent behavior; and I believe that this is why most of the people are here tonight, because they want to see a change in this town, and they want to see everybody being honest and up front. I thank you for your time.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): First of all, uh, Mr. Kil, I want to correct you; the – the, uh – the homeowners association is only a body of three officers. And if they wrote you a letter, I would certainly like to see it, approving that we did not get a dedicated a – a dedicated street to the, uh, stoplight. And secondly, uh, Mr. Barenie, you slandered Joe Hero; and I believe you need – you and Michael Forbes need to apologize to Joe Hero.

(Mr. Barenie told him not to hold his breath.)

Well, then you should not be able to be in the meeting. Thirdly, we don’t know that Joe – everything that Joe Hero says is wrong. I mean, if you – until you prove it, then keep your mouth shut.

(Multiple Council members stated that he had just violated the Civility Statement.)

You broke the rule too.

(Mr. Barenie thanked Mr. Wolf for his remarks and informed him he was done speaking.)

Bryan Blazak (9399 Franklin Drive): I guess the conversation about civility and, uh, transparency, and all the – all those subjects are, uh, kind of just out here in front of everybody; and we’ve seen what’s gone on for the last two months. And, uh, I would suggest, for the Council’s sake, that, uh, maybe you try getting a little more transparent, especially when it comes to things that concern our police department and what’s been going on for the last several months, which nobody seems to want to discuss.

Secondly, um, two years ago, about this time, we, uh, paid $260,000 up front to consultants to, uh, investigate our roads and to see how our traffic’s doing. And now it’s two years later, the $260,000 is gone, all the studies have been done, the recommendations have been put forward, and absolutely nothing has been done. So what is this town – what have these residents got for their $260,000 grand? Absolutely nothing; nothing has been done. There’s no impact fee; nothing’s been taken up with the recommendations. I think it’s about time you people got it in gear and got it done.

Mr. Forbes rebutted that Mr. Blazak’s statement is a complete misstatement. The information that we received from our review of the roads is being used now. We use it at the Plan Commission; we use it when we do our Community Crossing Grants; and we use it to assess the roads that need to be repaired in town. Mr. Forbes stated that this information is used and is a great asset to this Town, so don’t think for a minute that it doesn't get used; don’t think for a second that it’s wasted. We have a lot of information, and we use this information every time a subdivision comes in for review; so that is a completely false statement.

Adrian Bugariu (11747 West 90th Avenue): Rose, congratulations, my good neighbor. You, lady, I don’t know you; but you’re a nice lady. I like your kind, whatever it is.

Attorney Svetanoff, in December, your first meeting you ever presided as a Town Attorney, you have to explain to me and the people behind me for what reason you have smiled to the Robinson guy presenting the development of some intersection, and at the same time you smile to him, and with your left eye, you were winking like you are part of the gang. Explain to us. And you accuse me of – you, how you call, actually threaten me with slander. Explain me. Come on; let’s go; talk.

(Mr. Barenie instructed Mr. Bugariu that he has two minutes left.)

Two minutes left. When I first met you and Forbes, you were nice people. You remember when Geri “Teibels” came with her puppy, whatever it is, and I had to – I actually – things about her filing against me a restraining order. Okay.

Mr. Barenie banged the gavel and instructed Mr. Bugariu that he is off topic and that he is done.

Mr. Bugariu protested as he was shown back to his seat.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): Two issues I’d like to, uh, address you all on. Uh, first is the Civility Statement, which does not match Ordinance No. 1623; so I’d like to make that, uh, known. I – I like Ordinance No. 1623; I think it’s a good one. I think it keeps, uh – it gives everyone an opportunity to speak; and it keeps things pertinent to Town Council business. I think the final paragraph of the Civility Statement is an overreach and not a portion of Ordinance 1623 in any way, shape, or form; so, um, this Public Comment period is the only recourse that the public has to reach the Town Council for any issue, and we may have town-wide issues that you have scope over that we need to address that we would have to address here; so, uh, limiting us to agenda makes it difficult.

(Mr. Barenie stated that suggestions would probably be appropriate and that the Town Council would make that call as those are heard.)

Pertinent to Town Council business is how the ordinance is written. I think it works pretty well that way, you know, and so – yeah, I’m not talking about any individual speaker tonight. So, um, the second issue is far more important to me. So I attended the Police Commission, uh, meeting you’re about to, uh, possibly take action on that. Um, so, now that I – I know about this much (indicating) about it, not a whole lot more, okay. I’ve never spoken with Officer Moffitt before, but I did, um, uh, was present at the meeting. I read the – or heard the report. Um, so I – I have issue that there was no recommendation made, and I would expect this Council to take action of some sort. Um, touching employees is not acceptable in the year 2018. It’s just not. You can’t do it. It doesn't work. I know that if my boss touched me, I’d be – I’d be fired no matter how good of a job – I mean he’d be fired. I’m sorry. So it – it’s not acceptable; so I expect the Council to take some kind of action, uh, related to that, whether it’s discipline, whatever it is.

Um, I know there was a he-said-she-said, as far as how hard the slap was; but my thinking is if Officer Moffitt went to the trouble to, um, pursue the issue that, obviously, he felt it was necessary to pursue it. That was a difficult position that he was in, uh, to have to do that with a superior. It’s a very difficult position to – to follow up on that. So there has to be something going on there behind that. So I – I expect some kind of action. I expect some kind of a policy set forth, if it’s not already in place, that that should never happen between Town employees or at any – in any way. Um, discipline can be given without making contact, so, uh, please do the right thing. Thank you.

Mr. Svetanoff asked to respond. Mr. Barenie turned the floor over to Mr. Svetanoff.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that the final paragraph that was read by Mr. Barenie states, “Finally, we request that comments be restricted to topics which are inclusive of tonight’s agenda only. Other comments on topics not related to tonight’s agenda could be considered impertinent.” Could be, not will be; could be.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that Mr. Barenie read the Civility Statement tonight. One of the things that the presiding officer called out for was no catcalling, yelling, or using abusive language. Please adhere to that. We’re asking you to do it; and if you can’t, please leave the Town Hall now.

Mr. Svetanoff continued the paragraph he was reading; “Other comments not on topics now related to tonight’s agenda could be considered impertinent and/or repetitive and could potentially not be allowed at the sole discretion of the presiding officer.”

Mr. Svetanoff emphasized that the word “could” is used in that paragraph, not shall, not will, so it is subjective to the presiding officer, which is in line with the Ordinance that was adopted by this body.

Mr. Barenie thanked Mr. Svetanoff for his clarification of the Civility Statement.

Mr. Svetanoff politely asked that the audience refrain from yelling and cautioned that doing so will cause one to be escorted out of the meeting.

(One member of the audience did so and was escorted from the meeting while protesting aloud.)

Edward Conn (9227 West 91st Court): I apologize to the Council, my attire tonight; but I just had surgery yesterday on my shoulder, and this was the most comfortable thing to wear. I have, over the months, been very critical of the Town’s handling, the Police Commission handling of our incident involving Chief Kveton. Um, I also attended the police board meeting and listened to, uh, Mr. Jorgensen talk about what led up to the investigation. Uh, there was a supposed investigation that was done. Now, the total meeting was 13 minutes and 52 seconds.

At 9 minutes and 20 seconds into the meeting, Mr. Jorgensen said that he had never met anyone, hadn’t seen any, um, minutes from the Police Commission since the August date. Well, by going to the Town Clerk, you can request meetings, per the state law, whether they are closed, executive board, or open. They are to supply you with the items that were covered. If they were a closed-door session, they do not have to share what the outcome is of it.

Well, roughly, July 9 is when this incident occurred. There was a meeting on July 19, at that time, they were to receive information concerning the individual’s misconduct. They also were to discuss a job performance evaluation of said individual employee. The next meeting was cancelled, their regularly scheduled meeting. After that was July 30, another closed, executive session. Um, this time, it involved our investigator; and again, it was more disclosure of records, classified; discuss job performance; and to receive information concerning the individual’s alleged misconduct.

We then went to the August meeting, August 27, which Mr. Jorgensen claims that was the last meeting held that also involved Chief Kveton, again, receiving additional information, considering the appointment of a public official as well; so I don’t know if they were looking to bring somebody else in. Uh, the next regularly scheduled meeting on September 24 was cancelled. Then we had a closed-door session again on October 8. Again, all – everything without seeing it. Now there’s a development of list of perspective appointees, considering applications – applications for a new chief? I don’t know.

Uh, October 20, the executive session was cancelled. October 22, the regular meeting was cancelled. November 3, Chief Kveton was also available for that meeting, which was attended by the entire board this time. Uh, the initiation of litigation or litigation that is either pending or – (Mr. Conn was given a 15 second warning to which he responded “That’s fine.”) – threatening order; and then it goes on to end.

When he read this response by the investigator, it was roughly 4 minutes, verbatim, that he read this into the record. I was more lost – and I’ve listened to it eight times since then. There’s such a discrepancy as to the initial complaint, and then 7 months later – it takes, he still didn’t describe when the findings were completed. He never entered a date into the record.

(Mr. Barenie instructed Mr. Conn to wrap it up.)

Okay. And this isn’t – I look at it; this is a very serious allegation that involves our Chief. You guys have to make a decision. I ask that you postpone your decision to the next meeting; you gather up all this additional information, review it, and make the right move.

Julie Stevens (9040 West 103rd Street): I come to the podium tonight to address some comments Mr. Barenie made at the last meeting with regard to the public’s negativity at meetings. Um, the public has only three minutes, once a month, to address concerns to the Town Council. To the best of my knowledge, that is our only opportunity to be heard; so I work really hard and give a lot of thought to my three minutes and making the best use of it.

The first time I came to the podium with my pertinent, non-personal, respectful, and well-thought-out public comment, I was stopped by the Town Attorney. My concerns were, and are, legitimate. I wanted to bring to the Council my distress over a situation involving a Town leader; I was shut down. After doing some research, and with a little help from my friends, I discovered that the only person who can call a meeting to order and/or reign in an individual who is out of order is the presiding officer, which is you, Mr. Barenie.

And for my observations of the public commenters, myself included, none of us have violated Ordinance 1623 to the point where we needed to be silenced. The only ones in violation was our Town Attorney and you for allowing it. It is very frustrating to feel that I am not being heard. And by your own admission in the last meeting, you stated that you and the other Council members shut down at certain points during the public comments; so now I feel my three minutes of being heard by the Town Council is down to zero.

I have one more thing to talk about, but I also have a copy from our Town Hall – our page – our St. John page of Ordinance 1623, and it does not resemble anything of what you read in the Civility Statement. So I don’t know if I can hand it to somebody to give to you.

(Mr. Barenie gave her permission to do so.)

Okay. Cause it – it’s – it doesn’t – I – I didn’t see anything of what you said – I mean, maybe a couple words; but it’s completely different. And I’m going based on what’s on our Town website that was approved, and it states that it was approved by some of the members that are sitting here still.

So my next statement, I’m going to shift gears. I’m asking, as a concerned citizen, that when you’re addressing item A on tonight’s agenda, which is “Action and Final Disposition Regarding the Police Department Personnel Matter,” that you consider the fact that Chief Kveton did admit to slapping the officer. He may not have done it with mal intent or very hard, but he did slap the officer.

So, again, I bring to you a concern about one of the leaders in our community. I implore you to do the right thing and make a unanimous decision to hand down some form of discipline. It is what should be done to send the message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated and sets precedent of better practices going forward. Thank you.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I also would like to take time to understand, uh, and digest what I’m about to say; and based on today’s meeting, I think I’ve got a couple things I want to say next time. But I want to lighten it up a little bit. I have, uh, three positive comments and one not so positive comment.

First, with the snow, uh, I would like to compliment the, uh, maintenance people. I am a retired individual. Don’t get out early in the morning; but by the time I get out, the roads are clean and dry; and other than the three inches of sludge at the end of my drive, the city did a good job.

Secondly, there was a windy day, uh, Monday, where the garbage was picked up. And there was a gentlemen in a truck – he came around twice, once for the garbage and once for the recycle. I believe well over 75 percent of the cans on our block were on their sides. He stopped at every can, picked it up, and moved on; and I thought he did an exceptionally fine job that windy day.

My not so positive comment is I’m one of the people who are really frustrated that you decided to go to once a week recycle. That’s a $25 premium; and on a fixed income, that’s a lot for what I perceive to be minimal, uh, additional services. I would have preferred to have a, uh, constant rate, even if I would have had one less recycle, or two a month, every other one.

The last point I have is I want to compliment whoever changed the calendar on the website. I missed two meetings because the calendar used to start on Monday. I checked today; it starts on Sunday. So thank you for that.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): You talked about the civility thing tonight. I’ve been coming to these meetings for over forty years. I’ve never seen the attorney order the police to eject somebody for speaking in those forty years. The complexity of this commission, somehow, has gone south. When people offer their ideas – the last gentlemen, there’s nothing on the agenda that he talked about; but because he was paying compliments, that was good for you.

When somebody else was criticizing, that was bad for you. You had to have – you had to, under color of law, 18 USC § 242, where you use public officials to violate, in my opinion, somebody’s Civil Rights by ejecting him from meeting. I just witnessed that tonight, so that’s on the agenda.

The other issue is you got payment of the bills tonight; and if you read the clause right at the top of the page, it says, “This memorandum is for entering action on accounts payable,” not accounts paid. If somebody up here at this table can tell the Clerk-Treasurer to write checks without Council approval, I think there’s something amiss here. And since you got paying of the bills on your agenda tonight, I raise that issue again. And I really think – advise that should be explored where other individuals can order checks to be cut to the Clerk-Treasurer who are not Town Council members and do not have the approval of the whole Town Council.

I hate to bring that up again after the Redevelopment thing, but I think that is totally inappropriate. And I think what you did to Mr. Bugariu, under color of right, by ejecting him tonight, using the police was wrong. I’ve never seen that in forty years here. And I think that goes to the character of this board; and it’s time to change the board. Change the board, that’s what we got to do. Thank you.

Richard Janowiak (13000 West 85th Avenue): I think this was the fourth time I’ve came up and asked. After all the discussion about the civility clause and the Ordinance, which is all fine, whether I agree or disagree with what someone says, what right does that attorney, for the fourth time, have a right to throw anybody out, order the Police Chief to do anything? He just clarified that it was the board president’s job; and then he tells the Police Chief to have somebody removed from a meeting. I’d sure like to know who’s running this place; him or you guys?

(Mr. Barenie stated that he would have done the same thing.)

The fact is he did it; he has no authority, none.

Having no one further requesting to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Action and Final Disposition Regarding the Police Department Personnel Matter.
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is the action and final disposition regarding the Police Department and Personnel matter.

Mr. Barenie advised that on February 21, 2019, the St. John Board of Metropolitan Police Commission conducted a public meeting where the Commission found and recommend to this Town Council that no further action should be taken against Chief Kveton as related to an incident which occurred on or about July 9, 2018, with Corporal Moffitt.

Mr. Barenie further advised that the Town Council has been able to review the following materials related to said incident: The investigator’s report of the St. John Police Department, dated July 26, 2018; the counsel report and legal opinion from Special Counsel John Reed, dated February 19, 2019; St. John Board of Metropolitan Police Commission meeting minutes from February 21, 2019, including the statement read into the record by Corporal Moffitt; and the sworn Affidavit by Michael Moffitt, dated February 20, 2019.

Mr. Barenie stated that, based upon review of the aforementioned information and the finding and recommendation of the St. John Board of Metropolitan Police Commission, the opinion is that no further action, as related to Chief Kveton, be accepted by this Council. Additionally, upon a formal vote accepting this “no further action” finding and recommendation as related to Chief Kveton, this matter shall be considered officially concluded; whereby, the Town Manager is directed to place an official letter in the personnel file of the Chief indicating this is the final action by the Town Council tonight.

Mr. Barenie asked if the board had any questions or comments on this matter. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to take no further action in accordance with the report and recommendation from the Police Commission regarding the personnel matter with the Chief of Police.by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays with 1 abstention by Mr. Swets.

B. Consider Acceptance of the Annual Report and the Comprehensive Report from the Redevelopment Commission
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider acceptance of the annual report and the comprehensive report from the Redevelopment Commission.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to accept the annual report and comprehensive report from the Redevelopment Commission by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

C. Consider Release of Letter of Credit for Greystone Unit 1, Block 2
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the release of the Letter of Credit for Greystone Unit 1, Block 2 in the amount of $36,536.50 and replace it with a Maintenance Guarantee. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to release the Letter of Credit for Greystone Unit 1, Block 2, in the amount of $36,536.50, and replace it with a Maintenance Guarantee by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

D. Resolution No. 2019-01-24, a Resolution Adopting Joint Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with the Town of Schererville for Building Inspection Services
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Resolution No. 2019-01-24, a Resolution adopting Joint Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with the Town of Schererville for building inspection services. Mr. Barenie advised that this is consistent with what we have done in prior years and entertained a motion.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-01-24 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

E. Consider Donation to Dollars for Scholars for Lake Central and Hanover School Corporations
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider a donation to Dollars for Scholars for Lake Central and Hanover School Corporations.

Mr. Barenie advised that in the past, we have donated $1000 to both organizations.

Motion to authorize a donation to the Dollars for Scholars program for the Lake Central and Hanover Central School Corporations by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

F. Consider Special Exception of The Lucky Brothers, a Gas Station Located at the Northeast Corner of US 41 and US 231
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the Special Exception of The Lucky Brothers, for a proposed gas station located at the northeast corner of US 41 and US 231. This received a favorable recommendation from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Swets commented that he would like to commend the BZA for their work and recommendation to the petitioner for this proposal. Mr. Swets thanked the owners, who are gentlemen from St. John, for working with the BZA and the Indiana DNR for the property that’s across the street, Biesecker Prairie Nature Preserve, because the DNR had serious concerns about the impact this project could have.

Mr. Swets noted that the owners went above and beyond to meet those requests and stated that he would like to make a recommendation to approve the Special Exception from the BZA and include the Findings of Fact into the motion.

Mr. Forbes asked what discussion was held on the Well-Head Protection when the petitioners met with the staff for meetings. Mr. Kil responded that the gentlemen will have the proper monitoring requirements and indicated that they would provide us with monthly monitoring reports. Mr. Kil advised that the owners are willing to cooperate with the Town on whatever is needed.

Motion to approve the Special Exception on the recommendation of the Board of Zoning Appeals, incorporating the Findings of Fact, by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

G. Consider Request of Carlos Plascencia to Own/Maintain Horses on Property Located at 8835 Schafer Drive
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider request of Carlos Plascencia to own/maintain horses on property located at 8835 Schafer Drive.

Mr. Barenie stated for the edification of the new members that there have been similar requests in the past, and we have turned those down, including one for a kettle pig and several for chickens.

Mr. Barenie asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to deny the waiver request of Carlos Plascencia to own/maintain two horses on the property located at 8835 Schafer Drive by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

H. Consider Appointment to the Police Commission to Fill the Term of Rose Hejl that expires December 31, 2020
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider appointment to the Police Commission to fill the term of Rose Hejl that expires December 31, 2020.

Motion to appoint Michael Aurelio to fill the term of Rose Hejl on the Police Commission that expires on December 31, 2020 by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays,

I. Consider Sale of Property Portion Located at 10300 and 10400 Wicker Avenue for US 41 Improvements by the Indiana Department of Transportation
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the sale of property portion located at 10300 and 10400 Wicker Avenue for US 41 improvements by the Indiana Department of Transportation. The offers are $1450 for 187 square feet and $91,500 for 0.866 acres. Payment is for 0.632 acres of existing right-of-way to clear title and 0.292 acres of new right-of-way. Land value is calculated at $155,000 per acre and $7,000 for land improvements.

Mr. Kil advised that we are getting a center, bi-directional turn lane down US 41. The State is in the process of acquiring property right-of-way along US 41 to widen out the highway and install a center turn lane. The Town owns property along US 41, and we are treated like every other property owner.

Mr. Kil explained that the State has appraised the property and tendered us a fair offer for the same.

Mr. Kil recommended that the Town Council accept the offers and authorize the Town Council President to sign the Agreements.

Motion to authorize the sale of real property to the Indiana Department of Transportation and authorize the Town Council President to sign by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

J. Consider Payment to South Lake County Community Services, Inc., for Senior Bus Services
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider payment to South Lake County Community Services, Inc., for senior bus services as listed in the trip invoice for June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018.

Mr. Kil made a recommendation that our invoice be approved and sent to the Lake County Economic Development department and paid out of our CDBG allocation.

Mr. Barenie asked if the board had any further questions or comments on this matter. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to authorize payment to the South Lake County Community Service in the amount of $5,266.90 from our CDBG distributions by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is Reports and Correspondence and asked for the same.
STAFF

Police Department:

Chief Kveton reported from January 1, 2019 through January 31, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 21,622 miles and responded to 562 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 25 arrests with 33 charges being filed. There were 402 traffic citations issued, along with 170 written warnings, for a total of 572 citations being issued during the month.

Vehicle thefts totaled zero ($0), other thefts totaled $17,424, and recovered property totaled, zero ($0).

Chief Kveton noted that the offender who committed the fraud against Clerk’s office was identified and is in custody in North Carolina, and St. John is not the offender’s only victim.

Chief Kveton reported that all the Council members, the Town Attorney, the Clerk, and Mr. Kil have all been tendered copies of the St. John Police Department 2018 Annual Report, which is also listed on the Town’s website in the Police Date Initiative tab. Chief Kveton highlighted some statistics from the report. On average, the department had an increase of about 10 percent over the previous year with the exception of arrests, which went up 19 percent, and criminal charges, which went up 14 percent. Additionally, through the new investigative team led by Detective Commander Flores, our investigation clearance rates rose from the mid-30s to 58 percent.

Chief Kveton stated that Amy Gross did a wonderful job putting the document together with the assistance of many different members of the police department. Chief Kveton urged the public to go to the website and review the report.

Fire Department:

Chief Willman reported that during the month of January 2019, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 183 requests for assistance. There were 141 calls in District 1, 30 calls in District 2, and 12 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Merrillville, Fire; Schererville, Fire and EMS; Lake Hills, Fire and EMS; and Cedar Lake, Fire and EMS.

The first Monday in January was the Business Meeting for the Volunteer Division of the fire department. The newly-elected Directors of the Corporation were sworn in. The 2019 Training Schedule was distributed and the new assignments for each one of the active members were discussed. Plans for an initiative to add new members to our current staff was also introduced.

January 14 was the annual Hazardous Materials review. This is an OSHA requirement that requires unconditional compliance. This year, we addressed the issues and challenges related to confined-space entry. The presentation targeted working in a confined space and also the demands involved during a successful emergency rescue in a confined-space environment. We also reviewed the lock-out/tag-out procedures.

January 21, our EMS In-service was a lecture on SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome; SUID, sudden unexpected infant death; and also included other sleep-related causes of infant death. This is a relatively new campaign/strategy that is known as, simply, “Safe to Sleep”.

Finally, on January 28, we held another apparatus familiarization session to keep everyone up to date with the most current changes and improvements that we have been working on during the last few months.

Town Manager:

Mr. Kil reported that the March Council meeting has been changed from March 28 to March 18.

CLERK-TREASURER
Ms. Hernandez reported that, as Chief Kveton stated, her office was a victim of fraud back in December 2018, in the amount of $17,200. Someone hacked into the system and wrote a series of checks in the amount of $130. Bank of America alerted the office. A police report was made and the State Board of Accounts was notified. Centier Bank took onus for not catching on that more than 100 checks in the same amount were cashed; the bank refunded the full amount.

Ms. Hernandez advised that, as a result of this issue, the Clerk-Treasurer’s office invested $500 to set up “Positive Pay” so that anytime anyone writes a check from the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office, the list goes directly to Centier; and nothing will be authorized unless it is on that list of checks.

Ms. Hernandez stated that, in regards to the Civility Statement, she is concerned with the idea of what we consider to be pertinent versus what the public considers to be pertinent. The Hammond City Council did the same thing, and Mayor McDermott said he was concerned that it could be violating people’s First Amendment Rights.

Chief Kveton noted that none of the checks were St. John’s checks and did not look like our checks. Ms. Hernandez concurred.

TOWN COUNCIL
Mr. Forbes responded to the comment about Town Council meetings being the only opportunity for the public to speak to the Town Council and stated that while physically that is true, there are other ways to communicate with the members. He commented that he tried to reach out and have individual communication with individuals on the St. John, Indiana Facebook page and that he does communicate with numerous residents via email to get their ideas and thoughts. Mr. Forbes advised that this meeting room is not the only place or means to speak with the members of the Town Council.

When asked if the email addresses were on the website, Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative and gave his email address verbally to the public: councilmanmikeforbes@gmail.com.

Mr. Forbes asked if we are going to move forward with the ball field project that was proposed by Jonathan Lotton.

Mr. Barenie responded that he would be interested in looking into it further, and perhaps there should be a study session.

Mr. Forbes asked if there is an interest in doing it and reducing it to writing so we have something to look at.

Mr. Swets asked if something comes to us in writing, will it be a proposal or an idea and concept. Mr. Swets stated that we can’t annex property this year, so it would be a whole year away anyway; and we really haven’t looked to see if there are other options or locations or if it’s even necessary to build that many ball fields. Mr. Swets asked what we would have in writing.

Mr. Forbes stated that he is interested in moving forward with the project and that we write a development agreement. Mr. Forbes stated that he has had many conversations with folks involved in boys’ baseball and girls’ softball, and they are in need of the fields. He further stated that we have an opportunity to build those fields.

Mr. Forbes advised that he has looked at other parcels and has been looking for quite some time. The problem is if the fields are built near an existing subdivision, we will have ten times the amount of people in here because of the lights and traffic. Mr. Forbes stated that if it is built somewhere nobody lives, the problem is eliminated because everyone moves in after the fields are built, which is why he is more inclined to go with the new development area.

Mr. Barenie stated that it is consistent to what was done on the west side of town. Mr. Barenie further stated that we definitely need to look at it and that it is a big investment.

Mr. Barenie asked if anyone is interested in looking into this on a more serious level, and possibly see other options.

Mr. Swets responded that he would be interested to see what the proposals are because he is not interested in spending a lot of money on ball fields to mortgage the future of our town with duplexes and small lots. He further stated that he would like to see what the developer is proposing as far as lot sizes and homes before we take any action to put any money or effort into going forward.

Mr. Forbes stated that he doesn't see a financial investment having the proposal presented to us to review and discuss. Mr. Forbes noted that he is not a huge multifamily fan; however, that is how the Town gets things. It is how we get our bike trails for free, by working with the developers; not caving into their desires, but negotiating amenable agreements where we get bike trails and land for projects. In Lake Hills, we got a boat for the pond; and they gave us two quad runners. Things like that assist the Town; through negation is how we don’t have to lay out the cost. There is a significant cost to a 10-foot bike trail; and if we can get these things through a negotiation process of a rezoning, I am all for it.

Mr. Forbes stated that he doesn't want a 6-story apartment building with 200 units in it; however, a duplex that has a half-unit cost between $300,000-$400,000 is a better option. Mr. Forbes stated that Denny Meyers is selling a half-unit duplex for $450,000.

Mr. Barenie stated that it takes a while to get something like this done and asked if the Council is in agreement to move forward on this, while exploring other options if they become available. The members concurred.

Ms. Popovic stated the document that was read aloud is verbatim from Ordinance No. 1623 with the exception of the parts that are in bold face and underlined, which are definitions of the proceeding things. Ms. Popovic further stated that Ms. Hernandez’ concerns are a concerns for the Town Council as well. The idea is not to limit any conversation; it is to bring some sort of decorum. Bringing up what might be relevant or on the agenda isn’t necessarily what’s relevant to the public, and both are acceptable; so it’s the manner of addressing it.

Ms. Popovic advised that § 1 in the rules specifies that Robert’s Rules of Order govern here; and those are all laid out sufficiently as to what can be monitored; the rule that the public is given three minutes to speak is in § 2, which is monitored by the presiding official who does have the authority to do what happened today. It is unfortunate because that shouldn’t happen; and hopefully, that won’t happen anymore.

Ms. Popovic stated that on the website there is going to be a “What’s Happening” section that is going to have some additional items, the Town meetings that are coming up, discussions, and so forth. Jason Dravet, our IT Director, has done a wonderful job and is getting ready to roll that out.

Ms. Popovic stated that we all have emails and phone numbers, and we’re all accessible. We will be having an event where you guys can meet and we can informally talk as well.

Mr. Barenie asked Ms. Popovic to speak on the topic of HR.

Ms. Popovic stated that the Town is growing; therefore, we need to address Human Resources a bit more and loot at having set policies and procedures in place and updating some of the policies and procedures that we already do have. We have had discussions about getting additional training for all the department heads, and then taking the next steps as to what is needed for the policy manual and additional training. Ms. Popovic stated that hopefully everyone will have more information on that as well as it being posted on the website.

Mr. Swets stated that one of the frustrations over the years have been the sound system and the lack of how well it works; and the projector gets to be a challenge sometimes at the Plan Commission meetings. Mr. Swets stated that he has been working with the IT Director, Jason Dravet, and he has done a good job of making some tweaks to the sound system.

Mr. Swets asked Mr. Dravet to come forward and make his presentation.

Mr. Dravet explained that the projector lift was not installed correctly; it is 2 inches off of plumb and the lift mechanisms curve; so we are looking at replacing the projector and the screen with a television. Two sizes are mocked by tape on the wall: One is mocked up as a 98” screen; and the other is mocked up as a 90” screen. Mr. Dravet recommended going with the 90-inch television because the price difference between the two is $4000, and the 90-inch is large enough.

Mr. Dravet stated that there are plans to add a 55” television on the west wall, installed on an arm to be angled for the public sitting on the west side of the room. There will be monitors on the dais as well: Three on the upper level, one at each end and one in the middle, as well as a fourth monitor placed on the east side extension of the dais, where the Town Engineer sits when present at meetings.

Mr. Dravet explained the options of where presenters will be able to connect to the system and make their presentations from. He stated that the option of using a lapel microphone for presenters is being considered because the microphones don’t pick up what is being said very well if a presenter is away from the microphones.

Mr. Dravet advised that live streaming has been brought up and is something we can do. It is an expensive option. The model being considered is approximately $7000. It is a piece of hardware that would go in the AV room that would allow someone to start and stop the live streaming as well as what to display on the live stream, either the presentation display, as seen on the room monitors, or the video camera feed. The existing camera setup will be used as well as installing additional cameras in the room to cover the podium.

Mr. Barenie asked if the equipment is roughly 10 years old. Mr. Dravet responded that it varies; however, most of the equipment in the back room is about 12 years old, and the other equipment is slightly newer.

Mr. Barenie asked if we are overdue for new equipment, technology-wise. Mr. Dravet concurred.

Mr. Dravet explained that the room was designed around analog-video formats and VGA composites, and we would be upgrading to HDMI. The podium currently has an HDMI plug, and additional HDMI plugs will be added to east and west side extensions of the dais.

Mr. Swets summarized the equipment updates and stated that we are looking at a proposal; and he is going to make a recommendation that we don’t exceed $16,000, which will give a bit of a buffer in case we come up with a couple of things above that. Mr. Swets stated that if the Council is comfortable with it, he would like to make a recommendation that the Council move forward with the upgrades Mr. Dravet discussed minus the live-stream portion.

Mr. Swets stated that the proposal for the new equipment comes to $15,400; Mr. Dravet has gotten multiple costs from different places; and the work will be done in house.

Mr. Barenie stated that he supports Mr. Swets’ recommendation and thanked Mr. Dravet for being able and willing to do the work, as the cost to install it would be more than the cost of the equipment if it was done by an outside contractor.

Joey Lax-Salinas spoke from the audience and stated that he had met with the head IT guy from Hammond, which does live streaming; and they said that they would be willing to work with the Town and the Town Council to help set up the live streaming.

Mr. Swets asked Mr. Lax-Salinas to reach out to him so they can collaborate with the gentlemen from Hammond.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to not exceed $16,000.

Motion to approve the upgrades as proposed by Jason Dravet, excluding the live streaming, in an amount not to exceed $16,000, by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Swets stated that he would also like to mention the Road Impact Fee, which has been brought up by the public during Public Comment as well. It was approved and recommended by the Plan Commission and by the Impact Fee Committee, with different, varying amounts; and he would like to bring that forward and get that rolling.

Mr. Swets stated that the biggest concern is the impact it will have on commercial development. He further stated that there are communities in Indiana who have the impact fees and have found ways to offset the impact fees for commercial development. Mr. Swets recommended asking Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director, to see how they do that and see if it’s something that we can fit into our plan.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil if that is possible to have Mr. Eberly do that. Mr. Kil stated that is perfectly fine.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $3,353,751.98, dated February 28, 2019, and asked if there were any questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to authorize payment of the bills in the amount of $3,353,751.98 by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 9:08 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

03-18-2019 Town Council

March 18, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on March 18, 2019, at 7:39 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by Chief Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Marilyn Hrnjak. The following Board Members were present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Staff present: Steve Kil, Town Manager; Chief Kveton; Marilyn Hrnjak, Chief Deputy Clerk-Treasurer on behalf of Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: Chief Willman and Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the February 28, 2019 meeting.

Ms. Abernathy reported that Ms. Hejl’s name was accidentally omitted in the February roll call and has corrected that on the original to be recorded as the permanent record.

Mr. Barenie asked if there were any other corrections or a motion to approve the minutes as corrected.

Motion to approve the minutes as corrected by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PRESENTATION – Move to Indiana, “The Grass is Greener” Initiative

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is a presentation called “The Grass is Greener”.

Ms. Hejl introduced Mr. Joe Battistoni, the presenter, and gave some background information on the presenter and why he was invited to presentation this program.

Mr. Battistoni demonstrated the website that they’ve created, which resides on the South Shore CVA’s website. The URL is movetoIndiana.com. The program is digital advertising designed to change the perception of Indiana to entice those considering moving to move to Indiana.

Mr. Battistoni presented reasons why folks should move to Indiana from Illinois, spoke about the social media aspect of the program, and shared a PowerPoint Presentation that showed statistics and data related to their website and social media messaging program.

Mr. Swets asked if this is in addition to the newspaper advertising or if it is a whole program. Ms. Hejl responded that it is a separate program.

Mr. Battistoni stated that Mr. Swets is referring to the annual progress edition that is in the newspaper and that what he is presenting is an all-digital campaign.

Mr. Swets asked if this is to draw homeowners or if this is to draw businesses as well. Mr. Battistoni responded that the program piggy-backs off of the State’s initiative to draw businesses to Indiana in order to draw homeowners; it is supported by local businesses in Northwest Indiana.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Town Council correspondence and reports and asked for the same.

Ms. Popovic reported that at the last meeting discussion was had regarding HR training as something that was needed for the employees and department heads. We had an independent person come in on March 13 and do a 4-hour preliminary training on all aspects of human resources with all the department heads, except the Clerk-Treasurer who will have a separate training for her department.

Ms. Popovic noted that the first step was to have a training session on the primary topics of human resources, department management, municipal management, things that open us up to liability, and risk management. The department heads will have a second training session. Now that the initial training session has been completed, we asked the department heads to let us know specifically what the staff needs in their respective departments. An optional step for department heads could be to have individual training for their staff. The training consultant was very knowledgeable about municipalities and the Indiana Laws that impact us.

Ms. Popovic reported that the Employee Personnel Policy Manual is being updated with all of the new policies and disseminating that to everyone. It is a big project that needs to be done, in addition to training. as part of risk management.

Mr. Swets stated that he is hoping that everyone got his email today with his Conflict of Interest disclosure statement that needs to be filed. Mr. Swets stated that he works for Adams Remco, which sells copy machines, and he has copy machines that he previously sold to the Police Department and Fire Department. Mr. Swets further stated that he was informed that if they ever require service, need supplies or anything like that, he needs to file a Conflict of Interest statement because that’s his company.

Mr. Swets asked if it takes a motion to file the Conflict of Interest as there is the potential that some of the electronic equipment for the upgrades to the meeting hall may be purchased from his company.

Mr. Kil advised that any uniform Conflict of Interest needs to be added to the agenda. If the Town Council is so inclined, you can make a motion to add this to the agenda; after which, it would be proper for the Town Council to formally act upon it.

Ms. Hejl asked if it could be deferred to the following month as she has not had a chance to review the document yet.

Ms. Popovic asked if it was just sent this afternoon. Mr. Swets responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes asked Mr. Swets if he is presenting a Conflict of Interest statement after he gave us a proposal for equipment that included purchases from his company. Mr. Swets responded in the negative. Mr. Swets stated that the proposal that he gave the Town Council did not include anything from his company.

Mr. Swets stated that after that proposal was accepted, he had suggested that Mr. Dravet speak with his digital-sign guy to see if what he was recommending was going to be the best solution; and Mr. Dravet seems to think that what he’s got to offer is a better solution, or at least what his company has to offer; as he doesn’t sell it himself.

Mr. Swets stated that he is fine with deferring this to next month if it is Town Council’s preference.

Ms. Popovic asked if there is any type of pecuniary, direct interest involved or if it is just a formulaic conflict of interest like we do with Mr. Wroe. Mr. Swets responded that it is pretty much the same thing as he is not a partner in the business.

Mr. Barenie advised that this matter will be deferred and asked Mr. Kil to add it to the April agenda.

Ms. Hejl reported that there have been some calendar issues. The Clerk-Treasurer’s office has sole control over the Town’s calendar, and permissions have to be allowed for our IT director to make changes on there. Ms. Hejl stated that it has been brought to the Town Council’s attention that there have been some events on there, like a birthday party, weigh-ins, and more personal things, which she is sure the Clerk-Treasurer doesn't want on there.

Ms. Hejl further stated that it isn’t always the most accessible or easy to use. People have come up to us; Mr. De Vito; Mr. Slager; Mr. Swets, you at one point last year couldn’t get in to view material; so it would be in the best interest for everybody to make it simple to access the calendar and people wouldn’t question what is going on or be accusatory and say things are being hidden to work on that with the Clerk-Treasurer’s office and IT.

Mr. Barenie stated that, in regards to the police department and the Chief’s budget, there was some pause in paying some bills and encumbering those into other accounts, specifically Account No. 275, which appears to have an approximate balance of $40,000. He further stated that he believes that has been resolved and asked Mr. Kil if that is correct.

Mr. Kil stated that it is his understanding that they have resolved it; and he has sent an email to Chief Kveton that as long as there is cash available in the 275 Fund, the Police Department can spend it.

Mr. Barenie stated that our Clerk-Treasurer is absent and that he’d like to make sure that she has time to review it and get it done. Mr. Kil concurred.

Mr. Barenie reported on the “Meet and Greet” and stated that approximately 80 people attended it. The meeting was put together quickly in response to public comment at the last couple of meetings. Three members on the Council are brand new, and many of us don’t know all our committee members, all our volunteers, and so we wanted to get to know them better. The decisions that they make and the work they do funnels up to us.

Mr. Barenie stated that there was a recommendation to do it annually and possibly provide training for first-time members. Many of them go to meetings, and they are not exactly sure what to do. We are looking at having an onboarding program so folks have a better idea. It was also suggested that we may want to consider spreading the appointments out.

Mr. Barenie commented that social media postings were made regarding the cost of the event and stated that the cost was set pretty modestly. Based on calculations, our volunteers put in over 2000 hours in during a year, so this came out to be roughly a 66-cent-per-hour cost to the Town. The residents, volunteers, and staff who were in attendance enjoyed the evening.

Ms. Popovic reported that an Executive Session was held before the meeting, and there are four litigation matters that the Council Members are currently looking at and determining certain things. One is the Johnson v. Fryzel law suit, one is the BLB law suit, one is the Brodanex federal court law suit, and one is the eminent domain case. Those are some of the matters currently affecting this Town and its bottom line.

Mr. Barenie stated that some of these cases are old and have had stays, motions, and deferrals; and there is really nothing that we can do most of the time. It is frustrating and costly for a town this size; however, attorneys, and the work they do for the Town, are part of our risk management.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and opened the floor for the same.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I start with the acknowledgement of Town Council time, energy, dedication, and commitment. I have, at times, disagreed with conclusions and resulting decisions and have said so here; but as I disagree, I respect your decisions and your right to make them for our community.

Over the last few months, I have noticed an attempt by the Council to address, from their perspective, a diminishing decorum and decaying environment at meetings. I agree and have experienced this growing tension between Council Members and attendees. I heard quite aggressively, that if an attendee is out of line or misbehaves or says something that the Council does not recognize on its agenda, that attendee will be reprimanded, disciplined, or even removed from the meeting. The pushback from attendees was immediate and strong. It would seem we all agree that the resulting negative atmosphere is neither sought nor welcome by either the Council or the attendees.

As I have heard from the Council, its expectations on how Council expects attendees to conduct themselves, it should be fair for the Council to hear my expectations of them. Number 1, reduce the self-generated tensions attendees feel when they walk into the meeting. I state the one-way dialogue at meeting opening does not accomplish what you expect; rather, what attendees hear is an unveiled attempt to bully and to limit attendee feedback. A simple reminder of the need for both Council and attendees to respect each other should be sufficient without threatening the drumbeat of retaliation. I thank you for no comment today.

Two, make sure whether attendee presentation topics must adhere strictly to the meeting agenda. Fellow citizens were silenced when they brought up topics important enough for them to get here to the meeting but not specifically on the agenda. While discussed, as far as I know, there’s no definitive statement. Please provide clarity on this point with a printed document for public release.

Number three, review the sitting arrangement on the dais. The five Council Members have earned their right to be there. Recently, a sixth member seems to have emerged. You should all be aware the negative, visual perception that adding a staff member sitting in the middle of the Council adds to the room and the environment. This multiplied when –when that new addition is vocal and aggressive in tone and speech.

I was one who rallied for a town attorney, expecting a supportive addition to the Council to mentor, advise, protect the Council, not one that assumes to be part of the Council. I request the Council rearrange the dais with staff members clearly on either side and not between Council Members. Remember, it’s not what you say, but what we see and you do count.

Number four, make sure the Council controls the meeting, not an unelected official. The President of the Council holds the gavel, and the President has accepted the obligation and task of meeting direction, content, and general control. I cannot stress enough the negative visual signs letting someone else control the meetings sends to those in attendance, nor to the general animosity generated by such actions.

Number five, it is asked that individual members of the Town Council, in their business dealings, develop and use superior working knowledge on how to address; resolve; and, where practical, minimize the differencing opinion and tension resulting from almost decision you will make. Thanks for working together to make our Town Council meetings more pleasant for all of us.

Bryan Blazak (9399 Franklin Drive): Well, here we are about 50 days before an election; and let’s look at what the St. John Town Council is doing. You had a Meet and Greet and served appetizers that cost, we the taxpayers, approximately $1200. Mr. Kil, as well as Mr. Barenie, Ms. Hejl, and Ms. Popovic all signed the purchase order. Mr. Forbes signed “no” to show his disapproval, and Mr. Forbes and Mr. Swets did not even appear.

Three of you are approving the placement of ads in The Times newspaper, which will cost thousands of dollars from the Town fund, claiming that you are promoting the Town, when you are, clearly, attempting to promote yourselves politically. Let me be clear why I say this: You’re ads are promoting accomplishments that two appointed members had absolutely nothing to do with. Again, documents were signed by Mr. Kil, Mr. Barenie, Ms. Hejl, and Ms. Popovic. Mr. Forbes, once again, wrote “no”.

In speaking with several town residents – which believe me, I have done – they are not happy or pleased at the continuing series of events that have taken place, not only the last four years, but especially now, since this is election season. Mr. Barenie and Mr. Forbes have been on this Council for 15-16 years. It is apparent that in the 3 1/2 – last 3 1/2 years, neither one of you have been transparent with the residents at these meetings. We have gone from two public meetings a month down to one meeting a month; and you have limited public comment to 3 minutes. Our town is growing at such a rapid rate that two meetings a month must be necessary and should be and has been for a long, long time. It is time for things to change.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): Briefly, I’d like to touch back on the RDC. I did not want to be out of order, uh, and respond to the, uh, roundabout, the recommended roundabout. I fully understand Mr. Cobb recommends a roundabout. Um, my statement was compromised; so roundabout’s ideal. I love roundabouts. Obviously, the roundabout is ideal; the traffic engineers say, hey, roundabout, that’s what I recommend. I just think there’s a center point between no road and a roundabout that could be pursued. Maybe the intersection that I suggest isn’t perfect, but if it’s workable and helps the landowners, I think it should be pursued a – a little harder instead of just saying it’s this or nothing. Okay.

Um, on to Town Council business, um, regarding “The Grass is Greener” as well as the newspaper articles, um, I don’t think we should spend a penny in this town on promoting residential movement. We issued 350 building permits, year over year, the last two years. People are frustrated at the lack of infrastructure, the lack of roads, keeping up with it; and we’re actually going to pay money to try to get that rate to increase. It – it’s ridiculous.

Uh, the only money that I would like to see put forth for marketing the town would be for commercial development. Our Comprehensive Plan clearly states what our residents want. They want the higher-end shops; they want the restaurants. Spend the money on marketing it to commercial; stay off the residential. “The Grass is Greener” is – is something that the, um, the builders and the real estate folks can continue to fund. I don’t see our town having a need to fund that. Thank you.

Tim Wolf (8229 Meadow Court): Ladies and gentlemen, uh, the first thing is, uh, two – about two years ago, we all stood up here and asked for a – a road impact fee; and we still don’t have a road impact fee. We are tired, as taxpayers, uh, for supporting and bankrolling developments in the town. And as far as “The Grass is Greener” to bring more people into the town, fine, if we have the roads to support those people and the schools to support those people. We do not.

And, uh, also, uh, secondly, um, we may have an impact of a $4 million law suit with the Guzzos. And if you keep on taking people’s land by eminent domain for private developers, you’re going to have more law suits. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I’d like to incorporate all the previous comments, that way I get 12 minutes to speak. Basically, if you look at the menu, mini crab cakes, water chestnuts, mini quiche, you can cover this as recognition for volunteers. It’s very simple – I’ve been through a lot of campaigns – the election is not multiple weeks away; it’s three weeks away, early voting starts.

What you’ve done with this Meet and Greet, throwing it together on a night where six candidates were at a fund raiser, the same time you’re having a Meet and Greet, handing out mini crab cakes, to me, that – that had – gives you a bad reputation.

And you’re going into your own election now, and it gives the appearance, by paying these, these bills like this, of impropriety. And then we’re taking out – I’ve been told – $10,000 worth of Times’ ad trying to promote – under the guise of promoting the Town, we’re promoting incumbents. People that run for office have to either have fund raisers – they can’t be subsidized by the Town.

And I reflect back in 2015 when the Clerk-Treasurer, at that time, ran as an independent and administrative staff asked the attorneys to check on if she filed correctly and if there was a way to knock her out. They submitted that bill for those attorneys. The Clerk-Treasurer was between a hard and a rock place [sic]. If she agreed to it, she was on the hook for it. If she didn’t agree to it, they’d be on the hook. So she cancelled that check, subtracted those attorneys’ fees, filled out an affidavit, and sent it to the FBI. But because no money was spent because she blocked it, nothing happened.

As we look at what’s just occurred here with this last minute – normally, we all sign up to get notice of these things. I never even had notice. It was all hearsay and wherever, not through the official noticing of the people that signed up at the beginning of last year – the end of last year for this year. So we look at the money that was spent, how it was not approved by this Council, if three members or anybody else can direct this gentlemen, or if he did it on his own – I don’t know who said let’s have the food. You have to approve all the bills, you have to approve what’s going to be spent before it’s spent. That’s your obligation to the taxpayers. We are not here to use our tax money for mini crab cakes, water chestnuts, and a whole array of hors d’oeuvres; and for that, I think you should be ashamed.

Not that – I know there’s new people here. I don’t think you understand the impact of what this does to your reputations. Okay. There is an election coming up, and I think that’s going to impact a change. And I encourage everybody here who’s seen all this thing for four years, going on now, to make a change at the voting booth come early voting and May 7th. Thank you.

Having no one further requesting to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance No. 1680
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1680, and ordinance establishing regulations of contractors’ registration in the Town of St. John, amending Ordinance No. 962 to make contractors’ registration coincide with the calendar year.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1680 on first reading only and to leave the second reading for next month by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. Ordinance No. 1681
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1681, an ordinance authorizing/approving Zone Change for the property commonly known as 10300 Wicker Avenue, US 41, from Open Space to C-2. The petitioner is GDS Holdings, LLC. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Mr. Barenie stated that he had questions from some residents in regards to this project, so he looked into it and is satisfied with this rezone. Mr. Barenie asked the board for any questions or comments. Hearing none, he entertained a motion.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1681 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

C. Consider Performance Bond Reduction for Walden Clearing, Unit 1
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider a reduction of the performance bond for Walden Clearing, Unit 1, in the amount of $1,361,393.80 and replace it with a new performance bond in the amount of $1,120,219.10. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission. Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to authorize the reduction of the original performance bond for Walden Clearing, Unit 1, in the amount of $1,361,393.80 and accept the new performance bond in the amount of $1,120,219.10 by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

D. Consider Performance Bond Reduction for The Gates of St. John, Unit 10M
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider a reduction of the performance bond for The Gates of St. John, Unit 10M, in the amount of $2,653,893.17 and replace it with a new performance bond in the amount of $303,220.50. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to authorize the release of the original performance bond for The Gates of St. John, Unit 10M, in the amount of $2,653,893.17 and replace it with a new performance bond in the amount of $303,220.50 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
Ms. Hrnjak extended apologies for Ms. Hernandez for not being present at the meeting as she was ill. Ms. Hrnjak stated that those who would have attended from the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office could not attend due to being at the ILMCT classes in Muncie.

Ms. Popovic advised that the consultant said she would work with the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office and that there is a separate agenda for their office.

Ms. Hrnjak stated that concerning Ms. Hejl’s point about the website, they have tried to bring that up to speed; however, that is a very technical IT process, so they have to work with the IT Department to make it more user friendly and to make it easier to find and locate things on the website.

Ms. Hrnjak wished everyone a Happy Easter.

Staff
Fire Department:
Mr. Kil advised that Chief Willman is at a mandatory training tonight and has turned in a written report: Chief Willman reported that during the month of February 2019, the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 161 requests for assistance. There were 124 calls in District 1, which is within the incorporated limits of St. John; 29 calls in District 2, which is within the unincorporated limits of St. John; and 8 calls in District 3, which is all other destinations including mutual aid.

St. John Fire and EMS responded to the following mutual-aid requests for assistance: Schererville, Fire and EMS; Lake Hills, Fire and EMS; Cedar Lake, Fire and EMS; Crown Point, Fire and Rescue; Highland, Fire; and Merrillville, Fire.

The Monday night activities included:

The Business Meeting for the Volunteer Division of the St. John Fire Department was held on February 4, the first Monday night of the month.

February 11, the fire training was a classroom presentation introducing the new building codes regarding the use of “lite-weight” components in new structures under construction. These components include lite-weight (main and second floor) joists and roof trusses for example in main structures and accessory structures. Jon Gill, who is the Building Commissioner for our Town and is also a Lieutenant on the Volunteer Division of the fire department provided a very informative presentation and discussion on this safety-sensitive issue for fire personnel. Builders are required to document the use of lite-weight components as part of “Firefighter Safety Notification Alerts”. The information is provided directly to the fire department responders as a pre-plan condition regarding safety.

On the 18th, our EMS in-service included a review of several patient-care-oriented scenarios that included start-to-finish evaluations and the skills that had to be applied to each incident. Our St. John Paramedics provided the technical assistance to everyone involved.

Finally, on the 25th, we visited the St. John water treatment plant, the water tower in The Gates, and the Prairie West lift station to review some of the critical surroundings and challenges that might be present if we had to respond to an unknown emergency request or alarm.

Police Department:
Chief Kveton reported from February 1, 2019 through February 28, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 15,685 miles and responded to 546 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 24 arrests with 39 charges being filed. There were 307 traffic citations issued, along with 206 written warnings, for a total of 513 citations being issued during the month.

Vehicle thefts totaled zero ($0); other thefts totaled $5,385; and recovered property totaled $270.

Chief Kveton reported that after last month’s meeting, Mr. Joe Hero approached him about concerns about a check that was written by the Council that was approved after the fact on the docket and asked him to investigate the legality of the same. Chief Kveton advised that they researched the State laws, Town Ordinances, and contacted the State Board of Accounts regarding the process. The check in question was a $91,300 check regarding the Thiel property, and the research shows that everything was done correctly. This is in reference to Cause No. 45D11-1807-PL-00207.

The State Board of Accounts pointed them to the applicable Indiana Law, which is IC 36-5-4-12, Preapproval of Payments and Claims. Essentially, the St. John Clerk-Treasurer is permitted to issue payments prior to docket approval as deemed necessary and appropriate according to our ordinance, Ordinance No. 960, which was amended to Ordinance No. 1016. Chief Kveton said, “With the facts presented, we find no activity taken out context related to lawful or accepted best practices for local government agencies. Activity performed was directed by legal counsel and under the jurisdiction of the Lake Superior Court. The Town of St. John officials acted within their capacity to issue check No. 34054, as it appeared on the docket on February 28, appropriately. According to the information we researched, there is no basis to issue a police report of any kind concerning this check or this payment; it was all done completely lawfully.”

Mr. Barenie asked Chief Kveton to please speak about the awards we just won from the Town of St. John.

Chief Kveton reported that we are the safest community in the state and the 19th safest community in the nation. Chief Kveton stated that we are very proud of that. It isn’t just the Police Department that causes that; it is a team effort by all the departments of the Town, from the Public Works division, who makes sure our streets are plowed properly and are out there driving on the streets and report things to the police department; the citizens who are willing to communicate with the police department and the Town regarding concerns they have; our Fire Department; our Town Council; and our Plan Commission working together properly help us to be the safest community in the state and the 19th safest community in our nation.

Town Manager:
Mr. Kil reported that he had the opportunity to show Mr. Dennis De Vito exactly how claims and purchases are approved at the Meet and Greet; so that meeting allowed a process to be cleared up for a resident who is actively involved here. Mr. Kil stated that Mr. De Vito told him that he was appreciative to have that time to be shown the process personally, which shows that the Meet and Greet was effective and helpful.
Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion
Mr. Barenie thanked Mr. De Vito for his comments tonight. Mr. Barenie advised that if items are not on the agenda, it doesn't necessarily mean they won’t be heard or considered; it means it could potentially not be allowed. It is based on judgment. The gentlemen removed has been talking about personal family matters of a particular Town official for ten years. They are nasty allegations, and he was asked to stop, which he continued to do.

Ms. Popovic responded to the comments about the Meet and Greet and stated that we need to be proactive, not reactive; and trying to catch up after things happen is not the best way to or a strategic way to go. She further stated that she is new to this; she enjoyed the Meet and Greet; and it was good to meet people that were put onto committees and hear what they have to say.

Ms. Popovic stated that they have had two Executive Sessions in 50 days and spent time going over very important matters, such as litigation matters and other matters that potentially could cost this Town. The Council has been able to revamp this outdated IT system so the public can see and hear better. We have done training, and we’re upgrading the HR Manual. Those are all substantive things we’ve worked on. Ms. Popovic stated that everyone will not see things the same way; there could be an inference of impropriety or a decision to get to know everyone. We are not here to monitor anyone, and we do welcome those comments that come in.

Mr. Kil stated that Glumac Consulting is the company who did the HR training for us, and he has solicited their help to finish our Personnel Policy Manual and to write a social media policy. Those who were at the training agreed the Town is in dire need of a social media policy that will be incorporated into the new Personnel Policy. Glumac Consulting will take what we’ve provided them and rewrite the policy, correcting anything that needs to be corrected, for a maximum of $5000. Mr. Kil advised that it is a good price and would be money well spent. Multiple Council Members concurred.

Mr. Kil asked the Council to consider approving up to $5000 to have Glumac do the same.

Mr. Barenie asked if the consultant realizes that it is over 100 pages long. Mr. Kil responded that he has sent her the policy. Ms. Popovic stated that she is aware that we are quite behind.

Mr. Kil advised that we need to address that and get something with some teeth in it that is workable, lawful, and practical, especially in the area of social media.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion for the same.

Motion to approve Glumac Consulting to revamp the Personnel Policy Manual, including a Social Media Policy, in an amount not to exceed $5000 by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Mr. Swets asked if $5000 is a reasonable expense. Mr. Kil stated that he thought it was so inexpensive, that he had to double-check it to see if it was correct, as it can get quite expensive. Mr. Svetanoff advised that it is not only reviewing the current policy, it is adopting new policy that we don’t have written in yet.

Mr. Forbes advised that there is a motion and a second on the floor. Mr. Barenie called for a vote.

Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $3,353,751.98, dated February 28, 2019, and asked if there were any questions or comments from the board. Hearing none, Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to pay the bills by Ms. Hejl.

Mr. Kil advised that there are two items that need to be added to the docket for payment: One for Glumac Consulting for the HR Training, in the amount of $800; and the other for Kopka Pinkus Dolin in the amount of $15,100. Ms. Hejl asked if Mr. Kil had the new total. Mr. Kil apologized as he did not.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Barenie stated that they could be read in separately and entertained a motion for the payment of the bills including the two additional vouchers. Mr. Forbes advised that there is a motion on the floor and asked Ms. Hejl if she would like to amend her motion.

Mr. Barenie stated that he would like to add the two, one for the $800 for Glumac, and the $15,100 for Kopka Pinkus Dolin, so he would like to get that motion amended for those.

Motion to amend the bills to include Glumac Consulting and the additional Kopka Pinkus Dolin bill by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

Mr. Forbes and Mr. Swets interjected simultaneously. Mr. Swets stated that we’ve only approved the amendment. Mr. Barenie stated that he assumed that was all in the motion. Mr. Forbes responded than Ms. Hejl should have amended her motion.

Ms. Hejl asked if it is back to the original motion to pay the bills. Mr. Barenie told her to go ahead. Mr. Forbes advised that she should make a motion to amend her motion to include the $800 and the $15,100 as stated by Mr. Kil.

Amended motion by Ms. Hejl to include the $800 for Glumac Consulting and $15,100 for Kopka Pinkus Dolin.

Mr. Swets stated, for the record, that he is not in favor of paying the Comfort’s Catering for the Meet and Greet as that was done hastily, and if you’re going to do an accurate Meet and Greet, you really need to invite the public. For notice to go out on Monday for something going on that week is not reasonable notice for the public to be invited.

Ms. Hejl stated to Mr. Swets that she is confused, because there were emails that he was on board with it up until the last minute. Mr. Swets responded that none of them (indicating the public) were invited until Monday. Ms. Hejl countered that Mr. Swets was on board until then.

Mr. Swets stated that he did not show up because he was not comfortable with the way the meeting was put together hastily, because it looked like it was a campaign – slanted towards a campaign item.

Ms. Hejl stated, for the record, that Mr. Swets was on board until the last minute, and she wanted that pointed out. Ms. Popovic stated that we can add another one that everyone can be on board with for the reason that we initially had, which was to talk to the committees. We have another appointment coming up.

Mr. Swets stated, for the record, that he was never asked if he was in favor of it, he was told when it was, what the date was, and where the location was. He was never asked; he was never notified; and they did that on their own, so don’t lump him in there.

Ms. Hejl asked if we could get back to the motion.

Mr. Barenie asked if there is a second on the adjournment. Multiple Council Members said not yet, and stated that we still have to finish the payment of the bills.

Ms. Hejl’s standing amended motion to pay the bills was seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 2 nays.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

03-28-2019 Town Council Rescheduled to 03-18-2019
04-17-2019 Town Council

April 17, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on April 17, 2019, at 6:10 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Staff present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: Steve Kil, Town Manager.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the March 18, 2019 meeting. Hearing no additions or corrections, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Town Council correspondence and reports and asked for the same.

Ms. Popovic advised that a draft of the new employment manual should be forthcoming soon. Mr. Kil has received it; and he will be looking it over and then sending it out. Ms. Hejl asked if it includes the Social Media Policy. Ms. Popovic responded that it includes everything.

Mr. Barenie thanked Public Works for their great job clearing the streets of snow on Monday morning.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and opened the floor for the same.

Edward Marek (10135 West 93rd Avenue): (As read into the record by Ms. Hernandez on Mr. Marek’s behalf.) I would like to urge the Town Council to reject Ordinance 1680. I see no benefit to the homeowners passing this and will make less contractors available for competitive bidding.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I see on the agenda “Consider Conflict of Interest Disclosure” for Mr. Gerry Swets. If Mr. Swets’ company is bidding work here, I would like to know if there’s competitive bids and what the amount is and what this means. Is this an open ticket to do business with the Town for a year, a month, or an individual contract? It raises issues of why somebody on this Council needs Conflict of Interest Statement doing business with the Town. We have never seen this before in St. John.

The other item on here, the appointment of Abrahamson, blah, blah, Reed for the Police Commission, uh, that’s the gentlemen who ran the two caucuses as pro tem, appointed by Dan Dernulc. Uh, why are we appointing him counsel for the Police Commission? The other question I have is I see Haas Engineering is getting a substantial amount of money again. I would like to know, again, what that is for. You didn’t answer it under Redevelopment.

The other issue is we’re paying the Times $10,000 for green grass something – an initiative. We had presentation here. The roads are clogged. We’re putting the horse before the cart. Uh, that’s, to me, a total waste of money to try and attract Illinois people to come here where we can’t fix the roads the way they are.

And, uh, I see there’s bills here for Kopka Pinkus Dolin. I’d like to see all the attorneys’ fees lumped together instead of scattered all around here so we can get a handle on why we’re paying so many attorneys’ fees. And I see under description, it says, “General Town Matters, $14,000.” Then another says, “General Town Matters, $13,600.” I think, uh, we talked about getting control of attorneys’ fees. I think we need an explanation, uh, in detail on what these fees are for. Thank you very much.

Edward Conn (9227 West 91st Court): Ladies and gentlemen of the Council, good evening; Madam Clerk. I’ve chosen here to speak tonight on one of our sitting, appointed Council Members, Mrs. Rose Hejl. I’m here to question the public comments, Rose, that you make about your portion of the St. John Republican Professionals’ slate that is available on mass flyers, as well as your Facebook page. You claim two things on your flyer: That you have served on the St. John Police Commission for 15 years, half of which were as Chairman. And my – may I quote you – you say that you have conducted a few hundred interviews.

(Ms. Hejl concurred)

You think this is Chicago?

(Ms. Hejl stated that she does not and that Mr. Conn didn’t do her job.)

Well, I – I know enough about it. And for the last –

(Ms. Hejl asked Mr. Conn if his name is Conn or Moldenhauer.)

No, I’m not an attorney. I’m – I’m –

(Mr. Barenie called Mr. Conn’s name.)

I’m a tax-paying resident.

(Mr. Barenie again called Mr. Conn’s name.)

Yes.

(Mr. Barenie advised Mr. Conn that there is an ordinance about discussing politics. Mr. Conn spoke over Mr. Barenie.)

Okay. Well, that’s fine, I won’t –

(Mr. Barenie further advised him that he needs to move on to a new topic.)

Discussing politics in a whole?

(Mr. Barenie advised Mr. Conn that he has time left, and was spoken over again.)

All right. Well, I’ll go on to the second one.

(Mr. Barenie continued his statement that Mr. Conn needs to “change direction.”)

Which, you state that you have been the current CEO of Superior Snacks, in business for 27 years. A business you started out of your home.

(Mr. Barenie and Ms. Hejl both stated that it is the same thing.)

Um, through that time – oh, I – this has to be brought up for public record.

(Mr. Barenie stated that it does not.)

She claims – I – I’m going to continue –

(Mr. Barenie repeatedly called Mr. Conn’s name to no avail.)

– because she claims to be a registered business person. And going back to 2014, there is no record on file in this town for a business permit.

(Mr. Barenie cautioned Mr. Conn that he was getting personal.)

It’s not personal.

(Ms. Hejl concurred with Mr. Barenie.)

She’s – she’s promoting herself as a loyal candidate, town resident.

(Mr. Barenie told Mr. Conn that he needs to move on or that he is done speaking.)

Well, then, before we’re done –

(Mr. Barenie advised Mr. Conn to stop.)

I’m going to tell you –

(Mr. Barenie informed Mr. Conn that he had a little over 1 minute left – )

– That under –

(Mr. Barenie continued his statement informing Mr. Conn that he must change topics.)

Section 10-7, Penalty, to date, Rose is behind 1,932 days with a fine of $10-$50 a day. Currently, Rose, –

(Mr. Barenie instructed Mr. Conn to stop, as this was personal.)

I show you owe the Town $96,600 –

(Mr. Barenie again instructed Mr. Conn to stop.)

– in back penalties –

(Mr. Barenie repeatedly called Mr. Conn’s name; however, Mr. Conn would not yield the floor to the Town Council President to speak.)

(Ms. Hejl asked Mr. Conn if his last name is Moldenhauer or Conn.)

It’s Conn. Thank you.

(Ms. Hejl asked Mr. Conn if it is.)

Yes, it is.

(Ms. Hejl said, “Okay.”)

Having no one further requesting to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance No. 1680
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1680, an ordinance establishing regulations of contractors’ registration in the Town of St. John, amending Ordinance No. 962 to make contractors’ registration coincide with the calendar year.

Mr. Forbes advised for clarity that the only change to the ordinance is to change if from a fiscal year to a calendar year.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1680 on second reading by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. Consider Conflict of Interest Disclosure for Mr. Gerald Swets
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Mr. Gerald Swets’ Conflict of Interest Disclosure.

Mr. Swets offered to explain the reason for the Conflict of Interest Disclosure and then excuse himself from the meeting for discussion of the same. Mr. Barenie responded that Mr. Swets can stay in the room for the discussion.

Mr. Swets stated that the issue is that in the past, his company sold machines to the Police Department and the Fire Department; and he was notified by the IT staff that the Fire Department still has one of the company’s copier machines and that Mr. Swets should fill out a Conflict of Interest Disclosure because, if it needs work, the company he works for would be servicing it.

Mr. Swets further stated that his company is being considered for monitors to be placed in the Town Hall Meeting Room as part of the technology upgrade. He stated that after seeing the initial quote, he suggested that Mr. Dravet speak with the company’s staff person in South Bend, who came up with a better price on the larger monitor, which is a better quality monitor. He noted that he is not the salesman and that the product in question would not be supplied by his branch; however, he believes a Conflict of Interest Disclosure is still required or recommended.

Ms. Hejl asked Mr. Swets why he didn’t present the Conflict of Interest Disclosure before the bid was presented. Mr. Swets responded that he didn’t know his company was going to be involved in it and that he didn’t know the Fire Department still had his copier.

Ms. Hejl stated that she was referring to the bid that was presented and asked if he knew that is was from his company. Mr. Swets responded that the initial bid was not from his company. Mr. Forbes and Ms. Hejl simultaneously stated that it was.

Mr. Forbes stated to Mr. Swets that the initial bid at the February meeting for the amount not to exceed $15,000 included a bid from your company, and you did not tell us at that time that your company was included in that bid. Mr. Forbes further stated to Mr. Swets you conflicted yourself and accepting this Conflict of Interest does not excuse you from that conflict. You told Mr. Dravet to contact your company and get prices; what is an employee supposed to do?

Mr. Swets stated that he did tell Mr. Dravet to contact his company and that Mr. Dravet did so. Ms. Popovic asked if that was in February. Mr. Swets responded that it was in March.

Mr. Barenie asked if Mr. Swets asked Mr. Dravet to call his company after seeing the first quote. Mr. Swets responded in the affirmative and stated that Mr. Dravet found that the 98-inchi monitor was $7800 from his company with the original bid being $9600, so there is a significant savings there. If we go with the 90-inch monitor, his company would not be involved at all.

Mr. Barenie stated that he has never seen an issue like this come up during his time on the Town Council, and he is a little concerned about what may be coming down the pipeline in the future. Mr. Barenie stated that he is not sure he can support it either.

Mr. Swets stated that he doesn't have a problem with it. He had found a way to save the Town some money; and in order to do that, he needed to offer a Conflict of Interest statement. Mr. Swets stated that he understands if the Town Council is not comfortable with it and that he is fine with that.

Ms. Popovic stated that she feels the appropriate time to have done this would have been in February when Mr. Swets approached Mr. Dravet about doing this, before there is any type of involvement with a project that you might be bidding on. Ms. Popovic further stated that the troubling part is that we didn’t receive it until March and that she doesn’t believe anything like this has ever been done before. Mr. Barenie stated that he doesn't believe it has.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion accept the Conflict of Interest Disclosure. None was had. Mr. Barenie asked if we should just move on and start the process in a different manner. Mr. Forbes stated that he believes the Town Council needs to take some action on this.

Motion to deny the Conflict of Interest Disclosure for Gerald Swets by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays. (Mr. Swets recused himself from voting.)

C. Consider Appointment of the firm of Abrahamson, Bilse, and Reed as Legal Counsel to the Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider appointment of the firm of Abrahamson, Bilse, and Reed as legal counsel to the Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners.

Motion to appoint Abrahamson, Bilse, and Reed as legal counsel to the Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Discussion ensued wherein Mr. Svetanoff advised that it is highly customary that police commissions have their own separate counsel and that is an annual appointment that will run through the end of the calendar year.

Mr. Swets stated that he has a problem with Mr. Reed being the counsel.

Motion carries 3 ayes to 2 nays by Mr. Swets and Mr. Forbes.

D. Consider Ordinance No. 1682
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1682, an ordinance establishing appropriations and make expenditures of buy money or payments to confidential informants, per IC 36-1-3.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1682 on first reading by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1682 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

E. Consider Resolution No. 2019-04-17, a Resolution Declaring Uncollectible Bad Debt
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-04-17, a resolution declaring uncollectible bad debt.

Motion to adopt Resolution No.2019-04-2017 by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

F. Consider Ordinance No. 1683, rezoning of Continental Subdivision from R-1 to RC-1 Planned Unit Development
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1683, rezoning of Continental Subdivision from R-1 to RC-1 Planned Unit Development. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1683 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

G. Consider Donation of Lawn Mower to Tri-Town Safety Village
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the donation of a lawn mower to the Safety Village and entertained a motion.

Motion to authorize the donation of the 2012 John Deere, Z930A Commercial mower to the Safety Village by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
Ms. Hernandez passed out a document to the Town Council and stated that she will be noticing for additional appropriations in May; she is bringing the list of items to the Town Council a month before for review. Ms. Hernandez briefly reviewed the document with the Council Members.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that the State Board of Accounts requested that these appropriations be done on a more frequent basis, so the Clerk-Treasurer is making sure that everybody will be well informed and that we are in compliance with the State Board of Accounts.

Mr. Barenie stated that he believes we started to do them a bit more often last year. Ms. Hernandez concurred.

Staff
Fire Department:
Chief Willman reported that during the month of ¬March 2019 the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 151 requests for assistance. There were 118 calls in District 1, 25 calls in District 2, and 8 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville, Fire and EMS; Lake Hills, Fire and EMS; and Cedar Lake, Fire and EMS.

The Monday night activities for the department started off with our regular monthly Business Meeting on March 4. March 11 was a live, hands-on, outside session simulating fire-suppression skills and techniques with our 78’ Quint. Ever since we got it, the truck has become our first apparatus to all fire-related incidents within our incorporated boundaries. The Town and Fire Department both are extremely fortunate to have this piece of equipment in our station. Trainings like this one helps us to become more familiar with the truck’s capabilities, as well as the Fire Department’s capabilities and applications when we do arrive on the scene.

March 18 was the annual recertification for CPR. The certifications are good for two years now; but in consideration of everyone’s busy schedule, St. John Fire Department provides the opportunity for our immediate staff to recertify every year.

March 25 was a review and update of our communication system, which included permanent systems installed in the station, the capabilities and operation of the mobile systems in the vehicles, and the person-to-person transmission policies and procedures that are required by personnel in the Lake County Emergency 911 System every minute of the day. We need to stay up to speed with upgrades and improvements within our systems.

Police Department:
Chief Kveton reported from March 1, 2019 through March 31, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 27,521 miles and responded to 582 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 31 arrests with 52 charges being filed. There were 436 traffic citations issued, along with 372 written warnings, for a total of 808 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled zero ($0); other thefts totaled $31,838; and recovered property totaled $1,232.

Chief Kveton reported on the successful conclusion to the Shrine of Christ’s Passion case. They had four arrests on it recently which developed through the Police Department’s assistance of other agencies, the community, social media, and all the tips that they’ve received.

Chief Kveton that were inaccurate reports on social media and that he felt it would be appropriate to address. Chief first commented that he has “Breakfast with the Chief once a month, his door is always open, and his phone is there for anyone who has a question.

First, there was concern about manpower on the streets, overtime, and the pay of the officers. As a result, a comparative analysis was done of the first four months of 2016 and 2019.

January 2016 day shift had 2 officers working 94% of the time, and 2 officers working on the night shift 81% of the time. January 2019 day shift had 3 or 4 officers working 94% of the time, and night shift had 3, 4, or 5 officers working 87% of the time.

February 2016 day shift had 1 or 2 officers working 93% of the time, and 1 or 2 officers working on the night shift 75% of the time. Chief Kveton noted that they always covered at least 2 officers on the street by juggling officers around or forcing them to come into work. February 2019 day shift had 3 or 4 officers working 83% of the time, and night shift had 3 or 4 officers working 97% of the time.

March 2016 day shift had 1 or 2 officers working 87% of the time, and 2 officers working on the night shift 55% of the time. March 2019 day shift had 3 or 4 officers working 87% of the time, and night shift had 3 or 4 officers working 81% of the time.

April 2016 day shift had 1 or 2 officers working 90% of the time, and 1 or 2 officers working on the night shift 77% of the time. April 2019 day shift had 3, 4, or 5 officers working 80% of the time, and night shift had 3 or 4 officers working 87% of the time. Chief Kveton stated that there have been huge coverage changes on the street. The coverage changes were based on resolving issues that the department had internally and through the injuries of officers and lawsuits that were going on that have since been resolved except for the last one, which is still ongoing, involving civil and criminal charges. That officer no longer works for the department and, therefore, doesn't affect manpower.

Chief Kveton stated that in 2016 manpower coverage and the officers’ safety was at a critical level, he and the Town Manager worked with the Police Commission to authorize special pay for the officers in either time or money that allowed officers that were forced into work against their will to get paid time-and-a-half. At the end of 2016, those half hours that they were paid extra by that policy was subtracted by the Clerk-Treasurer from their paychecks.

Chief Kveton reported that there was concern about the officers being paid. Looking at the 2019 Salary Ordinance that was passed by the Town Council, first-year officers get paid $27.13 per hour; and first-class patrolmen, once they make their time, get paid $33.79 per hour; so a tenured officer does not get paid what a first-year officer gets paid, which is what was erroneously reported on social media.

Chief Kveton advised that it was reported on social media that our officers don’t get overtime or time-and-a-half pay. The Town rules for payroll mandates the police officers have to work 84 hours in a two-week period before receiving time-and-a-half. If one works overtime prior to making the 84 hours, then any overtime worked is paid at straight time instead of time-and-a-half.

Chief Kveton implored all who were present that if they have questions, to come to him so that they can get accurate information.

Mr. Forbes asked Chief Kveton if the reduction that he spoke of in 2016 was due to injuries, illness, lawsuits, and disciplinary actions. Chief Kveton responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes commented that while it is technically a lack of manpower, it is was not intentional. Chief Kveton stated that they had made several changes/adjustments that allowed us to have this much coverage on the street today. The Town Council and Police Commission approved the addition of two additional officers based on the staff study that was done by HR Gov. Changes were also made at the Police Department. There was a sworn officer in administration that was moved to the street and replaced with a civilian employee.

Mr. Barenie stated that HR Gov is good firm. Mr. Forbes noted that HR Gov is a group of ex-police chiefs.

Ms. Hernandez stated that she had forgotten to answer some of Mr. Hero’s questions. Ms. Hernandez stated that Haas is the engineering firm that the Town Council hired on an annual basis, and you will see them on all dockets because they do various work for the Town. The redevelopment item on the docket was primarily for the Earl Drive and 96th Place extension project phase 1 and phase 2, and they did some work for the building demolition improvement.

Ms. Hernandez stated that in regards to the invoices for Kopka Pinkus Dolin, one is from the bill that was added to the docket last month, which still has to be shown on the docket for a paper trail, and the other one is the current invoice.

Mr. Barenie stated that this goes back to the discussion that we had when we had the interim position where we did not have an attorney. And when switching attorneys after a decade or so, there is the ramp-up time for the new attorney to get familiar with ongoing matters.

Mr. Svetanoff commented that the turnaround is a lot quicker with his law firm here, versus what was had before. Mr. Forbes and Mr. Barenie concurred.

Town Manager:
None was had.
Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion
Mr. Swets asked that, based on the fact that we’re looking to upgrade some of the video equipment and cannot purchase from his company, if we can instruct Mr. Dravet to move forward with his original quote, which was the quote that was approved in February and had nothing to do with Adams Remco, despite what was stated tonight. Can Mr. Dravet move forward with what was approved in February?

Mr. Forbes stated that he has not seen any other estimate of cost, so he would prefer that we get three more estimates on this project. Ms. Hejl concurred.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $1,346,375.58, dated April 17, 2019, and asked if there were any questions or comments from the board.

Mr. Swets asked what the bill is for Mauge of $6000, Town Brochure first installment. Mr. Barenie stated that this is an update on a report that Mr. Kil does.

Motion to pay the bills in the amount of $1,346,375.58 by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 present by Mr. Forbes.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 6:57 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

05-23-2019 Town Council

May 23, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on May 23, 2019, at 7:04 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Staff present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: Libby Popovic.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the April 17, 2019 meeting. Hearing no additions or corrections, he entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

PRESENTATION:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda are a couple presentations by the Police Department and turned the floor over the Chief Kveton.

Chief Kveton stated that Dr. Daniel McCormick of Franciscan Health approached him about eight months ago offering the Public Safety group a $5000 grant, which was to be split between the Police Department and the Fire Department. Chief Willman deferred to the Police Department and allowed them to use the entire $5000 to purchase four external defibrillators for the officers to carry on the street.

Chief Kveton explained that many times the police arrive at a medical emergency more quickly than the Fire Department affording them the ability to treat an individual sooner, as paramedics have to come from the department and our Police Officers are typically already in the field. Chief Kveton then invited Dr. McCormick to say a few words.

Dr. McCormick stated that he couldn’t be more pleased with how the funds were used because the importance of early defibrillation in sudden cardiac death is about the only thing that can improve the outcome; so having these deployed throughout the Police Officers is an intelligent way of going about it. Dr. McCormick further stated that it is consistent with Franciscan Health’s Mission and that he appreciates the funds being used in such a great way.

Mr. Barenie asked if there is training for our Police Officers to use the AEDs. Chief Kveton responded that they are trained in the use of AEDs through the Fire Department’s CPR Training.

Chief Kveton stated that the second presentation is the gift of a painting from a resident and gave a bit of background on a painting: At the Dyer Policemen’s Ball there was a painter doing paintings as part of the fundraiser. The painter set up a spot with tarps and threw paint at a paint easel. No one could tell what he was painting because it was upside down, and when he turned it upright, it was a painting of an officer. The painting was auctioned off and sold for $500 to Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez, who donated back to Dyer Police Department.

Chief Kveton stated that after the bidding was complete, a resident asked the artist to create another one so they could buy it and donate it to the St. John Police Department. This painting was donated by the Rosa and Anthony Gonzalez, and their two sons. Chief Kveton noted that Mrs. Gonzalez and her two sons were present for the presentation of the painting; however, Mr. Gonzalez was unable to attend due to work. Chief Kveton then invited the family to say a few words.

Nikko Gonzalez introduced himself and said, “Nice to meet you all. We would like to donate this painting as a small token of our great appreciation to the St. John Police Department; these officers put their lives on the line every day serving our great community. And thank you, again, for helping to make the St. John the thriving town it has become today.”

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

None was had.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and opened the floor for the same.

Mirko Zagorac (10965 Thielen Street): I brought pictures here about 2 1/2 months ago of a problem on my garage side. Was done by a – trucks and a van. So everybody told me, “No problem; we’ll take care of it.”

I went to streets and sanitation; I asked them “What do you guys intend to do?” They say, “Where’s your proof?”

I said, “I gave you pictures, what was done, and I have couple of neighbors to verify they saw the trucks and that going in.” Their answer was, “Witnesses are not acceptable. Unless you got pictures of the day it happened and the trucks that went back there, you don’t have no evidence. Goodbye.”

So is that the city’s thing that you – video cameras and everything else from now on? I just need an answer because I just walked out of there; I was so disgusted. I said – I wasn’t even treated that bad in Vietnam; the way I was treated over there. And I tell you what, it hurt me deep when he said that, that he did not believe in witnesses.

(Mr. Barenie asked if he went and visited our Public Works Department.)

Yes, I went over there to Public Works. And one gentlemen, was there, said, “I could assure you, no vehicles went behind that garage.” I say, “Well, could you do me a favor; give me the vehicle that went back there to change Tom’s meter. Maybe he did it.” He goes, “Oh, yeah. That was me. I went back there, but I didn’t do no damage.” I said, “Thank you, sir; goodbye.” Walked out.

I had it done. I got my grandson bring a couple kids. I give them $20 bucks; $40 bucks between the two of them. They straighten everything out, but the treatment I got over there, I tell you what, like I said, I sooner go back in Vietnam, 1968. I was safer.

(Mr. Kil asked Mr. Zagorac who he spoke with.)

Well, it was young – it was a blonde lady and a gentleman. I thought he said was the meterman because he say – after I said – “Nobody went.” I said, “Well, who changed the meter? Give me the name.”

He goes, “Uh, I went back.”

(Mr. Kil and Mr. Barenie both stated that the meterman is here.)

Okay. Well, he was the one that told me then.

(Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Wane Pondinas if he wanted to make a comment.)

Mr. Pondinas: You did come in the office; and you did tell us that it was my truck that ran into your lawn. Nobody – you’re that – your damage is way over here. And I told you – you were right – we didn’t do that; and you were very angry, yes. And you – the girls treated you with respect, and you were very, very angry at us. And I told you I’m the one who put on – I drive the van. There’s only one van. I drive it. I never ran over your property; never did anything. If I do something to somebody’s property, I’ll come forward and tell them. What you’re telling them is not exactly all true.

Mr. Zagorac: Well, then, I got to tell – couple of my neighbors –

(Mr. Barenie stated that this isn’t the forum for this conversation.)

Excuse me. I got to tell a couple of my neighbors that saw the truck do it and that – they’re a bunch of liars – to come here and tell you guys that they saw it.

(Mr. Swets stated that as much traffic that was over there, with surveyors and flags, there could have easily been a vehicle in his driveway that wasn't a Town vehicle, but we’re still responsible for it if we’ve got our people out there putting in flags and surveying and things like that. He further stated that it may not have been a Public Works truck, but there were plenty of other vehicles along there that had to park somewhere in order to mark off for the roundabout.)

(Mr. Kil responded that he did look into it, that nobody was out there at that time; and that Mr. Zagorac did say it was a Public Works truck. Mr. Kil further stated that he is at an impasse at this time; however, Mr. Zagorac had it fixed.)

I had a couple boys dig through that. They got it fixed for me. I give them $20 apiece to go out and have dinner or whatever they want to do. But the only thing, like I said, hurt me deep inside. And you guys told me I didn’t have no evidence. I didn’t have no pictures.

(Mr. Barenie stated that we would give it some thought.)

Oh, you can forget it. It’s done. I got – it’s done. The only thing I wanted you guys to know, I hope this doesn't happen to any more of my neighbors, cause I know how they’re going to feel. And a couple of them, I’m going to tell them what transpired. And I’ll ask them. They might come here next meeting and say, “Yes, we did see the trucks.” People don’t want to admit things.

(Mr. Barenie stated that Mr. Pondinas admitted that he drove by but not in the area with the damage to the lawn.)

It was right on – Tom’s driveway is only this wide (indicating), and he didn’t go after the other part of the line, you know, in that wet stuff. He had to go.

Adrian Bugariu (11747 W 90th Avenue): Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to ask the present Town Council Members to revoke the license, or whatever this, of the Svetanoff and also David Austgen to operate as attorneys. David Austgen falsified the date; and from the moment I mention to the Town Council, I was told that he left. But he belongs to that.

He (pointing to Mr. Svetanoff) comes in December, one meeting, intimidation and threats. February, I get kicked out because Beth Hernandez and the clan. Thank you very much. But the law firm of David Austgen must go out; $130,000 for six months to commit perjury and put me out of business.

Jack Sacks (9458 East Oakridge Drive): I live right by the park, Prairie West; and, uh, there was a fireworks display when Santa Claus came back in November or December. The debris from the fireworks show was still there – well, I still find pieces of it – it was six months, and I think that’s a little bit long. And as far as the pond that goes over there in there, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen it in my life. Thank you.

(Mr. Barenie asked for clarification on the timeframe for the worst the pond has been.)

Prairie West Park.

(Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil to have someone check out the trash of the fireworks and to see if the pond needs treatment.)

I talked to Chip.

(Mr. Kil stated that we have had nonstop rain for over a month, and we have Mcnamara Aquatic treat the ponds. It is on the maintenance schedule.)

Okay. I have some friends that go over there and fish all the time; and they haven’t been able to fish this year because of the algae.

(Mr. Kil stated that excessive rain delays the treatment; so if he hasn’t been out there yet, he will be.)

Okay. Okay, I just wanted to bring it up; but the – the debris from that fireworks show should not have been in that park for six months.

(Ms. Hernandez asked if Public Works went out after Christmas in the Park to check for debris.)

(Mr. Kil responded that they typically do, but that he doesn't know if it was in Mr. Sacks’ yard.)

No, it wasn't in my yard; it’s just debris in the park.

(Mr. Kil stated that it is possible that they could have missed something.)

Oh, no, no. I’m sorry; I’m not being rude; but it – it – it was excessive.

(Mr. Barenie asked if we can have a crew go and check it out. Mr. Kil responded in the affirmative.)

It’s – it’s clean. I don’t know if it’s all cleaned up; but it took six months for it to go.

(Mr. Kil asked if it is cleaned up now.)

For – for the most part of it, it is now. All right. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): This evening, I only have two simple questions: Residents have asked me over the last several weeks how the Town Manager, who is an employee of the Town, can make the decision to drop the penalty for no business license owed by one of his five bosses. Shouldn’t that be a decision voted on by the entire Town Council?

Question two, why do we need to hire another attorney? We have attorneys upon attorneys billing us thousands of dollars every month. When is enough going to be enough?

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): Good evening, everyone. Just two items: Um, I’m going to mirror his comment about the attorney. Um, I’m curious if there’s more litigation expected. What’s the attorney for? We have an attorney here that’s qualified. And I – again, we’d just like to know the background on that because we are spending a lot of money in attorney’s fees.

Um, second would be – uh, my second item I’d like to inquire about – and maybe this will be explained better when it comes up – is, um, item 8.A. With the additional appropriations, there seem to be quite a few line items for the Police Department. Um, I’d like to know if that was within their budget or if this is in excess of their budget, cause it added up to a whole lot of dollars and cents. So I’m curious as to, uh, as to why there’s the additional appropriations for that. Thank you.

Ed Conn (9227 West 91st Court): President Barenie, I stand here in front of you and your Council Members tonight as a resident speaking on behalf of myself. Everything that I’ve brought forward to this Council over the past few months has been legitimate, documented evidence. The number one concern I have right now – it was touched on earlier – is Ms. Hejl’s operation of her business within the town limits for a number of years when she was not in compliance. When that was approached, it was turned over. First, we were told, “Oh, she didn’t need one; she didn’t qualify.” A week later Rose has got – is there a reason you’re recording me.

(Ms. Hejl responded that she can because it’s a public meeting.)

Okay. Well, can I stop for a minute and record here as well, if that’s how this is going to work? Go ahead, you can record me.

(Mr. Barenie advised Mr. Conn that it will be on the recording and that he can get a copy of it.)

Okay. So anyway, um, I approached the building department and inquired about the fines, if any were levied against her. I was then informed that no, there were no fines issued. And in the 2 1/2 years that – the gentleman running that department said that he’s never issued fines. And that was backed up by Steve Kil, who claims in 18 years, that he’s been here, no fines have been levied. So if that is the case – which I highly doubt it is – why do we have these codes on the book?

When residents – I have to apply for dog tags every year. If I don’t apply for them, somebody’s at my house, I get fined. With the way this transpired over the last two months and leading into this election, I’m asking that the Council sits down, talks about it, and I’m asking for the removal of Councilwoman Hejl from this Council, based on her actions as a business owner.

Secondly – this is directed at Chief Kveton – ever since I’ve become vocal with this Town and have brought forward issues, both the way of his treatment towards those underneath him, towards the treatment of residents, and including myself, in conjunction with Mr. Jorgensen, who’s not here tonight. Otherwise, I would address him as well. I’m a private resident that has been singled out. My family and myself have been embarrassed over social media, over newspaper print on issues in my life from 32 years ago that have nothing to do with what’s transpired in this town.

I have your little reserve IT boy – if he’s going to follow me around and take pictures of me, you better tell him that he better learn that people can follow him back when I follow him back behind the police station and get pictures of him. It needs to stop. You need to quit harassing me; you need to quit messing with my family. And if it doesn't end, then I will take it to the next step.

(Mr. Barenie informed Mr. Conn that he is out of time.)

That’s fine, I’m done. Thank you.

Having no one further wishing to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

PUBLIC HEARING:

A. Resolution No. 2019-05-23A, a Resolution for Additional Appropriations
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Resolution No. 2019-05-23A, a Resolution for Additional Appropriations.

Mr. Barenie asked if Proofs of Publication are in order. Mr. Kil responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil to give an overview of the Resolution.

Mr. Kil responded that one of the largest amounts is for the last Community Crossing Grant project that was just finished; we need to ensure that the account doesn't have any negative balances and is zeroed out.

Mr. Kil explained that the LEC is “Law Enforcement Continuing Education”; and rather than using money out of the operating budget for training, it is better to use the LEC money as it is specifically designated for that purpose. The Forfeiture and Seized Assets is used to buy equipment. The Special Revenue Account is projected to receive $40,000 in funds this year; this account is a cash-based account from traffic programs, and such, that come back from Lake County; and only the cash that is received can be spent.

Mr. Kil advised that the TIF Capital Fund is self-explanatory. The Town just issued a TIF Bond of $5.6 million; and the bond money must be appropriated to use the funds.

Ms. Hernandez stated that additional appropriations are above and beyond what is budgeted.

Mr. Swets asked what the PILT is. Mr. Kil responded that PILT is “payment in lieu of taxes” and explained that utilities are tax exempt; so payment can be made in lieu of taxes.

Mr. Barenie opened the floor for the Public Hearing. Having no one come forward to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Hearing and entertained a motion.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-05-23A by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance No. 1679
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1679, an ordinance amending the current Town Code, authorizing the Clerk-Treasurer to make certain disbursements and emergency payments prior to the confirmation of claims. This update is being made to bring this current with State law.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion only to consider Ordinance 1679 on first reading only.

Mr. Swets asked what had changed. Mr. Kil responded that Mr. Svetanoff noticed that it needed to be updated to match the State law and recommended that we do the same.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that the Indiana Code had additions that were not included in the Ordinance, and they are expenses that must be paid because of emergency circumstances and the expenses described in an ordinance; so we added to the list that can be paid by the Town for certain bills and expenditures. Mr. Svetanoff further advised that it mirrors the Indiana State Code.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1679 on first reading only by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carried 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie requested that Mr. Kil to add this Ordinance to the next meeting’s agenda for adoption.

B. Consider Approval of the Agreement with the St. John Township Trustee for Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services for Unincorporated St. John Township
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider approval of the agreement with the St. John Township Trustee for Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services for unincorporated St. John Township.

Mr. Kil advised that Kathy Lareau, St. John Township Trustee, is here; and that she has been trying to coordinate a revised agreement to include the other communities. Mr. Kil stated that if it would please the Council, perhaps, she could say a few words.

Mr. Barenie turned the floor over to Ms. Lareau.

Ms. Lareau thanked the Town Council for allowing this matter to be on the agenda and for having the agreement.

Ms. Lareau stated that she has been the Trustee since January, and part of the job of the Trustee is to make sure the unincorporated areas of St. John Township have fire coverage. She further stated that St. John has been involved with that coverage, that Lake Hills is the primary fire department, and that Schererville and Dyer had previously been part of the agreement. St. John has been going all the way to the northwest perimeter, and she is trying to include all of the communities for quicker response times.

Ms. Lareau complimented St. John Fire and Ambulance for the years of accommodating service. She noted that Chief Willman and Steve Kil have both been very accommodating to work with.

Ms. Lareau advised that she met with the 911 Director and the four Fire Chiefs to discuss the geographical areas. She further advised that she intends to have a new agreement to the Town Council in December for 2020, since it is supposed to be done by the end of January by virtue of State statute. St. John has been covering on a verbal agreement until this agreement can be completed and executed.

Mr. Kil requested that Ms. Lareau provide a map that designates the areas that each community would cover so there is no confusion in the future. Ms. Lareau agreed and stated that the 911 Director is supposed to be providing one.

Mr. Kil asked when this would be effective. Ms. Lareau stated that it is effective; however, St. John is still getting the calls until the 911 Director can work out all of the details. She further stated that the target date is July 1.

Mr. Kil stated that it has to be a seamless transition with no gaps in service.

Mr. Svetanoff commented that we have to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

Ms. Lareau asked Mr. Kil if he has the new agreement. Mr. Kil responded in the affirmative and stated that she may want to explain that our dollar amount is decreasing due to the decrease in the geographic area.

Ms. Lareau stated that since it is being carried over, St. John is listed on the schedule for providing the service for all the areas. Once she gets the map from the 911 Director, she will look at the geographic areas and do whatever she is able to do within her budgetary constraints.

Mr. Swets asked if this is a new agreement or similar to what has been done in the past. Ms. Lareau stated that the dollar amounts are different but the agreement is similar. She further stated that she wasn’t sure who drafted the last agreement, so she hired an attorney to draft this one. Mr. Kil looked at it, had made some changes, and seems to be happy with it.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the agreement as submitted for 2019 by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

C. Ordinance No. 1684, an Ordinance Creating Fund 203 – MVH Restricted
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1684, an ordinance creating Fund 203, MVH Restricted. Mr. Barenie stated that this is a new State law and asked Mr. Svetanoff to explain the ordinance.

Mr. Svetanoff deferred to Ms. Hernandez, who had requested that he draft the ordinance.

Ms. Hernandez advised that we only have one line item currently in the MVH Fund, Fund 201; and 50% of our tax revenue has to go into a restricted portion of MVH that is used for construction maintenance and repairs of our roads. The Town was going to implement the fund separation about a year ago and the State Board of Accounts instructed us to wait. Now they have sent a directive that they are ready for the funds to be established. This year, Fund 203 will have the funds to be spent on roads this year transferred into it; and then every year going forward, 50% will go directly into Fund 203.

Mr. Barenie asked Ms. Hernandez if it would be a problem to wait until next month to adopt the ordinance. Ms. Hernandez responded that it would not be a problem at all.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to consider Ordinance No. 1684 on first reading only.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1684 on first reading by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie requested that Mr. Kil to add this Ordinance to the next meeting’s agenda for adoption.

D. Resolution No. 2019-05-23, a Resolution Approving a Joint Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with Lake Central School Corporation, for the Student Resource Officer Program
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Resolution No. 2019-05-23, a resolution approving a Joint Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with Lake Central School Corporation for the Student Resource Officer Program.

Mr. Barenie stated that this has been under discussion for about a year.

Mr. Kil stated that this has been vetted heavily by St. John, Schererville, and Dyer, and this is an agreement that is acceptable to all the communities involved. Mr. Kil advised that Lake Central School Corporation is looking at having a Resource Officer at the middle schools and elementary schools as well, which necessitated another agreement. St. John will now have two officers serving as SROs, Dyer will have two, and Schererville has one, for a total of 5 SROs to be split amongst the schools.

Mr. Kil advised that in this particular instance, the Lake Central School Corporation is picking up 75% of the cost officer, which requires us to hire another police officer; so if the Town Council is inclined to approve this agreement, that will then require an approval to hire another police officer.

Chief Kveton advised that, during the school year, the new officer would be assigned to Peifer, Clark, and Kolling; and the current officer would remain in the high school. Each of the other officers that are being added, one by Dyer and one by Schererville, will each have three school responsibilities. Lake Central School Corporation has made it clear that if there is an emergency and we need the officer, he will respond to that call during the school year. During the summertime, the officer will be on the street.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-05-23.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-05-23 by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

E. Authorization to Dispose of Used Police Vehicles
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is authorization to dispose of used police vehicles via a public, online auction.

Mr. Barenie asked if it is just police vehicles or if it is other vehicles as well. Mr. Kil responded that it is just police vehicles that we are going to do this with right now.

Mr. Kil advised that there are photographs of the vehicles. Mr. Kil stated that the Fire Department tore apart one of the vehicles the Town was going to dispose of during a fire training exercise, which didn’t have a transmission in it or anything, and the unit’s number can’t be read anymore.

Mr. Kil commented that it just so happened that while they were conducting this training session, the State Fire Marshal was driving through town and stopped to personally observe them and was very impressed.

Mr. Barenie asked where the State Fire Marshal is from. Mr. Kil responded that he is based in Indianapolis. Chief Willman added that he was up here to go to the new training center in Valparaiso.

Mr. Kil stated that the request is to auction the vehicles that have any value via public auction, which is approved by the State Board of Accounts and the DLGF, Department of Local Government Finance; and the unit that was destroyed by the Fire Department needs to be declared worthless so it can be disposed.

Mr. Forbes asked if this is the last of the Crown Vics. Chief Kveton responded that the reserve cars are still Crown Vics, but these are the last ones that are in daily, 24-hour service use. Mr. Forbes asked how many are left. Chief Kveton responded that there are three left.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to authorize disposal of the used police vehicles, via online auction, and declare Unit No. 27 worthless and of no value by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

F. Consider Approval of Special Services Agreement for Attorney D. Erick Neff
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider approval of the Special Services Agreement for Attorney D. Erick Neff. Mr. Barenie stated that this is in regards to a possible conflict requiring a specialized attorney and that this may not cause any extra money; because if our attorney were doing it, he would be billing us.

Mr. Kil advised that the money would be cash neutral.

Motion to approve the agreement and authorize the Town Council President to sign by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie asked if this would be an appropriate time to address Chief Kveton’s request for an emergency hire. Mr. Kil responded that Mr. Barenie, as the Council President, could address this matter by virtue of his chair.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to grant an emergency hire for the Police Department to replace an officer who is retiring and to fill the position for the SRO officer.

Motion to authorize the Police Department to execute an emergency hiring process to fill the position of the SRO officer and the officer that is retiring by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
Ms. Hernandez announced a few summer activities put together by the events group: The first one is Cruising into the Summer on June 1 at Michel’s from 12-2 p.m. The second is a Words on Wood, for adults, on June 26 at 95-ATE-5 from 6-9 p.m. The third is a Words on Wood, Kids’ Edition, for children of all ages, on June 29 at Civic Park from 10 a.m. to noon.

Ms. Hernandez also reported that her office is a backpack collection location for Mission One, who is working to provide backpacks filled with undergarments and hygiene products for homeless veterans. Ms. Hernandez will deliver the backpacks to the organization at their first annual charity ride, Veterans of Valor Ride, to be held at the American Legion in Cedar Lake on July 27.

Ms. Hernandez stated that Mr. Kil and she will begin to work on the new budget soon.

Staff
Fire Department:
Chief Willman reported that during the month of April 2019 the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 170 requests for assistance. There were 133 calls in District 1, 28 calls in District 2, and 9 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville, Fire and EMS; Cedar Lake, Fire and EMS; and Lake Hills, Fire and EMS.

The Monday night activities for the department started off with our regular monthly Business Meeting for the Volunteer Division on April 4.

April 8, the members participated in a hands-on review of the various small tools that are found on all of the response vehicles. It is very difficult to stay familiar with all of the equipment that we are required to use successfully without a regular routine of review and skills evaluations for each responder! An additional assignment for that evening involved an accurate inventory of all “firefighting hose” that is currently carried on the response vehicles and/or stored in the fire station and at the Training Site. There is a total of greater than 15, 000 feet of hose that has to be tested every year.

April 15, there was an EMS In-service that offered a review of the protocols and principals applied to the triage of injured subjects at a mass-casualty incident.

April 22, the members participated in an apparatus pre-plan which depicted a scenario of an active fire in an individual unit on the top floor of Park Place in The Gates. We did have a fire in an individual unit at Park Place on the top floor of The Gates within the last six weeks.

April 29 was a work night at the firehouse so we could change all of the filters in the vehicle exhaust-evacuation system.

Chief Willman stated, annually, we work with St. Anthony’s Hospital and host a training scenario for all doctors that are student doctors, residents at the hospital. They join the environment of Public Safety, which they don’t often see. We had about five departments with three ambulances, and the doctors go into the back of an ambulance where there is a mannequin. They have to try to start an IV while in route. There was also a mannequin in a car with the windshield removed to simulate having to care for an individual from the roof of a vehicle.

Chief Willman commented that it was by coincidence that the State Fire Marshal happened to do a spot visit and was very pleased to see that type of collaborative training taking place.

Police Department:

Chief Kveton reported from April 1, 2019 through April 30, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 19,937 miles and responded to 566 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 21 arrests with 34 charges being filed. There were 339 traffic citations issued, along with 290 written warnings, for a total of 629 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $24,500; other thefts totaled $14,397; and recovered property totaled $9,259.

Chief Kveton reported that there have been two serious accidents along US 41, both in front of Alsip; one of which included a fatality. Chief Kveton asked everyone to please stay in the right lanes when driving down US 41 as many drivers turn left onto and off of US 41 and get rear ended or t-boned.

Chief Kveton reported that they had lock-down drills at Clark and Kolling and operated a drug-safety awareness program at St. John Evangelist School.

Chief Kveton reported that Officer Sidenbender, Officer Sandaker, and Officer Adams were able to subdue a suicidal individual wielding a knife and get him to put the knife down; as a result, they were able to take that individual to get medical assistance.

Chief Kveton gave thanks to Texas Roadhouse and Target who provided food to the Police Department in praise and thanks for their hard work.

Ms. Hernandez thanked Corporal Steve Rudzinski, who is retiring, for his years of service and asked him how long he had been with St. John. Corporal Rudzinski responded that he has been here for 29 and that he was an officer elsewhere for eight years prior to that.

Mr. Barenie congratulated Corporal Rudzinski.

Chief Kveton stated to Mr. Panczuk that if he had any questions about the budget, he would be happy to meet with him and go over it with him.

Town Manager:
Mr. Kil reported that an organization called Sleep in Heavenly Peace will be building bunkbeds for those in need in the K-mart parking lot on June 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They have secured the permission of the owner of the property to use the parking lot for this event.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Panczuk to please get a Special Event Permit for the car show and explained why there is a need for that permit.

Mr. Kil reported that the EDC has made a request to the Town Council that they be allowed to do a comprehensive study of the US 231 corridor as their next project, which would include a land-use study that may include restructuring the TIF districts in that corridor. He further reported that they would also request a budget, not to exceed $10,000, for professional services for a land-use planner, traffic engineer, or the like, to assist them as needed.

Mr. Forbes asked if the EDC is aware that the southeast corner of US 231 and US 41 will not be anything more than what it currently is. Mr. Kil responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kil commented that INDOT plans to build a multi-lane roundabout at the intersection of Cline Avenue and US 231.

Mr. Forbes emphasized that where the nature preserve is on US 231 and US 41 will never be developed. Mr. Kil added that the DNR officer said that the nature preserve there is irreplaceable and compared it to the Mona Lisa.

Mr. Kil stated that EDC doing this project would be beneficial to layout potential land use and TIF districts in that corridor.

Mr. Swets stated that he has concerns about spending money on traffic engineering when there are extensive traffic studies that have already been done that the EDC can look at. Mr. Kil responded that it wouldn’t be for a traffic study, this project is a land-use plan.

Mr. Swets stated that Mr. Kil said it did include a possible traffic study. Mr. Kil responded that they may possibly need a traffic engineer’s input to look at a small impact of an area, but it is primarily for a land-use planner; they don’t want to waste money on unnecessary studies. They are looking for a little bit of money for professional consulting to help them along.

Mr. Swets stated that he would be in favor of this project. Mr. Barenie stated that he is also in favor of it and entertained a motion.

Motion by Mr. Forbes to authorize a land-use plan for the US 231 corridor done by the EDC with funding in an amount not to exceed $10,000. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion
Ms. Hejl stated that, in lieu of the Police Department’s car situation, she would like to make a motion.

Motion to purchase two squad cars by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Kil advised that the cars will need to be purchased outside of the 275 account and that it will have to come from one of the capital funds.

Mr. Swets stated that he doesn't believe that putting a Town employee in charge of making the decision whether to give a waiver to give a Councilman on any fees is not a good policy and something that should be looked at and addressed.

Mr. Swets noted that this weekend is Memorial Day – and we have two holidays during the course of the year to honor our veterans, Memorial Day and Labor Day – please take time to appreciate the freedoms we have because of the veterans who have given their lives for us.

Mr. Kil stated that, over the years that he has been the Town Manager, hundreds of businesses have forgotten to get a business license, simply didn’t get one, or changed management; and the Town never has fined any member of our business community for not getting their business license. He further stated that we would inform them that they need to get their business license, and they come in right away and get their license. Mr. Kil noted that this has been going on for years.

Mr. Kil stated that if the Town Council would like to, they can amend the Ordinance to eliminate this; however, fining somebody all that money for a $25 license really serves no purpose.

Mr. Barenie stated that we can’t selectively pick one person out if there are hundreds.

Mr. Kil stated that people babysit out of their homes and that do hair out of their homes don’t have licenses. Mr. Kil stated that we have taken the position that if a member of our business community isn’t in compliance, we call them and ask them to come in compliance; and in fact, Ms. Hejl did get a license.

Mr. Swets stated that if we don’t have a policy or an ordinance in place and you call somebody up and say to come down and get your permit or there’s going to be a penalty involved, there needs to be some substance to say that, if they don’t do this, there will be some penalty, in order to motivate them.

Mr. Forbes stated that there is a fine in the Ordinance for that motivation.

Mr. Swets stated that he doesn't want to see the fine go away.

Mr. Forbes stated that there is a fine attached to many of our ordinances, many of which apply to residences. Code Enforcement goes to the house and tells the folks who live there what needs to be done, and we give them an opportunity to clean it up. We don’t just issue a ticket; they are given several opportunities to be compliant. When they don’t comply, the fines kick in. If the fines aren’t in the ordinances, there is no backbone to rely on when we need to apply them.

Mr. Swets emphasized that he doesn't think it’s a good idea to put a Town employee in the position of making a determination whether or not a Town Council member gets a waiver.

Mr. Forbes stated that he believes this is a unique situation; and the only reason it’s an issue is because it is a political issue. If it were anybody else, we wouldn’t even be talking about this. Mr. Barenie concurred.

Mr. Kil stated that, when he looked at this situation, he wanted to be consistent and did what he has done for almost two decades. He further stated that if it’s been consistently wrong, then it’s been consistently wrong; but at least it has been consistent.

Mr. Kil reiterated that there is no reason to penalize members of the business community. Mr. Kil stated to Mr. Swets that he understands where he’s coming from and would rather to never be put in that type of a position for anything.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $2,149,292.42, dated May 23, 2019, and entertained a motion.

Motion to pay the bills by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 3 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 6:57 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

06-19-2019 Town Council

June 19, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on June 19, 2019, at 6:30 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Also present: Steve Kil, Town Manager; Monica Brownewell Smith, Special Counsel, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP; and Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer.

Absent: None.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

None was had.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and opened the floor for the same.

Dale Robert (11990 Heron Lake Road): I see we have a different attorney here tonight; I was wondering if she represents that same company as, uh, the same firm.

(Ms. Brownewell Smith responded that she is not from the same firm.)

Okay, cause I had a question on that it was a conflict of interest.

(Ms. Brownewell Smith reiterated that she is not from the same firm.)

Okay. Thank you.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): Two things: One regarding the Special Meeting, it was, uh, a surprise, short notice. Um, notice it’s regarding BLB, concerned about what the settlement is. We don’t have any information on the public side of things; so I’m worried if it’s cash, if it’s going to be rezoning for Mr. Lotton; anything that would, uh, work as settlements. I’m concerned on what would be parlayed, so, um, I ask that you be good stewards of our Town’s money and our property values. So whatever settlement is worked, I hope the details are disclosed. Again, we’re completely in the dark on it, and, uh, it’s concerning.

On another topic, uh, that concerns the Town Council directly – and this – this is my first opportunity to address it – is, um, I ask that you, um, address the ongoing, seemingly, lack of, um, ability of the Police Commission to both welcome citizen involvement and carry out their duties. Uh, there’s been meeting after meeting with no public comment. Um, you folks were in charge of appointing those people; and I ask that you, uh, have them do their duty and give our officers due process in a timely manner, as it should be. Our men and women in blue should be able to be, uh, supported and know that if there’s any issue that needs to be brought in front of the commission that it is dealt with in a timely manner and properly; and that has not been the case. So being that you guys are the, uh, legislative body in – in charge of appointing those folks, I ask that you address that situation or get folks in those positions that can deal with this properly. Thank you.

Jack Sacks (9458 East Oakridge Drive): Last month, I came with a complaint about of a neighbor of ours that had a branch hanging over. I went to the coding department; I went to see Steve Kil; I talked to Mickey; I went back to the coding department; it was fixed yesterday. This is three weeks for – the branch hung over a – a public sidewalk where kids and grownups walk. I went over there and talked to the neighbor, and I said I would cut it for him. He said to stay away from it. Why does it take – this – this was a hazard. Somebody could have lost an eye; and I stressed it when I went to the – in front of these people, and it was done yesterday.

The second thing I just would like – when are they going to start fixing some of these streets? Uh, I’ve got a spot right in – on 94th Place that I – right next to my house. It’s peeling; it’s coming off the – you go down 93rd street, you have to drive in the middle of the road because it’s so bad on the ea – on going west. It’s, uh, I didn’t know the meeting was going to be tonight or else I would have had a list of some of the streets. But the – but they really are in bad shape. Thank you.

Kathy Lakatos (10253 Upper Peninsula Lane): I just moved here a year and a half ago. I live in Peninsula Point and, um, so the ba – my back yard faces Bull Run and, uh, there’s a sidewalk. They fly down that road, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the sidewalk – the – there’s a, um, walking path for people with their dogs. It’s – it’s collapsing. It’s sinking. It’s full of mud. Last year, St. John did come out and they had these big bull doe – doe, you know, dozers, whatever. They dug it all up. It’s flooding; and so the asphalt right in all that area, it’s breaking up.

Now, they did come back and patch the holes, trying, you know; but it’s all flying all over with the cars. Um, and it – it’s just – you can see the – the ripples of the water. Something’s wrong. If somebody could just, maybe, come up there again and take a look at it. So it’s directly behind my house, so I’m 10253. Uh, they can’t even cut the grass. You, you know, they’ll cut the common area, and then they stop. It’s all real high because it’s flooded. That’s it.

(Mr. Forbes responded that Public Works and the Town Engineer are currently working on that issue.)

Oh, okay.

(Mr. Forbes explained that they don’t know where the water is coming from. It’s not a water main; it’s not a sewer; but they are trying to figure out where the water is coming from.)

Okay. Oh, all right. Thank you.

Carol Webb (11602 Upper Peninsula Lane): I’m a walker. I like to walk on the walking path. Half the time, they’re under water when it rains; and it’s like that for weeks. So I don’t know if there’s money in the park fund or anything, but, so many of our walking trails are under water. It’s horrible, so, and she fell into – when we went to the park, and yeah, you can’t even it’s like –

(Ms. Lakatos spoke from her seat in the audience: It sucked in my flip-flops and I fell down. It was embarrassing.)

But anyway, thank you.

Having no on further wishing to speak, Mr. Barenie closed the floor.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Consideration of Settlement Agreement with BLB St. John, LLC
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider a settlement agreement with BLB St. John, LLC. He further advised that Attorney Monica Brownewell Smith from the firm of Barnes & Thornburg is here and turned the floor over to her.

Ms. Brownewell Smith greeted everyone and introduced herself. She stated that Barnes & Thornburg has been representing the Town for about the past year and a half on a lawsuit brought against the Town by a developer called “BLB St. John, LLC” that relates to a sewer interceptor that was constructed through The Gates of St. John. She further stated that there’s an allegation that’s been made against the Town that the Town owes money for the cost of that interceptor construction and interest in the amount of about $3.3 million.

Ms. Brownewell Smith stated that the litigation has been ongoing for the past eighteen months. They have done depositions in the case; exchanged documents; had formal conversations with lawyers from BLB; and just recently, had a day-long mediation where a mediator met with the parties and talked about potential settlements and potential ways to resolve the litigation against the Town. Ms. Brownewell Smith advised that the result of that mediation was a settlement offer from BLB St. John that has been presented to and discussed by the Town Council; and that settlement offer is what is here tonight to be voted on as to whether or not to accept that settlement offer.

Ms. Brownewell Smith stated that her firm has provided guidance and counsel to the Town Council about the settlement and their analysis of it with respect to the risks of the case and what is being asked and offered to the Town. Ms. Brownewell Smith advised that they believe it is a fair offer that the Town consider. She further advised that they have tendered the settlement offer to the Town Council to discuss and ask questions, which they have done; so now it is before the Town Council for a vote as to whether or not to accept the settlement offer as it’s presented.

Mr. Barenie invited the Council Members to make remarks or ask questions.

Mr. Swets thanked Ms. Brownewell Smith for the work she has done and for answering the questions that he had. Mr. Swets stated “I don’t think it is wise to settle on a case like this with these consequences when it’s something that I think we have a good chance to win in court.” Mr. Swets further stated that based on the information that he’s received, he is not willing to trade control of the future development of the town for this case and that he is against the settlement agreement.

Ms. Popovic thanked Ms. Brownewell Smith, as well, and stated that they had an executive session that lasted several hours with Ms. Brownewell Smith and Mr. Bart Karwath from Barnes & Thornburg, who walked us through the full gamut of all the facts and the legal issues.

Ms. Popovic asked Ms. Brownewell Smith what her analysis is, if the Town were to take this trial; what the maximum liability would be; and what the chances of success are, as there are a lot of moving parts to this matter. Ms. Brownewell Smith concurred that there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of different pieces to the claims and the defenses; in any litigation, there is a lot of uncertainty.

Ms. Brownewell Smith stated that based on their review and analysis, they think that the Town could stand to have a $3.3 million judgment against it. In a case like this, it’s mostly an all or nothing kind of award or decision. If the Town were successful, it would owe nothing. If the Town were liable, it could owe $3.3 million. It is hard to say, at this point, whether you would win or lose. They’ve looked at all the facts and analyzed what they think are good defenses that they’ve put forth for the Town. Having said all of that, it’s always a good idea to take a look at what certainty a settlement can provide and whether you can reach some kind of agreement that both sides, maybe, like a little and don’t like a little to get the certainty of a resolution and to stop paying attorneys’ fees or appellate fees or interest or risks or things that you would have to bear if you let litigation continue.

Ms. Popovic asked what other potential liability that the Town would have with an issue that hasn’t necessarily been raised but is part of the settlement and what that liability might be insofar as that issue is concerned. Ms. Brownewell Smith responded that there are two pieces of the settlement, which Mr. Swets touched on one of them related to zoning and classifications of property in St. John, another piece that you’ve mentioned is that there is a contract dispute that hasn’t yet been filed in court, but it’s one that’s out there.

Ms. Brownewell Smith advised that BLB has stated that there is a disagreement with how to interpret a part of the contract that the Town has with BLB, and this settlement would settle that controversy as well. She further advised that they expect what they’ve been told and would take that at face value and expect a second lawsuit if that piece were not part of this settlement.

Ms. Popovic asked if the second agreement regarding the units was from 2005-2006. Ms. Brownewell Smith responded that it was from 2005. Ms. Popovic asked for confirmation that this is based on an agreement that is almost 14 years old, in terms of when it was executed. Ms. Brownewell Smith responded in the affirmative and clarified that both agreements that are being discussed are 14-15 years old.

Mr. Forbes stated that he thinks Mr. Swet’s confidence in winning this case is overstated. The agreement that is in front of the Town Council is fair: It gets rid of the lawsuit and stops the expenditure of attorneys’ fees; so he supports the settlement agreement.

Ms. Popovic noted that other options were considered during the executive session in terms of if the plaintiff would be willing to look at some other alternatives.

Ms. Popovic asked if the plaintiff’s counsel is going to be here. Mr. Kil responded that the plaintiff’s counsel is here and in the audience.

Mr. Barenie stated that there has been discussion of how the Town would have to pay the liability of $3.3 million and asked if we would owe a check. Ms. Brownewell Smith confirmed the same and explained that the Town would have to pay out a lump-sum payment if a judgement were issued against the Town.

Mr. Barenie stated that it was also discussed how to fund that payment. Ms. Brownewell Smith concurred and stated that there were discussions as to how the Town would be able to satisfy a judgment.

Mr. Barenie stated that there are ways to do that through settlement bonds, which is basically a loan.

Mr. Kil advised that we don’t have the cash sitting in the bank to write that kind of a check.

Mr. Barenie stated that we would then have a loan and asked if it would be ten years or fifteen years. Mr. Kil responded that it would most likely be a judgment bond issue for a term of about ten years.

Mr. Barenie stated that we need to consider that a $3.3 million bond, at a 4% interest rate, would turn into $5 million, so paying the interest on that debt is another risk.

Hearing no further questions or comments, Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to approve the settlement agreement by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
None was had.
Staff
None was had.
Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion
Ms. Popovic requested confirmation that this settlement agreement can become public information now that it has been voted on. Mr. Barenie confirmed the same.

Ms. Popovic stated that it now becomes public and copies can be distributed so everybody can look at it, since everyone is interested in it. She further stated that this type of information cannot be disseminated publicly until it is voted on. Ms. Brownewell Smith confirmed the same.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 6:49 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

06-27-2019 Town Council Rescheduled to 07-11-2019
07-11-2019 Town Council

July 11, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on July 11, 2019, at 7:32 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Also present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the May 23, 2019 Regular Meeting and the June 19, 2019 Special Meeting.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Town Council correspondence and reports and asked for the same.

Ms. Popovic reported that the employee manual has been completed and circulated to all the department heads for final approval and any comments; and once it’s approved, the departments will start training.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and opened the floor for the same.

Wayne Pondinas (8781 Verbena Court): After winning the primary election this past May and spending some time trying to educate myself about the makeup of Town boards and commissions, I learned that appointments to the Plan Commission are to be pi – bi partisan. Mr. Nick Georgiou was recently appointed to the Plan Commission this year as a Democrat; however, he has voted Republican in the past primary, just months after being appointed to the Plan Commission as a Democrat.

In 2016, this same issue came about by, uh, Town Council and the – Christian Jorgensen regarding Jim Maciejewski being appointed to the Plan Commission as a Democrat but also voting Republican. Mr. Maciejewski was removed immediately and Mr. Kennedy was appointed in his place. Pursuant to the law and past practice, I am respectively requesting that Mr. Georgiou be removed tonight from the Plan Commission and that any votes Mr. Georgiou participated in from May 8 to the date, or to today’s date, while on the Plan Commission, including that of Three Springs, be vacated and deemed invalid.

And I have, uh, – I’ll present the – the records for how he voted, uh, if I can come forward.

(Mr. Pondinas handed the documentation to Ms. Hernandez.)

Tara Tauber (on behalf of Mark and Stacy Spejewski 10172 Sagebrush Lane): Good evening; I’m an attorney at Tauber Law Offices. I’m here today on behalf of Mark and Stacy Spejewski, St. John residents who reside at 10172 Sagebrush Lane. My clients have lived in St. John for fourteen years. They’re a good hardworking family; and they’ve raised kind-hearted children here. I’ve known this family for several years; although, I have never had the pleasure of knowing their youngest daughter, Molley Lanham. By now, most of you are aware of the horrible events that took Molley’s life earlier this year along with the life of her friend Thomas Grill from Cedar Lake.

The family asked me to come here today to speak on their behalf to make you, as the Town Council, aware of the treatment that they received from the Police Department during the week that Molley was missing, as well as after she was found, so that hopefully you can make sure, as a Town Council, that this never happens to another family again.

And by the way, I’m – I’m here in an unofficial capacity. There – there’s not a, uh, any claim that – that the Spejewskis ever intend to make against the Town.

The last communication that Molley had with her family was on Monday, February 25 of this year. When she failed to communicate with her family by the next day, they knew that there was a serious problem. They came into the Police Department the very next day, the Tuesday, to report the fact that their daughter was missing. She was 19 years old. From day one of this ordeal, the Spejewskis felt that Molley’s disappearance was not taken seriously by the Police Department here. Even their words from their initial missing person report that they filed were not accurately recorded in the official police report.

During the week she was missing, the Police Department repeatedly told the family that she was just a runaway. Each communication that the family had during that week with St. John Police Officers and Detectives let the family – left the family with the feeling that the department did not recognize the seriousness of this situation. For example, we have information that the Lake County Sheriff’s Department offered assistance to St. John, and St. John turned it down. That’s just one example.

The family, throughout that week, continuously provided tips, leads, and other information to the police officers in an effort to frantically find their daughter. Most of that information is not included in any police report, their final police report, um, from the department. In fact, Mr. Spejewski contacted one of the detectives several times that week, and his phone call was never even returned. He had to go into the Police Department, himself, in order to get somebody to answer him.

They hired their own private investigator; they combed the streets. They, themselves, did whatever that they could do to – to track down leads in order to pass this information along to St. John in an effort to help look for their daughter. And yet, detect – well, a detective told Mr. Spejewski, toward the end of the week, that the St. John Police Department had wasted too many man hours on a runaway. Perhaps the most shocking behavior from the St. John Police Department came from one of your officers; and I’m happy to let you know who it is in private.

The very next day that they – after they gave their report, which was Wednesday, the family received information that a 17-year-old boy from Valparaiso named Connor Kerner was involved in their daughter’s disappearance. They immediately came to the St. John Police Department to provide this information to the Police Department. One of your officers told the family that this boy was known to them and that he was not dangerous. Imagine the insult and utter disgust that this family felt the following Saturday evening when they learned that this very same boy, who had been dubbed not dangerous by their very own Police Department, had murdered their beautiful daughter.

This is not an exhaustive list of the horrendous behavior that the St. John Police Department exhibited toward this family that week. There were many other issues, and I know I have a limited amount of time. But I did also want you to know that on, at approximately six o’clock in the evening on Saturday, March 2, the Spejewskis received a phone call from the St. John Police Department informing them that they needed to immediately get in their car and drive to the Porter County Sheriff’s Department and ask for a detective. They had no idea why; but of course, they did what they were told.

When they got to the Porter County Sheriff’s Department and asked for a detective, the detective and the entire department was dumbfounded as to why the family was there. They said, “We were expecting St. John to handle this. St. John should be handling this; but since they failed to do it, come on in, we’ll do it.” And what they did, which St. John should have handled, was then inform this family that their young daughter had been murdered and the circumstances surrounding her death.

The experience the Spejewskis had with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department was like night and day compared to St. John. At Porter County, they were treated with compassion and professionalism. Imagine the long car ride home after receiving that kind of news; and you know that car ride never should have happened because the St. John Police Department should have gone to their house in St. John and delivered this information in person.

Since that initial phone call from St. John telling them to go out to the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, how many times do you think the St. John Police Department reached out to this family? I will tell you; not once. Not one apology for telling the family that their daughter’s murderer was not dangerous. Not one phone call offering a condolence. Not one visit from a chaplain or offer of support or referral to any support services that might be available to families who lose a loved one to a violent crime, not one, and that, folks, I find completely unacceptable to any community, especially this one.

St. John boasts many reasons about why its residents should be proud of the community they live in, and there are many good things going on here. In addition to being ranked No. 1 safest place to live, you have many things to be proud of. And I recognize that this heinous crime didn’t occur in St. John, but the victim and her family lived here. If this is an indication of how the Police Department treats its residents, performs its investigations and such, I think you have a serious problem here that needs to be addressed.

I’d like, finally, the Police Department and the Town Council to know just a little bit about the resident that they lost. Molley Renee Lanham was a spunky but shy child. She was active in ballet, dancing in the Indiana Ballet Theatre. She played soccer, golf, and she ran track. She was the co-captain of her soccer team at Hanover Central her senior year of high school. She was burdened most of her life by anxiety; but she was compassionate beyond words. She loved her family and her dear friends; and she loved animals like no other. Molley was unapologetically herself, and she had a beautiful soul. Molley left behind four siblings, Lauren, Lindsey, Logan, and Madison, who miss her terribly. She lived 19 years of life without judgment of others. Her future was stolen from her, and her death was beyond senseless.

Molley deserved better, and her family deserved better. And the Spejewskis only hope, that by having me speak out today, that others facing tragedies in this town will be treated much differently in the future and that this never happens again. I appreciate your time this evening.

Jack Sacks (9458 East Oakridge Drive): First of all, I'm hard of hearing in both ears. I could not hear this young lady one bit. I could not hear any of your conversations in there. The sound system in here is terrible. But my big – I have some questions about roads and parks and all that, but my question is: This young lady just came up here and spoke from her heart, and did anyone listen to her? Is anybody going to ask her any questions? Is there anything that the Town of St. John can do for her or anybody else, myself, or anybody else that follows me? Is there anything that makes anybody in this Council interested in what we're saying?

I went – I brought up the subject a couple weeks ago, a month ago, about a branch. Nobody did anything. I've got questions here about parks and all that. I don't see anybody writing anything down. Is there any process, I'm asking, is there any process that anybody comes back to a person who bares their soul at this desk and asks and brings up subjects? Does anybody care? I don't really think so, and what a shame.

I mean some that – I have a question: Do you people get paid? You do, don't – Mark, you get paid? To do what? Don't – doesn't anybody in this room matter? I – I mean does anybody write anything down? Does anybody get back? You have our name; you have our telephone numbers. Does anybody get back to these people and say we listen to you and this is what we decided or talked about? Mark, does anybody care?

(Mr. Barenie responded in the affirmative and said, “We all care.” Mr. Barenie explained that things are prioritized.)

Pardon me?

(Mr. Barenie repeated that some things are prioritized. Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Sacks if he could hear.)

No.

(Mr. Barenie stated that everyone on the Council cares, takes notes, and does follow up by order of importance.)

(Mr. Forbes stated that the tree branch spoken of at a prior meeting had been removed within a couple days after that meeting.)

Because I went to Steve Kil.

(Mr. Barenie explained how the process works and that Public Works would be the one to remove the branch.)

Well, will somebody – she brought up some points, right, the young lady that just was up here?

(Mr. Barenie stated that everyone brings up good points.)

Okay. Does anybody get back and say this is what we heard and this is what we have decided and this is what we're going to come back and do?

(Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative.)

(Mr. Barenie responded that he believes Chief Kveton already started a conversation with her. Other Council Members concurred.)

But somebody will get back to her?

(Mr. Barenie responded he believes that has already happened.)

Okay.

(Mr. Forbes addressed the audience and explained that the Council does care but does not react immediately to someone at the podium. When items or issues are brought up, the Council Members take notes, look into those items, discuss them with the Town Manager, and then The Council Members respond and/or take action.)

Does somebody – one – one person's up here. I have a couple questions, but they're not that important. The procedure is what's important to me. If I say something about the par – the parks, we have hanging branches that the wind has brought down; they have been there for weeks. Now, I've gone to Chip, and he is – they’re still there. Don't these people that work in the parks –

(Mr. Barenie stated that the employees of the Town work very hard and that there are branches down all over due to the storms.)

Safety should be a priority, okay. But these parks – these trees that are coming down, they broke off; and – but they’re hanging off from the top. There are kids that walk around, there are fishermen that walk. Someday they're going to come down, and they could come down on a person. But the people in the park district, they walk around there; they collect the garbage; they – don't they ever look and see the – these branches are huge; and they're right in the – they're obvious. And they –

(Mr. Barenie responded that everything has been noted.)

Pardon me?

(Mr. Barenie repeated that everything has been noted and asked for the name of the park.)

Okay. But there is a procedure?

(Mr. Barenie explained that we needed to move along as there are other residents who may wish to speak.)

Okay. But there is a procedure? You guys —

(Mr. Barenie responded in the affirmative.)

Thank you. That's all I wanted.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): We've been down this road a few times in the last two years. This is the third appearance for Three Springs development before the Town Council. Just a few months ago, the Plan Commission approved building several R-1 homes within 15 feet of a 42-inch natural gas pipeline carrying over 1 billion cubic feet of gas a day. The Town Council then approved it with no consideration for the safety of the buyers of the property or of their families. This did not go over too well with the town residents. The residents of Three Springs made it very clear that they would not allow buyers to purchase any lots in the development without them knowing that the pipeline was there.

So now the developer has brought back the plat for another try. This time he added 12 duplexes, or 24 units, versus 46 total units in the phase, or 52% of the planned development. This percentage of multi-units are completely outside the town – the Town's Comprehensive Plan range, which ranges between 8% and 10% for multi-units. The arguments against this development are still the same as the first and second time it came before this body. Excuse me, the current residents of phase 2 were told phase 3 would be R-1. The town map on the Town website showed the property zoned R-1 – and even the realtor was telling buyers that it would also be R-1 – so buyers invested in phase 2 property with that as their belief. Now, half of the units being built are going to be duplexes on R-3 zoned lots.

The developer knew, when he purchased the property, that high tension lines and the pipeline were on the property, and he bought it anyway. Thus, he cannot come in here now and plead for hardship to get rezoning. Residents of Three Springs, Phase 2, had every expectation that the next phase was going to be R-1 when they invested heavily in their homes. Now their property values will be affected by the building of anything other than single-family dwellings next to their properties. Allowing this many more duplexes to be built in a development already over the Comprehensive Plan’s suggested percentage of 8-10% is entirely too much.

The residents of St. John voted on May 7 for the candidates who ran on a platform of large R-1 lots and a reduction of multi-units town wide. We would hope that the Council heard those voters’ voices and vote no on this rezoning. Thank you.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): Good evening. Um, let me just say that, uh, I – I was not prepared for what I just heard; and I don't think either any – anyone else here was either. I just want to just mention that and, um – and I know the police officers don't have an easy job every day, day to day; and neither do you all sitting up there. But, uh, I’d – I certainly hope and – and I'm sure you will look into it, uh – uh, finding out what happened, not just to place blame, but to prevent future incidences. Maybe we need some – a look at how we, uh, handle these kinds of cases. It might seem innocent at first, and then it goes way wrong. So I would definitely appreciate you all following up and – and I think you've already got that on your mind too, so. Uh, but I couldn't walk away from here without saying that at least, um, on behalf of that family.

Um, Town business tonight, um, I just want to support what Wayne Pondinas, uh, brought up regarding the makeup of our boards and commissions. I think that needs to be, um, always, uh, done properly and ethically; so please do pursue, um, his question. Um, I have a question regarding the number of ordinances: Normally when you adopt ordinances, you read them but do not adopt them at first reading; is that going to be the case tonight, so we'll have a chance to proof it and make comment next meeting? Or – or I would ask that we have a chance to – to see that. So it hits the agenda; and there it is. We -- we have no idea what it actually contains. So that would be helpful.

Uh, last subject is Three Springs. Um, I think Mr. Blazak hit a lot of it. Um, I – the residents keep coming – coming to us over and over. Uh, they’re really concerned about their values. I know it's almost like a broken record; but, um, I just want to remind you that, um, you're tasked tonight with, um, Indiana Code 36–7– 4–603. Uh, the Plan Commission is tasked with this as well as the legislative body, which is you all; and, um, item 4 is the conservation property values throughout the jurisdiction. Uh, they’re – they’re rightfully concerned.

Although duplexes can carry a respectful value, they're generally not equal on a residence-by-residence basis for property value. Um, if they're paying 400, 450 for a single-family home along the lake, they'd like to have single-family homes that are close to that price nearby them and – and folks making that kind of income to afford those, and, uh, I think, they have a right to, uh, be worried about their values. They bought in when it was R-1. The map still on – still on the website dated, uh, January 2017 shows it all R-1. So they have a legitimate concern that there was a changeup done or that there is a change attempting to be done. So that's all I have. Thank you very much.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I'd like to incorporate, by reference, what all of the previous speakers said, as I agree with and support. Um, one additional item, I’m – I look at the monies spent. I was looking – maybe this is a question for the Clerk-treasurer. Uh, is Kevin Smith's bill on any of these items here?

(Ms. Hernandez stated that it should be.)

I was looking for that attorney you hired. I was looking through all of them, and I couldn’t locate – at least from the way it was described – Kevin Smith's legal bills that were to be paid tonight.

(Ms. Hernandez instructed Mr. Hero where to find information.)

And what date was he hired?

(Ms. Hernandez responded that she would look it up and let him know.)

Can – can repeat the location of that? Where you say page 7, I don't see any numbers on the pages that I have.

(Ms. Hernandez again instructed Mr. Hero where to find the information.)

All right. Can you –

(Ms. Hejl said it is the second to the last page.)

Okay. When you say you're going to look up to date, are you looking it up now?

(Ms. Hernandez responded that they entered into an agreement on April 12, 2019.)

Okay. The – the reason I ask because I – my recollection is he presided – uh, he's also on the, uh, he's the chairman of the county election commission, and I was trying to figure out if he was under contract at the time with the Town.

(Ms. Hernandez stated that she could give background as to why he was hired separately.)

No. I – I don’t need to know that. I just needed to know the date that he was on the payroll.

(Ms. Hernandez stated that she doesn't know if he is paid in full as of late.)

Not paid in full, but when was he hired?

(Ms. Hernandez stated that he did work for her on one specific project.)

Is he on the payroll now?

(Ms. Hernandez responded in the affirmative and stated that is what the $507 is for.)

The project, was that a previous project? I’m – I’m – when was he first hired on the payroll of the Town?

(Ms. Hernandez stated that he was hired because there was a public access complaint made against her office.)

That’s before April?

(Ms. Hernandez responded that it was made around the time of April and stated that she felt there was a conflict of interest with the Town Attorney representing a Council Member and herself with a public access complaint.)

I can understand that, and I don’t dispute that. I was just trying to find out when he was on the payroll because there was issues that came up at the election commission about certain things, and he was presiding over that. And I was trying to see if there was a conflict between him –

(Ms. Hernandez asked if it was for the issues about her.)

No, not you. The conflict would be –

(Ms. Hernandez stated that it wouldn’t be a conflict of interest then.)

Not, not with you. I was trying to figure out if he had the conflict by – because I couldn’t distinguish where he was getting paid here. That’s – you’ve answered my question. If you could just look it up and tell me – email me or something – when his date of hire was for your special project and the continuing time that you entered the contract with him and the dates, I’d be appreciative to you. Thank you.

Jeff Gard (Ms. Hernandez read Mr. Gard’s email at the meeting at his request. Said email was forwarded to the recording secretary for the record, and the same has been copied and pasted into this record with only one change; specifically, Mr. Gard’s email address was removed for privacy purposes.)

From: Jeff Gard
Date: Tue, Jul 9, 2019 at 6:31 PM
Subject: Three Springs
To: Beth Hernandez

Dear Council members

I Urge you to vote down the rezoning proposal of Three Springs phase 3, which our Plan Commission Gave a no recommendation to! I, along with my wife, feel it will Affect our property values greatly!

Phase 1 & 2 have 156 lots, 32 duplex lots (or 64 duplex’s). Phase 2 has 12 duplex’s and phase3 is approved for 12 as well. Now Mr. Barrick wants to add 14 more duplex’s and Remove single-family homes. These 14 extra duplexes are not consistent with the existing subdivision, the smallest duplex lot is 135 feet wide the proposed lots are 100 wide. Also Barrick wants to change the exit road to the south I feel that will open the door for another duplex subdivision or lesser value homes.

Our subdivision already surpasses the overall comprehensive plan of 8% duplexes. Is it more important that developers line there pockets or is it more important that the town Council helps the town residence maintain there property values?? It’s not the towns job To make exceptions/deals and give variances to the developers because they chose to buy an exceptionally hard piece of property to develop!! Mr. Barrick admittedly was well aware of the issues with that particular piece of property before even purchasing it. The fact that he admittedly feels that building in that area would not be particularly safe for families with children but feels that it’s ok for people buying duplexes is absolutely ludicrous! So, are we to have another fiasco of tiny duplex lots that our council allowed across from the high school? And are we sure that no one with children would buy them?

I implore you to consider all the repercussions of this plan and vote no!

Thanks your time, and your hard work on the council

Jeff Gard
10005 99th Ave
St John

(A short recess was had by the Town Council.)

Yolanda Cardona (10075 Springlake Road): Sorry about that. There are at least five of us that want to have an opportunity to talk to all of you about Three Springs. So, um, before coming here today, I was really undecided about what the residents of Three Springs should do. Uh, we’re in a really, really difficult position as we sit here today. On the one hand, we have a proposal, uh, that is before all of you for rezoning, adding an additional six duplex homes to the original five that had previously been approved. Um, the residents of Three Springs and I – I have expressed my concerns to all of you via email. Some of you were very gracious to meet with me in person and explain to me how this process works; but it doesn't change the fact that we still feel what we feel.

And there is approximately 15 people sitting in the back ready to talk to all of you. Not all of us can speak on a public forum, so not everybody will come up here, um, and say what they have to say; but I can tell you that I speak for most of them. We all feel the same thing. We all feel that you allowing the additional six duplex homes, um, in phase 3 will significantly decrease our property values. And I think that – to the point the gentleman was making – we want you guys to hear us. This is actually going to happen. Adding these homes will, in fact – maybe not today; maybe not tomorrow; but down the line, it will effectively decrease our property values. So that’s what – what we’re being faced with today.

On the other hand, we have what had been approved in the past by the, uh, Planning Commission, the homes on the pipeline. We should have never been in that position to begin with. We should have never, uh, been put in the position where our safety would have been jeopardized. Some of you were not part of that decision, so I don’t blame you. But there is things that we can do to rectify that mistake that was made in the past.

Some of you were there; but some of you don’t care and don’t want to listen, which is fine. But to the point that the gentleman was making, we matter. We care. We made an investment to our property, so we need all of you to really take into consideration what we’re saying today, um, after hearing what, um, some of my neighbors have said about, um, the Three Springs. A couple points for you: Again, when we purchased the property, we were told that very similar homes to the homes that we live in would be built in phase 3; that is R-1s, R-2s. Um, we were never told that there would be duplexes.

And I understand that, um, the Town, um, has – the Town records show R-1 and that anybody that purchases that property could later on apply for rezoning. That’s fine. That’s not a problem, but where in those records was that statement? I, myself, I’m an attorney, and I looked at those records. There was nothing to evidence that at any point he can go in there and ask for rezoning; so my husband and I purchased the property with the understanding that similar homes would be built, uh, next to our homes. So, um, it’s just disheartening to know that that’s actually not the way that it works.

Um, so I do ask that you consider the reasons why people are up here today. We relied on the statements that were made to us by the realtors. We relied on the records from the Town’s – we had no reason to dispute their accuracy. And I’m sorry, I know I’ve given this speech about 300 times already; it’s the same thing. It takes stamina to fight, uh, the developers in St. John. Seriously, I’ve been here for a year, living in St. John for a year; and I have been up here about seven times. It takes stamina, and people are tired. We need finality.

So to that point, I wanted to just point your attention to, um – I believe somebody else brought it up – it’s Indiana Code 36-7-4-603. There are five factors that all of you have to consider when making this determination.

(Mr. Barenie instructed Ms. Cardona that she had 30 seconds left.)

The factor at issue here is factor No. 4, which is you have to consider how your decision will affect property values; and we are telling you right now that it will, effectively, decrease our property values. So take that into consideration. Uh, we urge you to vote it down, and we’ll take the consequences later on. We will line the streets with signs, and I bet you no one will buy those homes. Who wants to live on a pipeline? I’m sure none of you do, so please vote it down.

Pat Moran (9929 West 100th Place): I would like to remonstrate against the Three Springs, Phase 3, development. I believe the amount of duplexes proposed will have a negative impact on the home values in phase 2, which are large, beautiful homes on large lots. This has been going on for so long. At the March 1, 2017 meeting, Planning Commission meeting, which I attended, there were, at the time, approximately 20 residents that got up here and spoke against the proposal that was proposed at the time. I believe there was like six that, uh, alleged that, um, the developer told them that those houses in there were all going to be R-1 and similar to the homes they were building.

Uh, I remember, at the time, there was a Planning Commission member – I believe his name was Robert Birlson. He stated he believed that these type of homes would have a negative impact on the home values in the area. Through, uh, deferred votes and plat redesign, the residents of Three Springs are – we’re just worn out. We’ve been here so many times, uh, I – we don’t know what more to say to get you to realize we don’t want any duplexes in this area. And I’m asking you to please consider our wishes and deny this development. Thank you,

Mary Jo Biscan (10201 West 99th Avenue): Good evening. Yolanda’s a tough person to follow; so I’m going to go ahead and read what I had anyways. So I’m here tonight to ask you to please not approve the rezoning of phase 3 for the Three Springs subdivision. There’s been much controversy about the plans for phase 3 that many of us have stood here before you stating that we just want plans that adhere to the majority of the other single-family homes in Three Springs.

There’s something to be said for continuity and in keeping with single-family homes in the subdivision. R-1-sized lots have been used throughout phase 1 and 2. And as Bryan stated previously, duplexes are already over the Comprehensive Plan for 8-10%. Um, repetitive, repetitive. It seems that building single-family R-1 homes is the minority in plans being proposed before this board. Where’s the consideration of continuity in a subdivision in keeping up our property values? Is this going to be the norm for St. John to become the multifamily housing for the area?

Our reputation for large lots, which has been a draw through the years, is quickly changing. We don’t really have much of anything else to offer if you, as our board and representatives, don’t take care to allow growth that will keep our property values protected and single-family R-1 homes as the norm. So thank you.

Jose Cardona (10075 Springlake Road): Also echoing the previous speakers about, uh, third phase, Three Springs, uh, development, against it, and, uh, again, just the same argument Don’t understand why it’s either safety or diminish the, uh, home value. So again, just echoing everything that they’ve said. And what does, kind of, perturb me a little bit is I – I have to direct it at Mr. Barick, but how you can –

(Conversation ensued between Mr. Cardona and Mr. Barick with Mr. Forbes and Mr. Barenie intervening and instructing Mr. Cardona to only address the Council.)

Okay. I’ll direct it at you then. How is it that you can develop ahead of an area where you’re not maintaining the properties? Go take a look at the, uh, grass and the weeds next to my residence, and they’re higher than 9 inches. I don’t know, Chief, what the city ordinances are for cutting the grass, but that’s what I wanted to direct towards him. Nothing against you making money, okay. I - I have –

(Mr. Cardona was instructed again by the Council to direct his comments only to them.)

Yeah. Just do it safely and do it right, that’s all. All right, that’s all I wanted to say.

Chris Cook (9829 W 100th Place): Wasn't planning on talking; but after hearing everybody, I just wanted to add my 2 cents. Everybody in the subdivision feels the same way, everybody, everybody, everybody. So please, if – if you want to follow what the people want, please, please listen to them. I’m thankful for them speaking so much. That’s all I wanted to say. Thank you.

Having no one further requesting to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance No. 1685
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1685, an ordinance establishing a maximum fine in relation to all Ordinance Violation cases payable at the Office of the Clerk-Treasurer, in accordance with the audit position of the State Board of Accounts.

Mr. Barenie stated that Items A, B, and C are all State Board of Accounts recommendations.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1685 on first reading by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

The adoption of Ordinance No. 1685 has been deferred to the August 22 meeting.

B. Ordinance No. 1686

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1686, an ordinance amending the 2019 Salary Ordinance, in accordance with the audit position of the State Board of Accounts.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1686 on first reading by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

The adoption of Ordinance No. 1686 has been deferred to the August 22 meeting.

C. Resolution No. 2019-07-11
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Resolution No. 2019-07-11, a resolution approving Debt Forgiveness, in accordance with the audit position of the State Board of Accounts.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-07-11 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

D. Consider Acceptance of Letter of Credit for Greystone, Unit 1, Block 4
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider acceptance of a Letter of Credit for Greystone, Unit 1, Block 4, in the amount of $20,515. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to accept the Letter of Credit as submitted by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

E. Ordinance No. 1687
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1687 regarding a zone change for Three Springs, Unit 3, from R-2 to R-3. This received no recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1687 by Mr. Forbes.

Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG presented copies of the plan to the Town Council Members and explained that they are seeking this rezone to eliminate lots that currently have multiple easements dissecting them, including two easements for pipelines.

Mr. Rettig stated that they do have approval to start construction for the last plan approved by the Plan Commission that contains the pipeline easements, as well as the high-tension power line and fiber optic line easements. They came back with the revised plans because they felt safety was paramount. Mr. Rettig commented that the revised plan eliminates 14 single-family homes to add 12 duplex units, so they are reducing the density. Everything north of the pipeline consists of all R-1 and R-2 lots where the property abuts phase 2.

Mr. Forbes noted that it is only a portion of the phase that is being rezoned and that the new plan has less density with the added duplex lots than it did with the previous plans. Mr. Forbes stated that every time this petitioner has come in here, the density has been reduced. Mr. Forbes stated that the only way the residents of phase 2 would see the duplexes is if they drive back there. Mr. Forbes commented that the argument that duplexes will bring down property value is invalid, especially in St. John. The quality of the builds exceed the standards.

Mr. Forbes explained that the argument about percentage of multifamily is way off and that this development doesn't even register on the overall percentages that the Town goes by. He advised that we don’t go by a single development; we look at the entirety of the town.

Mr. Forbes stated that he will not go to another fair-housing meeting, and that is where this is going. He further stated that any new construction is going to raise all the property values, as it always has. Mr. Forbes commented that this is a great development that meets all of the criteria that was listed. It complies with the Comprehensive Plan, is a good use of the land, preserves property values, and provides connection to help keep traffic off of Parrish Avenue.

Mr. Swets started to say something. Mr. Forbes stated that he doesn't get to speak on this project because he conflicted himself at the Plan Commission meeting when he spoke against this project at the podium before the vote was taken and biased himself.

Mr. Barenie gave Mr. Swets permission to speak about it.

Mr. Swets stated that he thinks the town needs to have a balance of different housing types. Looking at this adding 12 more duplexes, it throws everything out of balance. Mr. Swets stated that he looked at the value of a duplex in phase 1 in comparison to a single-family home, and there was a huge difference between them; so he sees the residents’ point and sympathizes with them.

Ms. Popovic asked Mr. Kil if he knows what the percentages are with the R-3 lots and where we are at as a town.

Mr. Kil responded that we make two differentiations: We look at housing units and we look at structures. A duplex is two units but one structure. We have 8% multifamily structures and about 15% multifamily units; and we have the lowest density of multifamily units of any community around us. Three Springs was taken into consideration when the calculations were done. They are town-wide calculations; as studies are not done development by development.

Ms. Popovic stated that it is difficult not to hear what everyone is saying in terms of what they would like to see in their subdivision and there are already duplexes there. She further stated that she can commiserate with Mr. Barick, who has tried to make certain changes to accommodate everyone. She also stated that in a perfect world, Mr. Barick would be able to develop and maybe those would be R-2 lots rather than R-3, but she doesn't know if that is a possibility at all in conjunction with the duplexes that are already there.

Mr. Barick stated that he would like to clear up a couple things: The gentleman that spoke about the weeds alongside his property, it’s undeveloped land. Mr. Barick stated that the last time Mr. Cardona was up here, Mr. Barick thought he was talking about the lot the Mr. Barick does cut. Mr. Barick stated that if the Town wants him to cut down weeds on undeveloped property, he will.

Mr. Barick stated that nobody who has ever worked for him has ever told anybody that there will be R-1-sized lots in that third phase, as they didn’t even know what the makeup was going to be. Mr. Barick advised that it wasn't all R-1 in the first phase, and the second phase doesn't have any R-1 lots. Mr. Barick stated that he didn’t even know what the makeup was going to be until the plan was being worked up. They worked through the first two phases and then the recession hit, which caused severe losses.

Mr. Barick explained that when he bought the property, the farmers told him he had to buy all 190 acres of land. While he knew there would be some hardships, he didn’t know it would be as difficult as it is. Mr. Barick stated that they got rid of the fourth phase, as it is completely undevelopable, but they are trying to get the third phase done.

Mr. Barick stated that phase 3 is the worst property that has ever come before the Town and asked the Town to help him work with the property so it doesn't end up a wasteland. Mr. Barick stated that folks wanted R-1, and they gave R-1 lots. Those R-1 lots had the pipeline easement in the back; and there was a lot of public opinion on that so they created another plan. More units are needed to support putting in a street with houses only on one side of it. It is impossible to support costs with only six houses; and the bank won’t put their money into the project unless they see where profits can be made. Mr. Barick stated that the duplexes double the units.

Mr. Barick stated that they lost two units when they turned one of the streets from going out to Parrish Avenue to go to US 231 instead; and two units brings in a considerable amount of money. Mr. Barick contended that the argument about more builders putting in duplexes is eliminated by virtue of that street going out to US 231 instead of Parrish Avenue. Mr. Barick noted that the Shillings owns the property on the other side of the high-tension power lines, so there won’t be a duplex problem.

Mr. Barenie asked if there is a second to Mr. Forbes motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1687. Motion dies for lack of a second.

F. Resolution No. 2019-07-11A
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-07-11A, a resolution for a transfer of funds.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-07-11A by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

G. Consider Special Exception Request from Mr. Fred Terpstra to Locate a Culver’s Restaurant at 9885 Wicker Avenue
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the Special Exception request from Mr. Fred Terpstra to locate a Culver’s Restaurant at 9885 Wicker Avenue, adjacent to Target. This received a favorable recommendation from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Motion to approve Special Exception and incorporate the Findings of Fact from the BZA as a contingency of approval by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

H. Consider Revisions to the Joint Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with Lake Central School Corporation
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider revisions to the Joint Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with Lake Central School Corporation.

Motion to approve the revisions to the joint Interlocal cooperation agreement with the Lake Central School Corporation by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

I. Ordinance No. 1688
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1688, an ordinance adopting a Social Media Policy.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1688 on first reading by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

The adoption of Ordinance No. 1688 has been deferred to the August 22 meeting.

J. Ordinance No. 1689
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1689, an ordinance amending the Town Code, Section 16-31, regarding Conflicts of Interest for Officials and Employees of the Town.

Motion to defer the consideration of Ordinance No. 1689 by Mr. Swets. Motion dies for lack of a second.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1689 on first reading by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

The adoption of Ordinance No. 1689 has been deferred to the August 22 meeting.

K. Ordinance No. 1690
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1690, an ordinance amending the current Town Code, Section 16-92, regarding the Town’s Nepotism Policy.

Mr. Swets stated that it includes cousins related by blood or marriage and that he doesn't feel there’s any reason for us to go further than what Indiana Code requires, so he would like to see the “and to include cousins related by blood or by marriage” portion be stricken from this motion.

Motion to strike “and to include cousins related by blood or by marriage” from paragraphs 2 and paragraphs 4 of Section 1 of Ordinance 1689 [sic]. Motion dies for lack of a second.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1690 on first reading by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

The adoption of Ordinance No. 1690 has been deferred to the August 22 meeting.

L. Consider Establishment of a Community Garden and Associated Membership Requirements, Rules, Regulations, and Operational Guidelines
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the establishment of a Community Garden and associated membership requirements, rules, regulations, and operational guidelines.

Motion to authorize the Town Attorney to prepare a draft ordinance for the establishment of a community garden by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

M. Ordinance No. 1679
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1679, an ordinance amending the current Town Code, authorizing the Clerk-Treasurer to make certain disbursements and emergency payments prior to the confirmation of claims. This ordinance received approval on the first reading on May 23, 2019.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1679 by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

N. Ordinance No. 1684
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1684, an ordinance creating Fund 203 – MVH Restricted. This ordinance received approval on the first reading on May 23, 2019.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1684 by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

O. Consider Revisions to the Agreement for Services with St. John Township Trustee for Fire/Emergency Services for Unincorporated Areas
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider revisions to the Agreement for Services with St. John Township Trustee for Fire/Emergency Services for unincorporated areas.

Motion to consider amended agreement as submitted by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer: Ms. Hernandez stated that she has some employee privacy issues that she would like to discuss directly with the Town Council and is requesting that an Executive Session be scheduled. After a brief discussion, it was agreed upon that the Executive Session would take place immediately before the August 22 meeting.
Staff
Fire Department:
Chief Willman reported that during the month of ¬¬June 2019 the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 179 requests for assistance. There were 132 calls in District 1, 36 calls in District 2, and 11 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville, Fire/EMS; Lake Hills, Fire/EMS; Crete, Fire/EMS.

The Monday night activities for the department started during the month of June 2019 included:

The first Monday of the month, June 3, was the Business Meeting for the Volunteer Division of the Fire Department.

On June 10, we spent the evening at the Training Site working on the “Quint” to simulate flowing water through the hand-held hose lines. Our “in-house staff” created different scenarios that presented a variety of challenges for our firefighters to address. It was a great learning experience for all those who were there and able to participate.

June 17 was an EMS in-service reviewing the most appropriate and successful ways to address heat-related emergencies. This time of year always presents challenges for our EMS staff when the heat becomes overwhelming for folks who must work outside for many hours every day.

The last Monday night in June, we took a night away from training and spent the evening hours in a work night mode rather than a classroom mode. We are busier every day, more than we have ever been. Sometimes we need to stop and get the firehouse in order when we get a chance.

Police Department:
Chief Kveton expressed his condolences to the Spejewski family. He stated that he is very sorry for anything that happened that made them feel uncomfortable or that they weren’t addressed properly. He further stated that he has very limited information at this time, that he has spoken with Ms. Tauber in the hallway, and that he would be happy to meet with any member of the family to discuss what was brought up today.

Chief Kveton thanked them for not mentioning certain officers as it will take time to figure out exactly what took place. He stated that he has been trying to pull the reports while sitting here; however, it is difficult to do by phone. Chief Kveton stated that any loss of life is a tragedy. He has lost his brother, and other members of his family; however, he can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child. He then stated that if there is anything he can do for them to please reach out to him.

Chief Kveton reported from May 1, 2019 through May 31, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 20,097 miles and responded to 597 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 25 arrests with 43 charges being filed. There were 298 traffic citations issued, along with 248 written warnings, for a total of 546 citations being issued during the month.

Vehicle thefts totaled $20,000; other thefts totaled $3,591; and recovered property totaled $20,187.

Town Manager:
Mr. Kil asked that the Town Council approve the annual $15,000 donation to the Fire Department for the Training Site and asked if the Town Council would be making a donation to NICK.

Mr. Forbes asked if that is typically $1000. Mr. Kil responded that the donation is typically $1000 to NICK and $15,000 to the Fire Department for the Training Site.

Motion to make the donations as Mr. Kil outlined by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Chief Willman thanked the Council.

Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion
Mr. Swets stated that the fact that we didn’t get a recommendation from the Plan Commission regarding Three Springs shows that there is an imbalance there; and there is an empty spot that Mr. Birlson left when he resigned.

Mr. Swets stated that Mr. Birlson’s work situation has changed, and he would like to take his position back. Mr. Swets stated that he is hoping the Council could make a decision to appoint Mr. Birlson back to that position, which would make it a full Plan Commission again.

Mr. Swets asked Mr. Barenie what action the Council will be taking against Mr. Georgiou’s position. Mr. Barenie responded that he would like to take some time to look at the documentation with legal counsel.

Motion to reappoint Mr. Birlson to the Plan Commission by Mr. Swets. Motion dies for lack of a second.

Ms. Popovic thanked Ms. Tauber for bringing the matter to the Town Council’s attention. Ms. Popovic stated that it is heart wrenching and our heart goes out to the family. Ms. Popovic also thanked Ms. Tauber for sharing some details of Molly’s life as well; what happened is a parents’ worst nightmare, and it is nice to hear things that comprised her life here in St. John with her family.

Mr. Barenie echoed Ms. Popovic’s sentiments and stated that Chief Kveton will certainly look into it right away.

Mr. Forbes concurred with Ms. Popovic and Mr. Barenie.

Mr. Forbes stated that we do have a great group of employees that work for the Town; the financial reports are just in for the second quarter; and things are looking great: revenues are up, expenses are down. He further stated that we typically do bonuses for our employees at this time of the year. It is a common practice, over the past few years, that bonuses are done midyear. Generally Full-time employees, we have given $1000; part-time employees, we have given $500.

Mr. Forbes said, “Elected officials, we don’t get – we don’t get included in this; so we leave ourselves out of that; but the only other thing that I’m going to mention is, outside of the normal bonus, I think – I think Steve (Kil) has done just exceptional work for the Town for the past couple years.”

Mr. Forbes listed multiple items that Mr. Kil has been keeping on task, including the Town’s portion of the Boyer project, the road projects, and taking care of the Town in general. He further stated that Mr. Kil is an asset to the Town and should get an additional bonus and recommended that Mr. Kil be given a $25,000 bonus.

After inaudible comments from the audience; Mr. Forbes said, “That is my motion.” Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

Ms. Hernandez asked for clarification if the motion was just for Mr. Kil or for the employees as well. Mr. Forbes responded that his motion is $25,000 for Mr. Kil, $1000 for full-time employees, and $500 for the part-time employees.

Mr. Barenie and Ms. Popovic concurred that it was for everybody.

Ms. Hernandez stated, “And not elected officials.” Multiple members of the Town Council concurred.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $2,994,022.59, dated July 11, 2019, and entertained a motion.

Motion to pay the bills by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 3 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets and 1 present by Mr. Forbes.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 8:59 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

07-22-2019 Town Council

July 22, 2019 Town Council Special Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on July 22, 2019, at 5:56 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Also present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance No. 1692
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1692, an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 1675, same being the 2019 Salary Ordinance.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that on July 11, 2019, the Town Council passed a motion by a 4-1 vote to declare bonuses for all town employees, which has been an adopted practice within the Town for about the last 10 years. Mr. Svetanoff provided an example: In October of 2018, when the full-time firefighters were approved to enter into the 1977 PERF, the Fire Chief was given a $20,000 bonus into his deferred compensation through a motion.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that under IC §36-5-2 et seq. contemplates that a requirement exists whereby an ordinance, resolution, or any other action, including motions, be passed by a majority vote of the elected members of the Town Council.

Mr. Svetanoff stated that on July 16, 2019, the State Board of Accounts sent the Clerk-Treasurer an email about the bonuses and opined that the action would likely prompt an audit comment due to an employee bonus being considered compensation. Mr. Svetanoff advised that he has confirmed said position in a teleconference directly with the Director of Audit Services for the State Board of Accounts. He further advised that this Town Council is now considering the adoption of this Amendment to Salary Ordinance, in an abundance of caution, as to fully comply with the request of the State Board of Accounts.

Mr. Swets requested that Mr. Barenie open the floor for public comment. Mr. Barenie responded that he would like to pass on that.

Ms. Popovic asked if a motion could be on the record to allow public comment because there are a number of people present. Mr. Barenie agreed to the same.

Motion to allow public comment by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): Since nobody rushed up here, I’ll go first. Um, I filed the complaint with the State Board of Accounts because I thought it was excessive that one individual would be given $25,000 and because Mr. Forbes indicated it was for the Shops of 96 and other works he’s done. To me, that just – I ask the question why, five times, would somebody be given that kind of bonus.

Uh, now you have an ordinance before you today where – it appears from what I’ve seen on the ordinance – you’re going distribute it to multiple people. Now, that’s probably the way it should have been done the first time. Um, this – the im – the simple issue is simply this: Typically, in the corporate world, people have job descriptions; they – there’s human relations people; they – they rate the job; call it “Hay” points. What’s the value of that job? That determines the control point of the salary, the minimums, the max, the average; and at the end of the year, bonuses are done based on performance of the organization.

To do a – a – at this time, it should be contingent on the same criteria to be in existence at the end of the year, because the old-timers, what they used to do is if they were running a maintenance group and there was a bonus at the end of the year, they would run lean, lean, lean; and let everything fall apart so they could collect their bonus early, okay. So I think you should have that same concept.

And the other thing is: I would assume that every job has a description here. The bonuses should be like a percentage, like 3%, a reasonable amount of the guy’s salary. I assume the salary’s related to the job description, the hate points, or however, whatever point system you’ve got to establish a salary range. So I would just hope that you consider that today, so – because it looks – it looks fishy, in my eyes, when one guy gets $25,000. Okay.

We saw this guy interviewed for a job in another state and didn’t get it. Uh, we had the sign stealing going on to disrupt an election. So I think that all the bonuses should be based on a percentage equal across the board; and no one individual should have an extraordinary, high amount of money to raise a suspicion as to the motive. And I think that’s the fair way to do things. Thank you.

(Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Hero what the term “Hay points” is that he is referencing.)

Uh, there’s a company; it’s – it’s their system for rating jobs. It looks at – at your responsibilities. It looks at your daily tasks. It goes through and tells you – it has – it’s a book about four inches thick. Go read it, okay. That’s what industry does. They have some consultant come in and rate their jobs, and then they have control points. They have minimums, maximum, average; and the bonuses are done in January for the preceding year because that’s based on the performance of the company. So to do this thing now, just raised a lot of suspicion, especially the way it was handled. Thank you.

Jerry Shallon (12095 South Oakwood Drive): I’m not against anybody getting a bonus. I worked for Walgreens for forty years and got bonuses for twenty-five of them, but there were pa – parameters that the bonus was based on. We had job descriptions. We were measured on what our percentage of prescription increase was, what our dollar figure for insurance was, what our profit percentage was, what our inventory levels were, what our customer satisfactions ratings were, and things like that. Then a supervisor took it, they calculated it, and they figured out your bonus. A supervisor just didn’t come in, shake my hand, and say, “Oh, Jerry, you did a great job, here’s $20 grand.”

I think before the Town starts giving bonuses out, they should draw up parameters for all the jobs and what those bonuses are going to be based on – be it department savings, accomplishments of the departments, and things like that – and I didn’t see any of that done with any of these bonuses.

Donna Fathke (10729 Maple Lane): I was at the last meeting where these bonuses were voted for, and I have no problem with people getting bonuses if they’ve done a good job. But I think all of you know by now that the reaction of the audience when you announced a $25,000 bonus for one person out of nowhere, that the people of this town thought that was excessive. Now, today, you come back not only with that bonus, but also giving several other people an additional $5,000 to $10,000 bonus over and above what you know the people of this town think is right. You are representatives of the people. Sure, you’re gone after the end of this year; but I think Joe came up with a good term: It looks pretty suspicious about what you are doing with those bonuses.

Joan McInerny (9405 West 90th Lane): I am a retired executive from a Fortune 50 company; and so I've worked for a large corporation. Libby, you probably have to review your billable hours, right, as an attorney. Mr. Forbes, you probably have to do various things of – I think you’re in the automotive industry – how many repairs you make successfully. Mark, you, I think, work in – for, um – for a professional firm downtown and manage a large group of people that you’ve all talked about in your – in your profiles that you’ve posted online. So you’re all familiar with an annual performance review process.

I’m not exactly sure why that doesn't hold true in government, right. If you were going to propose a $25,000 bonus for an individual, I think you have to come and be able to come and really clearly articulate what they did above and beyond their job accountabilities to warrant a $25,000 bonus. I’m not against bonuses. I’ve been the recipient of them in the past; but boy, you sure have to be able to justify why you’re giving that kind of bonus.

And given all that’s happened in the last year and a half that’s happened in this town, to not think that you have to say to the residents of the town, here’s what Mr. Kil is accountable for and here’s how he delivered above and beyond those objectives. It’s – it’s being transparent. It’s – it’s being honest and laying out the business case for why they deserve that kind of merit increase or that kind of bonus.

I – I think you all have, as – as professionals, you’ve all had the opportunity to do that in your work life where you received a bonus or you’ve had to justify to your managers why you’re giving a bonus to an individual on one of your teams. And I think the people of St. John deserve that as well. So to – to not support it and maybe, you know, in more detail – a lot more detail is really necessary; and I think you’re doing a disservice to the Town. You’re professionals, and you know how to react. And you should know what you need to be able to give to the people to support that kind of bonus. Thank you.

Dave Rajk (10362 Red Rock Place): I’m new to St. John. So, uh, I’ve only lived here a year, so I’m not exactly sure the background of everything; but I can speak as a public servant. I am a fireman in the Village of North Riverside in North Riverside, Illinois. Uh, when I did hear about a $25,000 bonus to a public official and heard some of the comments by the public of the outcry of how excessive they thought it was, uh, being a public servant myself, um, I believe the Town Council should listen to the public, seeing that the Town Manager works as a public servant to serve the public. And if the rest of the people have a problem with it, maybe a vote should be carefully considered before passed along and taken into account what many of the people in the town have said. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): You’re hearing from some of the public because the agenda came out late and because the ordinance that the agenda addressed came out late so that most of the residents in the town had no idea what this meeting was about because you kept it under cover. That’s all well and good. People will be here tomorrow night. I would hope that you put public comment on the agenda for tomorrow night before the second vote.

And secondly, I believe on page 2 in the last paragraph, you leave it open. You all, collectively, who are going to vote for this, somebody had to put the idea in Mr. – in Joe’s hands to write it up, to write up the ordinance to say, well, we reserve the right, the majority of us on this Town Council reserve the right to do this again before the end of the year, if we so choose. And I think that’s pathetic.

Having no one else coming forward to speak, Mr. Barenie closed the floor and brought the matter back to the Council Members for discussion.

Ms. Popovic stated that some of the public have raised very good points, which is exactly why we’re here. This isn’t something that was taken lightly. Even though it may have been brought up quite suddenly at the end of the meeting, it wasn’t; this is something that has been reviewed over the last five years, looking at the General Fund, the savings, the surpluses, how much there is, how little there is. This is not a private corporation, nor is it run like a private corporation, so we’re not looking at profits and losses at the end of the quarter for a private business. To that point, there has been a review and there have been bonuses that have previously been given at midyear and at the end of the year, which is not uncommon in towns and municipalities.

Ms. Popovic advised that the Council Members have the General Fund with the Miscellaneous Revenue to show where everything is allocated. The surplus is from good town management of the finances, and that is part of this.

Mr. Barenie advised that we are actually $122,000 ahead on Revenue and $226,000 under budget on expenses through the end of June. Mr. Barenie shared year-end figures from the past couple of years for comparison: 2018 had $748,000 of revenue over budget with expenses $243,000 under budget; 2017 had $913,000 of revenue over budget with expenses $424,000 under budget.

Mr. Barenie stated that the Town is in good shape. When we do merit increases, everyone gets the same thing, which is basically 3%. If we go to a position where we have a human resource director, who would be able to put together those exact points, there would be a more formal process.

Ms. Popovic stated the Town is going toward the position of having a human resource director. She further stated that the Council Members used a report that was prepared by Cender & Co for their review along with the General Fund, Miscellaneous Revenue. Ms. Popovic stated that they were able to review exactly where everything lands, including how the departments have managed it, so it is not a light decision that was made.

Mr. Swets stated that he likes the idea of percentage bonuses and merits based on equal numbers, which could an equal one number for employees and a different number for management. He further stated that he is not opposed to bonuses, but it seems that the bonuses we are offering are just so far out of balance, especially the one for Mr. Kil.

Mr. Swets stated that he doesn't believe Mr. Kil should be given a $25,000 bonus. It’s way out of line from what we are paying the other employees in Town and out of line from what’s been done in the past in his position. Mr. Swets further stated that he believes that, based on what the Town has lost because of Mr. Kil, he didn’t earn his bonus.

Mr. Swets stated that we just finished settling a lawsuit that cost us thousands of dollars in legal fees because he authorized tapping into the BLB installed sewer interceptor. We missed Community Crossing Grant money three out of four years, potentially up to a million dollars per year because he wasn't prepared; he didn’t follow the requirements of the grant process. He was implicated in many of the HR issues that we had to litigate over the past few years. I don’t think he deserves this bonus. Then, I wonder if this issue may be a conflict of interest of Mr. Forbes, if he financially benefitted from Mr. Kil removing campaign signs that he allegedly witnessed in 2015.

Mr. Swets stated that Members of the Town Council campaigned on being fiscally responsible, which was on their advertising just a few months ago. Additionally, you took an oath to discharge your duties to the best of your abilities. If we have more money available, this is not the best use of Town funds. We could put that to use in many other areas: Many departments could use additional staffing, resources; we could use additional infrastructure in town.

Mr. Swets stated that he would like to look at the financial implications of these bonuses. These are Town funds that are outside of the budget. Mr. Swets asked if additional appropriations will have to be made since the bonuses were not part of the budget that was sent to the State.

Mr. Swets asked Ms. Hernandez if the Town can afford the bonuses and how they will be paid.

Ms. Hernandez responded that the bonuses would require an additional appropriation, that the bonuses were not part of the certified budget sent to the State, and that she ran some numbers. Ms. Hernandez stated that her payroll clerk spent all of last week setting up a pay schedule for the bonuses that were passed at the July 11 meeting; and to find out today that the bonus structure was being shifted, she will have to start over so that’s a week out of her time. Ms. Hernandez stated that some communication between departments would be nice.

Ms. Hernandez stated that she started running her own numbers and that a year ago today, on July 22, 2018, the General Fund balance was roughly $4.8 million. Ms. Hernandez stated that the Town Council had on their fund report, which she believes it was dated in July, shows a fund balance of roughly $3.8 million. She further stated some things that she felt they weren’t taking into consideration is, just because it is showing on the June 30 or July fund report, that we have a balance of $3.8 million; that’s not necessarily accurate.

Ms. Hernandez stated that the Town Council had passed two additional appropriations on Resolution No. 2109-5-23A that are still pending approval from the DLGF; but those additional appropriations out of the General Fund amount to $928, 000 that need to be deducted off that fund report balance. Then in 2018, the Town Council approved for the firefighters to go from the Civilian PERF to the ’77 PERF, and we still owe $251,000 out of the General Fund to make that move.

Ms. Hernandez commented that if the Town Council proceeds forward with the bonus disbursements per Ordinance 1692, that will total roughly $188,000, which includes gross payroll, FICA, Medicare, and PERF, of which $143,000 will impact the General Fund, so that needs to be deducted.

Ms. Hernandez stated that for the budget we have an unexpended appropriation balance of roughly $2.5 million, so that means our departments are still – we’re still estimating that we’re going to spend $2.5 million, which is just about half left of our budget, so we’re right in line. When you deduct all of that off of the $3.8 million cash fund balance that we may have, that is a deficit of $74,000. Add in the estimated revenue from August 1 till the end of the year, so I’m calculating that to be roughly $2.3 million; so we’re going to end our year, or start 2020, with a General Fund balance of $2,216,000; and these are round rough numbers, not to the penny.

Ms. Hernandez further stated I’m just a little bit concerned because we started off this year with a General Fund balance of $3,673,000. This is the lowest, at least since I’ve been here and since 2016, that I’ll see our General Fund balance. That’s a decrease in our cash reserves, so you’re taking basically $1,457,000 from the cash, or a 40% decrease from ’19 to ’20. So I want to make sure, like I think Gerry mentioned, that we’re being fiscally responsible, especially with the General Fund because it carries so much of our burden. So do we have cash, Gerry; yes. It’s, I guess, for you guys to decide if $188,000 is appropriate in bonuses.

Mr. Swets thanked Ms. Hernandez.

Ms. Hernandez stated that additional appropriations will be necessary and that she would take the funds from Operating Expenses that will need to be approved by way of a transfer resolution until the appropriations are approved, which can stop spending for departments that are running tight right now.

Ms. Hejl asked if a brief recess could be called. Mr. Barenie responded in the affirmative and called for recess.

(A very brief recess was taken.)

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil to give a brief explanation of the basis for the payment of the bonuses from the General Fund and how it can be allocated out from various accounts, which would have a different impact.

Mr. Kil stated that he has been here for twenty years; Mr. Forbes and Mr. Barenie have been here most of that time; and they have created a culture of fiscal responsibility. The Board of Finance Reports that are read into the record and given to the press every year – albeit, they are never reported on – actually tell the tale of the tape.

Mr. Kil advised that we have the lowest tax rate in Lake County, minus Winfield. We’ve maintained that for years. We have the highest median home values in Lake County. Mr. Kil stated that Mr. Hero was eluding to, perhaps, other things to look at, other than just the dollars and cents. Well, these are facts; these aren’t made up.

Mr. Kil further stated we have the highest median income – you can laugh, but it’s true; these are factual. There are a lot of intangibles. The Police and Fire absolutely have to come out of the General Fund. Public Works, MVH will be impacted, the water utility will be impacted, the sewer utility. There are other areas, obviously.

Mr. Barenie asked what the individuals are for. Mr. Kil responded that the payroll in this Town is distributed amongst several funds. The Police and Fire are General Fund, completely, that’s just how financing works. Ms. Hernandez stated that it is 90% General and 10% Fund 249. Mr. Kil noted that is the CAGIT Public Safety account; the point is they’re not out of utilities or MVH like other employees are; like Ms. Hernandez and I are paid out of, probably, five separate accounts; so it is distributed.

Mr. Kil stated I was a little taken back by some of the things Mr. Swets said. I’ve done nothing but try to help him since he’s been on the Town Council, but you know, that’s all right. But every time – and I guess I’m addressing it for myself and Gerry – throughout the relationship, every time I’m asked a question, he gets an answer promptly. He gets accurate answers.

Mr. Swets stated that is correct.

Mr. Kil stated he asks me how to come up with money to fund road projects. Community Crossing Grants were applied for timely; they were applied for correctly. You don’t always get every grant you apply for; and the other issue is that the Town Council is looking at applying for $2 million worth of Community Crossing Grant money, which means $1 million of match money. It’s great to apply for all these grants and everything, but you still have to come up with your local match. So if you apply for $1 million and you get $1 million, you have to come up with $1 million.

Ms. Hernandez stated that it is $188,000 total, $143,000 from the General Fund, which is what Steve was mentioning that every single employee is not coming directly out of the General Fund.

Hearing no further discussion, Mr. Barenie entertained a motion.

Motion to table this matter by Mr. Swets. Motion dies for lack of a second.

Mr. Barenie entertained a new motion.

Motion to deny Ordinance No. 1692 by Mr. Swets.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion for adjournment. Ms. Popovic and Mr. Forbes responded in the negative and stated that we need a second on the motion.

Mr. Barenie asked if there is a second on the motion to deny the ordinance. Motion dies for lack of a second.

Mr. Barenie entertained a new motion.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1692 on first reading by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 6:33 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

07-23-2019 Town Council

July 23, 2019 Town Council Special Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on July 23, 2019, at 5:50 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Also present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance No. 1692
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1692, an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 1675, same being the 2019 Salary Ordinance and entertained a motion for the same.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1692 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl.

Mr. Swets asked the Chair to allow public comment. Mr. Forbes called for the question.

Motion carries 3 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets and 1 abstention by Ms. Popovic.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 5:52 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

07-25-2019 Town Council Rescheduled to 07-11-2019
08-22-2019 Town Council

August 22, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on August 22, 2019, at 7:12 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Also present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the July 11, 2019; July 22, 2019; and July 23, 2019 meetings.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Town Council correspondence and reports and asked for the same. None was had.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and opened the floor for the same.

Claudia Woge (9279 Franklin Drive): I am here to talk about the Franklin Drive bike path that's being installed. Um, I'm not a political person. I'm very nervous right now, so I'm just going to go ahead and read my notes. I would first like – I'm discussing the bike path that's being installed at Franklin Drive in Schillton Hills running to the back of Cardinal Cove.

Um, I would like an understanding how the Town Council and/or board decided to put a bike path without notifying the residents of Franklin Drive and Cardinal Cove. Um, the residents of these two areas should not have found out by seeing surveyors in their backyards last week. I would like to know who on the board and/or Council decided not to notify us. The decision that lacked – this decision lacks transparency on what the Council and board decides. I would like to also understand what the reasoning was to install the bike path that leads to nowhere. It absolutely makes no sense. Um, it will basically end from – start from 93rd and end in the back of Cardinal Cove which was about three to four blocks, goes nowhere.

Um, I would like to have an understanding on how St. John will rectify some situations that we'll experience, um, such as, uh, the running or standing water that we experience in our backyards and easement. This water goes nowhere. From the time – the winter thaw to the spring, to this first fall – uh, first summer rains, it just sits there. It doesn't go anywhere until the first heatwave that we get, on top of the water that we get that runs along our backyards into the front curbs. I'm sure there's some of my fellow residents will agree to this. Um, with the removal of the foliage, trees, and “soilage”, I would like to know how the Town of St. John will rectify the situation once this happens; because you know for a fact, with all the running water that's coming from the fields into our backyards, it's still going to happen, regardless of what you do with the bike path. And I think it's going to be worse because there is no greens, no trees taking on all this water that we get.

I'd like to have an understanding what the Town Council and board will do about the littering that will happen on – in our backyards. I don't want trash cans in my backyard because that's going to bring animals. I don't want these animals near my children. God forbid if they were to get bitten. I would like to, also, understand how – who's going to pick up after the dog walkers. You know for a fact, there's some dog walkers that don't pick up the dog's business. I'm not going to pick it up. Again, we're talking about my backyard butting against this trail walk that you are – you are installing. Again, I remind you that we were not notified of this. If these guys would have told us this last year when you instituted this back in March, had this idea, we would have been here not wasting everyone's time discussing this. We would have told you why this would be a bad idea.

I would like to also understand how this is going to avoid trespassing in my backyard. Most of us have pools in our backyard. You know for a fact there's going to be some unruly kids going into these backyards. What's going to stop them from jumping in my pool? And we are talking some of these pools are like a handshake away from these bike paths. So how's that going to deter kids from entering my property and going into my pool and, God forbid, drown or have an accident in my pool? Where's – where's the protection of – of these kids not going into our pool? I mean, you're basically giving them a landing pad to walk down this path.

Um, the – let's talk about the, uh, accidents that may occur of individuals accidentally falling or – or hurting themselves because they are not riding their bike paths, specifically kids? Again these kids, what if – and we're talking about this easement that's butting against our yards. I mean, uh, this bike path is going to hit our yards. If they were to fall, smack into a trampoline that I have in my backyard, who is at fault, me or them? Who's going to end up getting sued, me or the Town? I don't want that responsibility.

And then there's the number one factor that really is irking my head: The lunacy of these individuals crossing from The Preserve’s bike trail that is being placed leading up to our Franklin Drive, Cardinal Cove bike path. You know for a fact these kids have no concept of traffic coming up and down 93rd street. It's an accident waiting to happen of these kids and/or individuals getting hurt and, God forbid, getting killed because of these cars coming up – racing up and down 93rd street. And you know traffic will be increasing with all these buildings that are being built on, uh, 93rd with The Preserve and the new one that's by the park.

Um, another thing I am concerned about is the personal safety of my house and the potential of increased crime occurring on our property because, yet again, it's coming off of 93rd street. Again, the bike path is near houses. It's not like the rest of the bike paths that are being developed, such as the one at The Preserve. It's going around the property of the – of the preserve. It's not within the actual subdivision. Yet this one is. Again, it makes no sense of why this bike path is being built for three to four blocks leading nowhere, absolutely nowhere.

(Mr. Barenie asked Ms. Woge to wrap it up.)

I am wrapping it up. I have one little paragraph left. I am suggesting that the Council – Council reconsider to, at least, reevaluate the survey that was conducted, probably during the summer not during the rainy season of St. John, and see what damages actually happen in our backyard. And I also want to stress, again, that we were not notified. A letter could have been placed in each and everyone's mailbox indicating, “Hey, we're building this. What are your thoughts?” This never occurred. And you know what, I was going to refrain “of” saying this; but all I can say is shame on all of you.

Robert Morgan (9099 Franklin Drive): After that comment, I don't have much to say. Again, I just have some concerns about the water mainly, about the bike path, and obviously no one's going to answer them tonight. But that's my biggest concern. Okay, at my house I have a berm that the Town put in after they were concerned about it in 1997 about the run off of the field. And since the bike path is 8 feet wide, I would, you know, what's can happen to the berm, for my own personal but also for my neighbors? Um, the young lady that just spoke, uh, pretty much said everything that I was going to. Um, but, uh, reconsider the bike path and, uh, reconsider where the water is going to end up at. That's my biggest concern about it. Okay, thanks.

Bev Barbush (9241 Franklin Drive): Hi, this is also pertaining to the bike path. Um, yes, I was – I just want to reiterate some of the things she said. Lack of notification, I went around and put, um, 25 pieces of paper with a little bit of data in it in the mailboxes. It took me half an hour. Yes, it could have, you're – you are – you are taking land that we've had in our backyards for 21 years. Some people up to 30 years. We considered it ours, mowed it, fertilized it, took care of it – probably going to make it a really cheap way to put in a bike path because we took care of it and it's really easy to just come right through our yards. So noticeably we are upset.

This is 70 feet from my bedroom window, which right now I look at trees; and it's beautiful. I don't want to see somebody walking by at two miles per hour checking out my backyard while I'm having my barbecue or my friends over. It's just – it's a very personal space. We were also told that, yes, St. John wants bicycle paths. I love to bike. If somebody said your choice is a bike, bicycle path in a forest preserve along the train rails that are being repurposed through some woods, if you said – if I said to you, Mr. Forbes, do you want this in your backyard 70 feet from your window, I don't think you'd say yes.

Um, some of the other issues: in the June 25 meeting, you – you mentioned that it's wetlands that we're going through. We could not walk in our backyards this year until, I'm thinking, June 20. Um, there's also if we – if we can't even fight this, I don't know where we can go with this, but we should have a chance to move – I've got a 1500 pound shed sitting on this easement for 21 years. I think I need – when I hear a surveyor tell me on August 13 tell me that they are going to put a bike path in fall, and we say, “fall 2020”; and he says, “No, fall;” that is five weeks from now.

I at least deserve a little bit of respect of being given some time to, at least, rectify the situation in some way. I also have finally received some – and I thank you for that – some information, more on the plans, so we do see that supposedly there's going to be some barrier put in place. We need – what's the definition of barrier? What is the date? A little bit more information than saying – a surveyor standing in my backyard saying fall. So I reiterate anything anybody else has mentioned here. Um, and thank you for your time.

Mike Barbush (9241 Franklin Drive): Hi, I'm her husband, so basically all the points that the previous, you know, three people have said, I don't want to – I'll keep it short and sweet. Is this a done deal? Is this in or out? Could I get a yes or no?

(Mr. Kil explained that those questions cannot be answered intelligently until after the survey work is back.)

Okay. So what is the timeline, I mean?

(Mr. Kil responded that he is not sure when the survey will be back. Mr. Kil explained that the survey crew does not control the construction schedule of the bike trail; they are hired to go out there and locate the easement, locate any obstacles, find out the drainage problems, and shoot the grades. Mr. Kil further explained that when this was initially discussed at the park board meeting, it was discussed that the trail would go from 93rd Avenue to Schillton Hills Park, not all the way to Cardinal Cove.)

I – I use the bike trails, but I mean, have you guys ever walked there, instead of physically looking at the Google Earth thing?

(Mr. Kil responded that he has walked there before.)

Have you ever tried to cross 93rd? Your – your own survey of 2016 says you guys got like 12,000 average daily traffic. And it's a 2% every year. So I mean, if you look where the trail's going, there's trees here. Somebody heading west where they go over Hilltop Road, some little kid comes down on a skateboard, nobody's going to see him. I mean that's –

(Mr. Kil explained that in order to create a bike trail and have a corridor system, you have to cross roads at some point; every community does. He stated the Council and he understand their concerns.)

Yeah, I know – well, I'm – like I say, basically we need a timeframe. I mean, you can't come and say, “Hey, next week we're putting it through.”

(Mr. Kil again explained that it is hard to address these questions without the survey.)

Well, they are – they were surveying. They are also locating the power lines. NIPSCO was out there already spray painting the yards.

(Mr. Kil explained that locating utilities is part of the survey work.)

All right, well, like I say – so yeah, I know there's a lot of other people with topics. I don't want to, you know, take too much time, but just try to keep people informed. It would be very – common courtesy to – a little letter, “Hey, guess what's going to happen, boys,” not, “Hey, in July survey” –

(Mr. Kil responded that it would be nice to have the survey done so they could hand them something that is meaningful, accurate, not just a guess.)

Right. But the survey was done in July of 18, and if I didn't come into your office last Tuesday, I would've never known this was going in, you know. (Indicating to a drawing in his hand.)

(Mr. Kil stated that the drawing Mr. Barbush has is not a survey.)

Well, it's – right. Like I say, though, Google Earth, get out there and walk; and we'll show you where the water is and everything, so thank you very much for your trouble. All right. Thank you very much for your time.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): Well, guys, we finally made it to my neighborhood. I came out to mow last Friday and saw a surveyor crew working in my backyard. So I had a nice conversation with them, asked them what they were doing. They said they were shooting a bike trail.

I said, “How nice.” I said, "Are you guys aware of the water that goes through here?" I've been living there for 29 years. And he goes, "What you got?" I says, "I've got pictures." I said, "How about pictures with water 15 foot wide running through my backyard?" So I sent him pictures, and he was very thankful to get them. He said, "That's quite a whirlpool."

I have a sewer on the other side of my house, and the water runs 15, 20 foot wide across my backyard and into the sewer. And there's water. I've been out there during good rainstorms, the water is the knee to waist deep around the manhole. I've been out there keeping it clean so I could get the water out of my backyard, pouring down from the north from my neighbors, who've stood up here already and told you there's water problem. So what can possibly the Town do to alleviate all that water which comes my way, because I'm downhill at the end of the cul-de-sac?

Has anybody – did the surveyors – yes, I gave them pictures. But if I didn't run into them, they would have no documentation to show what kind of water rolls through there. So thankfully I gave them pictures, and he even acknowledged it. He goes, "Those pictures are pretty impressive." And I said, "Yeah." And I had water – my neighbor said she had water in there until late June. I had water – I could not mow my yard until the second week of July. I had mud 10 foot wide running on both sides of the swales. Those swales I cut in when I built the house 29 years ago. Those swales have worked perfectly as they were designed, and now you're going to put a bike trail right over them. Don't think so. Thank you.

Robert Geyer (8880 Cardinal Court): We been a member of the community – we've only been living there for three years; but we've been really part of this community for over a decade. All four of my kids graduated from SJ. Everything everybody said so far, I concur with and I want to state again for the record. Um, I have safety concerns about crossing 93rd. I have security concerns about inviting strangers literally into our backyard, because people come from out of town to use bike paths. Um, this is not – my kids are older now, but there's plenty of little kids in the neighborhood who play in those backyards.

Um, I have mechanical concerns about drainage, like everyone else has said. Removing cottonwoods, um, uh, willows, brushes, cattails, and water-holding plants means that tens of thousands of gallons of water that live inside those – the trunks of those trees right now aren't going to be able to go anywhere anymore. They're not going to be absorbed. Um, this is a wetland; this is a drainage easement.

Um, I've got concerns, uh, so I’m asking the Council, are you prepared for the, um, trouble you're going to have when people's basements flood? Everyone who lives out there, our sump pumps run, even when it's dry, several times a day, all day long. When it's raining, they run constantly; constant, constant, constant. My sump pump goes directly into the drainage easement. It's not even tied to the sewer. Um, so building a shallow gravel roadbed over a drainage easement is worst practice civil engineering.

I haven't seen any plans for a tile or any drainage that's going to go under this roughly 5-block bike path. That will quadruple your cost. Um, and without putting that drainage in, you're going to have lawsuits. I’m not saying I will, but I'm saying that's a distinct possibility because you're going to damage people's properties. Um, so I'm also – I am concerned on a personal level because, um, Steve, you – you said no, we're not going through the drainage easement that is due west of Cardinal Cove; but we didn't know about this until this week when the surveyors showed up. What's to say that one day we won't be shooting a survey back there? Um, it's just a concern.

So finally I want to conclude with, um, encouraging you to, uh, slow down a little bit and think about what you're doing. I understand we want bike – bike paths. I can't necessarily understand why, but I'm not a bike rider. But let's consider some of the less developed areas that don't have these legacy problems if bike paths are our goal. Thank you very much.

Christine McFadden (8999 Franklin Drive): I live right next to the park where the bike path is supposed to terminate. We have a fence, and I’m not – so I’m not worried about people seeing in my backyard so much as I’m worried – I would love to be able to have my grandchildren be able to ride their bikes to my house; but I can’t even imagine crossing 93rd street for a kid on a bike. It’s just – it’s life-threatening.

Also, I have called the police a number of times because we get these people that park in front of the park and park there for a few hours, and they disappear back over to where Cardinal Cove is. We live on the little dead-end street there, and we’ve had cars parked there, and people have gone off – I’m talking about teenagers, young adults – and they’ve gone off. The police have come and searched for them. And of course their parents think they’re somewhere else. And it’s just this whole thing of now they have perfect access, it just kind of scares me. I don’t know. I know they’re doing something with drugs over there in the back in those woods, but they haven’t been caught.

So anyway, I just want you to please think about all these things, especially that 93rd street crossing, and everything everybody else said. We don’t get the water, and I don’t want to get it. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): Looking at the agenda, all annexation should come in as R-1. That’s been the history of this town for 40 years. Trying to go around that, all you’re doing is taking the power away from the next Town Council, the Plan Commission, the BZA, everybody else, where the public can have input on the zoning, the size of the lots, and what’s going on. By pre-determining that you’re going to annex this and put the cookie-cutter lots in, that’s wrong. I don’t believe you have the authority to do that.

The other thing is you – you heard the bid opening for 96th Place. We’re talking about bids of $3.7 million and $2.8 million. That doesn’t count all the other costs for wetland remediation and everything else. This is a ridiculous amount of money to spend to provide help for one developer. It’s not going to improve the traffic in the town. It’s going to shove the traffic through all the other subdivisions. You saw when the Muenich-Schilling thing was developed, the path was through the subdivision. That’s going to be the new path to get to 96th. So that whole thing should be canned and done over.

What we have now is a lame-duck Council. They don’t respect – they have no respect for the voters that voted them out, unanimously. I’ve never seen such a slaughter in an election in the 43 years that I’ve lived here. That is a message that you should take to heart. And trying to ram through these annexations, trying to ram through these other projects before your term expires is – is wrong.

The other thing, you hear about the bike path, it’s a matter of communications. Nobody has talked to the people. Nobody’s explained what it is. And when I hear, “We’re just doing a survey of the bike path,” they got a plan. You put stakes in the ground when you do surveys, okay. You don’t use a survey to determine where the bike path goes. My opinion, that is just baloney; that is just to calm people down and get them off your back.

The other thing is, I look at all the attacks on the Police Chief. Somebody has to get the Indiana State Police in here to see who’s behind this. Okay. I think he’s a good man and does a good job, and I think you got mutiny in that police department that’s left over from previous administrations. And I think it’s really an assault on the Chief, and I think it’s wrong, and I think it should be investigated who’s behind all this. Thank you very much.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): Good evening ladies and gentlemen of our Town Council. My comment, uh, to begin tonight – and I’m going to be speaking three times. Uh, this is regarding the settlement agreement, now that we’ve finally had a chance to digest it, analyze it, pick it apart, um, and it relates directly to your agenda tonight with the annexations.

Um, so somehow our town went from – and, and this is on our Town’s back – an illegal sewer tap to giving away 210 acres of favorable annexation. And that’s worth quite a bit of money to a developer. Uh, to tie the two together is negligent. It – it’s not – you’re – you’re being terrible stewards of our – of our tax dollars, of our – of the future of our town, the zoning. Uh, it’s one thing I take to heart. The reason I’m involved in this town is to see it developed properly. Um, so it’s very disappointing.

So I’d like to explain how we got there, and for the edification of the crowd that may not understand this. So normally when somebody needs to do rezoning, they have to go through Indiana, uh, Code 36-7-4-600 series. It’s very robust. It – it – it carries you through quite the process with Plan Commission, public meetings, public input, a recommendation to the Town Council, the Town Council takes public comment and, uh, makes a decision on zoning.

And, um, what we’re doing instead is we found a loophole. There is a loophole in the Indiana Code. Uh, the annexation code 36-4-3 is silent on zoning decisions brought in with – with annexation land brought in. So you have a loophole where you can suddenly bypass all the public input and everything and make the decision yourselves, by yourselves, with no input, with no regard to the 600 series of 36-7-4, which I know you’re aware of cause I’ve read it to you plenty of times. So you’re bypassing every process for 210 acres, a significant chunk of our town. And I – I’m completely opposed to you closing out the public on that, and um, regardless of what the outcome is, it’s – it’s – the process is wrong how you got there.

So, um, I’d like to point out that we have a few developers in the crowd. Mr. Boyer is in the back, Mr. Boyer; I think Scott from Schilling is here. I bet they’d love to have that same kind of treatment. Um, it – it’s completely unfair treatment to the developers. So I feel for them. Shops 96, we grilled him to get everything together and correct on that zoning. Um, Mr. Barrick has been, you know, to here and back trying to get zoning on Three Springs. And then we hand 210 acres to Mr. Lotton on a silver platter, bypassing our ordinance. So, um, it’s wrong – it – it’s wrong for the town. It’s wrong for you to do it to the residents. Um, again, it’s completely unfair to the developers; and they have a reason to challenge this. I – I – if I were them, I’d be all over it with a legal challenge and say, “Wow, I want that same treatment.” So, uh, it sets a very dangerous precedent. There’s a lot of land to be annexed in our town still, or what would what we hope would be our town, the – the boundaries in the Comprehensive Plan.

So lastly I’d like to remind you of this: this is – I’m the keeper of this document for your town. This is our Bible. This is how we develop the town. As chairman of your BZA, I defend this Zoning Ordinance, and, um, and I will continue to do that. Um, so by bypassing all this process, it’s – I might as well just throw this thing in the trash. It’s – it’s really not the right way to run the Town.

But one thing, one little nugget that they did put in here was, um – and I’m sure you’re aware of it and I’m sure it will be discussed tonight – um, section 3B, which states that everything should be annexed at R-1. And if it’s not to be annexed at R-1, you need a unanimous approval of the Town Council. And that is, uh, written in our ordinance. It’s signed. It’s in the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office, and it needs to be honored. And if there’s any challenge, to our ordinance as written, then that will be fought as well. Thank you.

Linda Stanford (9061 Franklin Drive): Basically, everybody has said what – how I feel about the bike path. We do have a wetland in our backyard that is there year-round, and it totally floods. And it stays in our yard for a long, long time. I can’t imagine a bike path going through where this is and it being that low that they’re not even going to be able to ride their bike through that water.

And it – you’re talking about, right now, a bike path from 93rd to the park or to Cardinal Cove. That’s just a matter of a few blocks, six blocks, whatever. I don’t call that a bike path. To me, a bike path is when people get in their car, or they go from a subdivision or a park or something where they can ride their bike to and from a location where they can get back in their car. You can’t park a car on 93rd. You can’t park a car in the residential areas. Where are you going to put these people in a car and go on a bike path for six blocks? That’s not a bike path. A bike path is where the people go and ride a bike for a mile, two miles, whatever; that is not a bike path.

And also, I – I read where the bike path is going to have gravel on both sides of it. With the wetlands that we have, that gravel is going to float all over. We’re going to have gravel in our yard all over the place. I don’t – I don’t get that. And again, the safety of people on 93rd, there’s no place to go on 93rd to get thy – that bike path. That’s all I’ve got to say. Please reconsider.

Dave Barick (Three Springs Development): I’m here representing Three Springs Development. I don’t have a comment on the bike path because I don’t live near those houses. But I do have a question for the Council. Everybody up there, except Mike and Steve, everybody else, why are we not on the agenda? We didn’t – you guys took a vote last time and didn’t even vote on it. Nobody, you know, seconded. Why aren’t we on the agenda tonight for a vote?

(Mr. Barenie responded that there would not be a discussion try to and answer every question tonight. Mr. Barenie stated that he appreciates the comment.)

Well, it’s just one question. I’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of money, and I was encouraged to come in here, to redesign my project so it didn’t – so it was not a public safety problem. We redesigned it; we got the lots completely out of two easements, pipeline easement and the power line easement; and when it come up for a vote, nobody seconded. Mike was the “nom” – you know, Mike did the first; but no one else seconded. You guys didn’t take a vote. It’s like a slap in the face. I’m asking you a direct question; I’m asking you just one question. Why were we not put on the agenda for tonight to take a vote? Why – why can’t you vote on my project?

(Mr. Barenie responded that it might be able to be added to the agenda.)

Well, as many people that are here, we’ll be here till 2 in the morning right now.

(Mr. Barenie responded that there wasn’t support for the project. Mr. Barenie explained that while Mr. Forbes did make a motion, there was no interest from the rest of the Council for that proposed zone change.)

Then why was I encouraged to come in and change my plan, Mark, seriously?

(Mr. Barenie apologized and stated that he’s not sure who encouraged Mr. Barick to do the same.)

This isn’t cheap to do this.

(Mr. Barenie stated that it didn’t pass.)

So then – so then you just take a vote; kick us out of here; but at least we have a record of all the people that voted “no” so if something goes wrong out there with this pipeline problem that you say we have, everybody that voted no for the better layout, which I think is a better layout – if there’s a problem, now nobody took a – nobody made, you know, voiced their opinion, took a vote.

Who’s going to be held accountable if something happens out there two, five years from now? You know, cause nobody voted on it.

(Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil if the timeframe for a vote is 90 days. Mr. Kil responded that the law reads that a zone change request that appears in front of the Plan Commission for a Public Hearing, the Plan Commission has three options: to make a favorable recommendation, an unfavorable recommendation, or send no recommendation to the Town Council for action. A favorable recommendation that is not acted upon in 90 days is approved by default. An unfavorable recommendation or no recommendation that is not acted upon in 90 days is denied. If there is no action on this project the request for zone change would be denied after 90 days, which would transpire on September 5, 2019.)

Again, I’m back to my original question: Why didn’t you vote on my project?

(Mr. Kil responded that if there is no action, it would deny the ordinance.)

I came back in, in good faith. I was in – I came back in, in good faith; spent the money for the engineering; spent all the time –

(Mr. Barenie asked if that was for the last meeting or for this meeting.)

The last meeting; and then you wouldn’t vote on it. That’s a slap in the face. I mean, I at least expected you to take a vote. Mike was the only one that stood up and was going to, you know, do the – in my opinion, do the right thing.

(Mr. Barenie responded that Mr. Forbes was supportive of the project.)

Yeah, exactly.

(Mr. Barenie said, “There wasn’t a second.”)

So – so that’s what I’m saying is the rest of you have a negative –

(Mr. Barenie stated that means there wasn’t interest.)

– a negative attitude towards my project. Well, let’s get it in public record that you voted no. That’s all I’m asking.

(Mr. Barenie responded that the Council would take it under advisement.)

That’s – that’s really not good enough, Mark; it’s not.

(Mr. Barenie reiterated that there was not a second on the motion and stated that there must be a second on the motion to call for a vote.)

I under – I understand that; I understand that. I understand 100%. My original question was, why was there no second. Why did you have me come back in and do all this?

(Mr. Barenie stated that he doesn't believe there was support; otherwise, there would have been a second.)

I – I’m standing here like this too. Me – me and Doug are dumbfounded why we came in here and did all this; and then we can’t even get a vote on the thing. When you – when you, the Council, said, “Hey, we got a safety problem out there,” okay, we’re willing to change. So we came in with a change. Took all the lots out of the – both the easements; not one easement, but both easements. You guys won’t even vote on it. It’s not fair.

(Mr. Barenie thanked Mr. Barick.)

Ed Conn (9227 West 91st Court): The reason I’m up here: Part of these meetings are to agree to disagree; and, Joe, I think you did a phenomenal job up until the end. The Indiana State Police does need to be called in; but it needs to be called in to investigate the Chief. When the Chief drags residents and his own Police Officers, hires divorce attorneys, retired Police Officers, and flies them in from Texas, we ain’t –

(Mr. Barenie instructed Mr. Conn to stay away from personal attacks.)

Donald Galinski (9079 Franklin Drive): This is my first meeting and probably last. Uh, I live on Franklin and probably going to relocate my family. Uh, there’s two questions that weren’t answered. Uh, is this going to affect my property taxes at all, or?

(Mr. Kil responded that a bike trail is a public improvement and would not affect his property taxes.)

Okay, and what happens, uh, when, like, Joe pedophile comes in my backyard? I have two little kids, so I feel like I have to protect my family from strangers now. Uh, it’s not a good feeling, so.

(Mr. Barenie responded that the Council can’t try to figure that out and stated that everyone’s message has been received.)

Okay, so I guess, uh, lastly, is this like a done deal, or?

(Mr. Barenie responded that Mr. Kil has already gone into a lot of detail. Mr. Kil responded that it is not a done deal.)

Okay, so it’s not 100% yet?

(Mr. Kil reiterated that it was not.)

Okay. All right.

Linda Stanford (9061 Franklin Drive): I just want to know, um, when this survey does come out, will we be notified in the mail, or something like that, so that we can come in and hear the issues and address you guys again before you go forward with it?

(Mr. Kil responded that, if they don’t mind, he would contact Mr. and Mrs. Barbush and ask them to let everybody know that it is ready and have a couple people disseminate the information.)

(Mr. Barenie asked for a time estimate on that. Mr. Kil responded that he doesn't have an exact date, approximately a month.)

Okay. Thank you.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I wish to approach the Town Council settlement of 7-11 from a financial point of view. I’m not opposed to annexation at R-1, nor am I opposed to sensible town growth and development with R-1-sized lots. Based on the response from the Town Council, they are saying that rather than face a lawsuit that might potentially cost an estimated $3.3 million, they’d rather settle out of court by offering advantageous rezoning and other considerations to the developer. The town and land have worth.

Each waiver, each rezoning to a more accommodating classification, each concession or exception given by the Town generates an advantage, usually financial, as in this case. This settlement shows potential favoritism to a developer and his R-2 PUD request. Based on density numbers from the Plan Commission for the 200-plus acres at R-1, a total of 374 homes would be built; but with a favorable rezoning to R-2 PUD, 678 homes would be built, an increase of over 300 homes.

The National Association of Builders provides industry margin rates that show the net margin or profit on just these 300 additional homes will give the developer and builders incremental, additional profit of $5.8 million. Said another way, an R-2 PUD, as per the settlement, will give the developer and his builders almost $6 million windfall profit, versus staying at R-1. Ideally, when a town grants such favorable terms, it would expect something back; not in payment, but in benefits to the Town. Examples might be parks, roads, sewer lines, fire houses, etc.; givebacks from the developer to balance and justify the financial advantage provided by the loosening of zones and ordinances.

These items, and even the settlement of bike paths and wells, do not come from the bottom line reduction of profit, but are passed through to the new homeowners by amortizing the cost of these into the selling price of the homes. In essence, the developer and builder only gains. In this case, the Town Council settled for nothing, nothing, no parks, no green space, no road improvements. But again, the developer is able prosper from an almost $6 million financial gain for the additional housing units of R-1 that would be granted with his proposal.

I’m not opposed to annexation. I’m personally in favor of R-1 lots and smart, managed development. The Town Council is telling us they have traded the responsibility to lead and manage the Town to the whims and wishes of a local developer out of fear of a potential lawsuit caused by the Town’s inept actions. It is not the obligation nor the responsibility of the Town Council to grant a favorable resolution, which advantages the developer at the expense of the town citizens.

It is the responsibility of the Town Council to lead, to manage, to direct, administer, and control developers working in the town, not to relinquish its responsibility to the developer who makes the most noise or the biggest lawsuit threats. Thank you.

Having no one further requesting to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. Ordinance No. 1691
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1691, petitions for annexation of certain real property to the Town of St. John. Petitioners Victoria M. Gianni; Charles L. Hein as to life estate; Andrew James; and John A. Cabrera and Rebecca Cabrera; all collectively by their attorney in fact, LBL Development, LLC, and Northern Indiana Public Service Company: Also known as The Gates East; hereinafter collectively known as “Petitioners”.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Svetanoff if the proofs of publication are in order. Mr. Svetanoff advised that all items are in order for this Public Hearing to proceed.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil to give opening remarks.

Mr. Kil stated that the property in question runs from 101st Avenue to just north of Mr. Barman’s property, which would be by 109th Avenue on the east side of Cline Avenue. The property is a little over 100 acres and the total development would be about 200 acres. Approximately half of the property is not in St. John proper and would have to be annexed into town. The barns where the horse corral is located is part of the property being annexed. The developer and property owners are collectively requesting to be voluntarily annexed to the community. They are requesting R-2 PUD zoning as part of their annexation; and this is part of a settlement agreement that we previously discussed at the Town Council level.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil to give a high-level summary of the parties involved in the settlement agreement.

Mr. Kil responded that the referenced settlement agreement is over a dispute related to a contractual arrangement regarding a recapture agreement for Lift Station No. 1 Expansion and an interceptor sewer that runs through The Gates, and where a tie in was made. The developer, BLB, hired Ice-Miller, which is a large law firm, to file a lawsuit. The Town hired Barnes & Thornburg, which is another very large law firm, to combat that lawsuit. After about a year and a half, much back and forth, and a considerable amount of expense on each side, a mediation was held. The annexation and the resulting requests that are part of said annexation were all part of the mediation and settlement agreement, which was recommend by Barnes & Thornburg. Monica Brownewell-Smith of Barnes & Thornburg attended a Council meeting and explained the settlement agreement to those in attendance.

Linda Sullivan (10511 Juniper Lane): In Orchard Gate, which is directly across from where East Gate is proposed. Um, I object to, uh, not only the annexation, but to the fact that there’s no allowance for road expansion since the lots in this proposed subdivision are almost touching Cline. We need two lanes on Cline. We need two lanes on 231. But when you let these developers build right up to the road, what room do you have, and what thought process is there when later on you’re faced with trying to buy these people out to expand the roads? It doesn't make sense.

There’s only one retention pond for the entire subdivision, okay, cause I saw the proposed plat for that. That doesn't seem like it’s enough, okay, because right now when we have an – a good rain, I have a retention pond directly behind me; and it rises right now by a good 5 to 7 feet with a good rain. With all the houses that you propose to put over on that other side, you are going to have flooding of current homeowners and resulting in God knows what.

Also, it’s my understanding that Mr. Lotton wants to add this to the, uh, already existing Gates HOA; please, no. We will never get out from under the control of Mr. Lotton. How can he continue to add on to The Gates HOA and keep residents from gaining control of their own individual HOAs, especially when he annexes Gate after Gate to keep control, without notification to the residents of those individual sub-Gates? I just found out that Orchard Gate has been written into the main Gate and we – we’ll never get control. I’ll be dead before control gets handed over to the residents.

There is no transparency from this gentleman. There are no meetings held. We have no idea what is being done with any of the money that we pay for these HOAs. He refuses to give that information, and it’s just ridiculous. Please stop this continuation.

Lastly, the lot sizes are not good for the town congestion; 231 is backed up from Cline to Parrish at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon all the way till 6:30 p.m. because I see it every day. We travel side roads to try to maneuver the town; and you’re only adding to the problem with all these houses that you’re proposing. I hope you’ll consider something else because this isn’t going to work for the town residents, and that’s who you people represent.

Virginia Vizdal (8173 West 102nd Avenue): I live right across Cline Avenue from the proposed annexation that we’re speaking of. I’d like to address the Indiana Code regarding lawful process and consideration for rezoning, regarding No. 5: Responsible Development and Growth. By adding so many small lots, R-2 PUD, in such a small space, puts a strain on our Police Department, our Fire Department, Public Works, EMTs, school systems.

You don’t allow for the need for extra teachers, schools, buses, parks, green spaces, or road improvements. This is not responsible development and growth. Your new development doesn't compliment the surrounding area of homes with character and style. This is not responsible development and growth. I am not against growth and development; I would just like to see it held to a higher standard than what is proposed here. Thank you.

Robert Vizdal (8173 West 102nd Avenue): That was my wife Gini that just talked to you. We moved here after living almost 70 years in Illinois. We wanted to live out our lives in a town that has space, views, and avoids all the unethical things that exist in Illinois. We have our views and our space, for now; however, the unethical things will still exist if you allow this development to go forth as suggested. R-1 homes must be built on the proposed site to avoid the overcrowding of our town.

R-2 PUD zoning will create problems with roads, traffic, and schools, just to name a few. There is only one reason that this developer is requesting that this be pushed through so quickly at this time; and that is that he feels that he can get away with whatever he wants. Everyone knows that it will not be this easy next year. Developers who care about rezoning to increase their profits are not worried about what is right for the town, but only what will increase their bottom line. I am asking you to do what is best for our town instead of what might be legal, but is definitely highly unethical. Keep only R-1 homes in the zoning plan for this development.

One more thing that shows you how to assess what I am suggesting is to look at the way that our homeowners association is run in The Gates. There is not one homeowner on the board of three, only the same developer’s family decides on everything in The Gates. If we need 75 to 90% homeownership of lots to take over the running of the HOA, this will never happen if new areas are considered part of The Gates HOA. I am asking you to keep our beautiful town growing economically and responsibly and do not let the greed of a few deter our town from being a place where everyone can live with open spaces and a view. Thank you very much.

Jim Gallagher (10684 Juniper Lane): I just wanted to say that everybody – we have to take a step back and get some fresh air and – and just look this whole thing over. We – it’s too much, the – the – the west side of Cline isn’t – they’re just developing that now. The east side, as we know, it’s just a – it’s vacant land right now. Let’s all sit back and have a discussion what’s – this has got to be what’s better for the people, not – not for Mr. Lotton. Uh, as we all know, Mr. Lotton could care less about us. Um, just my thoughts are let’s just take a – take a step back and talk about this; and that’s all I have to say. Thank you.

Doug Blocker (10591 Juniper Lane): At this point, I’m very new to, uh, this proposed development. Uh, what I seen, I feel the density is way too high. Uh, the plan looks like an um – a beginning planner drew it up cause it’s just a rectangular blip, grid system, no imagination at all, that was done in order to get the highest density possible out of it. Um, I see no parks. I see no, uh, improvements to, uh, perimeter road – roadways. Um, you – you know, Cline Avenue should be being designed as either a collector or arterial roadway. There should be proper dedication, proper improvements, which would include curb; gutter; storm sewer; street lighting, at least across this frontage, left turn lanes into the subdivision, uh, also same thing on, uh, 2 – Route 231 and Route, uh, uh, Joliet road.

Um, uh, there – there’s one stormwater retention plan. I see there’s – I’m – I’m not sure. I have not – if there’s a landscape plan for this subdivision. But, uh, as I know, there was no landscape plan for, uh, The Gates; and you’ll notice it. Uh, the berms that are around the outside, uh, are just nothing but weeds. Uh, they say natural plantings. Well, if they’re natural plantings, they still have to be maintained annually, uh, to get rid of the invasive species.

Uh, the detention ponds, he does whatever he wants. You can go to one pond, and it’s nicely landscaped. You got trees totally around the entire pond. You have, uh, wetland plants down at the base. You got aerators going. You go to another pond, the one in Orchard Gates, uh, there’s no trees. The grade is, like, 3 inches below the sidewalk with hardly any grass. The bottom of the pond is nothing but weeds and cattails, and now willow trees are starting to grow up. It’s not maintained. Uh, so I think the village or town needs to make sure that there’s strong landscape plans in place for this new development.

Uh, also, Mr. Lotton, I guess, feels like he can do what he wants. Uh, the, uh, develop – in The Gates has no, uh – there’s a law stating there’s no, uh, fruit trees to be planted within the subdivision. I think the Town has an ordinance that says no fruit trees in a public right-of-way. Go look at the entrance of Orchard Gate, nothing but apple trees. You’ll find probably at least 20 of them on the village right-of-way.

Um, you also look at – I’m – I’m assuming you – preliminary engineering has been done. You have lots in The Gates where their backyards back up to that berm. Half their backyard is the berm. I mean, there should be adequate land for someone to have a backyard and then a special area for the berm. So I hope you took all that into consideration if you – if you do approve this. Thank you.

Diane Paarlberg (10775 Scarlet Oak Drive): Thanks for the opportunity, uh, you’re giving me to express my feelings. In my opinion, the annexation and development of the proposed Gates East, as they’re calling it, would be having a very negative effect on the entire town. My greatest issues of concern are public safety, fire protection. There are no fire, um, stations in our area, that I know of; and I know of a fire that took place in one of the subdivisions on Father’s Day. And it was, uh, quite a long period of time before the Fire Department responded.

With the density of these homes, I think this could create a real problem. Um, fire spreads from one unit to one unit, especially when they’re only 12 feet apart; so that’s a consideration or concern. I also have a concern about, um, police protection. I think we’re understaffed, as far as police, um, in the town as it is, and, uh, also EMS response.

My next concern would be for in – infrastructure: water, sewer systems, and roads. The intersection of Cline and 231, we’re all aware of that there have been problems identified there before. There’s increased traffic, and the addition of 300 plus homes would do nothing more but clog that situation up even more.

I’m also concerned over the fact of the density of the populated area. Usually in higher density populated areas, um, there is a higher turnover of homes. A lot of people will stay – uh, plan on just staying for a short period of time. Where you have increased turnover, it can result in decreased property values. It can also lead to a higher percentage of vacancies and rentals. And I don’t know if we want that in The Gates of St. John or the Town of St. John.

Schools are another question. Many of the things that I’m talking about have already been presented in very eloquent ways. I’m not a political person, but I do have feelings and concerns for our community. Schools, I was told that we shouldn’t worry about schools because these kids would be going to Crown Point schools. I don’t know if that’s a fact or not; but if it is, does Crown Point know that? Do they know that there are going to be 380-some new homes and these kids are going to be to – are they prepared for that? Have they been involved in this, uh, presentation? I don’t know. That’s something – is that fact or is that fiction? Where would these kids go to school? Can you answer that now?

(Multiple Council Members responded simultaneously and said, “Crown Point.”)

Crown Point, has Crown Point been involved in any of this planning?

(Mr. Kil responded that he has not personally spoken with anybody from Crown Point.)

Boy, it’s going to be a shock to them. Okay. That answers one question. Um, last evening at the Planning Commission meeting, I asked the presenter, um, for the proposal for the, uh, uh, Gates addition if it was true that the proposed, um, homes would be 6 feet apart. That’s what I had heard, that they were only going to be 6 feet apart. And he told me that the easement is 6 feet on each home, so it’s really 12 feet apart. So homes are going to be 12 feet apart. Uh, you can almost reach out your window every morning, shake hands with your neighbor, and have a cup of coffee if you want to. That’s how close they’re going to be.

Um, excuse my sarcasm, but I think it’s a dangerous thing to have such great, uh, density, deep density. Um, last night, the presenter also was asked by the panel for, um, if there were specifications, as far as materials to be used in the building of these units, design, building standards, and other things. The response from the presenter was that the specifications all can be found in the governing documents of The Gates of St. John. This caused me to be – have extremely added concerns. What he didn’t elaborate on was that, as many of us know, the articles in the governing documents for the states – The Gates of St. John, um, can be changed or altered at any time without notice, without presentation to or input from any homeowners until the HOA is turned over to the, uh, homeowners.

I ask you, as a Town Council Member, would you then be confident in these building specifications not being, uh, um, being implemented without just – I mean, would you just accept the specifications that are in the, um, documents of governing that, uh, unit? One example I have is, um, what happens, as far as changes are concerned, when Dutchmill built, uh, in our subdivision, they were required by the developer to have, uh, stone skirting on the fronts of the units. And every corner unit was required to have skirting that extended around the front of the unit, along the entire side of the unit. Now that we have a different builder, Phillipe, the current builder is no longer required to add that additional stone to the side of the buildings.

This, in the words that are even in the governing documents of the “St. Johns”, creates inharmonious appearance in the subdivision; so that’s just one little thing. Now, I’m sure that, while considering The Gates addition proposal, each of you have reread the governance of The Gates of St. John, and by this time, many of you probably memorized parts of it and, uh, re-emphasized, uh, things that are in The Gates.

One of the things I’d just like to point out to you is that even in The Gates of St. John, it is stated that the responsibility of the developer is to, uh, secure and maintain proper setbacks and adequate free spaces between structures, and in general, to achieve a residential area of the highest quality and caliber. I don’t know if this is going to be possible when you box in so many homes in such a close density.

Each time, um – as one of over a thousand homeowners living in The Gates, I would like to amplify another concern about how this development will impact present owners in The Gates of St. John. Some of that has been brought forward tonight by other presenters. Each time the developer purchases new land and is given permission by the Town to develop that land, the turnover date for The Gates of St. John is pushed back 20 years. So as it stands, when you continue to give Mr. Lotton the ability to expand The Gates of St. John, there will never be a turnover date.

In fact, I asked Mrs. Lotton about that, and her response to me was, “God only knows when The Gates of St. John will be turned over.” And I think that’s probably correct, cause I don’t think it will be in my lifetime. Um, The Gates of St. John documents allow for no representation, no rights, or no respects of the homeowner. The development sees no need to inform us about anything, because he says he doesn’t have to. Questions go unanswered. Owners are disrespected, and angry discourse ensues. At the present time, the HOA board consists of three members. It’s not too difficult to figure out who those three members are. I can assure you they’re not anybody that lives in The Gates of St. John.

And, um, I’d like you to make yourself familiar with the covenants of The Gates of St. John, if you haven’t done that, and look at the, um, article that talks about the turnover date; and you will see that there are three options there; and the way it is worded, Mr. Lotton always wins and will continue to control everything. In my opinion, the developer of The Gates and his attorneys have done an excellent job making sure that they continue to have complete control of The Gates with no respect or concern for the owners that live there.

HOA by continuation in the purchase and development of additional land is a – is a – is a, um, dangerous thing. All the power and the authority is given to The Gates, by The Gates, and any decisions are made by The Gates for the Gates, not for the homeowners. They’re not accountable to homeowners in any way.

My question is this: Who polices the policeman? Is there anybody that is looking at legalities or problems within the system of The Gates of St. John as set up? I’ve lived here for two years. I love Indiana. I grew up in Indiana, moved to Illinois, moved back to Indiana because I loved it so much. I love my townhouse built by Dutchmill. I love my neighbors, who are very caring and, uh, very compassionate and very concerned about what’s going on. I think it’s time for the Town of St. John to say enough is enough. The Gates of St. John HOA should be – should not be granted permission to grow even bigger.

I am not opposed to BLB developing new properties in St. John or anywhere else. He can do what he wants. It is my opinion that if this developer wants to continue to purchase and develop properties in St. John, each developed plot should have its own HOA; and when the plot is built out, the HOA should be turned over to the homeowners with no strings attached. I would also make a few more comments for your consideration as the Town board representing the people. I’m sorry but my mouth is really dry. That’s why I’m bleh.

Um, the Town can and should set the standards for developers and HOAs within the developments that they develop. Indiana HOA law’s very general, not specific in any way, not real helpful. But states like Florida and Illinois have more specific guidelines and would be good reference points. The Town can develop guidelines for their developers and can be involved in the development or at least, uh, monitoring of what is in the HOA documents.

When a developer is granted the privilege – and it is a privilege – to prosper from developing land in our town, the Planning Commission and the board should study every detail of the proposal without haste. All specifications, including governing documents, should be studied and discussed before being approved to ensure that the best interest of the home purchasers and the community is considered. St. John needs to set high standards for developers. It should not let the developers set the standards for the Town. Developers and builders should be required to meet with prospective buyers and review all governing documents with prospective buyers prior to closing.

I don’t know if you’re aware, but probably over 50% of the people who live in the large Gates of St. John were not even aware that there were governing documents for The Gates of St. John until after they closed and found out that we were responsible to another Gate. Um, transparency and disclosure is very important. I think there should be, um, um, buyers and developers should, um, have a conference and sign off as – so that there’s proof that documentation has been reviewed with all pro – uh, uh, with all pro – potential buyers. And fines could be issued to developers and builders who don’t comply. This could be a beneficial thing for both buyers, developers, builders, and the Town.

All developers and builders should be required to present an annual budget to all homeowners in the HOA, even prior to turnover. Owners should receive a year-end fiscal statement that includes line item review and expenses and dollar amounts that are in the reserve funds. HOA collected funds should be held in a separate account and should only be utilized for HOA expenses. We are not giving – given any, uh, information about how our assessments are spent; what they’re applied to; and every year we – well, since I’ve been here, the three – this is the third year I’ve been here. Um, it’s – the budget that we, uh, are receiving at the beginning of every year still has 800 homes that we’re assessed for.

Okay, the budget is based on $400 for 800 homes. How many homes are there in The Gates of St. John at this point? It’s got to be 1300, at least. What’s happening to the rest of that money? Where are those assessments going? Those are questions that the homeowners have, and they’re legitimate questions. And they should be answered by The Gates of St. John. We get no response. He doesn't have to talk to us. He doesn't have to answer any questions for us. Um, also, uh, I think the Town should make one their requirements for developers that they should, at least, meet annually with the members in their HOA, before it’s turned over, to give them, um, builder updates, um, and what’s happening with the development of the subdivision.

In closing, I must say again that I am not opposed to residential growth for St. John, but the wisdom of this proposal must be carefully and thoughtfully studied and questioned. The lasting impact must not be overlooked. Um, there – but you know, there was someone that said, um, the character of a person is when the person does a right – does the right thing, even when he knows no one is watching. I say to you tonight, um, St. John, please show character and do the right thing. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.

Harry Adamek (9401 Chestnut Cove): I live in The Gates of St. John. Everybody knows me as “Tom”. Uh, I moved here a year ago, bought a home, beautiful home on the pond on Chestnut Cove, which it took a year to get a street sign, because nobody recognized us. We get the runaround from the Town, “We don’t do the sign; the developer does the sign.” Anyway, we got a temporary sign. We finally got a sign.

The HOA is a one-way system here. It’s only one way for Lotton. Anybody else, you want something done, you can’t get anything done other than them cutting grass on Tuesday or Wednesday. The pond that I live on has nothing but cattails and weeds and muskrats. I called the HOA about the muskrats, they said, “Well, we’ll take care of it.”

They also told us that, when all the homes were surrounded on the – on the pond, that they would clean the ponds up and make them presentable; and they even said that they were going to put a fountain on each end of the pond. Well, obviously, none of that’s happening. I didn’t come to St. John to look at rats in my yard. I didn’t come here because it was a bad area. I came here cause it was a really nice area. I lived in Dyer for 30 years.

But if you allow Lotton to take the HOA across Cline, which now, supposedly, one of his workers said that all the lots in The Gates of St. John are spoken for through builders, that they only have about six – six or ten lots left. Okay, so why won’t they allow the HOA to be turned over to the homeowners and get it out of Lotton’s hands?

And then, also, you give it to him over there, what happens to The Gates now? Is The Gates going to keep moving further out, and further out, and further out? That’s not how a development’s built. You build subdivision on names and in areas. You keep spreading The Gates out, you devalue the property homes in The Gates of St. John. That’s all I have to say; and I hope you do the right thing and don’t allow this to happen.

Marvin DeJong (8971 Hibiscus Drive): You guys are public servants. Here’s the public. I think you can tell by the responses tonight that, uh, there’s a big opposition the – in annexing any of this right now. Um, if you remember when you were voted in, you probably said that, uh, you were going to serve the public. Well, I take it in things that have gone on in the past, you really haven’t, so you been voted out.

Hopefully, you have a little bit of conscience left that one of your last acts is to listen to the people here and vote this down, because we – there’s a lot more things that need to go on; especially, we need to fix the roads and take care of some of that before we, uh, do more annexing and build more houses. Thank you.

Jim Sakelaris (11577 Belmont Place): I’m the representative of the Hanover School Board and have a couple questions that, uh, I’d like to get some information on because it looks like there might be an impact. Uh, where you’re building, some of that is the Crown Point system; some of it falls for the Hanover school system. So what I’d like to see from the Council is the area, a map. Some kind of map that’s going to show where the homes are, how many homes will be going in, when the first development will start, when the last will end, and if there are going to be multiple homes or single homes. And what township does that fall into, because that has in impact on us as far as schools going in, if we’re going to have to increase our – our buildings and all that size? Thank you for your time.

Julie Stevens (9040 West 103rd Street): Which is in The Gates, and I don’t know which Gate I’m in. Sorry. Um, I come to the podium tonight to address and speak out against the annexation of the 111-acre parcel of land that is intended to be one of the newest additions to The Gates of St. John. I have many concerns about this project. I understand from reading the annexation petition that the plan is to annex it into the town as R-2 planned unit development. That means that the lots will be approximately 11,000 square feet with 6 feet on either side between the homes. This will add well over 300 homes. This addition will create stress on the roads, police and fire, water and sewer services. Pardon me.

Our roads are in deplorable condition, and with the loss of the opportunity for Community Crossing Grants, where’s the money coming from to fix the current road issues? The petition for annexation seems very impulsive, not well thought out at all, with no due diligence to make certain our infrastructure is strong enough to support hundreds of more cars travelling on our roads.

The other issue is, that as stated earlier, I reside in The Gates. There is no consideration for the challenges that we have with our current HOA. Our board is comprised of the developer, his wife and our attorney. They do not live in The Gates. I thought that HOA boards are typically made up of residents who have a real vested interest in their neighborhood.

My understanding is the HOA was due to be turned over to the residents after the development was first built. But with that being said, as each new Gate is added, I understand that the counter goes back to zero. So by that system, the residents of The Gates of St. John will never have control over our own neighborhood. I am certain you are all aware that we have had legal battles with our board where we’ve had to take them to court for not providing financial records.

It has been a battle for years and years. We are at their mercy, and we are at their whim. This is our biggest investment. This is our home. This is our neighborhood. I’m getting very emotional. We have no say. We have no control; and at this rate, thanks to you allowing the developer to do whatever he wants, it will never, ever, ever belong to us. And shame on all of you who vote yes for this.

Donna Fathke (10729 Maple Lane): I’d like to start out with an added comment that I wasn’t planning on making; but I believe there was a misrepresentation of the connection between, uh, the annexation and the settlement with Lotton. Um, that settlement does not require that this zoning be given to Lotton. It merely states that it will support efforts; and it explicitly says that, “The parties acknowledge and agree that the St. John Plan Commission and the Common Council cannot, and have not, made a contract for the rezoning.”

For the record, according to the Indiana Code, proposals such as this must consider the conservation of housing values in St. John. Because this proposal encompasses smaller lots, smaller houses, and no green space, it will result in less expensive housing, which will, in turn, diminish the surrounding housing values in St. John.

Another code requirement of new development proposals is that they support responsible development and growth. Nowhere else in town is there a development like this, not in number and not in density of homes. Yet we have not seen any kind of an impact study on the roads, schools, water, and sewer. How, therefore, can this be deemed responsible development? It cannot.

A third code requirement requires proposals to consider the current conditions and character of other housing in St. John. This requirement has, obviously, been ignored by this proposal as it is in no fashion like anything else in this community. In addition, my understanding is this proposal is also requesting that this new development be brought into the current homeowners association of The Gates of St. John. I strongly object to this request. The HOA is currently run without any input whatsoever from the members of this association, the homeowners. No meeting has ever been held in its history which includes the homeowners.

Although for years, efforts have been made to get financial documents from the HOA board, the board has been unresponsive – unresponsive until recently when the case was finally taken before a judge. There has been no transparency even though fees have increased numerous times. I believe they’re double now what they started out as.

The covenants dictate that the HOA be eventually turned over to the homeowners; however, every time the HOA’s expanded, the date of this turnover is pushed further into the future. Further, the covenants have been changes at least 17 times since 2007 with no input from the homeowners, not even the courtesy of notification that those changes have been made. So no, I vehemently and “unequivocably” – sorry I shouldn’t have said that word – do not support this proposal in any fashion. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): Normally, I stand before you and we discuss multiunits being jammed into small spaces; but I guess tonight, we get to talk about 11,200 square-foot, R-2 PUD lots with reduced ranch requirement size, with reduced 2-story requirement size. So in other words, were not only going to put in 11,200 square-foot lots, but we’re going to put smaller houses on them.

Now, what do smaller houses mean to the normal person? Let’s see. You sell houses and figure out how much it costs per square-foot. Now, if you reduce a house by 100 or 200 square feet and you apply the price to it, guess what happens? The price probably goes down. So therefore, we’re looking at 219 acres being annexed. We don’t even have prints for half of it.

Here’s just part of it. Where’s the rest of it? Hasn’t even been given to us yet. We have no idea how many units are in there. We have no idea, short of they’re 6 foot apart, 6-foot lot lines; that’s 12 foot apart. Why don’t we do this: why don’t you offer for Mr. Lotton to put a sidewalk in between every house so you can have gangways, just like Chicago? This is ridiculous. This kind of building, you should turn this down immediately.

Toni Duddy (9136 West 107th Place): I am opposed to the proposed annexation of the East Gates of – as R-2 PUD. I feel due diligence has not been taken to explore what impact this high-concentration zone – high concentration of homes would have on the neighborhood, the roads, the schools, the property values, and the Town of St. John in general.

By continuing The Gates of St. John to grow at this alarming rate, you are dismissing any chance for our HOA to ever be influenced by the residents and, therefore, left to be controlled by Mr. Lotton. I liken Mr. Lotton, and you by association, to Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Wouldn’t you rather be George Bailey? Thank you.

Terry A. Nellemann (9500 West 103rd Place): I just recently moved, and we were at 103rd – I’m sorry, 10393 Olcott Avenue in St. John for just short of 20 years. So we’ve come here from the – grew up in Chicago, city of Chicago. You know how the city of Chicago is the old track system, the way homes are built. We moved out this way, uh, again, 20 years, to get out into the country. Our kids grew up here, went to the schools here, everything.

My main concern is here for the Council is basically the schools. The schools, the impact on the schools, all these homes, you’ve got to factor in the children, the children later on, tomorrow. You’re looking at today, present, to get things done. What I’m asking for is for this Council to let the surrounding school systems have some kind of input with this to the St. John, especially The Gates of St. John with this expansion and explosion of expansion. Give the schools the chance to have an input here. Give the schools – please give the schools the opportunity to have some kind of – of, um, correlation with this Council to where you can have a – some kind of feasibility study or an impact, and/or an impact study.

What’s going to happen to the school system? We got to think of tomorrow. We can’t think of today. These kids, what am I doing up here 64.5 years old worried about the children? Well, let me tell you: I have four kids that live in this area, four children; and we’re very, very blessed to have one of them, which is 14 years old – and I’ve got eight of them 7 years and under. I’m here today to ask this Council to cooperate with the surrounding and all the school districts with a feasibility report and a, uh, impact report on what is going to happen with this East Gates addition.

For the record, I’m against the East state – uh, uh, the East Gates addition to the, uh, homeowners association. It should be separate. A lot of people have covered everything; there’s no sense in me repeating too much of what’s already been said. But please, just look at it this way, what is this 64-year-old man doing up here worrying about the school districts? It’s taxation. The kids, worry about our kids: your grandkids, my kids, my grandkids. Those are the ones that are going to be in this – in this school district – these school districts.

We all have children. We all have children, and we’re going to have grandchildren. You’re going to. Think about the kids. Think about tomorrow. There’s nothing wrong with putting this off till, minimum, of the first of the year to where you can have some kind of input from the schools, please. That’s all I ask, feasibility report and an impact report from the surrounding school districts. And the ones that might be impacted – I’m only guessing – Lake Central, Hanover, Crown Point, possibly Schererville. I have no idea. That’s all I ask. I thank you very much for your time. Sorry if I’ve been a burden to you at all. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): I incorporate by reference all the previous remonstrators in remonstrating against this, all the comments they made, so we don’t have to go through all that again. I think we have to look at this settlement agreement, okay. It was presented that we’re liable, possibly, for $5 million. Well, some attorney wrote that settlement agreement.

If you were liable for the $5 million, you should be suing your legal staff who wrote the settle – who wrote the annexation thing that gave the recapture clause, whatever triggered this. That should be your number one priority, going for legal fees and restitution for everything it cost the Town. You let these guys slide; you don’t let them slide no more.

Number two, the settlement agreement doesn't lock you in to vote for this thing. Think about it, if you make a settlement agreement with a private person to trump our zoning ordinances, trump public input to the Plan Commission, trump public input to the BZA, what does that mean to me? You’re all public officials sworn in. I look at that as a violation of the civil rights of any petitioner that would be able to speak against this at any of those commission meetings under 42 USC § 1983. And then I start looking at 18 USC § 242. Go read that one sometimes as public officials; see what your duties are on the federal side.

Okay. I won’t elaborate; but to use the pretext of this settlement agreement, that was settled where? In the dark somewhere and just announced, and then voted on? That cut off all public input. That violated the civil rights of every person in this town who could come and remonstrate against the project at the BZA, the Plan Commission, and the Town Council. And if you can’t see that, you don’t deserve to be up there.

If you look at the settlement agreement, it’s like a reverse bribe. It says we won’t fight this civil lawsuit, and we’ll throw in the towel. $5 million is nothing if – if you’ve got that judgment against you. You’re spending how much money on this stupid road of 96th? Look at all the squandered money in this town. So that is a fake; it’s a red herring, this settlement agreement, okay, in order to push this thing through. If any person up there feels they are obliged to vote for this for the settlement agreement, then they should resign tonight.

Let’s go through the practicality. This thing is whipped up really quick. Typically, you got to look at the terminal treatment plant in Schererville, the pipes that go there for sewers, the distribution system that’s going to be put in. You got to look at the water system, the water towers. There’s got to be documents here that the public could look at to say who’s going to pay for all of this. Is the develop – the developer got – his fees going to cover it? You don’t know. You don’t know engineering. Okay.

This thing is wham-bam, before you guys get out of here, because they think they got influence over you. And when you see this many people coming and complaining who live there, what does that tell you? For the people that have been on this board for 12 years, when the first thing came through, it looks like mistakes were made; or all these people wouldn’t be complaining. Now, you have to look at the synergy when you have this many people upset about it who live there. Somebody made a big mistake the first time, or we wouldn’t have the lawsuit, the settlement. You should go after those people. You paid them for good service; go get your money back, and damages.

Roads, Fire Station – right now, where is the Fire Station? On this side of the tracks. To get out there, they got to go down 231, all the way around. Is there a fire station going to be built in this thing? No. What’s critical with fire stations? It’s the time when you get the call. The roads are crappy. You haven’t done anything to make them, so if somebody has a heart attack, how many minutes does he have for the first responders to get there? If there’s a fire, how many minutes before it gets out of control? You haven’t looked at any of that.

Water tower pressure, we saw that in Tiburon. That got approved by previous administrations. We had to raise our water tower to give them water pressure. Has there been a study about the geology of this place – these annexations? No. You haven’t done your due diligence. You haven’t responded to what you took an oath to do, and that’s protect the Indiana Constitution, the US Constitution.

We can complain and complain, but if you don’t listen and open your ears, that is, to me, a crime. You got people begging you to protect their property values. Basically, they invested their whole life in that house. And the new people who aren’t even here are in the same boat.

The roads are terrible; there’s no provisions. You can say, “We’ll go fix it later.” You can’t fix it later, it gets – costs more. Because to come in and tear out existing utilities to widen a road, that – you’ve seen the road study. You haven’t put the fee on any of this stuff. You’ve been negligent, folks, negligent. Okay.

Now, I’m not talking about the two ladies that just got here. They inherited this mess, okay. So I’m excluding you from my comments, okay, because you’ve only been on this board a short time. And you weren’t voted on by the people; you were voted on by a caucus, okay. A cau – two caucuses that I believe were rigged; and you don’t even know it, okay.

(Mr. Barenie cautioned Mr. Hero avoid the personal comments.)

No. I’m giving you responsibility. You have a responsibility to these people.

(Mr. Barenie responded that Mr. Hero’s comments were heard.)

Okay. That is what you got to decide. They ain’t in here crying that – for nothing. You need to listen and open your ears. To the new people, a lot of this stuff’s new to you; but when this many people show up complaining about how things are managed, it’s time you join them. To the two new ladies on here, I want you to join these people, not stick with the old-timers that are on this board that have screwed things up for years, okay.

(Mr. Barenie thanked Mr. Hero.)

It’s a public hearing; you don’t shut me up. You haven’t learned that yet.

(Mr. Barenie responded that he just said thank you.)

Okay. Well, that means, like, sit down.

(Mr. Barenie confirmed that is what he meant.)

I know you want me to sit down, you know, Mark. Okay. Anyway, you need to think about what these people said tonight, okay. You know, because I hit the nails on the head, and you don’t want to hear them, okay. It is your responsibility, as living here; and you’re going to be living here for a while. And when you walk down the street, you want respect from these people; and if you go through with this kind of development, you’re not going to be respected. And it’s going to reflect on your own personal lives, your families, everything else. You want to regain the respect of these people by doing the right thing and voting this thing down.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): So I’d like to reiterate what I said the first time: Uh, the biggest problem here is the process being followed, or the process being skipped. Uh, a lot of the previous commenters brought in, um, factors that would be considered in rezoning that have not been considered here because you’re circumventing the entire Indiana statute for rezoning. You’re using a back door into rezoning with annexation. Um, I ask you to either rezone it at R-1 with no strings attached, or to vote it no.

Um, I’m not worried about the settlement agreement. I know you all are thinking, “Boy, the new Council’s going to hate this. We’re going to dump it all on them if it blows up.” Well, we’re ready to take that on. We want to do it right. Thank you.

Erica Hill (10454 Redwood Drive): I just want to clarify, which somebody did earlier, you do have a choice about the annexation and about the R-1 or R-2 PUD zoning, unlike what Mr. Kil was trying to insinuate earlier. There’s always a choice. The proposed annexation of the 100-acre parcel of land owned by John Lotton is a clear attempt to railroad through half-baked, careless annexations with no thoughts or care to how it will impact our roads, our schools, our property values, our traffic, and our quality of life.

You have allowed John – John Lotton, to control The Gates for all of these years, and it’s a disgrace. It shows your complete lack of character, which is why this town spoke and voted you out in May. This proposed annexation is a slap in the face to everyone that lives in The Gates who has longed for many years to finally control their HOA. Each time Lotton develops more land, you allow him to do so with zero commitment to improve the livability of our subdivision, to build and fix our roads, to build parks, and actually give back to this community.

You are further extending his reach and his control over this town. I have two nieces that just moved two houses down from me, and they have nowhere to play in their brand-new home. There is no park. How is it possible that my neighbors have lived in their homes for fifteen years, literally next door to me; and there is still no park in The Gates of St. John? It is a testament how you have let Lotton run around this town like a kid in the candy store.

And lastly, if you care nothing about this town, which it seems that you don’t, you might care about one thing: You might care about – oh, shoot this [inaudible] – the neighbor, your neighbors – sorry – the ones standing around and behind me. Perhaps, you should care, that after all of this is said and done and you leave office in January, that you still have to live here. Everything you do tonight and until January is noticed by all of your neighbors.

You still have to run to – into us at the grocery store or in line at Starbucks. You have – you might run into us at the carwash, at the farmer’s market, at the doctor’s office, or in the – or going to the train downtown. If you think that people will look at you with a smile, you are delusional. If you continue running this town like children who lost a game instead of a St. John Councilman that believes in this town and cares about its future, then you will take – then I will take a guess that you will not be greeted with smiles but with faces of disdain, disgust, and contempt. If you have any ethos or care about your personal reputation in this town, then you should vote no tonight.

Katy Dowling (884 Huey Drive, Crown Point – Crown Point Schools): I’m the Chief Financial Officer for Crown Point Community School Corporation. I’m here tonight on behalf of our Superintendent, Dr. Teresa A. Eineman, and our board of school trustees for the corporation. Crown Point Schools is concerned about this annexation because the majority of the properties are located in Center Township. And as somebody eluded to, I think everyone’s aware that everyone in Center Township is going to come to Crown Point Schools.

We’re in favor of responsible, well-planned development that takes the concerns of all stakeholders into account; and Crown Point Schools is a stakeholder in this annexation. It appears from earlier comments that this acreage is a companion facility or companion piece, excuse me, to the 108 acres currently before the Plan Commission, also, to be reclassified as R-2 PUD from R-1.

Our concern, from a student standpoint, is 208 acres could result in an estimated 700-plus homes in a very, very short period of time. Um, a question – and I realize nobody can answer this now – but just for the record, is there data on the percentage this multiunit development that have the potential to have children that will attend school? A development of this size and density with a inflated construction timeline doesn't allow any school corporation, not us, not Hanover, not Lake Central, not anybody, um, to plan so that we can address the needs of our students when they arrive, not after they’re there and we have to bring in “modulars” and everything else to accommodate them.

Our needs for our facilities are driven by our student population. It’s basic just like, you know, your roads are about what your population density is. It’s a – it’s the same thing. It’s numbers, and so we put a lot of effort into monitoring, predicting our student population to ensure we have properly planned for the needs of our students. But we can’t plan if we’re not involved in the conversation.

If 20% of these homes result in one new student to Crown Point Schools – so each one, so 140 new students, just some numbers, what’s that mean for me from the CFO perspective? From a capital perspective, that’s $2.5 million. Because it’s going to need four new buses, that’s going to cost me a half a million; and I’m going to have to build a four-classroom building addition. Uh, that’s just to avoid a $25 million capital referendum, which we work hard to not have to make those kinds of, uh, burdens to our tax payers. Additional staffing with teachers, SROs, our paraprofessionals, drivers, childcare, etc., that’s another 3/4 of a million dollars.

So Crown – we understand at Crown Point Community School Corporation that development is necessary for communities to thrive. We ask that you carefully consider this annexation and any other residential property reclassifications. Please take into account the consequences that poorly planned, hasty, multiunit residential developments have on all of our stakeholders and all of our limited resources.

On a side note, I am very disappointed that no effort was made to contact the school corporation. Had it not been – had it not been for a Plan Commission official and St. John residents that were calling the superintendent’s office, we would not have known at all what was transpiring. Um, earlier, someone during Public Comment eluded to that when they inquired about the – the effect this would have on the schools, they were told by an official – I have no idea who that is – that stated, “We don’t need to worry about the schools; they’d go to Crown Point,” which is a completely irresponsible statement. And shame on whoever made that statement. First, we’re one region, number one; and second, there are schools that have open enrollments, so this just isn’t an issue for Crown Point. This can affect everybody within this area. It doesn't just affect me.

On a personal note – and this is not in my capacity at the school corporation; this is me, Katy Dowling – there are people sitting before me, up here, that know me, know my husband, and know very well the capacity that I serve in for the Crown Point School Corporation; and I am so disappointed they couldn’t find it appropriate to give me a courtesy call. Thank you.

Layne Platopoulos (9760 Garden Way) as read by Erica Hill: I am reading a statement from Layne Marino-Platopoulos. She’s at home with her children.

“As a former resident of a previous Lotton development in an area that was run by corruption, I was beyond hesitant to move to my current residence when I discovered it had been annexed to his Gates of St. John development. This HOA is plagued by problems and the inability to free itself from a dictatorship where no resident of the HOA gets a voice. By agreeing to yet another annexation, expanding The Gates is injuring every resident who has no voice.

The voice of change will come for all of us residents when this board is voted out of office. Sadly, it will be too late for the infrastructure that this board is not considering. We already have overcrowded schools with our library at Kolling getting increasingly smaller to create classroom space. I would ask that this board listen to residents and let Lotton figure another way to get rich quick without creating a town that ha – that no one wants to live in.”

Art Martin (9767 Aster Cove): I’m in Renaissance, uh, the Halloween house, if some of you have kids or grandkids. I only have a couple things to state – to say. Uh, everybody here, I think, did a great job. You heard about Lotton. Uh, he is – he’s a – he’s a – he’s a scheme. Other – if you don’t live in his HOA, his, uh, developments, he’s a scheme. He’s never going to give up the possibility for the homeowners to ever take over, have responsibilities, vote on things that they think they should be voted on.

Uh, I don’t know if you guys know this, but just for instance, uh, we – I moved into Renaissance, I paid for mailboxes, $300, through – two years later, well, he decides we’re all getting new mailboxes for The Gates. I’m pretty sure; right? For The Gates, for all his other developments, uh, $500 a mailbox per household.

(A member of the audience said, “$600.”)

$600, I knew that was – I asked my wife. She couldn’t remember.

(Another member of the audience said, “Per – per owner.”)

Per owner.

(That same member said, “A new owner of that has to give another $600; the old owner does not get his money back.”)

So anyways, uh, $600 per household turned into three or four mailboxes on a post. That’s $2000 we paid for four mailboxes and a post, and sounds like maybe $600 to $800 worth of work. Okay. Uh, that’s a scheme. He – we also, uh, showed in his, uh, accounts, that – um, we have gotten a lawyer; and I’m sure you heard of – about that, that he showed, uh, some, uh, payables as for – he – he said, during those, uh, letters and everything, that he paid twenty some thousand dollars to US Postal Service. Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I know everybody, we all got handed a letter from a kid; so that’s a scheme.

Uh, we pay $80,000 for pond maintenance. As a pond owner, its chemicals, twenty bucks. I pay $20 a year to maintain a 4000-gallon pond. My fish are living, uh, just fine. Uh, in this time, we all know about the roads; 231, Joliet, it’s an absolute mess.

Uh, some lady mentioned about the fire. Uh, it took 12 minutes or so. I’m glad she mentioned that. Um, it was my neighbor whose house caught on fire; and, uh, I put it out; and so did another neighbor. The only one that showed up was the Chief, 12 minutes; it took another 10 minutes for the Fire Department to get there.

Uh, they didn’t know their house was on fire. They were putting the kids to bed. They were all in one room; and luckily my wife seen everything was going on; and she started yelling. I ran out, grabbed the hose; the other neighbor grabbed the fire extinguisher. It’s a short story, but more developments, more houses is more demands on the Police and the Fire.

Sorry about getting emotional; but I moved to this town for a better – better way. I came from Cal City, grew up in Cal City; and we all know how that is now. We don’t want lower prices on homes. We don’t want, you know, everything. It – this is just a higher – higher community that we – we all enjoy, live in. But as you could see, the roads aren’t getting maintained. It’s – turning right on Joliet, it’s a 5 to 10 minute price – process just to turn right. We’re not talking about the people that are turning left.

There’s only two ways off of Cline. You’re going to take 101st – Joliet, or you’re going to take 231. Lotton, as you could tell, is hated, disliked by the people of the HOA. He keeps – 17 amendments so far – he keeps changing the rules to never give up money coming in. And so I’d just like to close it and thank everybody. It’s your duty, your duty to start overseeing these guys and these developers, because we were the suckers that bought in.

Mr. Barenie closed the floor and brought the matter back to the Council.

Mr. Tim Kuiper, on behalf of LBL Development, LLC, et al, stated this is a petition for 111 acres to come into town adjacent to four parcels that are already in town, consisting of 108 acres. Mr. Kuiper advised that Indiana Code provides that once they file an annexation petition, a Public Hearing has to be held within 30 days; therefore, nothing is being pushed through. It is a statutory requirement.

Mr. Kuiper stated that there is a settlement agreement with some consideration for lot sizes and other things in there; but it is the Council’s discretion. He further stated that there is nothing mandatory in there as this can’t be contract zoning. Mr. Kuiper explained that they have proposed some lot layouts. No subdivision is being proposed at this time, as there has to be easements, a lot of engineering, roadways, water usage, sewers, storm sewers, and everything else that goes along with it, like every other annexation that’s gone before with the Town.

Mr. Kuiper advised that they have provided Mr. Kil and Mr. Svetanoff with a document from Ice-Miller which points out that the provision is unenforceable by Indiana Code and by statutory authority.

Mr. Kuiper stated that it is the discretion of this Legislative Body to put whatever zoning they want on it; this Council can’t limit the next one; and that Council cannot limit the one after that. Mr. Kuiper advised that it is within the Council’s purview to zone it as R-2 PUD; they have met the requirements for contiguity and all other things under the statute for an annexation at this time.

Mr. Swets asked if there is any leeway to remove the HOA portion that would tie this property into The Gates. Mr. Kuiper responded that it is something that can be discussed.

Motion to direct the developer to amend the Zoning Commitment to strike all the language that would tie this annexation to the existing Gates of St. John Homeowners Association by Mr. Swets.

Discussion ensued regarding the current The Gates of St. John HOA and residents wherein Mr. Kuiper stated that the HOA will be turned over 20 years from the original recordation of the covenants, conditions, restrictions and easements.

Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1691 on first reading only by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

(A short recess was had.)

B. Ordinance No. 1693
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1693. A petition for annexation of certain real property to the Town of St. John. Petitioners: First Merchants Bank as Successor Trustee of Revocable Trust Agreement of Alexander B. Arzumanian and contractor purchaser Lotton Development; hereinafter collectively known as “Petitioners”.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Svetanoff if the proofs of publication are in order. Mr. Svetanoff advised that all items are in order for this Public Hearing to proceed.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil to give opening remarks.

Mr. Kil stated that the property in question lies on the south edge of the town, at the northwest corner of the intersection of White Oak Avenue and 109th Avenue, just south of the ice arena. The petitioner is requesting 100% voluntary annexation into the community as an RC-2 PUD.

Mr. Barenie opened the floor for Public Hearing.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): This is another quickie to get it in before you guys go. I remonstrate against this. And not to use up all your time because it’s getting late, I incorporate all my comments from the previous annexation into this one from the – for the record, so I don’t have to repeat all that.

I want to comment on the memo that was – you guys talked about. I want you to read the last sentence of that memo. Can you do that? Can you pull that out and read it? My understanding of that memo about this has to be a unanimous vote is a guy that wrote the memo says he doesn't warranty that everything is correct in his memo. Would you read the memo somebody? Who’s got the memo? Let me get the exact wording for the record.

You got it Gerry?

(Mr. Swets responded in the negative.)

(Mr. Kil stated that the memo is in everybody’s packet.)

Who’s got the memo? We need to read that into the record. What’s the last sentence? Somebody read it, please, into the record. I don’t think that was pointed out when he got up here and talked to you about the memo. See what the writer of the memo says in his last couple sentences

(As read by Mr. Swets: This memorandum is being furnished to you for your sole use only in conjunction with the consideration of the issues discussed in this memorandum and no other party is entitled to rely on this memorandum without our express written consent.)

Okay. What does he say about warrantying that this thing is correct? Go before that.

(As read by Ms. Popovic: The foregoing discussion expresses the professional judgment of the attorneys participating in the consideration of this matter as to the legal issues addressed in this memorandum. Ms. Popovic advised that it basically just says that these are the legal expressions of the specific attorneys.)

Does he put a disclaimer in there that he doesn't warranty everything’s correct in essence? I don’t remember the wording.

(Ms. Popovic: It says: “This discussion involves complex questions of law,” which it does, “and by expressing our views on these issues, the undersigned does not become insurer or guarantor of that expression of professional judgment.”)

What he’s saying is he doesn't guaranty his expression of his memo. Okay, now, that was not brought out when Mr. Kuiper told you about the memo. I think that should have been put into the record in the previous hearing; and I think it should be put into the record in this hearing.

(Ms. Popovic stated that it just was.)

What was?

(Ms. Popovic stated that we just brought it into the record.)

No, but you didn’t talk it so people understood it. You guys had the memo, they didn’t have the memo. That’s my – that’s my remonstrance against this one; and I’m going to add it to the previous annexation.

Basically, fire station, police, roads to get back and forth, the response time of emergency responders, and all these annexations is terrible, going to be because of the roads because you haven’t planned for any of this stuff. You’re just sitting here before you get out of office making these two annexations.

And in case anybody here doesn't understand, that previous one was approved by this Council. And I don’t think you have the right to alter at the “HOH” thing. Those are private contracts. That should not even be in there. Okay. You can’t put those conditions on there, and I thought I heard the attorney say that in a different way, so that is a red herring to get the other one passed. About, you know, you want to protect the HOH people, but you don’t do the annexation because you put the wording in there because you can’t control that wording. It’s private contract.

And so I think all your activities in the first reading are void because it was not a unanimous vote. I think the memo doesn't guaranty what he says. There was one guy that voted against it, and that was Swets. So I think your first reading did not pass, and I’m going to say the same thing for this one. If this is not unanimous, it doesn't pass. And I think that’s got to be put into the record. And for all those reasons, I object to this one, this annexation and the other one. Thank you.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): I agree with Joe. Um, I think you’re bending the rules to suit your circumstances. Um, so what gives? Is any ordinance fair game, um, with the reasoning given by Ice-Miller? So anything, anything in that book, anything in this Zoning Ordinance, we could say, “Well, the last Town Council did that so, yeah it doesn't matter. We don’t need to honor that.” So it’s a whim, and it will be challenged. You’re – you’re opening our – your – yourselves and our Town up to more litigation, more problems.

It – it’s – it’s a big one; and The Gates folks might be happy about the HOA being dropped, but they’re not going to be happy with the, uh, site plan given. Um, so that – that goes backwards to the last approval, forward to this one. It shouldn’t be done; so, um, the Arzumanian property has nothing to do with the settlement agreement. You’re handing him R-2 PUD on a silver platter. There’s no cause for it. He’s not giving in exchange to the Town. Double the amount of homes going into the Hanover district in – than is necessary and as would be with R-1 zoning; so annex it at R-1 or turn it down.

And, uh, as Joe said, if it’s not unanimous, um, our Ordinance 1483 calls that it is, uh, R-1 only. So, um, again, it – it – I’m – I’m disgusted by the ability to pull up a – a ruling at – at whim and change our rules as we go. So it’s, uh – it – it really stinks, not a – not a good policy. It’s not done in good faith; and – and I’m going to reiterate what I’ve said twice tonight: You’re skipping the entire process for residents to be involved in this. It’s just not right. Thank you.

Jim Sakalaris (11577 Belmont Place): Hanover School Board, this im – this new subdivision will have an impact on us. Uh, just as long – for a point of information for the Town Council, the Hanover School Corporation tried to pass a referendum for additional buildings; uh, it did not pass. It was, basically, defeated from the St. John area. At this point, with the things going in, the more homes going in, we will be housing students in portable buildings because we have no other choice, point of information. Thank you.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I’ve heard every word, but sometimes I’m slow on the uptake. What just happened? Can – can you explain in language I understand what this earlier petition was? Did you approve it? Did you – what – did you table it?

(Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative.)

(Mr. Kil asked Mr. DeVito if he is referring to the previous petition.)

So you – are you saying you brought this land?

(Mr. Kil stated that he wants to be sure which item Mr. DeVito was asking about.)

(Mr. Barenie asked if he is questioning item 7-A.)

Yes, 7-A.

(Ms. Popovic asked if Mr. DeVito was asking about the original annexation of The Gates.)

(Mr. Forbes stated that he believes he is asking about Gates East Annexation.)

The – the vote that just happened.

(Mr. Forbes stated that The Gates East Annexation passed on first reading.)

What does that mean, please?

(Mr. Forbes explained that it passed on first reading.)

Is there a second reading?

(Multiple members responded in the affirmative.)

(Mr. Barenie stated that it still has to be adopted.)

And what happens at the second one, or when will this be?

(Mr. Kil responded that it will be September 26, 2019, which is the normal meeting in September.)

Maybe it will sink in, but I’m not sure I understand what – what just happened or how it happens or what’s this whole – this whole – this whole agenda is different than I am accustomed to; and I’m really confused as to how the law works here in this particular area. An annexation takes two readings?

(Multiple Council Members responded in the affirmative.)

(Mr. Forbes stated that the readings are 30 days apart.)

So you didn’t actually approve it; you just authorized it for a second view?

(Mr. Barenie responded in the affirmative.)

Thank you.

Mr. Kuiper stated that this annexation is between Lotton Development and the Arzumanian Property by First Merchant’s Bank. The property is a 40.338-acre parcel that meets all the contiguity requirements for annexation. They are requesting an RC-2 PUD zoning for this land, which is a conservation PUD. The underlying density still stays the same, and everything else. It is an R-2 density, slightly more than an R-1. It allows for conservation efforts inside of that project. Mr. Kuiper advised that this property has nothing to do with The Gates.

Ms. Popovic asked if the conservation is because of the wetlands that are there. Mr. Kuiper stated that it just allows for more green spaces. The land plan has more wetland, more green spaces along the roadway, and things like that.

Mr. Forbes asked if the lot sizes are consistent with what is in Silverleaf, which is the abutting subdivision. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Swets asked if the lot sizes are 65 feet in width. Mr. Kuiper responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Forbes stated that the lot widths in Silverleaf are 60 feet and 62 feet.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1693 on first reading only by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 3 ayes to 2 nays by Mr. Swets and Mr. Barenie.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance No. 1685
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1685, an ordinance establishing a maximum fine in relation to all Ordinance Violation cases payable at the Office of the Clerk-Treasurer, in accordance with the audit position of the State Board of Accounts.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1685 on second reading by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1686, an ordinance amending the 2019 Salary Ordinance, in accordance with the audit position of the State Board of Accounts.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1686 on second reading by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

C. Ordinance No. 1688
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1688, an ordinance adopting a Social Media Policy.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1688 on second reading by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

D. Ordinance No. 1689
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1689, an ordinance amending the Town Code, Section 16-31, regarding conflicts of interest for Officials and Employees of the Town.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1689 on second reading by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic.

Discussion ensued wherein Ms. Popovic withdrew her second on the motion, after which, the open motion was then seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion is denied 2 ayes to 3 nays by Mr. Swets, Ms. Popovic, and Mr. Barenie.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1689 amended to strike the terminology “cousin by marriage or by birth” and replace it with “first cousin” by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 2 nays by Mr. Forbes and Ms. Hejl.

E. Ordinance No. 1690
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1690, an ordinance amending the Town Code, Section 16-92, regarding the Town’s Nepotism Policy.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1690 on second reading by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

F. Resolution No. 2019-08-22
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-08-22, a resolution declaring Uncollectible Bad Debt.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-08-22 by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

G. Consider Grant of Easement
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider a 12-foot permanent grant of easement at Lot 68, 8963 Columbia Street.

Motion to approve grant of easement and authorize Town Council President to Execute by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

H. Resolution No. 2019-08-22A
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-08-22A, a Civil Town transfer resolution.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-08-22A by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays

I. Resolution No. 2019-08-22B
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-08-22B, a Sanitary District transfer resolution.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-08-22B by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays

J. Resolution No. 2019-08-22C
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-08-22C, a Waterworks District transfer resolution.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-08-22C by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
None was had.
Staff
(Due to the length of the meeting, the departmental reports were not orally read into the record during the meeting but were provided in writing for dissemination via the minutes.)
Police Department:
Chief Kveton reported from July 1, 2019 through July 31, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 19,535 miles and responded to 662 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 11 arrests with 19 charges being filed. There were 200 traffic citations issued, along with 182 written warnings, for a total of 382 citations being issued during the month.

Vehicle thefts totaled $22,000; other thefts totaled $890; and recovered property totaled $22,000.

Fire Department:
Chief Willman reported that during the month of July 2019 the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 156 requests for assistance. There were 131 calls in District 1, 20 calls in District 2, and 5 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Lake Hills, Fire/EMS; Cedar Lake, Fire/EMS; Schererville, Fire/EMS.

The Monday night activities for July 2019 provided an opportunity for the training staff and first responders to address several aspects, issues, and new challenges that St. John firefighters and medical personnel are facing. As our protection area increases in size, we have to make sure that we stay up to speed with training and equipment to effectively and successfully protect the property and residents when we are called to respond.

In July we spent four evenings, and some daytime hours, with the following: Water supply to the apparatus, Municipal water and water from tenders; attack hose, hand lines, proper nozzle setting re-extinguishment or search efforts; ventilation techniques, horizontal and vertical; operation, care, and cleaning of hand tools, becoming more familiar with our resources; apparatus placement, aerial device, position a ladder for fire suppression or rescue; personal protective equipment; SCBA.

All of the evolutions and exercises were spread out during four training sessions. The St. John Training Site is an ideal facility to accommodate these types of training and scenarios. The EMS Director also had one evening for an EMS skills review. He went over the LUCAS 2 device, which is the mechanical adjunct for administering CPR to an unresponsive patient.

Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion

None was had.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $2,821,236.45, dated August 22, 2019, and entertained a motion.

Motion to pay the bills by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays and 1 present by Mr. Forbes.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 9:59 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

09-26-2019 Town Council

September 26, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on September 26, 2019, at 7:04 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Also present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: None.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the August 22, 2019 Meeting.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Town Council correspondence and reports and asked for the same.

Mr. Swets advised that he had received a letter from a resident regarding a problem in Bramblewood where another resident had an unusual amount of pool chemicals that they deemed to be unsafe. He stated that he forwarded the information to Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director, who resolved the issue, and wanted to thank Mr. Eberly for his good work on that.

PRESENTATION:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is only one presentation, the Police Department Awards, and asked Mr. Kil to expound on that.

Mr. Kil advised that the St. John Branch of Lake County Public Library regretfully had to cancel their presentation tonight due to a staffing issue and indicated that they would reschedule at a future time.

Mr. Barenie turned the floor over the Chief Kveton.

Chief Kveton called Officer Adams and Officer Sandaker to the front of the room to receive a Meritorious Service Award.

Chief Kveton stated that Officer Adams, Officer Sandaker, and Officer Sidenbender responded to a call for service at a residence where a family was having volatile situation with their adult son, who was suicidal and in possession of a large kitchen knife. The team of Officers were able to calm the situation and get the son into a secluded area in the kitchen and maintain a safe environment. They convinced him to put the knife down, and Officer Sidenbender was able to retrieve the knife before anyone was hurt.

Chief Kveton presented the awards to Officer Adams and Officer Sandaker. He stated that Officer Sidenbender was unable to attend this meeting and received his award at the Police Commission Meeting. Chief Kveton and the Town Council Members congratulated the recipients and thanked them for a job well-done. All Council Members, Staff, and public attendees gave a standing ovation.

Chief Kveton called Officer Jacobs and Officer Rybicki to the front of the room to receive a Valor Award, which is the highest award that is presented to a law-enforcement officer.

Chief Kveton stated that the two Officers went on a call for a house fire in unincorporated Lake County early on a Sunday morning. The Officers attempted to save two young girls; unfortunately, they were unable to prevent their deaths. The call came in for the Fire Department to come to a structure fire of a home on State Line Road. Our Officers and a couple Dyer Officers heard the call where two individuals were possibly stuck in the house. Our Officers arrived followed shortly by the Dyer Officers; all of whom frantically tried to get into the house. They tried every door and window but were pushed back by heavy smoke and intense heat.

At one point, the two grandparents escaped from the house and pointed out a window that they identified as one of the girl’s bedroom window. Officer Jacobs was lifted up and put through that window into the bedroom. He searched the bedroom, returned to the window for air, and went back in. Not finding anyone in the room, he went into the hallway and went as far as he could. When he could go no farther, he turned around to return to the room he entered into. While on his way, he saw a door he hadn’t seen before; which lead to a bathroom; opened the door; and found one of the girls. She was wedged between a tub and the toilet. He picked her up and maneuvered her onto his back and got her out the window to the other Officers waiting outside. The Officers performed CPR; and when the paramedics arrived, they were able to get a heartbeat back. They flew her to a hospital in Chicago where she passed away several days later.

Chief Kveton stated that our Officers could have easily lost their lives in that fire that day. Their bravery and courage must be recognized. Chief Kveton presented each Officer with his Medal of Valor and congratulated them both. Officer Jacobs and Officer Rybicki each received a letter from United States Congressman Peter J. Visclosky, House of Representatives, which Chief Kveton read as follows:

“I am honored to have this opportunity to congratulate you upon being recognized as a 2019 Hometown Hero by Albert’s Diamond Jewelers. You should be proud of this outstanding accomplishment. Your commitment to improving the quality of life and ensuring public safety for the community is truly inspirational and should be commended. Once again, congratulations!”

(Both letters were dated September 13, 2019, addressed to each officer individually; and signed by Congressman Visclosky.)

Chief Kveton explained that both Officers had been given a 2019 Hometown Hero’s award by Albert’s Jewelers a few weeks prior. He presented them their medals and thanked them for a job well done.

Once again, all Council Members, Staff, and public attendees gave a standing ovation.

Mr. Barenie stated that St. John’s Public Safety Team are nothing but the best and thanked them all for their hard work.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and opened the floor for the same.

Linda Sullivan (10511 Juniper Lane): I object to the rezoning of The Gates of St. John East from R 1 single family to R 2 PUD single family for the following reasons: Road and traffic impact, two lane roads should be four lane on Cline, 231, and old Joliet. No traffic study has been done or submitted. Why aren't developers required to leave a 10 foot easement for future road development, i.e., adding additional lanes? Safety of the current citizens of St. John, there's one police station and fire house. Tracks lie between it and the residents on the east side of town. There is inadequate protection for our current citizens, let alone adding over 700 additional homes. Do we have to wait for loss of life and/or property to be a wake-up call for our Town Council?

Doubling the density of homes in the subdivision doubles the use of water. Has any study been done to see what impact this will have on the availability of water for the current residents of St. John? I, for one, don't want to end up with an outside concern providing my water. I know people in other communities who have their water provided by outside concerns; and they pay dearly for this service.

The impact to our neighbor Crown Point, who will have the children from these homes in their schools, will be doubled. We should be a good neighbor and consider the impact this will have on their town and its citizens. How would we, as citizens of St. John, react if they were doing this to us?

I saw one retention pond on the proposed plat. The retention pond behind my home rises significantly with a heavy rain. Magnolia Gates and homes adjacent to the proposed subdivision are already experiencing flooding. Fewer homes in the proposed subdivision leave more open space for water absorption.

It is my understanding that it is unlawful to enter into contract zoning, prearranging an exchange of financial compensation for favorable zoning is contract zoning. The financial compensation comes in the form of giving favorable zoning to the developer as a means of settling a lawsuit. Do you, the Members of the Town Council, really want to enter into something that is unlawful, which may result in other legal problems?

The lot sizes proposed reduce the value of surrounding homes, both in St. John and on Bell Street in Crown Point. For all these reasons I oppose the rezoning. Finally, please do the job you were elected to do. Listen to the citizens of St. John and act in their favor, not in the favor of the developer. Thank you.

Susan Steurbaut (11634 West 96th Avenue): I've been here 30 years. We built a home here. Um, I love the town. I don't want to see things happen to it. We already have so much traffic, it's hard to get in and out. I don't want to see what's happened here like what's happening in Crown Point. They just build, build, build; and there's no place to go. There's no adequate roads. Um, I don't know a great deal about this. I went to my first meeting, um, a couple of days ago. But I just would like to see St. John remain St. John. Thank you.

Donna Laib (11588 West 96th Avenue): I've been a long time resident for the majority of my life. I'm opposed to this new zoning. I think that restricted lot sizes would be detrimental to our property values. We've all worked very hard to have our current residences with room between us. I don't feel as though the Town was adequately informed about this decision to rezone; and according to the Zoning Ordinance, the conservation of property values throughout the jurisdiction should be looked at and analyzed, and its responsible development and growth. I don't see any green spaces. I don't see any room for trails, for bike paths, definitely no improvements on the roads leading to and from this area. And I think it would be a real detrimental imposition on the Police Force, our Fire Department, who we depend upon every day for our safety and security. And I thank you.

Donna Fathke (108729 Maple Lane): I'm commenting tonight on Ordinance 1695, the rezoning request on 108 acres on Cline Avenue, which will be addressed later tonight. One of the first things I did when the issue of R 2 PUD Zoning came up was to look it up in the Zoning Ordinance. I couldn't find it. We have R 1, RC 1, PUD, R 2, RC 2 PUD, and R 3. That's all. The R 2 PUD zoning as proposed by Mr. Lotton doesn't even come close of the definitions of any of these existing zoning districts. Do you know why; because it straight out violates many of the zoning principles already set down in your Zoning Ordinance. Why would you even consider a zoning that hasn't been vetted and is nowhere in your ordinance?

From your own Zoning Ordinance, under purpose of a PUD, it says, the planned unit development or PUD demonstrates – or “...shall demonstrate a creative approach to the use of land that is not possible under the strict application of the provisions…” of the zoning chapter. I don't see anything in this zoning plan or – or plat plan that indicates that normal zoning requirements cannot be met within normal lot size, building size, and setback requirements. Also, in your ordinance under the purpose of an RC 2 PUD, which one would think is similar to the proposed R 2 PUD, I found this, “The purpose of the RC 2 PUD District is to provide for single family residential development in areas facing conversion from a rural or agricultural nature to a suburban nature by the preservation of natural features and the provision of open space.”

Now I see the C, lightly – likely stands for conservation, as in conservation of open space or natural geographic features like wetlands. Again, I don't see that anywhere in this plan. Further, the permitted uses in the existing RC 2 PUD, as described in the Zoning Ordinance, um, are restricted as follows, “Within the RC 2 PUD District, lot area, lot width, and yard requirements may be reduced below the requirements in the underlying R-2 District, provided that the provision of open space and conservation land results in an overall density for the development that is no greater than what is allowed in the (underlying) R-2 District. All other provisions of the R-2 District apply.”

Obviously with smaller lots, smaller buildings, and shorter setbacks, the proposed zoning is more dense than the R 2 zoning and violates this section of the ordinance as well. If you recommend this proposal, you will be allowing a developer to dictate to the Town what is acceptable development. You will be setting precedent for all future development in this town. You will be violating the spirit of an existing, vetted, Zoning Ordinance, something that was put in place specifically to protect the health, safety, and welfare of St. John's residents.

That's what town officials are supposed to do, protect the residents, not the developers. You do not have to approve this. You should not approve this. Your duty is to protect the investments that residents have in this town; so do your duty and vote no on this proposal just as your Plan Commission has already done.

Ray Paradiso (9515 Calumet Avenue): From what I understand, uh, when this rezoning is done, if it is approved, it will shrink the lot sizes down to a 6 foot clearance on each side of the house to the property line, leaving 12 foot between homes. From a fire and safety hazard, this is ridiculous. As being a fire fighter/paramedic for 36 years – I've fought a lot of fires in a lot of neighborhoods – 12 foot clearance leads to a restriction of duty for these firefighters to perform. They have to perform first rescue, second exposure. By doing this, you leave exposure on both sides, to homes on either side of the building that's on fire, thus creating a life and safety hazard to the people living in not only in the house that's on fire, but the house adjacent on each side. That's all I have to say.

Dennis DeVito (10341 Silver Maple Drive): I support positive managed development and growth for our town. Any sensible review of the pending East Gates rezoning and annexations as presented highlights its flawed nature. There's no need to repeat here what dozens of fellow citizens have already said, remonstrations against this proposal.

The citizens know it is neither positive nor well-managed. All outward signs suggest the requests have been fast tracked and greased for approval by an overly compliant Town Council hell bent on granting self serving zoning requests to a developer. I see a Council willing to ignore its self created safeguards of various impact studies, a Council waiving its responsibility by granting an advantageous PUD without any offsetting benefits to its citizens, of offering windfall profits resulting from its multiple waivers for substandard setbacks and building size.

Now, we find the highly touted bike paths are merely lines on a street, hardly what was originally hyped. Makes one wonder and worry what else is being given away, given up, or just ignored. Fortunately, the review process, the Plan Commission made a negative recommendation on its rezoning.

Dozens of folks expressed serious reservations and presented pointed reasons for rejection, yet there have been no discussions of the concerns by the Town Council in open meetings. It appears the Town Council does not want to hear what the citizens of the town present as they really don't want to see – don't want, nor seem, to care of the serious complaints, shortcomings, and biases of this proposal. The Town Council refuses to discuss any issues at its meetings, only to quickly move on to vote with a little or no discussions. Worse, the Town Council has refused to offer even one reason why it is imperative to pass this issue or to rush this request through without impact studies or more extensive public review that they’ve done with other developments.

Something is afoot behind the scenes. I do want to believe our Town Officials are honest and honorable and not afraid to do the right thing. Yet, the more seen and heard on this specific proposal – the artificial roadblocks to better understanding, the automatic waivers, the singular focus on rapid approval, even the bias of the agreement – the more things seem nefarious and self serving. The Town Council forfeits its responsibility when it’s the developer – when a developer's left to dictate direction, set the ground rules, and mandate conditions for his development. This relinquishing of this primary task to protect the Town and preserve values and character is even more painful since it does not follow Indiana Code and slights the citizens by ignoring our – our voices.

Help us, the citizens of St. John, better understand what it is you see in this specific proposal that requires the abandonment of our Town ordinances and legal processes to benefit a well connected developer. We need and demand responsible development in the town, well managed growth lead by our Plan Commission and supported by our Town Council. The citizens of this town do not want this specific R 2 PUD. Be our voice; do your job; do not approve this zoning and annexation as it now stands. Thank you.

Virginia Vizdal (8173 West 102nd Avenue): At the entrance of The Gates of St. John, there are signs that say welcome to the Gates, estate size homes, walking paths, parks, ponds. What is the sign going to say to the East Gates? Welcome to The Gates where you can reach out and touch your neighbor. Cram your kids into the school that's already at full capacity. Be prepared to wait at traffic lights just to get to your jobs. I think maybe you should rethink this whole subdivision and come up with a different plan, better for the residents.

Maybe the developer can kick in some of the money he gets from the $600 mailboxes and put in some parks or give – give some mobile units to the Crown Point Schools to house some of those kids that he's adding to the school district. Asll of the people in this room are looking at you wondering how you can possibly enter into agreement that is so terribly wrong. Hopefully you can look at all of us and do the right thing by letting the Plan Commission unfavorable recommendation stand. What is the rush? Thank you.

Robert Vizdal (8173 West 102nd Avenue: This is my third meeting in about a month, and I never went to a meeting in 70 years, so this must be pretty important. Uh, I was happy to see the Planning Commission vote no at this time. Their message to you is to not push this through but to study it, just like you should any other request of this magnitude.

I look at the Planning Commission's position and the developer’s position and only see three reasons why you would not agree with the Planning Commission. The first is that this deal is being made with the developer because our Town tied into some infrastructure; and as I understand, our Town Lawyer said that the Town would lose in court so that we should compromise with the developer. The only problem with that is that whatever we would lose would be a one time payment; whereas, this development would add the cost for roads, traffic, police, fire, and schools forever.

Secondly, if that's not the case, in looking at this from your perspective, I think that maybe this is for revenge for losing in the primary; but unless you are retiring – unless you are retiring and moving out of town, I cannot see is this the reason. That just leaves a monetary reason where the developer promised you something for siding with him instead of with the citizens of St. John. I hope that this is not the case.

Once again, I see that the developer is not here. He didn't even come to this very important meeting to state his case with all this criticism. A real man would always want to explain his position and not send his lawyer to do his dirty work. His arrogance is a slap in the face to everyone in this town. Finally, if you vote to give the developer his plan as is, you might as well have a second vote to take the saint out of St. John because you will be siding with the devil. Thank you.

Don Gulden (11672 West 96th Avenue): My wife and I moved into St. John on December the 18th, 1989; so we've been here through it all. We've seen the good, the bad, the ugly. Kmart was still around. Target wasn't here. Strack's wasn't here. McDonalds wasn't here. So we've seen responsible, reasonable growth.

I'm a lawyer by education – I'm sorry. I'm an engineer, not a lawyer, but an engineer by education and by my personality type. So in my world, things are either black or white, good or bad, pretty, ugly, you know. I – and I know that the world is grey; but as an engineer, I try and put things to where they belong. So when the Plan Commission looks at the State statutes and asks you to consider responsible growth and development, when it asks for a valuation of the impact on other residential units, I'm confused why the Plan Commission can see logically why this will negatively impact the surrounding value of the homes and why the Town Council would not agree with the Planning Commission.

Ever since I've been little, it's always been when it came time to buy a home, to buy the smallest home in the biggest neighborhood, because why? Because it increases your value more rapidly than the others. Okay. So the flip side of that same coin is if you're in a primarily small home community, much like this resigning is, uh, planning for, then it will negatively impact the value of the larger homes surrounding the small home communities.

Now, I happen to get my streets plowed routinely because we're on the school bus route. Are there enough school – are there enough snowplows to plow all the streets with this new development? How's this going to impact that – the Town's services? And I guess more importantly, when was the last time anybody here drove on either 93rd, Joliet, or 109th/231 between 7 and 9 in the morning or between 3 and 6? Or how about 41 north and south? I used to be able to get to the mills, when I worked in the mills, in 20 minutes from St. John. Now it's 40 minutes. You know how long it takes me to get from 77th and 41 to my home, which is behind the old Kmart? It can be as much as 30 minutes. I don't see any traffic impact survey. I don't see any change in turning lanes or anything else that's going to improve the quality of life here. Thank you very much.

Jesse McCabe (12513 West 101st Place): That was my father in law talking about conservation of property values; and that's what I want to, kind of, ploy to you guys. I know everyone in this room, you're a lot further along than I am with my mortgage. So I'm in my first year, just moved to St. John; and having the property value be damaged by other properties that could do that to my home is not one of the dreams I had coming to St. John. One of the dreams was to be able to raise a family; have the green space; have the dog park; have the nice areas just like my father in law did for my wife, his daughter, and his two boys; and I just ploy you to keep that in mind.

Everyone else said a lot of the physical and the legislation stuff pretty eloquently: so I just ploy you to think of us and the St. John residents that are coming in; and so future generations beyond me would want to come here and live here. I'm a transplant from Pennsylvania. I moved halfway across the country here because I saw what they were able to provide their daughter; and I wanted to be part of that. And I want more people to be part of that. but in a reasonable fashion. Thank you very much.

Edward Rydlewski (9665 Olcott Avenue): Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Um, I would just, uh, give up my time to Mr. Terry Florida and say that I am opposed to the ordinance that you will be voting on tonight. Thank you.

Doug Blocker (10591 Juniper Lane): We’re here tonight because the Town connected to a sanitary sewer that had a recapture agreement on it that the developer, Mr. Lotton, sued the Town for over $3 million in recapture fees. I don't know why the Town didn't just disconnect the sewer and relocate the sewer about a block away; but instead, you entered into a settlement agreement with the – which the Town board approved in June of this year granting a R 2 PUD zoning with reduced lot sizes, reduced side yard setbacks, and reduced home sizes. At that time, I do not believe the Town Council gave any consideration to the impact that the rezoning reduction of standards would have on the surrounding area and the community.

You are now at the final stage of approving the R 2 PUD zoning, but you still have not been provided with all the information needed to make an informed decision for responsible development and growth of the town. All PUDs that I have been involved in include traffic studies, impact studies on the schools and municipal facilities, a preliminary plan, preliminary engineering, landscape plans, and building standards. The Town's Zoning Ordinance states that a PUD is normally considered to provide for more open space or preserve conservation areas; yet I have found that to not to be true with the plan that the developer's circulating for subdivision consideration. The plan shows no open space for parks. It just has small lot sizes and a grid pattern of streets to maximize density.

Per settlement agreement, he is supposed to install a bike path. I bet just – I bet he just plans to use the roadway as the bike path, just like his advertised walking paths in The Gates are the public sidewalks. With the average lot size of 11,250 square feet approved in the settlement agreement, I'm sure you were not thinking of lots as small as 8500 square feet and only 52 feet wide. These small lots have been located on the far eastern boundary of the property and would back up to existing 1 acre lots. This sure doesn't fit with the current conditions of the existing lots in the area with the request for the allowance of smaller homes. No building requirements, such as entire front-yard elevations being brick or stone or first floor brick being required on all sides, are being required.

It was mentioned that he intends to develop covenants similar to The Gates. However, the Town cannot enforce covenants, and the developer does not follow them anyway. He just does what he wants. Take a look at Orchard Gates and Prairie Gates where only the lower portion of the front elevation has brick or stone and there are no parkway trees in either subdivision. Without a traffic study, do not know what perimeter road improvements will be needed. I see no proposed perimeter road improvements being offered by the developer. So how much would it cost the Town to install left turn lanes into the sub – into the development and do improvements at the intersection of Cline and Joliet road, $3 million, maybe?

The – the side-dense development with small lot sizes, reduced side yard setbacks, and small homes with no building restrictions, while providing no amenities to the – to the community will not conserve the property values of the homes in the area. I respectfully request that the Town Council not act on this request until it has all information necessary to ensure that it will be a responsible development and provide for responsible growth of the community. Thank you.

Don Hartkoorn (10153 Privet Drive): My residence backs up to this proposed property. Uh, we've lived in St. John for five years; and uh, uh, I'm glad that St. John is continuing in its growth. I also am very concerned that the East Gates, as proposed, would most certainly not be an asset to the town, or – and – and it would definitely pose a negative effect on property values for the entire area.

The Indiana Code requires that reasonable regard must be paid to the character of current structures and uses, also, the most desirable use for which the land is adapted, conservation of property values throughout the jurisdiction, and responsible development and growth. In my opinion this development, as proposed, meets none of these standards. Also, by allowing the R 2 PUD rezoning, the Town would not be in accordance with its own ordinance pertaining to a lot and home size.

On September 4, the Planning Commission voted 4 to 2 for an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council for the development as proposed. I, as a resident, would hope that the Council will take that recommendation. It was also apparent that the Council signed a settlement agreement stating that St. John will support efforts to rezone. This would remove the Council's impartiality concerning the rezoning of the property. The fact that a binding contract has not yet been made would not negate – negate their bias, in my opinion.

I believe that responsible growth is both necessary and good for our Town. The Gates of St. John is a very diverse and well planned development and many types and sizes of properties and green spaces. There should be absolutely no reason that St. John should abandon that successful plan with the approval of East Gates as proposed. Our future as homeowners and that of our community will be greatly affected by what we do right here right now. Thank you.

Dan Rottier (10411 Cline Avenue, Crown Point): It’s the east side of Cline Avenue, Lot No. 3 of a 4 lot subdivision known as Jamar Estates. The four of us are not residents of the Town of St. John. St. John annexed everything around us but not us. Our backyards adjoin the property now known as East Gates. My concerns about the development, besides traffic, roads, infrastructure, devaluation of homes, is on the north side of my property: Next to my septic field is drainage a ditch that runs east to west, parallel to my property.

When I built the house 15 years ago, the water in that ditch flowed from east to west under Cline Avenue. Now, after development of The Gates, the water flows west to east. Fifteen years ago, when I applied for a building permit, Lake County Plan Commission insisted that I put my septic field on the north side of my property next to the ditch. No problem. But now with more houses being built, and with the reverse flow of water in that ditch, what assurances can I get that the increased water will not affect my septic field? Why do I have to live with the Town's water flowing under my property?

Another concern for us in that subdivision there is also water related, well water. With the drilling of new Town wells in The East Gates, what assurances do we have that the Town's wells won't affect our wells? In closing, I would like to say that you, Mr. President, Council Members, have been elected to serve at the behest of what is good for the many of the town. The Town Plan Commission voted no. This hall is packed full of town residents who are against this action, so we can only surmise that it was being done for the good of a few. Let your consciences be your guide. Thank you.

Ron Johnson (9595 Julia Drive): So many of us are before you tonight to express our concerns regarding the rezoning and annexation of the east side of The Gates. Have you considered the Comprehensive Plan? Have you considered conservation of property values? Have you considered the responsible development and growth? Our comp – our Plan Commission voted no to this rezoning. We expect you, as our leaders, to do the right thing and do the same. Thank you.

Julie Stevens (9040 West 103rd Street): I come to the podium tonight to speak out against the rezoning petition. The State rezoning statute lists five considerations which the Plan Commission and Legislative Body shall pay reasonable regard to. I will address two of those. The first one – are you guys listening?

(Members of the Town Council nodded in the affirmative.)

Okay. Thank you. The first one being conservation of property values throughout the jurisdiction. Logically speaking, building tiny houses on tiny lots cramped into a small area with no green space are going to sell for a lesser price than the other homes in the surrounding neighborhoods, thereby, not conserving property values. The second consideration is responsible development and growth. To my understanding there has been no impact studies done on how these 350 plus new homes will affect our roads, Police and Fire, water and sewer services. This is not responsible growth and development.

The Plan Commission voted 4 to 2 unfavorable to rezone. They followed the lawful process to make the recommendation, and so should you, the Town Council, which means that you allow the Plan Commission recommendation to stand. With regard to the rezoning where you are using the settlement agreement as your excuse for approving this petition, one has nothing to do with the other. The settlement agreement includes language such as “St. John will support the effort to rezone, and St. John will take reasonable, lawful steps pertaining to rezoning, and that the parties acknowledge and agree that the St. John Plan Commission and Common Council cannot and have not made a contract for rezoning.” So for the record, your decision to rezone is completely discretionary; and you signed this agreement prior to following the lawful process as dictated by the State of Indiana Statute 36 7 4.603.

It would seem that there may be something unlawful about that, and this may be considered contract zoning. If you approve these petitions as written, you are violating our rights as citizens of this town by not following the Indiana statute properly and, thereby, not protecting our property values and ensuring responsible development and growth. And with that violation of our rights, you will be met with a legal challenge from some of the residents.

I live in The Gates. We're no stranger to taking legal action to fight for our rights and to protect our interest. We've already engaged in conversation and strategy to challenge the decision if it's approved. We are not afraid to take action against the Town for improper practices. Thank you.

Adrian Bugariu (11747 West 90th Avenue): Recently, I sent a letter, two days ago, to Beth Hernandez demanding her resignation, the resignation of Forbes, Mark Barenie, and Steve Kil, the Town thing. I also gave a $42.5 million tort notice because for 42 and 1/2 years, you destroy my family, you destroy my profession, you destroy my in – uh, defamation of character, threatens, and everything else.

She called the police on me when I went and asked clearly to provide under the Freedom of Information Act of 1967 – it's a federal law – she writes, as her father and her, how you call Frego, a letter that it'll take time, this and that. Since 2016, she hasn't done nothing; and when I go over there, I get actually kicked, by police, out. For what reason, Beth? Another thing, for what reason, since 2016, you, as a Town Clerk I never had that problem with Sherry. Sherry was a wonderful lady. She never called the police.

(Mr. Kil told Mr. Bugariu that the ladies in the Clerk's office are afraid of him, which is why they call the police.)

Oh, you make up this story, because I never hurt anybody, not even a fly – not even a fly.

(Mr. Kil told Mr. Bugariu that his demeanor is what scares them.)

That's a story made up by you guys. Why did – Sherry did not send anybody.

(Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Bugariu to continue.)

And the fact is I also agree with all these people that you people pass ordinances, like 2016, only to cut me off from speaking, because I see everybody spoke more than 3 minutes. Thank you very much. Out of our town.

Margaret Govert (10225 Azalea Drive): I pretty much agree with what everyone else has said here tonight. I don't believe you want me to repeat it again. I'm sure they would all not mind, but more green space, safe walking paths. Um, from what I've heard, I wouldn't feel safe walking on a painted section of Cline Avenue, if that's where they're going to put it. I'm afraid to cross over to walk safely in the subdivision across from The Gates.

More green space with parks, there's nothing near us that, uh, without driving to the other side of town that you can get near. The – I've only lived there a little over a year, but you – I already have learned that I have to time when I can leave my house so I don't get caught in that business hour traffic at 231 and Cline, and 101st and Cline. It's congested, and this is only go to add to that traffic issue and safety issue. Thank you.

Dave Govert (10225 Azalea Drive): Everything that's been said ahead of me is pretty much how I feel. I would just like to go on record saying I'm opposed to this rezoning, and hopefully, you follow the 4-to-2 vote, voting it down from the Plan Commission. Thank you.

Paul Panczuk (8410 Magnolia Street): First of all, I'd just like to, uh, shout out again, uh, as Mr. Barenie said, uh, to our Police Department, what a great job. Um, it was really something to hear the stories of, uh, what those gentlemen did, uh, very honorable. Thank you.

Um, considering, uh, the ordinances tonight, the rezoning, as well as the rezoning and annexation in East Gates and the rezoning and annexation for the Arzumanian property, I'm opposed to all of them. Um, you're likely aware, uh, based on my vote at the Plan Commission, that I'm opposed to the rezoning itself, based on considerations within Indiana Statute reference 36 7 4 603. I won't repeat those, uh, you're aware.

Uh, but I do need to specifically, uh, raise my, um, determinations, uh, referencing item 2, current conditions. Although the proposal is single family, density is intense and open space nonexistent compared to surrounding area. Uh, Green Acres to the east is low density, 1 acre lots or greater. To the west, we have the original Gates, statistically higher density than much of St. John at 2.3 units per acre, depending on how it is calculated. Yet this new development is much higher at a current 3.3 units per acre, 356 units on 108 acres. It's not even close to anything in St. John, let alone the adjoining properties.

Uh, referencing item 4, the proposal does not conserve property values. Although smaller homes and lots may yield a respectable market value, given the same market, a home built to the square foot requirements of our ordinance on R 1 land will produce a higher value. Reducing the lot size from 20,000 square foot to 11,200 square foot and reducing square foot requirements of homes built without an enforceable guaranty of quality will reduce values significantly versus current R 1 zoning and housing built to our ordinance requirements for square foot.

Referencing item 5, the proposal is not responsible growth and development. The rezoning increases the density of homes in the same area significantly without consideration of infrastructure required to mitigate the difference. No traffic study's been completed; and certainly, the additional homes versus R 1 will place a strain on our already burdened roads.

Public safety response time is another concern. This proposal will, certainly, require our first responders travel farther, and more often, from the center of town and the public safety facility. Two sets of railroad tracks add an obstacle between the public safety facility and the East Gates proposal. Almost doubling the density in this area is irresponsible without careful consideration and planning in this area.

In addition, our Zoning Ordinance outlines requirements for a PUD, Section 9A.1, the PUD shall demonstrate a creative approach to the la – use of land that is not possible under the strict applications of provisions of this Zoning Ordinance. The proposal demonstrates no creative approach, and the property could be developed without hardship as standard, non PUD residential.

The Plan Commission is a body appointed by the Town Council to make a determination on the recommendation for rezoning. Following lawful process as outlined above, our Plan Commission voted 4 2 unfavorable and recommended that to the Town Council. Now, the proposal can be acted on by the Town Council, if desired, or the Plan Commission recommendation can be supported by taking no action. The Town Council is also tasked with I.C. 36 4- – I'm sorry – 7 4.603 for determination. Uh, unfortunately, um, the – there was a factor in play that is not germane to the lawful rezoning process and should not be a determining or contributing agent.

On June 19, 2019, the Town Council voted favorably on a settlement agreement referencing the same proposal in section 6 of the settlement agreement: Committing the Town will, "support efforts to rezone". In doing so, the result of the rezoning process was preordained before following lawful process despite a disclaimer in the same section stating, "St. John will take all reasonable, lawful steps pertaining to rezoning". The Town Council's bias is demonstrated by this vote before considering I.C. 36 7 4.603. If this particular case, uh, approval of the rezoning – I'm sorry. In this particular case, approval of the rezoning against Plan Commission recommendations with documented predetermination and bias from members of the Town Council in the form of a vote to approve the settlement agreement with Lotton, BLB, could bring scrutiny to any Town Council action on this specific item.

In addition, the contradictory language contained within the settlement agreement, specifically Section 6, is simply thinly veiled contract zoning, which is unlawful. The Town Council should not honor or approve an agreement that was flawed at in – at inception and open St. John to further challenges. And let me add that I'm really disappointed that, um, Barnes & Thornburg would even forward that document. I – I think it puts us at great risk. Considering all of the aforementioned, I ask that the Town Council take no action and allow the Plan Commission recommendation to stand.

I understand the likely outcome would be the settlement agreement not being approved; so be it. If you believe that would happen, it would reinforce my assertion the Council is considering contract zoning. We should not approve zoning in an unlawful mantle – manner, potentially creating new issues for the Town while trying to solve a disagreement unrelated to zoning. Additionally, should the Plan Commission recommendation stand denying rezoning of 108 acres, it is obviously prudent to defer and/or amend the annexation ordinance to R 1 for East Gates to protect the position of our Town in regards to zoning until a new agreement is in place.

The annexations with bundled rezoning should not be approved without thoroughly evaluating the impact of the additional density requested and required improvements to alleviate factors attributable to the additional housing. If it all seems a catch 22, it just might be. That being said, if I were choosing this path, I would avoid what might be unlawful despite the difficulty presented by the choice. I kindly ask you to consider and review what I've presented, and I've only the best interest of our town as motivation. I expect our Town Council to protect our rights by following lawful process for development and look forward to a fair and lawful resolution of the disagreement and litigation in a manner that is proper. Thank you.

Mary Jo Biscan (10201 99th Avenue): Obviously there’s not much more I can say that hasn't been said already concerning your voting on the rezoning of East Gates. We all know that this does not follow the Comprehensive Plan from a few years ago. The residents of The Gates are very much against creating what looks like row houses, so it is definitely not a desirable addition; whereas, R 1 lots would be. Property values will also be affected. I spoke to a real estate broker asking about the change of a neighborhood to housing not typical of the surrounding area, and there is definitely a difference, and not for the better.

Another factor that needs to be considered is whether it is responsible growth for the area. I need not go into all the factors that this additional housing would bring upon the traffic, schools, as well as our safety responders. I can't believe that those of you who are not returning in January would want to leave a legacy of this rezoning, an “unresponsible” growth for St. John. You are all responsible for making decisions that will only consider what is best for the town and citizens that you represent, not for any settlement agreement or for any developer. You're all better than that, so please vote against this petition.

Bill Purcell (8649 Fairway Drive): Dear Town Council Members, thanks for your time. It's my understanding you will be voting on an annexation and zoning change south of St. John from R 1 to R 2 PUD. It appears that there may have been some improprieties of law in the way this was promised before voted on. It appears a sweetheart deal was made under the table, highly favorable to the developer wishing to cram together small homes on postage stamp lots, netting said developer a sum north of $6 million when complete, while to potentially lowering the property values of existing St. John residents’ homes. A positive vote for this action would not conserve the property values throughout the jurisdiction as is required by law.

Additionally, this project in R 2 PUD would not be responsible growth. The proposed agreement lacks supporting clauses and restrictions as are necessary to protect the residents of St. John. Furthermore, as there are no other similar property types in the area, this project would not align with the current conditions and the characteristic of the current structures and uses in each district as is required by law. Frankly, you connected to someone else's sewer without their permission. You got caught, and they want you to pay up. This is not the way to do that. It is my opinion you should use legal remedies while following the prescribed law to settle with this developer. If the Town has to pay, so be it. At least that way it would have an end instead of a long term, even permanent effect, on residents in the form of taxes, lower property values, and costly increased services needed for such a project. Please vote no on this. Thank you.

Bryan Blazak (9299 Franklin Drive): Well, here we are again. I was before you maybe two years ago, three years ago talking about The Preserve, and, uh, talking about the amount of paper that I was aware that the Schillings produced to, uh, bring The Preserve to fruition and to get it started; and it's underway currently, doing quite well. Um, in discussing it with them, they say they probably turned in several inches of paper. So I asked them, I said, “What are some of the things that you had to do?” I knew already, but I thought I'd ask them; and one of the things they said was a traffic study.

Did I see a traffic study on this, uh, Mr. Lotton's development? I don't think so. Did I see the new plot on the second portion of this annexation? Did I see the drawing on the wall? No. So what are the houses going to look like on that other plat of property? What are the house layouts going to look like? Are we going to have more 52 foot lots like the 100 that we've got in the one coming in? There's people sitting here who have houses in that neighborhood. There's people sitting in here who have got their life's investment in that house. And their property values, regardless of what you want to say, the property values will go down when you're building 1800 square foot ranches and 2200 square foot two stories instead of 2000 and 2400, and you're building on half the size lots. Can any of you sit up there and tell me the property values aren't going to go down?

Somebody put an online picture of row houses in Chicago. The only difference is they're brick. The people tonight asked you, what about fire; what about safety; what about police? You're going to put several hundred homes together over there; 12 to 15 minutes by fire truck or by ambulance to get over to The Gates. How fast do you figure a house can burn down in 15 minutes? How many people are going to die if you don't get a handle on this? This is ridiculous. And the fact – just like the bike trails, Mr. Forbes, you mentioned bike trials – there's going to be bike trails; they're painting lines on the street. That's not a bike trail; that's a joke.

Bev Barbush (9241 Franklin Drive): Little change of topic, although I'll lead in. Um, the bike trail, uh, that's proposed for Schillton Hills, I came to the – my husband and I and several other from our neighborhood came to the meeting last month, and I said I would follow up and talk to the Town. We have had some correspondence with Mr. Kil, and thank you for your replies. So, you know, we just wanted to – we’ve sent some pictures of the drainage issues and the, um, wetlands and are looking to see what has happened from the surveys. I don't need an answer right now cause this is, uh, much more important; and I totally agree with what everything everyone said here.

I'm on the east side of town, but every part of our town is affected by this traffic and – and the downsizing of the houses lowering our values. I 100% agree with all that. But I did promise my neighbors that I would follow up on this, um, and, uh, just wanted to make sure that we, if – if we can't push the surveys off to spring, which is when we see all of the flooding in our areas for where your proposing a bike trial to be, um, we would at least like to know, you know, when. How far will it be from our homes? What is the definition of a barrier between this bike trail and our bedroom windows? So thank you and good luck everyone else.

Terry Florida (9111 Drake Drive): I'd like to take a moment and thank the Town Council, all the members, all the residents, and attendees for the opportunity to speak on public record tonight. And I have one specific question; if anybody at the legislative body could answer, it might save a lot of time: Is – has a written, legal opinion been obtained by the Town of St. John or Town Council stating that the settlement memorandum and agreement, pursuant to BLB vs. The Town of St. John, is legal and compliant with the Indiana State Law?

(Mr. Forbes stated that the settlement agreement came from Barnes & Thornburg, one of the top law firms in the state.)

(Mr. Svetanoff advised that Barnes & Thornburg drafted the settlement agreement. By their opinion, it is necessary, proper and legal under Indiana Code.)

So you're saying it is legal?

(Mr. Svetanoff stated that Barnes & Thornburg would not have submitted it if it wasn't legal.)

Right, but as the Town Attorney, you're saying it's legal per Indiana law; correct?

(Mr. Svetanoff responded, "Correct.")

Okay. Thank you. Appreciate that. I'd also like to request – respectfully request a copy of that written opinion under the Indiana Open Door Law, please. Um, and whatever I need to do to obtain that as quick as possible, I'd like to have that.

Um, secondly, I'd like to let you know that, like much of the other residents, I 100% oppose the annexation of the real property to St. John with the reduced R-2 PUD. I oppose the rezoning of the real property from R-1 to the R-2 PUD, and the definitions have been put out. I think you guys understand, they're talking about taking 20,000-square-foot lots and making them 80 by 140, which is 11,200 square feet. It's a huge difference.

I object that the Town has met and fulfilled all its obligations for the rezoning ordinance by preparation and consideration under Indiana Code 36-7-4-603 for the proposal of development for your vote tonight. Additionally, the Town of St. John's Planning Commission, as you are 100% aware, all of you, have voted 4 to 2 for unfavorable recommendation of the Town Council. I'm in support of the unfavorable recommendation as well as probably every person that's sitting here.

Under the Indiana Code, it clearly states Zoning Ordinance Preparation and Consideration of Proposals, under section 603, the exact words: "In preparing and considering proposals under the 600 series, the Planning Commission and the legislative body shall pay reasonable regard to." The Planning Commission has already denied 4 to 2. They opposed it. The order of the vote was done incorrectly, and I believe out of the five items that needed to be complied with, there are three that are, no doubt, don't meet the standard. One is the Comprehensive Plan; Paul spoke about that very clearly that, obviously, the density is going to increase with this development. The conservation of property values – that's been mentioned many times – it's a pretty similar item to understand. If you have a smaller lot with a smaller home, it's going to negatively impact residents that have lived here, or currently live here, that have larger lots and larger homes.

Three, responsible growth and development. The least cost of a development this size would have been for the developer to bring to the Town a traffic study. I don't know what the cost would be, but they're nominal. They get done all the time. Not one item was submitted. People are upset because they're waiting in traffic to get to their jobs, to pick up their kids, to get home. A traffic study would have been a nice way to show the Town a good faith effort. But when a simple item's not done, and then the voting is not done correctly, it raises a lot of additional questions.

The Town of St. John will continue to grow, and responsible growth is always recommended. Without proper planning and due diligence, there's going to be additional new taxpayer funds that are going to be requested from us to pay because the process has not been provided with due diligence; thus, the Town is being reactive instead of proactive in this process. And I'm concerned that the Town of St. John may, potentially, be violating my rights by settling a lawsuit that was preordained contract zoning that has directly linked the annexation and/or rezoning vote tonight.

I will respectfully request that the Town Council Members, that have come here to the meeting tonight with an open mind and undecided in how they would vote, to vote against either the annexation and rezone of the R – R-2 PUD tonight. Lastly, I reserve all rights to legally challenge the Town of St. John should you attempt to pass and adopt any ordinance where the development has incorporated the settlement agreement in the lawsuit. Thank you for your time. (Ms. Hernandez read several remonstrances into the record which have been attached hereto and made a part thereof as Exhibit Nos. 2019-09-26-TC-1 through 2019-09-26-TC-15.)

Having no one further requesting to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. Ordinance No. 1694
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1694, an ordinance for the 2020 Municipal Budget.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that all items are in order for this Public Hearing to proceed, which includes downloading to the Gateway system to satisfy a contingency.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Kil for any opening remarks. Mr. Kil stated that he is setting up the PowerPoint for the summary overview of the 2020 Municipal Budget that Ms. Hernandez and he will present.

Mr. Barenie stated that Mr. Karl Cender is present and thanked him for his consulting services and help over the years.

Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Kil started the presentation.

(A PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation has been attached hereto and made a part thereof as Exhibit No. 2019-09-26-TC-16)

Ms. Hernandez advised that the budget for 2020 is essentially status quo with the previous year.

Mr. Kil advised that the budget process takes a long time. Ms. Hernandez concurred and stated that the budget is lengthy.

Mr. Kil ran the PowerPoint presentation while Ms. Hernandez explained the slides:

  1. Estimate of Revenue: The line-item numbers include anticipated property tax distributions and additional sources of revenue, which includes things like permit fees, excise tax, etc. Each line item shows the anticipated revenues and the number at the bottom in red is a combined total.
  2. Town Hall: The figures shown are a snapshot of the budgets for the Town Council, the Clerk-Treasurer, and Building & Planning.
    1. The decrease in the amount for the Town Council is due to the departmentalization of expenses.
  3. Public Safety: These figures are for the Police Department and the Fire Department.
    1. The large decrease in the Ambulance Cap fund is due to the purchase of a new ambulance in 2019, and no ambulance purchase is anticipated for 2020.
  4. Parks Department: There is no significant change with less than a 1% increase.
  5. Public Works: Half of the estimated revenues for MVH automatically goes towards the construction, maintenance, and reconstruction of roads, which is under “Restricted”. Unrestricted funds cover operating costs.
    1. The decrease is because there were equipment purchases in 2019, and no equipment purchases are anticipated for 2020.
  6. Bonds/Leases: The figures in “Payment Amount” are based on the anticipated payment needed for the year and is not the actual outstanding debt amount.
    1. Building Corp-2013 paid for Public Safety, Town Hall, and the Public Works buildings.
    2. General Obligation Bond of 2010 paid for the Blaine and 101st Avenue road project.
    3. The two Waterworks bonds are for water system upgrades.
    4. Sewage Works and Sewage Revenue paid for treatment expenses: One was to purchase more capacity; the other was to expand wastewater treatment.
    5. Redevelopment Lease Rental of 2014 paid for repaving 25% of town-wide roads.
    6. Redevelopment District Bond is for the Economic Development Agreement with Shops 96.
    7. Fire Truck Lease is self-explanatory.

Ms. Hernandez stated that there were two bonds that fell off during 2019, the Building Corp-2006 and the Waterworks Revenue-2007.

Mr. Kil stated that these numbers are not our debt, which is reported every January. Currently the outstanding debt is $22 million and some change. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Cender if Town’s assessed value is currently $1.15 billion. Mr. Cender stated that it is a bit higher than that.

Mr. Kil explained that as the Town’s assessed value grows, the tax rate decreases.

Mr. Barenie opened the floor for Public Hearing. Having no one coming forward to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Hearing.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to consider Ordinance No. 1694A on first reading only.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1694A on first reading only by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to consider Ordinance No. 1694B on first reading only.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1694B on first reading only by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to consider Ordinance No. 1694C on first reading only.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1694C on first reading only by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Resolution No. 2019-09-26B
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-09-26B, a resolution approving the donation of the 2001 Ambulance to the City of Lake Station.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-09-26B by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. Resolution No. 2019-09-26
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Resolution No. 2019-09-26, a resolution adopting the fiscal plan for The Gates East annexation.

Mr. Barenie asked for any questions or comments from the Council.

Mr. Swets stated that he doesn't think that this development is fully complete and fully developed and that there are a lot of questions and concerns that need to be addressed. He further stated that he is concerned that there are 100 lots that are 52 or 53 feet wide; he believes it is unreasonable for this town and does not see any reason why the Council should move forward and approve this.

Mr. Forbes rebutted Mr. Swets statements stating that we are discussing the zoning, and all the concerns Mr. Swets has are addressed at platting, which is when the engineering is done. He further stated that in regards to lot width there are at least that many lots in the existing Gates that are that width. Mr. Forbes added that he feels that for Mr. Swets, as a representative of this Town, to say he has concerns over existing homes with those lot sizes and saying those homes are depreciating values is reprehensible.

Mr. Swets responded that he disagrees with Mr. Forbes and stated that Mr. Forbes disrespected him. Mr. Swets added that he has spoken with residents in those homes, and they are very happy in their homes but wished their lots were larger.

Mr. Barenie advised that the Plan Commission did send an unfavorable recommendation on the zone change. He stated that he respects the Plan Commission and that vote, and he does think the Town Council should consider that as well.

Ms. Popovic asked if the traffic and impact studies are done during subdivision approval. Mr. Forbes responded in the affirmative. Mr. Swets responded that it would not for a PUD.

Ms. Popovic asked Mr. Kil if it is done at subdivision approval. Mr. Kil responded there isn’t a chance that the Plan Commission wouldn’t require them to do a traffic study, which is a standard typically required by the Plan Commission.

Motion to deny Resolution No. 2019-09-26 by Mr. Swets. Motion dies for lack of a second.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-09-26 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

C. Ordinance No. 1691
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1691, an ordinance annexing certain real property commonly known as Gates East.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1691 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 4 ayes to 1 nay by Mr. Swets.

D. Ordinance No. 1695
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1695, zone change for Gates East from R-1 to R-2 PUD. This received an unfavorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to set aside the recommendation from the Plan Commission and adopt Ordinance No. 1695 approving the zone change from R-1 to R-2 PUD by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 3 ayes to 2 nays by Mr. Swets and Mr. Barenie.

E. Resolution No. 2019-09-26A
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-09-26A, a resolution adopting the fiscal plan for the Arzumanian Annexation.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-09-26A by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 3 ayes to 2 nays by Mr. Swets and Mr. Barenie.

F. Ordinance No. 1693
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1693, an ordinance annexing certain real property commonly known as Arzumanian.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1693 by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 2 nays by Mr. Swets and Mr. Barenie.

G. Letter of Credit – Greystone Unit 2, Block 3
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the acceptance of a Letter of Credit for Greystone, Unit 2, Block 3, in the amount of $23,661.00. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to accept the Letter of Credit as submitted by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays

H. Letter of Credit – Greystone Unit 2, Block 4
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the acceptance of a Letter of Credit for Greystone, Unit 2, Block 4, in the amount of $29,904.60. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to accept the Letter of Credit as submitted by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays

I. Developer Program License Agreement with Apple
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider acceptance and approval of the Developer Program License Agreement with Apple. This is necessary for the approval of the Town App for IOS.

Motion to accept the Developer Program License Agreement with Apple by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
Ms. Hernandez thanked the St. John Police Officers for their hard work and service.
Staff
Fire Department:
Chief Willman reported that during the month of August 2019 the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 146 requests for assistance. There were 122 calls in District 1, 14 calls in District 2, and 10 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Cedar Lake, Fire/EMS; Dyer, Fire Department; Lake Hills, Fire/EMS; Lowell, Fire Department; and Schererville, Fire/EMS.

The Monday night activities for the month included: The first Monday of the month was the Business Meeting of the Volunteer Division.

August 12, one of the Training Officers from the Volunteer Division taught hands-on training / demonstration on the practical use of ropes and knots in the fire service. That is one of the basic requirements to become a Certified Firefighter in the State of Indiana.

August 19, one of the Firefighter/Paramedics that was on duty held a hands-on review promoting and requesting that we always choose the safest and most proper procedures for moving patients. This policy is designed for what is in the best interest of the patient and the first responders as well. The training included working with the ambulance cot, the stair-chair, and other more portable devices that must be used from time to time.

For the second fire training of the month, on August 22, we did an exterior “Pre-plan” of the new Redeemer United Reformed Church at 10681 Park Place, in The Gates.

Police Department:
Chief Kveton then reported from August 1, 2019 through August 31, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 17,271 miles and responded to 629 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 20 arrests with 39 charges being filed. There were 194 traffic citations issued, along with 164 written warnings, for a total of 358 citations being issued during the month.

Vehicle thefts totaled zero ($0), other thefts totaled $8,821, and recovered property totaled zero ($0).

Chief Kveton thanked the Town Council for approving the hiring of two new officers. Chief Kveton again thanked the Officers who received the awards and stated that he is very proud of them. Chief Kveton reported that arrangements have been made with Northwestern University to conduct a Supervisors School at the St. John Police Department in November; he further reported that the Deputy Chief, Detective Commander, and he will be attending classes through the International Association of the Chiefs of Police in the Chicago area.

Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion

Mr. Forbes thanked the St. John Police Officers and the Firefighters for their hard work and dedication. Mr. Forbes stated that during the annexation discussion, the Firefighters received some unnecessary bashing with comments about their response time. Some members of the public interjected unfavorably; thus, Mr. Forbes said, “If you don’t want to hear something positive about our Fire Department, please leave.”

Mr. Barenie asked Chief Kveton to remove a member of the audience and asked Mr. Forbes to continue with what he was saying.

Mr. Forbes unsuccessfully attempted to finish his statement due to being interrupted again by the audience.

Mr. Barenie stated that he thinks it’s worth saying because our Fire Department is tops.

Mr. Forbes started to speak and was interrupted once again by the audience.

Mr. Barenie advised the public to let Mr. Forbes finish his statement, or he would have the room emptied. He stated that our first responders are very important, and they did get some unnecessary comments tonight that were undeserved.

Mr. Barenie asked Mr. Forbes to continue. Mr. Forbes respectfully declined.

Mr. Barenie stated that he has lived in St. John for 30 years, that he has only ever lived in Indiana, and that our Fire Department, as well as the Police Department, have always been phenomenal. Mr. Barenie shared experiences he personally encountered when he needed help from our first responders and stated that they were very fast. Mr. Barenie thanked Chief Willman for his decades of dedicated service to St. John.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $2,135,290.37, dated September 26, 2019, and entertained a motion.

Motion to pay the bills by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Barenie. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 9:08 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

09-26-2019 Town Council Exhibit 16.pdf
09-26-2019 Town Council Exhibits 1-15.pdf
10-24-2019 Town Council

October 24, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Meeting to order on October 24, 2019, at 7:03 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Also present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: Michael Forbes and Rose Hejl.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the September 26, 2019 Meeting.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

None was had.

PRESENTATION:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is a presentation by State Representative Mike Aylesworth.

After introducing his wife, Deloris and sharing a bit of personal background, Mr. Aylesworth gave a legislative update: Indiana has a AAA credit rating, has kept a $2.3 billion reserve and strives to keep an 11.5% surplus. The last quarter of the last fiscal year had an increase in sales tax revenues of 9%.

Mr. Aylesworth reviewed the General Fund Appropriations for 2020-2021: 50% of the General Fund goes to K-12 Education; 12% to Higher Education; 15% to Medicaid; 9% to Health & Human Services; 2% to Public Safety; 4% to Corrections; 6% to General Government; and 2% to the Capital fund.

Mr. Aylesworth noted that Indiana is ranked as the No. 3 state for affordability by U.S. News & World Report; No. 1 for doing business in the Midwest by Chief Executive Magazine; No. 1 state for infrastructure by CNBC; No. 5 for the cost of doing business by Chief Executive Magazine; No. 2 Business tax climate in the Midwest; and No. 2 lowest property taxes nationwide by The Nonpartisan Tax Foundation.

Mr. Aylesworth concluded by sharing the results of a survey, giving a few closing remarks, and thanking everyone for allowing him to come and share in their evening.

Mr. Barenie asked if the 62% for education is about that same as it was in prior years and if any of it goes to STEM. Mr. Aylesworth responded that it is about the same as previous years. He stated that the school boards have oversight on how to distribute the money; however, the hope is that they will give the teachers a good raise as a lot of additional money has been pumped into education in order to give teachers a raise.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and opened the floor for the same.

Dan Dernulc (9905 Prairie Avenue, Highland): As you know, I come about once a year just to say hi. So Mr. President, Members of the Council, Madam Clerk-Treasurer, thank you very much. I just want to report that we did pass our budget; it’s ready to roll for 2020. We work quite well together as a council. It’s very bipartisan, I would assume. And especially with me being Republican and Republican Chairman – I’m the Vice President of the County Council. So you can see that we – we work pretty well together.

One of the items we’re working on, I think Mr. Aylesworth brought up; we do talk quite a bit. As you know, our recorder was not showing up to work, and we had him coming in; and he has actually drafted some bill for it to be heard. Don’t know it if will be heard. If I – I’d ask you to talk to other legislators down – down State and see if – if it, at least, could be heard and go to a full, uh, vote, you know. Does – it just has to go through the House, which I believe we might have an opportunity there. Yeah, but, the Senators might – might – beware, we might have a – might have a problem. Again, this is something I didn’t want to do; but I – I, um, I thought we needed to because, again, you’re elected, you need to – to be here – or be there as much as you can, so.

And one other thing. Uh, there’s a few of you that might not be here next year come January 1. I want to thank you for being, uh, on the Council. It’s not, sometimes, the funnest job in the world.

And I see Mr. Blazak, if you are elected, you know, you’re – listen to the people like – like you guys have, and – and make decisions that are – are good for the community. Sometimes, uh, those decisions are not easy. But I wanted to say thank you.

I, too, have been on a side of not joining the – the group the next year. It’s not fun, but then, you know, there is, again, life after, uh, uh, you know, politics, if you will. But I – I want you to know that I do thank you for – for doing what you’ve done. And – and thank you for being great servants of St. John. Love coming to your community. It’s a – It’s a great community, and hopefully, uh, one day you’ll maybe even let me move in.

(Mr. Barenie asked him if he lives in Brantwood.)

No, actually, I live in Highland Terrace Estates, which is in – you know where Christenson Chevrolet is?

(Mr. Barenie responded in the affirmative.)

Right behind there. We’re right on Prairie, so stop on by, Mark, if you ever want to. Thanks.

Having no one further requesting to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Comment.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. Resolution No. 2019-10-24
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Resolution No. 2019-10-24, a resolution approving and authorizing additional appropriations for fiscal year 2019.

Mr. Svetanoff advised that all items are in order for this Public Hearing to proceed.

Ms. Hernandez briefly summarized the appropriations: The Local Road/Bridge Grant appropriation is to transfer the money placed in the General Fund to cover the Town’s matching portion of the 101st Avenue and Parrish Avenue project. There are General Fund appropriations are for the buy-in of the Fire Department into the 77-Fund and for a cushion of funds. The LRS Fund appropriation is for the street salt 20% reserve that needs to be bought. The Police Department Special Revenue Fund is for the purchase of a squad car. The CCI appropriation are for the cost to cover the equipment upgrades to the meeting room.

Mr. Barenie opened the floor for Public Hearing. Having no one coming forward to speak, Mr. Barenie closed Public Hearing.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-10-24 by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance Nos. 1694A-C
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance Nos. 1694A through 1694C, the same being ordinances adopting the 2020 municipal budgets for General, Water, and Sanitary.

Mr. Kil advised that there are three different ordinances: One for the General Fund; another for the Sanitary District; and the third one for the Water District.

Mr. Barenie asked if they can be acted on collectively or if they should be acted on separately. Mr. Kil responded that it would be proper to do each one individually.

Mr. Kil advised that this is the second reading.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1694A by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1694B by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1694C by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

B. Ordinance No. 1698
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Ordinance No. 1698, an ordinance adopting the 2020 Salary Ordinance.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1698 on first reading by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Kil advised that it is important to adopt this ordinance on first reading as the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office needs time to get everything set for the new salaries to take effect on the date set forth in the ordinance.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1698 by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

C. Ordinance No. 1696
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1696, an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 997 and all subsequent Ordinances thereto, establishing a personnel policy and procedure manual for the employees of the Town and becoming effective upon adoption.

Mr. Swets stated that he would like the effective date to be January 1, 2020. The Council Members had no objections to changing the effective date.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1696 on first reading with the contingency that the effective date be January 1, 2020 by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

D. Ordinance No. 1697
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1697, an ordinance establishing a Community Garden System for the Town.

Motion to consider Ordinance No. 1697 on first reading by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1697 by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Ms. Popovic asked if the Town Council could appoint the committee as a couple of the people are here. The Council Members had no objections to appointing the committee.

Motion to appoint Antoinette Duddy, Joe Dernay, and Veronica Williams as the three committee members for the Community Garden System Committee by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

E. Resolution No. 2019-10-24A
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-10-24A, a resolution approving a transfer of appropriations.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-10-24A by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

F. Resolution No. 2019-10-24B
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-10-24B, a resolution approving a transfer of appropriations.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-10-24B by Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
Ms. Hernandez thanked the Council Members for their work on getting the Personnel Policy Manual updated. She also thanked Mr. Kil for working with her for many hours on the benefit changes and to ensure that it is written in an understandable format for all employees.

Mr. Barenie commented that it should be updated more frequently as the laws change often. Others concurred.

Ms. Hernandez stated that she hopes to sit down with the employees in small groups to review policies and/or procedures that have either changed or are new.

Ms. Popovic also thanked Mr. Kil for coordinating and collaborating all the revisions.

Mr. Barenie thanked Ms. Popovic for her involvement in it as well.

Staff
Ms. Popovic thanked Mr. Kil for the Community Crossing Grant that was approved for $1 million.

Mr. Kil stated that he was going to give a report on that: First Group Engineering is starting the work to prepare the Notice to Bidders and the Bid Pack. The thought process is that it should be bid over the winter so the projects can hit the ground running in the spring.

Mr. Kil advised that there is a list on the Town’s website of the over 7-miles of streets that will be paved in 2020 with the Community Crossing Grant. The Town has been awarded $1 million grant. The Town will have to match that $1 million; the cost to the community will be in excess of $1 million. When we submitted our application for the grant, we submitted that our cost would be just over $1 million so we didn’t fall short.

Mr. Swets asked if there is anyway residents can check on future projects. Mr. Kil stated that we will post the roads for 2020; however, we don’t post further out from that because something can change, which can be disappointing for someone whose street may have been on a two-year list and had to be removed due to unforeseeable circumstances or emergencies.

Police Department:
Chief Kveton then reported from September 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 18,345 miles and responded to 633 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 12 arrests with 35 charges being filed. There were 91 traffic citations issued, along with 78 written warnings, for a total of 169 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $72,000, other thefts totaled $3,540, and recovered property totaled $80,500.

Chief Kveton further reported that they are sponsoring two classes over the next month: Northwestern University Center for Public Safety will be teaching a two-week first-line supervisors’ school; and Louisiana State University will be teaching a course on active threats and hazards.

Chief Kveton thanked the Town Council and Police Commission for the two new Officers, who are in training. One came from Dyer Police Department and one came from Lowell Police Department. Once they are out of training, which should be quickly, the Department will be fully staffed

Fire Department:
Chief Willman reported that during the month of September 2019 the St. John Fire Department responded to a total of 146 requests for assistance. There were 114 calls in District 1, 22 calls in District 2, and 10 calls in District 3. Mutual Aid included Schererville, Fire/EMS; Griffith, Fire Department; Lake Hills, Fire/EMS; Crete Township, Fire/EMS; and Cedar Lake, Fire/EMS.

The Monday night activities for the month included: September 2, the members took a night off in recognition of the Labor Day Holiday.

September 9, the Officers monitored a clean-and-inspect session of all of the fire-fighting apparatus in the station. The EMS vehicles go through this type of routine every single day at the beginning of the shift because of the demands associated with a medical transport vehicle.

September 16, the training for the evening was designed for company-oriented evolutions, rather than individual-oriented evolutions. St. John Fire Department is requested to provide fire-related mutual aid to other departments more often than ever before. When they arrive, they are given assignments as a company rather than a separate individual, so we have chosen to train accordingly for those types of assignments.

September 23, was the last work night before the Open House that was held on Sunday, October 6. We spent that evening and some of the rest of the week getting ready to welcome our guests.

Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion

None was had.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $2,064,935.34, dated October 24, 2019.

Mr. Kil requested that a claim be added to the docket in the amount of $237 for a new vendor for the Fire Department called Industrial/Organizational Solutions, Inc. for testing and the like.

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to pay the original docket amount plus the additional $237 as requested.

Motion to pay the bills by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 7:37 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

11-07-2019 Town Council

November 7, 2019 Town Council Special Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Forbes, Acting President, called the St. John Town Council Special Meeting to order on November 7, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Chief Deputy Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, and Libby Popovic,

Also present: Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Marilyn Hrnjak, Chief Deputy Clerk-Treasurer, on behalf of Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer.

Absent: Gerald Swets; Mark Barenie; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

(Note: Due to the absence of the sitting Town Council President and Vice President, the Council Members present selected Mr. Forbes to sit in the Chair of Acting President and Presiding Officer for this meeting.)

Mr. Forbes declared the presence of a quorum.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Forbes advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the October 24, 2019 Meeting.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

None was had.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Economic Development Agreement with SJ-96, LLC
Mr. Forbes advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider the First Amendment to Economic Development Agreement with SJ-96, LLC, an Indiana Limited Liability Company.

Motion to approve the First Amendment to Economic Development Agreement between the Town of St. John and SJ-06, LLC, and authorize the Town Council President to sign by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
None was had.
Staff:
Mr. Kil reported that the new ambulance for the Fire Department looks very nice.
Police Department:
None was had.
Fire Department:
Chief Willman reported that the new ambulance is very nice and that they will enjoy using it for many years to come.
Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion
None was had.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Forbes entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 7:12 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

11-21-2019 Town Council Meeting Canceled
12-19-2019 Town Council

December 19, 2019 Town Council Meeting Minutes

Mark Barenie, President Libby Popovic Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer
Gerald Swets, Vice-President Chief Fred Willman Steve Kil, Town Manager
Michael Forbes Chief James Kveton Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney
Rose Hejl    

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Barenie called the St. John Town Council Regular Meeting to order on December 19, 2019, at 7:07 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.)

ROLL CALL:

Roll call was taken by the Clerk-Treasurer with the following Board Members present: Michael Forbes, Rose Hejl, Libby Popovic, Gerald Swets, and Mark Barenie.

Also present: Luke Lukasic on behalf of Chief Kveton; Chief Willman; Steve Kil, Town Manager; Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer; and Joseph Svetanoff, Town Attorney.

Absent: Chief Kveton.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Barenie advised that the first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes for the November 7, 2019 Meeting.

Motion to approve the minutes by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

TOWN COUNCIL CORRESPONDENCE and REPORTS:

Mr. Swets thanked his fellow Council Members for their hard work, thanked Mark Barenie and Michael Forbes for their years of service. Mr. Swets also thanked Steve Kil for helping with the transition from one Town Council to the next.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is Public Comment and called for the same. No one came to the podium to speak. (Note, two letters are attached as exhibits as Exhibit No. 2019-12-19-TC1 and 2019-12-19-TC2.)

Mr. Barenie closed the floor.

NEW BUSINESS:

A. Ordinance No. 1696
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Ordinance No. 1696, an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 997 and all subsequent Ordinances thereto, establishing a personnel policy and procedure manual for the employees of the Town and becoming effective January 1, 2020.

Motion to adopt Ordinance No. 1696 by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

B. Consider 30’ Permanent Grant of Easement
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider a 30’ permanent grant of easement at 12011 W. 93rd Avenue.

Mr. Kil explained that this grant of easement from one of two homeowners that Mr. Swets has been in contact with to grant easements to the Town for a sidewalk to be installed on the south side of 93rd Avenue across from Continental. Mr. Kil advised Mr. Swets that he will need to address the other easement with the new council. When both easements are executed, the developer of the Continental will install the sidewalk.

Motion to approve grant of easement and authorize the Town Council President to execute by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

C. Consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19A
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19A, a resolution changing fund numbers and transferring remaining balances.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-12-19A by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

D. Consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19B
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19B, a resolution transferring monies from the Escrow Clearing Fund (880) to the General Fund (101).

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-12-19B by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

E. Consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19C
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19C, a resolution abolishing dormant funds.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-12-19C by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

F. Consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19D
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19D, a Civil Town transfer resolution.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-12-19D by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Ms. Popovic. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

G. Consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19E
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19E, a Sanitary District transfer resolution.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-12-19E by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

H. Consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19F
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Resolution No. 2019-12-19F, a Waterworks District transfer resolution.

Motion to adopt Resolution No. 2019-12-19F by Mr. Swets. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

I. Consider Subdivision Bond Release for Mill Creek, Phase 5
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider release of the Subdivision Bond for Mill Creek, Phase 5 in the amount of $25,447.50 and accept a Maintenance Guarantee. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to approve Subdivision Bond release and accept the Maintenance Guarantee as recommended by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

J. Consider Surety Bond Acceptance – The Gates of St. John, Pod 7E
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider acceptance of a Surety Bond in the amount of $1,293,495.00 for The Gates of St. John, Pod 7E. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to accept Surety Bond as submitted by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

K. Consider Performance Bond Acceptance – Summerlin Estates
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider acceptance of a Performance Bond in the amount of $596,046.62 for Summerlin Estates. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to accept Performance Bond as submitted by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

L. Consider Letter of Credit Reduction – Walden Clearing
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider a reduction in a Letter of Credit for Walden Clearing from $1,120,219.10 to $38,024.00. This received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission.

Motion to accept reduction of Letter of Credit as recommended by Mr. Forbes. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

M. Consider Christmas Eve as a Designated Holiday
Mr. Barenie advised that the next item on the agenda is to consider Christmas Eve as a designated holiday for all full-time employees.

Motion to approve Christmas Eve 2019 as a holiday for all full-time employees by Ms. Popovic. Seconded by Ms. Hejl. Motion carried 5 ayes to 0 nays.

REPORTS and CORRESPONDENCE:

Clerk-Treasurer:
Ms. Hernandez thanked everyone for another successful year of Christmas in the Park with special accolades to Detective Commander Steve Flores for the traffic plan, Public Works, and the staff in her office for all their hard work. Close to 3000 people attended opening night. Ms. Hernandez wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Staff:
Mr. Kil thanked Mr. Swets for his earlier comments. He stated that this is the last meeting for the Town Council and formally announced that this would be his last meeting as well as he is resigning effective on January 1, 2020 to pursue other opportunities. He stated that it has been a pleasure to serve the town, which he watched grow from approximately 7,000 to approximately 22,000 residents. He spoke to the wonderful work of all the staff and previous councils. He thanked all the Council Members, especially Michael Forbes and Mark Barenie whom he has worked with for almost two decades.

Mr. Kil presented the outgoing Council Members with plaques for their service: Mr. Forbes has served fifteen years on the Town Council and has served on the Plan Commission since 1997. Ms. Hejl has one year as a Councilwoman and almost 15 years of service on the Police Commission. Ms. Popovic has one year as a Councilwoman and two years on the BZA. Mr. Barenie has 16 years of service as a Councilman.

Mr. Kil touched on the fact the Mr. Forbes and Mr. Barenie were instrumental in getting the town through the recession.

Mr. Barenie presented Mr. Kil with a plaque in appreciation of nineteen years as the Town Manager and turned the floor over the Mr. Forbes.

Mr. Forbes gave a heartfelt thanks to Mr. Kil and stated that they wouldn’t have made it through the recession without Mr. Kil having their backs.

Mr. Kil expressed his gratitude and stated that he has great memories of great times and that this is a bittersweet event.

Mr. Barenie thanked Mr. Kil and gave a recap of their 16 years and stated that Mr. Kil has done fantastic things for the town and the homeowners. He further stated that Mr. Kil is truly a dedicated civic leader and professional.

Fire Department:
Chief Willman summarized his October and November reports together. There were a total of 296 calls. Mutual Aid was given to Lake Hills, Schererville, Cedar Lake, Lowell, Crown Point, and Dyer. Trainings are going as normal. Chief Willman thanked the Town Council, Steve Kil, Beth Hernandez, Clerk-Treasurer’s Office staff, Public Works, Parks Department, and Building and Planning for a more aggressive relationship than ever before in his 24 years as the Fire Chief in a positive direction.

Chief Willman thanked the residents for their strongest year ever in donations. He also thanked Franciscan Health and the VFW for their donation and fund-raising steak dinner, which allowed them to replace all the EMS CPR equipment, which is almost $5000. There were able to replace all their equipment for the CPR classes and donate their previous equipment, which is still in pretty good shape to other departments.

Police Department:
Officer Lukasik gave the reports for October and November:

From October 1, 2019 through October 31, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 17,897 miles and responded to 575 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 11 arrests with 29 charges being filed. There were 76 traffic citations issued, along with 97 written warnings, for a total of 173 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled zero ($0), other thefts totaled $33,601, and recovered property totaled $299.

From November 1, 2019 through November 30, 2019, the members of the St. John Police Department logged 19,237 miles and responded to 592 law incidents. The investigation of these incidents led to 15 arrests with 34 charges being filed. There were 154 traffic citations issued, along with 146 written warnings, for a total of 300 citations being issued during the month. Vehicle thefts totaled $23,000; other thefts totaled $58,497; and recovered property totaled $5,000.

Mr. Kil stated that he had another item to address: Chief James Kveton is leaving the employ of the Town and asked that his service weapon be given to him. We have an indemnification and holds harmless agreement that transfers the service weapon to the officer. The Chief has asked that you consider doing that for him, and if you consider it, the paperwork is ready. A motion to authorize the transfer of the service weapon to Chief Kveton and authorize Mr. Barenie to sign the Indemnification and Hold Harmless Agreement.

Motion to authorize the transfer of the service weapon to Chief Kveton and authorize Mr. Barenie to sign the Indemnification and Hold Harmless Agreement by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Barenie accepted the resignations of Mr. Kil and Chief Kveton.

Ms. Hernandez wished the Council the very best in their future endeavors. She recognized Mr. Forbes and Mr. Barenie for their many years of service to our community. Mr. Forbes was instrumental in the formation of our full-time Fire Department and EMS services as we know them today. Mr. Barenie played an instrumental role in the construction of our municipal complex. Both Councilman have demonstrated the definition of leadership and fiscal responsibility by making tough decisions. When we had the economic downturn, our Town remained financially stable while others struggled to stay afloat.

Ms. Hernandez addressed Mr. Kil and stated that she has had the pleasure of working alongside him for the last four years. He has always answered all forms of communication and helped her in her office to the fullest extent. Mr. Kil always keeps a smile on his face and maintains a jovial disposition. His sense of humor and quick wit are one of a kind. Ms. Hernandez stated that Mr. Kil has been her mentor and taught her everything that she knows about municipal work and the inner workings of how government runs. She further stated that Mr. Kil is one of the most knowledgeable, hardworking, and dedicated people she has had the honor of working with, and she will miss him tremendously as he journeys on to new adventures. She wished him the best and stated that she will always be grateful to have known him and will cherish the time they have had to work together.

Mr. Kil thanked Ms. Hernandez for her heartfelt words.

Town Council Comments – Follow-up Discussion
Ms. Popovic thanked everyone, especially Mr. Kil for everything he was to teach her and helping the Town Council. She stated that it has been a pleasure working with the Town Council. As someone who has worked with different judges, attorneys, federal, state, and city entities, the Town Council experience has been quite interesting. There are great things for the town up ahead. She finished by thanking everyone for their support and guidance.

Ms. Hejl thanked her fellow Town Council Members. It has been quite a year, which she is grateful for. She has met a lot of great people and learned so much. She advised those coming in to get ready and fasten their seatbelts because it will be a bumpy ride. There is a lot to learn.

Ms. Hejl thanked Mr. Kil and stated that anyone who has worked with him knows how much he knows and how much he can guide you. He knows who to find to figure it out, and it’s a loss for the town that he is moving on; but it’s great for wherever he will be going. Ms. Hejl thanked Mr. Kil and the departments and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

Mr. Swets stated that he had given his thanks to the Council Members and Mr. Kil earlier and thanked the departments. He told Ms. Hernandez that Christmas in the Park was phenomenal and he has heard a lot of good comments about the way it was run, the fireworks, and the public safety plan. He wished a Merry Christmas to the Town Council and the members in the audience.

Mr. Forbes expressed his thanks.

Mr. Barenie thanked the Town staff for the last 16 years. All the departments have done an awesome job. He thanked prior Councils, past and present. Mr. Barenie thanked Attorney Svetanoff, who came in through a transition. He also thanked Dave Austgen for his many years of service.

Mr. Barenie thanked his wife Mary and his sons Matthew and Michael, who were all present, for their support over the years. Mr. Barenie thanked the residents for giving him the opportunity 16 years ago to serve on the Town Council. Mr. Barenie wished the incoming Council well.

PAYMENT OF THE BILLS FOR THE CORPORATION:

Mr. Barenie advised the next item on the agenda is the payment of the bills for APVs of $3,368,736.99.

Motion to pay the bills by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Swets. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Barenie entertained a motion to adjourn. Motion to adjourn by Ms. Hejl. Seconded by Mr. Forbes. Motion carries 5 ayes to 0 nays.

(The meeting was adjourned at 7:39 p.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Town Council

Meeting Audio Recordings

01-24-2019 Town Council

02-07-2019 Town Council

02-28-2019 Town Council

03-18-2019 Town Council

04-17-2019 Town Council

05-23-2019 Town Council

06-19-2019 Town Council

07-11-2019 Town Council

07-22-2019 Town Council

07-23-2019 Town Council

08-22-2019 Town Council

09-26-2019 Town Council

10-24-2019 Town Council

11-07-2019 Town Council

12-19-2019 Town Council

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