The Syracuse Town Council held a public hearing on the 2013 budgets during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.
Clerk-treasurer Julie Kline read through the proposed budget line by line and then opened the floor to public comment. Sharon Fowler questioned the fund marked “motor vehicle highway.” It was explained that was the street department fund. Fowler than asked why it was so high at $891,800 with the maximum estimated funds at $629,806 and the current tax levy at $629,806. Kline explained the street department’s property tax levy hasn’t changed from 2012 and the actual budget has been higher in previous years.
Fowler then demanded to know why funds were allocated for a river boat. It was explained the town receives $20,000 from riverboat revenue sharing. Fowler asked what that money is used for. She was told it was for streets and trees.
Ken Jones, president and CEO of Wightman Petrie, the town’s engineering firm, provided an update on the industrial park. Grading and installing of utilities is already underway after ground was broken last week.
Jones requested the council approve a change order for H+G Underground Utilities for a reduction in cost in a booster station. The reduction in cost of $106,669 reduced the overall cost of the project from $1,903,644 to $1,796,935. The council approved the change order.
The council approved appropriating $2,100,000 from the economic development income tax fund for the North Industrial Park.
In department reports, Henry DeJulia, town manager, thanked everyone who came to the ground breaking for the North Industrial Park. He also told the council he is working with the state on the town receiving shovel ready certification. This will make it easier to work with developers in marketing the park.
DeJulia hoped to have the property exchange with Polywood for the athletic complex complete by next month’s council meeting.
Syracuse Police Chief Tony Ciriello said Trick-or-Treat hours have been set for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.
He told the council the police department is involved in an internship program with Wawasee High School. Currently one student comes in from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The student participates in ride-a-longs and will send time in the prosecutor’s office as well as the jail and probation departments.
For the fifth year in a row, the department also has interns from Ivy Tech. The college interns come in two days a week.
Chad Jonsson, park superintendent, reported Oct. 13 will be the last Saturday of the season for the Farmer and Artisan Market. There will also be a Harvest Festival that day with a variety of activities.
Kline reported there is a new state law where any utility that is more than 15 percent higher for out of town residents the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has to be notified. Since out of town residents pay more for storm water, the town has sent in the form, which is due Sept. 30.
Kline is exploring new lighting options since fluorescent is becoming obsolete. The clerk’s office will be closed Oct. 18 for a state meeting.
Resident Linda Neff expressed concern regarding crossing SR 13 from town hall to the farmers market. She noted it is very busy on Saturdays. Ciriello noted since SR 13 is a state highway there are a number of restrictions about what the town can do. Councilman Brian Woody asked about something similar to a school zone flashing light. Ciriello said he would look into it.
Fowler brought up a number of complaints regarding town alleys not being cleaned up and the drug situation needing to be addressed. “I take offense to that,” Woody said. “I know if something’s going on and our guys know about it, they go.” He encouraged those who suspect drug activity to report it.
Musser told the other council members he would like to meet with them individually to get their input on the renovation of Fire Station I.
A committee was also set up to find town attorney Mike Reed’s replacement.