LEESBURG — Jeff Rowe of Umbaugh & Associates, Indianapolis, attended the Leesburg Town Council meeting Monday, Feb. 12, to advise council members on financing options for the renovations to the Leesburg Town Hall building.
At the present time, the building does not meet the requirements of the American Disability Act. Council members have discussed possible options for the building. Options include tearing the building down and having a new building constructed, remodeling the current building or doing nothing, which would mean the building could be used for storage purposes but not for any public functions.
Council members are in agreement that they would like to preserve the integrity of the building due to its historical significance.
Rowe presented a summary of options and went over two scenarios with council members. Both options involve financing, Rowe explained. In the first scenario, the town would need to apply a certain level of cash with the rest being financed. The second option assumes no cash will be applied.
“The Indiana Constitution only allows cities and towns a certain amount of tax-supported debt, so you’re limited to basically 2 percent of the assessed value of your town,” Rowe stated. Leesburg’s net-assessed value is $17 million dollars, meaning that the town has a general obligation debt limit of approximately $116, 210.
“What we’re looking at tonight is a straightforward general obligation bond issue that would be paid through property taxes,” said Rowe.
Council members discussed the possibility of paying for the renovations with money from reserve funds, eliminating the need for financing.
“You just want to make sure it isn’t going to strap the town financially by using up your reserves,” Rowe cautioned.”
“Letting go of cash reserves is always a scary proposition, but it’s an option – and maybe, in this case, not the worst option,” said Council Vice-President Doug Jones. “We could save – I mean, I’m looking at the first option and we could save $35,000 of the taxpayers’ money by just paying for it.”
Rowe will be investigating other options and will be attending the March meeting to share this information as well as recommendations on how to proceed.
Leesburg Street Superintendent Craig Charlton gave a monthly street report, touching on subjects such as equipment maintenance and salt application on the town streets. There was discussion regarding how to address ongoing issues with residents who remain noncompliant with ordinance rules regarding parking in the streets between the hours of 3 – 5 a.m. Charlton explained that the areas of violation have been rental properties where there is inadequate parking for tenants.
Although council members expressed empathy for the lack of convenient parking in those areas, they agreed that these violations hamper snow removal in the winter months and street sweeping during the summer. Charlton advised there is available parking in the alley behind the buildings.
“There are places they can park, it’s just not at their front door,” Charlton stated.
“If they have been notified and warned, and a copy of the ordinance has been handed to them, and they continue to do this, then the only other recourse is to tow them,” said Council President Tom Moore.
“It’s unfortunate that the parking is not convenient,” said Council Member Christina Archer. “However, there is parking available. It’s necessary to clean the streets for the benefit of everyone else who uses the downtown area.”
Charlton also pointed out that sidewalks are the responsibility of the resident and are to be cleared of snow, per town ordinance. Trees and bushes on the tree lawn are also the responsibility of the resident and are to be trimmed to permit safe passage on streets, sidewalks and alleys.
- Christina Archer, who replaced Larry Richey as a member of the Leesburg Town Council, was sworn in by Attorney Scott Reust. Richey resigned from the position in January.
- Danny Tenney of Tenney & Sons, Inc., Warsaw, gave a monthly sanitary sewer report.
- No parking is allowed on any street in Leesburg between the hours of 3-5 a.m.
- No burning is allowed in the town of Leesburg.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 12.