SYRACUSE — Syracuse Town Council approved rezoning a tract of land from public use to agricultural so Wawasee Community School Corporation can pursue a solar project. The decision was made during the council’s regular monthly meeting held Tuesday night, March 19.
The tract of land is owned by the school corporation and includes the bus garage near Wawasee High School. Dan Richard of the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission explained the bus garage can stay as an accessory building with the new agriculture zoning. Only the non-wooded area will be used for the solar project.
The council approved an amended salary and compensation ordinance as well as extended former Town Manager Henry DeJulia’s contract to May 31. Mike Noe, town manager, requested the extension so DeJulia can assist him with the completion of a number of town projects as well as help with the budget process.
The council approved a contract with Bose Public Affairs, which has done consulting work on a number of projects.
Also approved was an offer to accept $3,000 from Indiana Department of Transportation to move a sign near US 6 and SR 13 where a roundabout will be installed. The sign is owned by the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce and the town will pass the funds on to the chamber. Meanwhile the chamber will look for a new location for the sign.
Noe informed the council he asked Commonwealth Engineering to provide a quote to put the town on retainer. Commonwealth has done a number of projects with the town and Noe believes having the company on retainer may save money. Councilman Paul Stoelting requested a report on what the town has paid Commonwealth to date.
Noe also met with Tim Woodward, Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District supervisor, regarding the sewer district. Tweaks are still being made regarding the billing. The Turkey Creek Sewer District is moving along with a lift station and pipe is being bored. The lift station should reduce pressure on the lines on Medusa Street by 60 percent when completed.
The wastewater department is working on a fats and grease program at the request of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. A survey will be sent out and then the department will do some education on limiting the amount of fat and grease that is entering the system. Two employees are traveling to Indianapolis to take their class I and class II exams. On the street department side, employees are converting from winter to spring/summer work. Two street department employees are going to school for paving evaluation.
Fire Chief Mickey Scott requested approval to spend $41,654.36 on self contained breathing apparatus from TJ Novak in Fort Wayne. The department will be purchasing five air packs and 18 bottles.
In discussion from the floor, Nathan Scherer approached the council about the lack of child care available in town. Both St. Andrew’s and Natural Wonders have shut down. Scherer told the council he is aware there is a child care coalition in Warsaw, but it has no representation from the northern part of the county.
Scherer also said not having child care in the community leaves a huge hole as it’s hard to attract workers to the area if there’s no child care. After discussion, Scherer, Council president Larry Martindale and another mom who came to the meeting agreed to form a committee to look into the issue. Councilman Tom Hoover, who was absent, has also shown an interest in addressing the issue.