SYRACUSE — Syracuse resident Doug Schrock waited patiently for the Syracuse Town Council to get to “old business” during its regular meeting Tuesday night, July 16. Up for discussion was approving funds to aid in the repairing of the flood control structure located in Crosson Mill Park.
Once the council got to old business, Schrock asked how much the town is committing to repairing the flood control device. “I’m raising money to back you, so I need to know how much more I need to raise,” he told the council. Councilman Larry Siegel said the council had already spent $100,000 on repairs to the flood control device. “I don’t care what you spent on it. I was told you would commit $250,000 or half. Half is not $250,000, it’s more like $400,000,” Schrock told the council.
Siegel explained the council received new information regarding ownership of the flood control device last month, but hasn’t voted on anything yet. Councilman Bill Musser stated there are several meetings to be held before the actual costs would be known.
Schrock challenged the council to at least admit the cost will be over $500,000. Siegel stated the repair costs could be between $400,000 and $500,000. “We got the county surveyor to handle the down stream portion which will affect the cost,” he explained.
Musser said the costs could be less than $500,000. When Schrock disputed that claim, Musser challenged him asking if he’d seen the engineering reports. Schrock said, yes he had seen the engineering reports and had taken two contractors over to the flood control device to get their opinion on the situation.
Schrock continued to push the council on when the town would at least have an idea of what the repairs would cost. “We can for sure commit to $250,000. Tell people the town already spent $100,000 and is committed to another $250,000,” Siegel said.
Council president Larry Martindale asked Schrock if he would pass along information he received from the contractors he’s talking to about the repair work. Siegel explained the state highly regulates how a town can do a project like this.
“I understand that, that’s why I don’t want you doing it,” Schrock said. Martindale explained the lake committee won’t release any funds for the repair work unless there is an invoice. Council members told him if the committee wanted to hire out its own contractor rather than have the town do it, it could.
“We have our ducks in a row, everything is working smoothly and there’s no reason to rock the boat,” Musser said.
There was a question as to when the work would be started. Both Martindale and Schrock said contractors are booked through the rest of the building season and it would be next spring before anything can be done.
Earlier in the meeting the council approved spending $6,630 for a survey of Crosson Mill Park and the flood control device. That survey is already in the preliminary stages and is being conducted by Jones Petrie Rafinski.
The council conducted a first reading of the 2020 budget. The 2020 proposed budget for the town is $4,939,520 an increase of $501,018 over 2019. A preliminary hearing on the budget will be held at the August council meeting.
The council approved a resolution electing to join the public employees retirement fund as administered by the Indiana Public Retirement System.
The council also approved an ordinance regarding weeds and rank vegetation. Mike Noe, town manager, asked the ordinance be amended as he’s trying to shorten the amount of time regarding tall grass in town.
In his department report, Noe asked the council to approve spending $6,750 to be paid out of a Tax Increment Finance fund to survey a water line between Pickwick and Maple Grove. The council approved the expenditure.
Vern Landis, town attorney, reported the town and Triad had agreed to a settlement. The paperwork just needs to be signed by Martindale when it’s ready.
In public utilities, the performance guarantee is underway with the new wastewater treatment plant. The plant will undergo several lab tests over the next month to see if any adjustments to its operations need to be made. Noe is also working on quotes to cover the influeant at the plant so it doesn’t freeze in the winter. He’s trying to keep costs below $100,000.
A generator for the lift station will cost $65,000. The council approved $50,000 earlier with funds coming from the Tax Increment Finance Fund. Additional funds will be appropriated to cover the short fall.
Traffic is reduced to one lane due to work on SR 13 in front of Town Hall. Noe said the work will be completed in mid-August. Fire Chief Mickey Scott warned drivers traffic is backing up to the tracks and they should not wait on the rail road tracks when that happens.
Police Chief Jim Layne said the hiring process for officers is ongoing. Councilman Tom Hoover asked about body cams and Layne explained how the type Syracuse Police Officers wear works.
Chad Jonsson reported the mud run had about 250 runners and a lot of good comments. “We’ve done well compared to what other communities have done,” he told the council. The Fourth of July went well. This weekend will be the Tours des Lakes. The park department will take a larger role this year since the trail committee does not have a director yet.
Jonsson hopes to have a final design drawing for Laudeman Park at the August park board meeting.
Registration is underway for the town wide garage sales which take place Aug. 1-3.
Scott reported the fire department signed a contract for a new fire truck which will be delivered September 2020. The department’s operations and equipment budgets have been submitted for review. The department is looking to purchase several new power cots since it’s having problems with the ones it currently uses.