SYRACUSE — Rich Haddad, president and CEO of the K21 Health Foundation, came before the Syracuse Town Council to announce a pledge the foundation’s board has made in celebration of is 20th anniversary.
The foundation will give Syracuse a $200,000 grant for a health and wellness plan for the community. The council is responsible for approving the plan. Haddad explained the plan can be developed by a local non-profit, the council itself or even a city department.
There is no set deadline for the grant and the application process has been simplified as well. Syracuse is one of nine incorporated communities outside Warsaw and Winona Lake to receive this grant.
In other matters, the council had a busy night, approving the 2020 salary ordinance and an amended benefits ordinance.
The board also approved a transfer ordinance, moving $10,000 from capital improvement to professional services. Approval was also given to move $2,000 in the Parks and Recreation Fund from new equipment to maintenance supplies and all repairs.
Mike Noe, town manager, also had several matters to bring before the council. The council agreed to pay a $57 cell phone bill for former town manager Henry DeJulia.
The council agreed to have Noe solicit bids for work on the water main on Medusa Street. Noe would like the work done by Memorial Day if possible.
Noe informed the board the Indiana Department of Environmental Management told the water department, during a recent inspection, that there was no longer a need to inject fluoride into the water. Stopping the fluoride treatment would save the town $18,250 plus maintenance. The council agreed to stop the treatment.
The council approved a bid by Corson Security for $22,340.39 for cameras to be installed around the public works buildings.
The council renewed an agreement with Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation and paid the $10,000 membership fee.
Noe brought up the idea of the city charging for building permits. The council is exploring the possibility since most communities in the area charge some kind of permit fee. After some discussion, Noe offered to gather more information from surrounding communities.
The council approved spending $8,740 on an electrical panel at Louie’s Bar and Grille. Also approved was spending $41,825 to repair the Carol Street Lift Station and $21,896 on the lift station at Smokie’s Landing. Straeffer Pump will be contracted to do the work on the Carol Street lift station while Middlebury Electric will do the work at Smokie’s Landing.
A building cover will be installed to protect an influent at the wastewater treatment plant. The council approved a bid for $38,171 by White Oaks. Noe said the building will be approximately 30 feet by 40 feet and will have infrared heat for the influent, which should save on overtime and fuel costs.
Noe reported the north side water tower has been painted and is going through the curing process. The project is expected to be done in the next few weeks depending on the weather.
The street department would like to stop collecting leaves on Nov. 27, although it will continue as people continue to rake their leaves to the curb.
Corey Kenworthy, the new Syracuse Police Officer started Monday, Nov. 18, and is currently going through pre-basic training. Once he has completed that portion of his training he will come before the council to be sworn in.
Police Chief Jim Layne, Noe and Paula Kehr-Wicker have been working on updating the town’s ordinances. They requested a committee be formed with themselves and two members of the town council. Council President Larry Martindale and Tom Hoover both volunteered to help out.
The council approved renewing the inter-local agreement with the county for central dispatch and paying the annual $5,000 fee.
Layne also reported the solar energy speed signs have been installed and the old school zone signs near the old Syracuse Elementary School will be removed.
Chad Jonsson, park superintendent, reported 150 people went through the Haunted Thrill at Crosson Mill. Two of the three nights had to be canceled due to the weather. One of those nights was rescheduled.
Lakeland Youth Center’s annual fall carnival was a success.
This Saturday, Nov. 23, will be the tree lighting ceremony. The event starts at Crosson Mill Park at 5 p.m. with Santa arriving at about 6:30 p.m. to light the tree.
Breakfast with Santa will be 8 -11 Saturday, Dec. 7 at the community center.
Jonsson also told the council the trail committee has been at work with the new trail going in along Conklin Bay. That work will continue throughout the winter.
Hoover asked about the community center lights. Jonsson said he plans to apply for a $12,000 grant from the Harkless Foundation which will cover curb work. The rest of the work for the lights will be paid for out of the park budget.
Fire Chief Mickey Scott reported the damage on the ambulance that was wrecked this past summer was approximately $61,960. That cost is just for body damage. After some discussion the council approved the fire territory purchasing a demonstration ambulance, cots and everything else required for $295,000. The purchase is to be made in January with delivery by Jan. 31.
Since the accident, the Turkey Creek Fire Territory has been using one of North Webster’s ambulances. “We certainly appreciate the North Webster Fire Department,” Scott told the council. He has offered to pay for the ambulance’s use but North Webster has refused. Scott said he would find a way to thank the North Webster Fire Department for its assistance.
In discussion from the floor, Sharon Fowler asked if there could be more street lights installed on Pittsburg Street. Councilman Larry Siegel asked Layne if officers on patrol could note the dark spots in town that could use street lights. Layne said it would be a long list, but he’d look into it.
Siegel suggested the town survey the levy located behind Subway in Wawasee Village to see who actually owns it. Noe asked if the dam conservancy was going to take it over, Siegel said, no it would just provide funds for its maintenance. After some discussion the matter was approved.
Hoover asked if more lights could be installed in the parking lot across from the Syracuse Public Library. Noe said he would look into what can be done.
The next meeting of the Syracuse Town Council will be 7 p.m. Dec. 17.