SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Town Council held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, March 17, to handle essential business only.
Without fanfare, the council approved a declaratory resolution for a tax abatement request for Polywood. A public hearing will be held next month before the council passes the resolution.
The council also approved changing 10.5 acres located behind Casey’s General Store, located on SR 13, from light industrial to public use.
Ordinance 2020-01 which addresses bereavement, vacation and sick time for town employees was also passed.
Mike Noe, town manager, asked the council to approve a change order for Kokosing Industrial for work at the waste water treatment plant for $14,893. The council approved the change order.
The council approved the water department purchasing a new pick up truck for $26,929 and the street department to purchase a pick up truck, not to exceed $35,000 and a snow plow for the new truck, not to exceed $10,000.
Noe informed the council the Turkey Creek Dam and Dike Conservancy recently opened bids for work on the water control device. Precise Pile Driving was awarded the contract for $281,704.50. Lawson Fisher will do 300 hours of inspection work with costs not to exceed $68,000. Aquatic Weed Control will be paid $1,500 for permits and $32,000 for dredging in the area by the water control device.
All costs for the water control device will be split between the conservancy and the town. The council approved its half of the expenses.
Syracuse Police Chief Jim Layne reported the department needs a new recording device. The county prosecutor’s office has agreed to pay $9,000 with the department having to pay $9954. The recorder will be installed in the department’s interrogation room. The council approved the expenditure with installation to be done within 90 days.
Layne also requested Syracuse Town Hall be closed to the public until April 1 due to COVID-19. Town staff will still come to work, but the public will be prevented from entering the building. Staff will be on hand to take phone calls, respond to email and handle payments dropped in the drop boxes or made online. The council approved closing town hall until April 1.
In discussion from the floor Bill Pipp, a representative of the Turkey Creek Dam and Dike Conservancy asked what the town’s intentions were regarding the dike, located in Wawasee Village. Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has no interest in owning the dike, since owning it does not fit with its mission.
Pipp told the council it should find out what the property’s owner’s plan is regarding repairs to the dike.
The conservancy will hold a remonstrance meeting in May with the conservancy being approved by the state in early July. Taxes for the conservancy wouldn’t be collected until 2021.
Pipp said any money left over from fixing the water control device in Crosson Mill Park will be rolled into the conservancy.
Councilman Larry Siegel told Pipp the conservancy could purchase the property the dike sits on since it purchased the water control device. Pipp said the conservancy only purchased the dam because the town didn’t want to. And owning the dike doesn’t fit with the conservancy’s mission.
Siegel asked what the conservancy would do if the property owner comes to it requesting help with repairing the dike. Pipp explained the conservancy will have five districts representing approximately 510 property holders. Representatives from those districts would vote on the matter and he did not see the conservancy being willing to assist a private individual in this manner.
Siegel asked how the board would be made up. Pipp explained the circuit court judge would appoint the first members of the board who would serve staggered terms. After that property owners would vote for the representative in their district. How those elections would be held is still being worked on.
Siegel thanked Pipp for volunteering to assist with the water control device. “It’s a big deal for the community. Thanks for all your help,” he said.
Council President Paul Stoelting suggested the April town council meeting be canceled due to social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If the town has business to address, it can be done in a special meeting. Clerk-Treasurer Paul Kehr-Wicker noted the governor issued a new directive regarding Open Door Law as the state deals with the containing the spread of the virus.