By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — It was standing room only as the Syracuse Town Council held a public hearing regarding ordinance 2021-013, the Kern Road Annexation during its regular meeting Tuesday night, Oct. 19.
Former council member Tom Hoover, helped get the public comments started by stating he knew several people had questions regarding fencing for the new ball field and whether there was money to pay for it.
Councilman Larry Martindale explained fencing would be installed along the north and west sides of the ball park and along the property line of the homeowner and the driveway leading into the parking lot. The cost of the fencing is $78,210.
After another resident asked a question and Council President Larry Siegel stated the hearing was a time for comments, not questions, Chris Janak an attorney with Bose, McKinney and Evans, a law firm assisting with the annexation, stepped in to explain the hearing was a time for the council to hear what residents had to say.
There were questions as to why only houses on one side of Kern Road were being considered for annexation, with Brent Boyer, who lives on Kern Road, saying if the council was picking and choosing individual homes to annex, he wanted his taken out of consideration.
Siegel explained there was an in lieu of annexation agreement with the developer of Kerns Crossing. However, those living outside the subdivision made it clear they are not interested in being annexed. Nick Flenar said those living on Kern Road should be allowed to be left alone to live in the country.
Flenar, whose property borders the driveway for the new ballfield said it was really taking shape and looks nice. “I just prefer to be left alone,” he said.
Boyer agreed with how the ball field was shaping up. “They’ve done a beautiful job…It’s going to be a nice facility,” he said.
“There are some of us that don’t want to be annexed into town,” said another resident. “None of us live in Kern’s Crossing.”
The council also held a public hearing and second reading of the 2022 budget before voting to adopt it. The council approved the 2022 budget for $4,075,874.
Hoover was presented with a gift of appreciation for his service on the town council. “People don’t realize how much time and effort the job takes,” Siegel said.
Chris Harrison from Commonwealth Engineering reported all projects were moving forward. The time frame for completing Brooklyn Street would depend on how long the snow held off. The expectation is to have a base coat of asphalt and the curbing complete before it got too cold with the final coat put down in the spring.
The council approved $6,000 for a traffic study at Syracuse Elementary School to determine what if any type of traffic control device is warranted.
In department reports, Town Manager David Wilkinson reported Economic Development Income Tax funds will be used to pay for the fencing around the new ball park. Custom Fencing will install the fence for $78,210 with the work to be done within 6 months.
Wilkinson is also starting the preliminary work on updating the town’s comprehension plan.
The council approved moving its November meeting to Nov. 23 since adoption of the Kern’s Road annexation must be voted on between Nov. 19 and Dec. 17. That meeting will be at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers in Syracuse Town Hall.
Police Chief Jim Layne reported two older vehicles, the one the building inspector uses and an older SUV will be removed from the fleet. A third older vehicle will be donated to the Indiana Police Academy as a trade in training hours.
The council approved a $20,000 a year lease for 10 years with Axon for 10 body cameras, 8 in car cameras as well as storage in the Cloud. The lease has Axon replacing body cameras every 2 1/2 years and in car cameras every 5 years. The Syracuse Police Department will maintain chain of custody on videos stored on the cloud as part of the lease. The body cameras can be delivered within 4-6 weeks while the in-car cameras will be available in April 2022.
Chad Jonsson reported the Thrill at Crosson Mill will be open 7-9 p.m. Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30. Admission is $5. There will also be a drive thru Trick or Treat event held from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Community Center. Trick or Treat hours will be 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31.
Construction of the buildings at the ball park should be started soon and a permit request for water and sewer is being considered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The council approved six change orders from Beer & Slabaugh totaling a savings of $6,303 for the ball park.
Mark Aurich, public works superintendent, reported leaf collecting season has started and will continue through Dec. 5. Residents are asked not to rake leaves into the street or storm drains.
The council approved hiring Ford Hall to install a new clarifier brush at the waste water treatment center for a cost of $56,840. The work should be completed sometime after Thanksgiving.
Three flow meters which were damaged recent storms will be replaced by Mason Engineering for a cost of $30,353.
Aurich also reported he met with Commonwealth Engineering about what needs to be done with the lift stations in Oakwood Park since new housing will be going into the park.
Fire Chief Mickey Scott reported the storm sirens were tested on battery backup and a battery exploded during the test. The battery backup is made up of 4 marine batteries and is tested every other month.
The council approved spending $46,917 on new hoses and nozzles for the fire deparment. The council also approved spending $220,691 on new radios which will be delivered sometime in 2022.
John Earnst and Bill Pipp came before the council to say the conservancy should be approved in court on Thursday, Oct. 21. The work on the dam has been completed and work on the dyke on Coco Road is next on the agenda. The conservancy has funding to get through June 2022 when it can receive tax money.
An accumulator fund has been started to save money to replace the water control device in Crosson Mill Park sometime in the future.
Councilman Bill Musser said, “ I think we owe these guys. I think in the next few months we need to look at a way to aid their cause.”
Siegel began pointing out how much the town contributed towards the dam repairs with Musser stating. “But it’s our dam and they helped us.”
Derek Church came before the council asking why he was given notice to get rid of his chickens and ducks a year after he specifically asked if they were allowed. He has about 30 in two large dog outdoor dog kennels. He explained he doesn’t sell the eggs, but rather donates them to neighbors and the food pantry.
After hearing his case, the council decided to look into the matter further, pausing the order Church received to remove the birds within 10 days.
The council then heard from Jim Higgins of London Witte Group who explained what a residential or workforce affordable housing tax increment finance district is. The council is considering using one on the new Oakwood Developmeent.