By Lasca Randels
LEESBURG — Leesburg Town Council discussed amending a town ordinance regarding the term “refuse” at their meeting Monday, April 11.
“One of the problems we’ve had is people having excessive amounts of trash and other debris on their properties,” Leesburg Council President Christina Archer said.
“Looking through this particular ordinance, in my opinion, the wording is a little broad term,” Council Vice President Tom Moore said. “I would like to see us add some language rather than just using the word ‘refuse’ because it’s one person’s silk purse, another one’s sow’s ear. I think we need to be a bit more definitive.”
Moore said he would like to keep this on the agenda and at some point in the next couple of months, add language specifying refuse.
“For example,” Moore said, “The current ordinance could be amended to say ‘It shall be unlawful for anyone to permit the dumping of refuse, junk of any kind, or piling of leaves, grass clippings, weeds or other similar piles of refuse, or to allow any such condition to remain on any lot or tract of land in town and the allowance of such a condition to remain upon any lot or tract of land is hereby declared a nuisance. For the purpose of this ordinance, refuse includes but is not limited to’ …. and then you could insert any sort of refuse that comes to mind.”
Last month, Moore said town officials are considering a three-strike system regarding parking violations. This would involve a warning for the first violation and a violation notice for the second incident. If a third violation occurred, the vehicle would be impounded.
Moore said he would like council to implement the three-strike system not only for parking violations but for violations of all ordinances.
“I was the one who suggested it, so I’m on board,” said Councilman Doug Jones. “You don’t have to convince me.”
Jones said he would like to see some kind of a clause related to building construction materials for those who are in the process of building or remodeling.
Moore said building materials would not be there for a long period of time and would not be considered refuse.
“That’s construction-related material,” Moore said. “I don’t view that as refuse. Refuse is the stuff that’s leftover that’s been there for six months.”
This led to questions about who would be responsible for refuse on a rental property.
Town Attorney Nick Jacobs of Rockhill Pinnick LLP, said, “I think the way this is currently written it would cover both property owners and tenants.”
Jacobs will look into this further.
The issue will be discussed again at upcoming meetings. Moore said because it concerns a change in the ordinance, there must be notification and public input.
In another matter, Jeff Rowe of Baker Tilly provided an update regarding a letter the town received from the Indiana Bond Bank.
“This is a new program that is being organized by the state,” Rowe said. “The idea behind it is to pool together as many as we can, smaller communities that have USDA debt outstanding at a higher interest rate than what you can get currently.”
The refunding bond would be one big refunding bond sold by the Indiana Bond Bank program, Rowe said, and each entity participating would achieve some savings through that bond issue.
“We all know that refunding is costly to do that for each individual entity, so the idea is to pool all these communities together and do one big bond issue,” Rowe said.
Approximately a dozen communities so far have expressed interest in the program.
Rowe also clarified that interest rates have gone up since the letters were mailed out in February.
“So, where I sit today, my guess is that these numbers are probably best-case scenario,” Rowe said. “The bond bank right now is going through the process of updating their numbers based on current interest rates.”
Rowe said that after taking into account all costs associated with the refunding, this could save the town approximately $310,000 over the remaining life of the bonds.
Leesburg Clerk-Treasurer Mike Searfoss said he responded to the letter, indicating the town is interested in applying for the program.
Rowe said he can have a contract prepared for the next meeting.
Regarding the proposed traffic control agreement between Leesburg and a subcontractor, Claypool Town Marshal Ben Sanders, Jones said they did have a contract in hand, which legal counsel reviewed and made potential changes to. The contract has been forwarded to Sanders.
“We did run into another insurance issue,” Jones said. “Not to be unexpected, given what we’re doing here. I don’t see anything insurmountable here, but it’s not going to be a fast process.”
In other news:
- The Leesburg Memorial Day Parade will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 30. All participants should be in place by 10:15 a.m. Veterans should meet at Town Hall; other participants at N. Pearl Street and Van Buren Street. The parade route will proceed south on Pearl Street, then west on Prairie Street to the cemetery. A memorial service will be held at the cemetery following the parade. For questions regarding this event, contact Sue Charlton, Craig Charlton or Christina Archer.
- Leesburg garage sale days will be held June 10 & 11. Town cleanup days will be June 24 & 25.
- Rowe said the financial consulting firm will have a report to present at the May town council meeting regarding the sewer rate review.
- Town officials would like to remind residents of the following: No parking on any street between 3-5 a.m. (every day); no burning anything anytime; and please be mindful of what you flush.
- The next regular meeting will be 6:30 p.m. May 9.