By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — During the Syracuse Town Council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 21, Town Attorney Jay Rigdon asked the council if they received and approved a letter he intends to send to the public access counselor regarding a open door violation complaint. The complaint comes from a meeting Kosciusko Economic Development Corp. hosted regarding the South Shore Village project. The council acknowledged receiving the letter and asked Rigdon to send it.
KEDCO hosted the meeting Tuesday, Oct. 31, inviting representatives of the Syracuse Town Council, Kosciusko County Redevelopment Commission, Kosciusko County Commissioners and Council along with Jeff Dyson, who is one of the investors in the South Shore Village project. Three members of the Syracuse Town Council, Councilmen Bill Musser and Larry Siegel and Council President Cindy Kaiser attended the meeting creating a quorum.
Prior to the meeting, The Mail-Journal received a phone call asking if having a quorum of the council present at the meeting was allowed under the Indiana Open Door Law. While the law allows elected officials to meet privately for information gathering, having a quorum put the meeting in a “funky gray area” according to a representative of the Public Access Counselor’s office.
The Mail-Journal brought its concerns to the KEDCO meeting, asking either the meeting be open to the press or the meeting be brought into compliance with the Open Door Law by having a council member leave. Terry Sweeney, project manager for KEDCO stated he did not want to open the meeting to the press. On learning of the possible violation, Council President Kaiser asked Siegel to leave the meeting. He refused.
The Mail-Journal filed an open door complaint with the Public Access Counselor’s office on Oct. 31. The Syracuse Town Council was informed of the complaint Nov. 3 and given until Monday, Nov. 27, to respond to the Public Access Counselor. I.C. 5-14-5-9 requires the public access counselor issue an opinion in response to the complaint within 30 days of receiving it.
The council approved the following:
• DP Real Estate Ventures deeding utilities on KoKo Drive to the town.
• A letter of engagement with Bose McKinney and Evans for annexation work for North Trace RV Park.
• Ordinance 2023-7 allowing outdoor dining.
• Ordinance 2023-10 allowing a one way designation for an alley between Portland and Brooklyn streets.
In department reports, David Wilkinson, town manager, told the council Tom Bonaventure, who lives next to the municipal pier, asked if it could be shifted to the south so he could access his pier space. The pier juts out at an angle and pontoons are known to double park at it. While the town does not own the pier, it does maintain it.
Jeff Dyson, chamber president, told the council the pier is aging and something will need to be done. It was decided to work on shifting the pier and extending it to provide more space for Bonaventure and boaters.
Michiana Area Council of Governments has provided a $25,300 grant to remove a tank from the Dolan Street property. However the town will be responsible for the removal of any contaminated soils that are on the site as well as any contaminated liquids that may be in the tank. The council approved a motion to move forward with the project.
The council approved an annual interlocal agreement with the county for $5,515 for the terminal data system.
Chad Jonsson, park superintendent, reported Breakfast with Santa will be held from 8-11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Syracuse Community Center.
The council approved spending $115,480 in American Rescue Plan Funds for a new metal roof on the community center. The work is expected to start in late March.
Aurich told the council work on the booster station for the Technology Park is slated to begin Dec. 2
Clerk-Treasurer Virigina Cazier asked if the council wanted to hold an end of the year meeting. The council said it did not want to hold an end of the year meeting.