Bremen Town Council Meeting 10/27/14by Amy Wenger on October 28, 2014
Town officials will soon be revamping the process through which businesses can become eligible for tax abatements. Members of the Bremen Town Council discussed the topic during their Monday, October 27 session.
The subject has been mentioned at previous meetings, with Town Attorney Tony Wagner explaining to the council the necessity of having "a definitive policy" on the books with regards to more stringent standards in issuing the tax abatements. The consensus is that abatements should only be permitted in cases where the result would mean adding new jobs to the local workforce. Director of Operations Trend Weldy noted that in general, most requests simply pass through the channels, ultimately getting "rubber stamped" with minimal debate over whether the abatements will translate into long term advantages.
Councilman Michael Leman added that in the future, the main issue to consider when deciding whether to approve or deny such requests should ultimately be, "How is this going to benefit our community?"
Members opted to make plans in the coming weeks to organize a work session, during which guidelines will be implemented and drafted into a form that can be used for future tax abatement applications. Weldy said that he has been gleaning much inspiration from the city of Plymouth's process, and will likely bring those suggestions to the session as something of a template to draw from.
In a related matter, a tax abatement request from Indiana Carton was received and approved by the council.
New Town Engineer Search
Weldy's report also include a few details in the ongoing search to bring a new engineer to the community. Weldy stated that representatives from the community will soon embark on a search process, potentially seeking out qualified individuals from Midwest Engineering and Commonwealth Engineers. Both firms have been well represented and regarded for their work with various entities throughout northern Indiana. Weldy said that the hiring committee hopes to begin interviewing prospective candidates by mid-November.
Other Measures of Action
The council also moved forward with other items on the agenda, including:
- Clarified the wording of an ordinance stipulating curfew restrictions for minors. A typographical error was discovered, which caused the content to read that those under 17 years of age are not permitted in public from 12 p.m. until 5 a.m. during the weekend. The updated wording of Ordinance 12-2014 is now corrected to properly state that minors are not to be out between the hours of 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and it subsequently passed on its first reading.
- Confirmed the hours of trick-or-treating for the Bremen community. The holiday will be observed on Friday, October 31, with trick-or-treat hours set for 5-7 p.m.
- Declined to take a vote on a recommendation from the Bremen Traffic Commission. The commission had received a request from the First United Church of Christ, asking for two parking spaces in the 300 block of South Center Street to be designated for handicapped parking. Police Chief Matt Hassel said that the commission was looking to decline the issue, based largely on the fact that two handicapped spaces already exist in the church's adjacent parking lot. Because the council took no vote on this subject, the request died for lack of action.
- Approved the hiring of Kenneth Moore as a new employee for the water department, with the endorsement of Street and Water Superintendent Alex Mikel.
The next meeting of the Bremen Town Council will take place on Monday, November 10, beginning at 7 p.m.