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Wakarusa Town Council Meeting 9/2/2014

by Amy Wenger on September 3, 2014

     From traffic woes to tractor shows, it seemed evident that the Tuesday evening session of the Wakarusa town council featured an agenda that was fairly short in duration, but long on variety.

     Members of the council voted upon Ordinance 2014-8, designed to amend the Wakarusa Town Code, Title VII,  which addresses the inclusion of traffic flow movement in and around Wakarusa.  The changes reflect the placement of stop signs at the crossings of Harrison Street and Sycamore Street along the Elkhart Street corridor, as well as traffic lights on Nelson's Parkway.  The ordinance would also address impending issues, with the prospective addition of stop signs on Waterford Street where it intersects with Walnut and Olive streets.

     However, the ordinance did not receive a unanimous show of approval, with vice-president Fred Avery casting dissension for the measure.  This now means that the ordinance will need to be revisited for further discussion and a subsequent vote at the next council meeting, as was advised by Town Attorney Loren Sloat.

     Another matter that could potentially affect local motorists is the parking configuration on West Wabash Avenue between Olive and Washington streets.  Town Manager Jeff Troxel indicated that with recent curb installation on that stretch of road, some restrictions will likely have to come to pass regarding street parking.  Council members wondered aloud if there should be parking permitted on only one side of the road, or if it should be prohibited altogether.  The topic, which was originally slated to come to a vote, was tabled until the October council session, to give the council time to consider the options and to see the affected street to help lend input toward the decision.
Mending the Quilt Garden

     Town Manager Jeff Troxel also informed the council that the community's Quilt Garden has been affected by "root rot" in the sections where petunias have grown, and that he had procured some quotes from the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau on ways to repair the damage.  The latter is the organization that helps oversee the endeavor, which helps promote tourism across the region.

     In the first proposal, the town could replace the affected area with new chrysanthemums, at a cost of approximately $2000.  The second method would be to add colored mulch to the diseased sites, which would cost slightly below $200.

     The council observed that the Quilt Garden will only be open for just a few more weeks, while it was also noted that the soil will later be torn up and replaced for a new season.  With those ideas in mind, it was agreed upon that it would be difficult to justify the $2000 expense.  So the members made a collective decision to go with the colored mulch, to be priced at $192.
Other Items of Business

     Council members also took action on the following subjects:
     - Adoption of Ordinance 2014-6, appropriating money from the Cumulative Fire Fund to help pay for a new roof and siren for the Wakarusa Emergency Center, in the amount of $75,000.
     - Conducted a public hearing on the 2015 town budget, which yielded no comments from those in attendance.
     - Approved a request from Tim Martin, of Wakarusa Heavy Equipment, allowing an extension of an annual renewal of his temporary structure permit for his Quonset building.  He is expecting to proceed with plans for a permanent building sometime in 2015, and will go through the necessary procedures for construction as the time warrants.
     - Approved two separate financial transactions for payment to Phend and Brown, both of which deal with the 2014 Street Improvements Project.  The first approval was for a change order, in the amount of $8,015, to compensate for an overage in expenses on the implementation of inlets and sewer work on Washington Street.  The second action was a final payment request, which totalled $44,840.
     - Gave permission to the Wakarusa Chamber of Commerce to close streets in the downtown sector on Saturday, October 4 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., for the purpose of conducting the town's annual tractor show.
     - Entered into an agreement with Elkhart County to administer town elections in 2015, a joint venture in which Wakarusa will pay $5500.
     - Accepted a resignation from Chuck Miller from the town's maintenance department.  Miller has chosen to pursue a vocation in the agricultural field.
     - Heard an announcement from Town Manager Jeff Troxel that between September 7 and September 9, at approximately 9 p.m. each day, weather permitting, the town will be flushing hydrants.

     The next meeting of the Wakarusa Town Council will be held on Tuesday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the Wakarusa Town Hall.  The public is invited to attend.


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