6/21/22 – City Council Update
It has been pretty routine business at City Hall. However, there are two or three things that I get a lot of questions about, so I will try to get you up to speed.
1. The 3rd Street Project – Yuk! This one is going to take a while. As you might expect, estimates to continue and complete the work on 3rd Street came in very high. Since this project is in conjunction with the State (INDOT), they (the State) wanted to wait until October to look at new bids. The Mayor got them to move it up to July so now we are in a waiting game. Bottom line is that work will continue with utility burial, sewer line replacement and other prep work. As soon as we get the new bids approved then the rest of the work can be finished. Don’t expect completion until Spring 2023 at the earliest (probably more like late summer, early fall). This project is going to be really nice when completed.
2. The contract with AT&T – You may have heard about the partnership the City is looking at with AT&T. 5 companies sent in proposals, Morley and Associates reviewed the proposals and recommended that the City enter into negotiations with AT&T. The Council approved that recommendation.
Believe it or not, I read all 5 proposals, sought out thoughts from other city leaders around the State and other experts in the field. While a lot of the Internet speed that we need is already available in Boonville what we are looking at is the future. With more houses “online” with everything from TV streaming to appliances, to utilities, I just feel like this is a good way to spend some of our federal money. Under AT&T’s proposal everyone in the City will have the choice to go with fiber. They were the only company that offered that option.
The negotiations with AT&T will also have the potential for some give back to the community. How much giveback is yet to be determined.
3. Trails Planning Grant – The City of Boonville was awarded a $30,000 planning grant for walking and biking trails through Boonville. The long range plan it to connect Boonville with Newburgh and eventually, all the way to Lincoln State Park via hiking and biking trails. The planning grant is one of several steps necessary to really get this project off of the ground. Brad Scales and I worked on the grant proposal last fall. With the help of the City, County Council and Commission, Warrick Economic Development, Warrick County Chamber and Boonville Now we were fortunate to get this grant. Brad and I will be on a phone call with Peter Fritz from the State on June 22, 2022 to finalize the grant agreement. This will allow us to start working with the engineering firms and other organizations to plan routes, acquire land permissions and set a timeline.
4. Quail Crossing Golf Course – An update on Quail. With the new superintendent, the course is looking much better and play has increased. The City is still subsidizing the Quail finances but the course was less than $50,000 from breaking even in 2021. While I wish that the city didn’t have to subsidize at all, less than $50,000 is very good for a municipally run course. If the course continues to improve and the play continues to increase, it is possible we could see it in the black for 2022. Improvements are still needed on the greens, bunkers and spots on the fairways, but the course is WAY better than it was two years ago.
11/30/2021 – City Council Update
This is what I would call my mid-term update. I would like to go over some of the major things that have happened in the city since the last election.
If you have questions please message me on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jim4boonville/ or email me at email@example.com.
- New Bond Issue: A new bond was issued by the City that did a couple of things:
- The bond essentially refinanced a lot of the city debt. As a result, our annual payments are less, which frees up money in the General Fund and helped make the recent increase in sewer and water rate less than they could have been.
- There was just slightly less than $2 million added to the city debt. While I don’t like increased debt, with a good bond rating (A+) and interest rates very low (under 2%), it was a good time to use that rating to our advantage.
- This extra money will be used to enhance the 3rd Street project by replacing much of the aging infrastructure (sewer and water lines).
- Existing Powerlines and Utilities such as cable and phone will now be underground.
- The 3rd Street Project is part of the agreement with the State of Indiana to finish the bypass around Boonville. The State agreed to pay about half of the cost of upgrading 3rd Street from the Square to Olive Street. This is phase I. Phase II, which will be a few years down the road, will continue the rehabilitation of 3rd Street to the City Limits, just past Stonehaven. Phase II is in the infancy stages, but it has begun.
- Quail Crossing Golf Course is coming around. Most of you know how I felt about the city being in the golf course business. My preference was to hire an outside management group to run the course and take most of the financial risk away from the city. The council agreed to commit some seed money to help this process along. While an agreement with a management company did not materialize, that seed money was used to hire a top-notch superintendent with degrees and experience in turf management, specifically for this type of climate. The course has seen a dramatic turnaround and while I haven’t seen final numbers for 2021, I do know that Quail is running well ahead of last year. When I get final numbers, I will let you know how much headway we have made.
- Water and Sewer Rates were increased. Leading up to the 2019 election the City had been advised by the financial group that oversees our budget that we needed to shore up our water and sewer accounts. Those of us that were running for office knew this was coming and we did not like our options. As mentioned above, these utilities were using nearly $650,000 dollars out of the general fund to pay debt on the Water Treatment Facility. By restructuring the City Debt with the new bond, we were able to put that debt solely on the Utilities. The second part of that process was aligning the rates so that we would not fall behind again. When the State looks at municipal finances it expects to see Utilities that are paying for themselves. If it doesn’t, bond ratings are not as good. This means the city must pay higher interest rates if it needs to borrow money. This could result in higher tax rates (depending on the type of bond). While this should have been managed differently (such as rate increases over time), it wasn’t. Therefore, the rate hike was more than anyone wanted. There is a bright spot here….if we learned our lesson, and manage the new funds correctly, we should be in good shape for the foreseeable future.
- City Leaves the IURC (Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission) – This is a double-edged sword. While the IURC’s function is to oversee municipal utility rates to make sure rate increases are fair, the hearings required, if you are a member, cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Nearly all utilities run by municipalities are no longer members of the IURC. As an example, in our last rate increase, the city was essentially told by the State to get their rates in line (see above) but then is expected to spend thousands of dollars to show the State they are doing that. By not being a member of the IURC, we saved those legal fees and did not have to pass them on to the taxpayer.
- The City Council passed an ordinance allowing some types of recreational vehicles to drive on city streets. There was a little push back on this, but so far complaints have been minor. We will monitor this and if adjustments need to be made, we can make modifications in the ordinance.
- A couple of final notes – The city commissioned studies on upgrades to our stormwater and drainage system, feasibility of a hotel in Boonville, and is looking into getting help in our grant application process.
- The Stormwater Project Report and Plan are in the final stages and will help with drainage issues around town (think areas by Posey’s and TF).
- The hotel study was also positive. If you think Boonville is not big enough, then you aren’t paying attention to all the tournaments that bring people into town. If we can get them to stay here for a weekend, Boonville Merchants will benefit.
- Grants are very competitive. We haven’t been highly successful in this area and as a result we are looking at hiring a firm to aid us in this process. We are talking about millions of dollars in Federal and State Funds. The cost is a drop in the bucket if we get even one of those grants. More on this as we look at candidates.
- Speaking of grants, the city was successful in getting our share of an $11,000,000 grant to partner with Miller/Valentine on new market value residences for seniors. This project will start in 2022.
5/26/21 – City Council Update:
The biggest news coming from City Council since the last update is the new side by side ordinance. The second reading was passed on 5/11/21 and be in effect 30 days from that date. (June 10th). Click here (SIDE BY SIDE)
to see the ordinance. I did an unofficial survey and a lot of research calling other cities. I wanted to see what issued they had and how our citizens felt. 39 people responded to the survey and 72% were in favor. The law enforcement officers that I talked to in several different cities reported no issues. The results of my calls to these officers can be seen by clicking here
. I will post the ordinance and some of the specifics on the City Web Page cityofboonvilleindiana.com.
That should be up by this weekend.
3. The water/sewer bill increase that was approved last month will be showing up on your bills I believe in on the June bill. I may be off by a month, but definitely by July. You can see the background below in an earlier post.
4. The council is back to meeting once a month, but the meetings have been moved to the first Tuesday of the month instead of the first Thursday. Board of Works will meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays. BOW is at 4:00 and Council is at 5:00 at City Hall. You can attend in person.
5/01/21 – City Council Update:
A lot has happened in the last month. As always, you can message me on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jim4boonville/
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Remember I won’t engage in public discussions on Facebook but will answer you messages or emails to the best of my ability.
1. I will start with the unwelcome news. Water and Sewer Rates will be going up. I touched on this in detail in my last update but it is now official.
Here are links to the full notices. These notices also include the breakdown of the new rates:
2. During the public hearings several people let us know their displeasure and although we voted unanimously to move forward with the rate increases, the public comments were not without merit nor did they fall on deaf ears. Sherrie and I met with the Mayor and discussed several issues that related to managing money in the city budget. (Other council members have similar ideas but State Statute only allows two council members to meet at the same time so as not to violate the open door policy.) Earlier this year we passed a bond issue that allowed us to refinance some of our debt. What we do with that money is behind the meeting with the Mayor. No decisions have been made, but I would love public input and we need to put together a solid plan for spending, investment and debt reduction
3/15/2021 – City Council Update:
It has been several months since the last update. There have been several things going on so I will do my best to summarize. As always, you can message me on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jim4boonville/
or email me at email@example.com
. Remember I won’t engage in public discussions on Facebook but will answer you messages or emails to the best of my ability.
1. There are several public hearings coming up. Here are the dates along with explanations of the hearings:
Proposed Sewer Rate Changes – April 20, 2021, 4:00 pm @ City Hall
Proposed Water Rate Changes – April 20, 2021, 4:00 pm @ City Hall
Here are links to the full notice for both hearings. These notices also include the breakdown of the new rates:
Bottom line, if you live in the city, your minimum water and sewer bill will increase from $57.11 to $77.28. If you live outside the City and are not on the City Sewer System, your water bill will increase to $28.58.
During my campaign, I was critical that the City hadn’t been raising their rates on a regular basis to keep up with costs. I have mentioned on this website that reports from the State indicated that Boonville needed to raise rates as utilities are expected to pay for themselves. If they do not, we have to supplement with money needed for road repair, pool repairs…..I hope you get the picture. Be careful what you wish for, because now I am a member of the body that has to pass rates to get us caught up. The good news is that we should not have to do this again for several years. The rest of the good news is that we will now have the money in the utilities funds to continue to upgrade lines that in some cases are over 100 years old AND our combined rates are still slightly lower than those in surrounding communities.
Fire Department Update: The new addition to the Boonville Fire Station was dedicated on February 26th. It will allow additional space for storage, training and generally keeping equipment out of the weather. But, potentially the most significant addition was the Safe Haven Baby Box Drop Off that allows for mothers to surrender their child (less than 30 days old), with no ramifications to the mother. It is completely anonymous and gives a desperate mother an option other than abandoning a child on a doorstep, in an alley or worse yet, in a dumpster. The men and women at the fire department would love to show you how it works. Many thanks to Marc Collins for initiating this program, to Fire Chief Steven Byers helping Marc carry out his vision, and Indiana Right To Life for donating the $15,000 price tag. Boonville is truly blessed to have this option.
Additional Hearing: AN ORDINANCE OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BOONVILLE, INDIANA, RE-ESTABLISHING THE CUMULATIVE CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT FUND TAX RATE. This hearing will be on March 30th at 4:00 pm @City Hall. In order to be heard, please email Tammy Boruff at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also submit your concerns in writing.
This ordinance re-establishes the tax rate so that the City continues to get its proper share of the property tax distribution. If you are already at the tax cap for your property taxes (more than 90% of you) this will not affect the amount of taxes that you pay. If you are not at your tax cap, you will pay an additional $0.0105 or 1.05 cents for every $100 of assessed value or a little over $1 for every $10,000 of assessed value. If you have questions, call or email me and I can walk you through how to figure out whether this will increase your taxes. Once again, over 90% of you will see no change and those that do, the impact will be minimal.
11/16/2020 – City Council Update: A lot of you know that I launched a new City Council Updates Page on FB. That page will always include a link to this page because this is where I have the space to get into the details. I will also attempt to create a new short video (like you are now seeing on the FB page) each month so that you don’t have to read all of this if you are short on time. If you watched the video, here are the details of each slide:
1. The sidewalk project: The Locust Street sidewalk project by McDonalds has created a much better looking and safer entryway into Boonville. This project was funded by monies the City had already acquired for other city projects. No new money had to be borrowed. The north side of Locust will hopefully be finished in the next year.
2. City Leaf Pickup: The leaf pickup was scheduled to start this past week, but was put on hold so that the employees working for that department could assist in a MAJOR code enforcement cleanup on North 3rd Street. Leaf pickup should get back on schedule the week of Nov. 16.
3. Vectren Electric Project: An issue that has caused a lot of concern has been the Vectren project to connect the two power substations on the East and West sides of town. Vectren ultimately had the right to proceed with this project. It was determined in 2019 that of the paths they could take for this project, the path past City Lake would do the least harm. Once this project is complete, customers on the East Side of town can be serviced by the West substation if they have a power outage and vice versa. This should greatly reduce the amount of time that you would be without power.
I know that the changes around City Lake were not popular but other paths they could have taken would have been more destructive or much more expensive.
4. Fire Station Improvements: I am sure that most citizens haven’t been in the fire station for years, if ever. I have talked with Chief Byers several times in the past year and it is clear to me that the current fire station was too small and way overcrowded. It is not about just putting out fires anymore. It is about water rescue, medical training, hazmat training and much more. That requires hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment that is currently stored outdoors. The new building with allow for climate controlled storage, a training classroom and workout facilities to maintain proper fitness.
5. Water Bills: Don’t forget that if you put off paying your water bill due to financial hardship during the pandemic, you can now make arrangements to set up a payment plan to get caught up. If you do not work with the City on this, you will be subject to the normal late fees and potential legal action. Call City Hall at 812-897-1230 to get more information.
6 and 7. Blue Star Memorial/Quail Crossing: If you haven’t seen the Blue Star Memorial By-Way dedicated to those who have served in the Armed Forces, check it out. It is located on the SouthWest side of the Courthouse Lawn and was donated by the Garden Club.
There is still some good weather left to play golf, so go out and see what Quail Crossing has to offer. 812-897-1247.
8. Jagoe Homes in Westview Subdivision: If you know someone looking to build a new home in a great area of a great town, check out the lots in Westview Subdivision just off of Eskew Rd. (The area is located directly behind Law Chevrolet). This subdivision gives you quick access to Downtown Boonville, Hwy. 62 to Evansville, and the Wal-Mart shopping area.
9. Updates and City Council/Board of Works Meetings: Don’t forget that the Mayor gives updates every Mon, Wed, and Fri at noon on WBNL (1540 AM and 99.9 FM). Also, WBNL broadcasts the City Council and Board of Works meetings each Tuesday at 4:00.
10. Small Business Grants: Finally, congratulations to the 50 Boonville small businesses who each received $4,875 as part of a $250,000 grant awarded by the State to the City of Boonville.
10/6/2020 Budget Update:
There will be a public hearing on the City Budget Oct. 13, 2020 at 4:00. The hearing will be broadcast on WBNL 99.9FM/1540AM. You are allowed to speak at this budget hearing. You will need to call City Hall at 812-897-1230 so that they can get you the proper log in information. You can also see the hearing notice and a summary of the budget at Public Hearing: Budget, City of Boonville
Please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or message me on Facebook. Jim Miller Facebook
The mayor has made us aware of another grant opportunity for small businesses in rural communities. This is a new grant and not related to the $250,000 grant the city got earlier. To find out more about this grant and whether your small business is eligible, follow this link: Rural Commitment $18 Million Dollar Grant
If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Council Update 9/28/20
ORDINANCE CONSIDERED: The Council will begin consideration of an ordinance to allow side by sides in the city limits. We are not close to passing an ordinance, but there is a petition to consider this, so we will begin discussion on 9/29. I am researching other cities Boonville’s size to get opinions from their administrations and police departments. I will share those with you later next week. Go to this link for more details and take a very brief survey to get your opinion.
1. The City Council and Board of Works continue to meet every Tuesday at 4:00pm.
2. You can call City Hall at 812-897-1230 if you have business to conduct. There are drop offs and the drive up window that can also be utilized.
3. There have been questions about the Walnut Street Trail. If you go to the east end of Walnut Street, you will see an extension that will allow you to get to the shopping area that includes Aigner Hardware, Tractor Supply, etc. without having to walk on the busier Main or Locust Streets. Not sure if it will be open to vehicle traffic, but I will find out.
City Council Update (8/17/2020)
It has been a month and a half since my last update, so this one is a little long:
1. The City Council continues to meet every Tuesday at 4:00 pm. This is still being done virtually and can be heard live on WBNL (AM 1540, or at their website)
– We continue to meet every week so that the city executive order can be renewed as required by State Statute. It must be renewed every 7 days.
2. In addition to the City Council meeting, the Board of Works meets at the same time. This board normally meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month. The City will continue with the weekly schedule as long as the Governor’s executive order stays in place.
3. You can still conduct business at City Hall, but you will have to call ahead at 812-897-1230 to let them know what you need done.
4. The city council has passed several ordinances:
– Ordinance 2020-4 is an ordinance to protect cross contamination of water. When work is being done that requires a connection between potable water from the City and water from a private entity (where water quality may be unknown) that connection must be approved and inspected by the City and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to make sure water going to your home is not contaminated.
– Ordinance 2020-5 Protects the public right-of-way from being used by businesses for bringing in things like wireless internet (this is one example) without the approval of the city. They must register their intent and meet all city and state requirements.
– Ordinances 2020-6 and 2020-7 are salary ordinances establishing salaries for city employees and elected officials. This allows for an across the board raise of $2000 for all salaried city employees in 2021. The $2000 increase also includes the elected offices of Mayor and Clerk Treasurer. City Council salaries will remain the same for 2021. All ordinances must have two readings before final approval. The second reading of these two ordinances will be 8/18/2020.
– Ordinance 2020-8 concerns the types of chemicals that can be used on sidewalks in the city right-of-way. This essentially protects the new downtown sidewalks from chemical damage that can be done by increased freeze/thaw cycles that occur when using salt and other harsh chemicals. Downtown businesses were asked to do this last winter. This ordinance simply makes it official. Violations will incur a $50 fine.
5. If your water bill had an unexpected jump last cycle, it was due to the water department estimating your bill during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic (3 months). When they actually read your meter in July, an adjustment had to be made to compensate for over or, in most cases, under estimating your usage. This problem will be mostly eliminated when all customers are connected to the new automated reading system.
6. You may have noticed that Vectren is placing massive power lines across town. This is part of a major upgrade that will connect the east and west sides of the city. It will allow for power to be drawn from either sub-station to service an area that has a power outage. If the east side goes out, they will be able to draw power from the west station and vice versa.
7. New sidewalks are going in on McDonald’s or (for us old folks) Orphan’s Home Hill coming into town. This is part of the ongoing improvements to our city.
City Council Update (6/29/2020)
Since my last update in early June, several things have transpired.
1. With the passing of the Parks Bond, approximately $270,000 will be available for parks improvements. The Parks Board will be working on a plan to use that money. That plan can and will use input from, but not limited to, Citizens, Parks Department, Current Administration, and specialists such as the City Engineer.
2. The City Council did vote to remove Boonville from the jurisdiction of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on 6/16/2020. The ordinance takes effect 60 days after passage. It has always been my philosophy to remove layers of costly regulation when possible, therefore I voted for this removal. Sherrie Sievers and I also talked to numerous municipalities that have opted out or would like to get out and that also helped our decision.
Here is a link that will take you the web page that discusses the advantages and disadvantages of being a member of the IURC. This is from the IURC website so may be biased toward their point of view. IURC Advantages and Disadvantages.
Included in this web page are links to State Statutes that go over citizen rights. It is State Code so I do not have room here to go over all of it. If you are interested in the details of opting out or staying in, use those links.
The fear of citizens is that the City will now increase water rates at will with no oversight. This is not true. We still have to do the same rate studies to justify the increase and the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance still has oversight. Let me know if you have more questions.
3. At the City Council meeting on Tuesday (6/30/2020) I will be making a proposal, that if passed, will appropriate money to allow a municipal financial planning firm to look at the city’s finances. They will give recommendations on various ways the city can budget and invest expected revenues. This is in no way an indictment of the current way we are doing things. As a matter of point, the office of the Clerk-Treasurer received a great report from the State Board of Accounts earlier this year. Since I ran on a platform of “can we do better financially” I am simply looking for a fresh perspective. Here is a link to the overview of my proposal: Financial Proposal
That is all for now. One again, email at email@example.com or message me on my facebook page. JM
Parks Bond Update 6/4/2020 (update below in red)
The purchase of Quail Crossing in the fall of 2017 has been controversial. Some saw it as a good deal and a nice recreational asset for the city while others saw it as a money drain on the City. No matter which side of the fence you were on, there is no doubt that the course has put the city in a financial pickle. Since the purchase the city has had to subsidize the course with over $500,000 dollars in funds from Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) money.
The original bond was for $935,000 dollars in what is know as a Bond Anticipation Note (BAN). That note was set up for five years and included enough money to pay the interest on the bonds for that time period. It was hoped that there would be enough revenue from the Quail to then start payments on the note. That didn’t happen and therein lies the pickle.
At this point, here are the most talked about options:
1. Since we have the money to pay the interest, let the BAN run the final two years and work on other options like leasing or selling the course. In this case the Parks Dept. would not get any additional money from the bond to work on improvements at the pool, city lake, etc.
2. Refinance the current BAN now to take advantage of lower interest rates and start paying off the note. Due to legal and other unavoidable administrative fees the total refinance would be $1,080,000 and would have these effects on the city:
– Require a new Parks District Tax of $.0355 per $100 of assessed value. Almost no one would feel the effect of this tax on their pocket book because you are already at your 1% tax cap. As a result the money would come from a redistribution of property tax money already coming into the city. What that means is that mainly the general fund would see a hit of almost $76,000 dollars that would have to go to pay the bond (this is unavoidable unless we sell the course)
– We can still work on a lease or purchase option.
– It would then be possible to fund some of the necessary Parks repairs and upkeep from the EDIT Reserve Fund without borrowing extra money.
3. Refinance the BAN up to the current Parks debt limit. The total cost of that bond would be $1,350,000 (after administrative costs). This would give the Parks Dept. about $270,000 to use for improvements and repairs. To be fair, the parks dept. does not have much money and it is rare that they are a top priority in the budget.
– This requires a Parks District Tax of $.0444 per $100 of assessed value but once again, almost no one* would feel that in their wallet. So, the hit to the general and a couple other funds would be almost $95,000 (annual debt payment). *When I say no one that literally means less than 50 properties.
Those are the three major options we are now considering. There is a meeting to finalize this scheduled for 4:00 pm today, but we have proposed postponing so that we can get some solid numbers on how much the parks repairs will actually be. This has been a sticking point for me, since borrowing to the max limit is kind of like me borrowing my entire line of home equity when I only need half of it to make the repairs. We simply don’t have all of the numbers yet.
I am leaning toward option 2 because I am afraid if we try to refinance in two years, we will cost the city more money in higher interest rates. (See update below)
Update (6/4/2020 2:53pm)
After speaking with at least 5 more people today, including elected officials from other cities and conservative financial people that I grew up with, it appears that option 3 is best for the city now and in the future. I know a lot of people don’t trust what politicians tell you, but I live with you and I guarantee you that I spent hours making sure that the fiscal impact to the city and citizens is minimal. Borrowing another $380,000 is against my pledge for debt reduction. I also said that things that need to be done will not be neglected. The pool, splash park, Brackenridge and other areas need attention and the Parks do not have any money. We have other reserves but COVID has taught that those can go quick. I have talked to Tammy Pate (President of the Parks board), and the Mayor and we are in agreement that we will sit down as a group and make sure that these areas, that have been so important for years, get a good sum of this money for some much needed attention.
The other point about bonding this out over a 15 or 20 year period is that the current residents do not have to bear the entire debt burden. People that move into Boonville in 5 or 10 or 15 years and benefit from our pools and parks will also bear some of that debt burden. I hope that makes sense.
To address the Quail issue, we are looking at a myriad of options. I want that off our plate one way or the other, in the worst way, but I don’t want to close it down. So, as we start paying down this bond (another benefit of refinancing now), we will continue to work on reducing those costs to the city and coming up with a permanent solution to that “pickle”.
As always, contact me with questions.
Let me know how you feel. Message me on Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parks Bond 5/28/2020
Below are links to the Parks Board hearing on the proposed Bond issue. The resolutions and appropriations can get long and cumbersome so pay special attention to the timetable and the notice of parks board hearing. This is where you can publicly comment.
– The Parks Board has already approved the first reading.
– The next step is for the City Council to approve. (June 4th)
– The new bond re-funds the bond which was used to purchase Quail Crossing Golf Course. It may be prudent to do this to take advantage of lower interest rates. If it is not done now, the bond will have to be refunded in 2022 (interest rates could be higher).
– However, the new bond also adds $300,000 of debt to the city. The resolution stipulates how the money could be used (fix pool, fix levee breach at Quail, improve Brakenridge Park and repair and add security measures to Brakenridge and City Lake). The money is NOT limited to these projects, but must be used by the Parks Department.
– I am still collecting facts including but not limited to meetings with the Mayor and City Financial Planners to:
1) look for other sources of funding that do not include borrowing more money
2) coming up with a solid 2-3 year financial forecast that will include parring down some of the debt
3) and trying to come to a compromise on the pace of doing good projects (such as those listed above) but slowing down a little so that we can take a breather from issuing bonds that increase our financial liability.
Please read and let me know your thoughts on this bond. If the people that I represent think that borrowing this additional money for these projects is a good idea, then I will vote that way. Otherwise, I will push for re-funding the current bond with no additional debt. You can email me at email@example.com or message me on Facebook
Storm Water Tax District
By now most of you have seen the Storm Water Fee on your property tax bill. For most of you it is $5 per month or $30 in the spring and $30 in the fall. If you have more that one parcel, you pay that amount for each. If you are a business, you probably saw $120 or $60 on the spring and $60 on the fall. A study will be done to identify the best way to solve the numerous areas of flooding, runoff and mixing with sewage that occurs around the city. The storms water fee will be the source of funding to make those repairs happen. As I get more information and results from the study, I will let you know.
PRIMARY ELECTION NEWS
Please note that voter registration for the Primary Election ends May 4. Contact the Election Office or BMV to register or go to https://indianavoters.in.gov/
Every registered voter is permitted to vote by mail. You can download the absentee voter application here
Early in person voting at the Election office begins May 26 and ends June 1. Sunday is the only day during that period that you cannot vote. Hours for the other days are 8:00 – 4:00 M-F and 8:00 – 12:00pm on Saturday.
If you need someone to come to an assisted living facility or your home to help you vote, please call the election office to make arrangements or message me and I will help.
If you need help with any of this information. Please let me know.
UPCOMING BOARD AND COUNCIL MEETINGS
City Council Update
April 28, 2020
For the few weeks, City Council has been operating via virtual meetings. Currently, we must meet every 7 days so that we can reauthorize Executive Order 2020-1. State Statute allows the Mayor to issue Executive Orders that must be reviewed and then authorized by the City Council. We will continue with this type of re-authorization for as long as it takes.
Also at these meetings, essential City Business will take place such as approval of claims and other items that allow the City to continue with Business “as usual”. The Mayor is doing a good job of keeping us updated and making sure that Boonville is staying abreast of current best practices.
February 2020 – As announced at the December City Council Meeting a new contract was signed with Veolia to provide various services. As a part of that contract, Veolia agreed to provide funds to aid in the repair of the irrigation system at Quail Crossing Golf Course. This repair is a key aspect in getting the golf course back in the playing shape that we are accustomed. Other options are and will continue to be explored so that we can lessen the financial impact on the City.
At the Board of Works Meeting on Jan. 29th, bids were taken under advisement for the latest in street projects that will begin in the spring. In addition, council members are evaluating current street conditions that will be put on a priority list for future work. If you have concerns about road conditions, please contact your city councilperson.
The incumbent and new city council members were sworn in on Jan. 1, 2020. It is very important that you contact your city council representative if you have questions. I have provided a link (City of Boonville Districts and Precincts)
to the district/precinct maps so that you can see in which district you live. Once you know that, please contact one of the following:
District 1 – Sherrie Sievers – Precincts: Boon 1, 2 and 3 firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2 – Bob Canada – Precincts: Boon 2A, 4A and 12
If you are not part of the Reach Alert System for Boonville, please sign up. Here is how to do that:
Want to stay in the know? The city of Boonville uses Reach Alerts. To sign up:
1. Go to www.ReachAlert.com
and Click on MY ACCOUNT.
2. Select CREATE ACCOUNT.
3. Follow the prompts and enter your preferred contact information
4. Network Name: type Boonville (click on our name when it appears.)
5. Select Resident or Business (could be both).
6. Enter your address and click on it when it appears in drop-down list.
If you opted to receive text alerts, Reach Alert will send a text message to your cell phone immediately upon completion of your registration. Please enter the 4-digit number on the registration screen and then click the word VALIDATE. If you do not receive this message, please call Reach Alert.
Board of Works Update from Meeting on 12/11/2019
1. At some point in the near future 2nd Street between Main and Locust will close for a day or two as the County repairs the flag pole at the top of the courthouse. This is necessary due to the size and placement of the large crane they will use to get this job done.
2. The Fire Department has purchased two new command trucks to replace aging vehicles.
3. The Fire Department is also making preparations to incorporate a Safe Haven Baby Box into their system. If you are not aware of what a Safe Haven Baby Box is, follow this link for a news story: Safe Haven Baby Box
3. Jeff Floyd, Code Enforcement Officer reported on the number of abandoned vehicles tagged and property owners notified of code violations. He also reported on those property owners who had complied and on action taken by the City. If you need to report a code violation or have questions, you can contact City Hall at 812-897-1230 or fax to (812) 897-6545, Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
4. The City and Veolia came to an agreement on a new 7 year extension. This agreement will include money for repairs to be made at Quail Crossing Golf Course, at no cost to the City. The agreement also stipulates no annual rate increases, so current water rates will remain flat.
Please read the section below on the Public Safety Local Income Tax and give me your input. It is important that the citizens be kept informed and I just want to keep you updated and answer questions or refer you to the right people.
Public Safety Local Income Tax
I attended the fire territory meeting on the morning of Nov. 18, 2019. These meetings update the mayor and board member Jerry Abshire on the activities and needs of the Boonville and Boon Township Fire Territory. The City of Boonville is what is known as the providing unit and Boon Township is a participating unit. The fire territory is funded with taxes paid by all residents that live in this territory and are distributed by the Board of Works and the City of Boonville. Equipment is aging and needs to be replaced. If you were unaware, fire trucks now run above 1+ million dollars and that is just the start of equipment needs. The Public Safety Local Income Tax (PSLIT) now being discussed by the County Council would address nearly all of these issues. I would be interested to know how the citizens feel about this tax with the understanding that it would and should be used to address new needs and NOT to supplant needs that are already in the budget.
This can can confusing and I have been keeping up with the County Council discussion. Right now there is no sure way to tell how the vote will go. Currently I am in favor of the tax, and have been talking to County Council members quite a bit. I want you to understand what I have learned and I want to hear your opinion. Please use the contact info below to let me know your thoughts.