CITY COUNCIL MINUTES

APRIL 7, 2003

 

The Honorable Council of the City of Evansville met on regular session at 6:30 pm on Monday, April 7, 2003, in the City Council Chambers, Room 301 Civic Center Complex, Evansville, Indiana with President John, presiding.  The following business was conducted.

 

These minutes are not intended to be a verbatim transcript.  Audiotapes of this meeting are on file in the City Clerk’s Office.

 

ROLL CALL:

Present:            Kniese, Bagbey, Melcher, Robinson, Koehler Walden, Watts, Angermeier, Kiefer, John.

 

There being nine (9) members present and zero (0) members absent and nine (9) members representing a quorum, the President declared this session of the Common Council officially opened.

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Councilman Kniese led the pledge of allegiance this evening.

 

COUNCIL ATTORNEY

Jeff Shoulders is Council Attorney this evening.

 

TEEN ADVISIORY COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT

Member:  Charity Garnett       

Member:  Eliza Dy

 

READING AND AMENDMENT OF MINUTES OF PRECEDING MEETING

Is there a motion to approve the minutes of the March 17, 2003 meetings of the Common Council as written?

 

Councilman Bagbey moved and Councilman Melcher seconded the motion that the minutes of the regular meeting of the Common Council held March 17, 2003 be approved as written.  Voice vote.  So ordered.

 

REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS

IN YOUR APRIL 4th PACKET:

*Agenda for the April 7, 2003 City Council Meeting.

*Committee Meeting Schedule.

*Minutes of City Council Meeting held March 17, 2003.

*Ordinances G-2003-12, F-2003-5 and F-2003-6.

*Resolution C-2003-8.

*Vacation studies from inter-departments and return receipt cards regarding Ordinance G-2003-9. (Vacation of Delaware St.)

*A memo from Peggy Braun regarding Ordinance G-2003-10.

*A memo from Peggy Braun regarding Vanderburgh County Economic

  Development Commission.

*A News Release regarding Number 12 hole at Helfrich Golf Course.

 

*A schedule of meetings in the City/County Administration Building for April 2003.

*A News Release regarding cancellation of proposed minor league baseball stadium project.

*A News Release regarding Mayor Lloyd testifies before the Commerce and Economic      Development Committee in support of Senate Bill                                                             *A memo from the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

*A copy of the Financial Report dated February 28, 2003.

*A copy of Nation’s Cities Weekly.

*A News Release regarding Mayor Lloyd Lauds 2003 City Property Tax Rate Lowest in Sixty Years.

 

ON YOUR DESK THIS EVENING:

*Youth Sports Grant requests for City Council Approval.

*A memo from Janet McCabe of IDEM.

*A Notice of Tort Claim.

*Financial Statement from the Law Department.

 

Councilman Melcher moved and Councilman Kniese seconded the motion to receive, file and make these reports and communications a part of the minutes of the meeting.  Voice vote.  So ordered.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES OR RESOLUTIONS

ORDINANCE G-2003-12___PUBLIC WORKS (BAGBEY)                                     KIEFER

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 9 OF THE MUNICIPAL CODE OF THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE, INDIANA

 

ORDINANCE F-2003-5            FINANCE (ROBINSON)                                KOEHLER WALDEN

AN ORDINANCE OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE AUTHORIZING ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATIONS FROM VARIOUS CITY FUNDS

 

ORDINANCE F-2003-6            FINANCE (ROBINSON)                                                            JOHN

AN ORDINANCE OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATION AND TRANSFER OF FUNDS WITHIN A CITY DEPARTMENT

 

Is there a motion to adopt the Consent Agenda as written?

 

Councilman Melcher moved and Councilman Angermeier seconded the motion to adopt the Consent Agenda as written.  Voice vote.  So ordered.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

SECOND READING OF ORDINANCES OR RESOLUTIONS      

ORDINANCE G-2003-9___PUBLIC WORKS                                                                BAGBEY

AN ORDINANCE TO VACATE CERTAIN PLATTED RIGHT-OF-WAY WITHIN THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE, INDIANA, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE 600 BLOCK OF WEST DELAWARE STREET

 

 

ORDINANCE G-2003-10___PUBLIC WORKS                                                            BAGBEY

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE HOUSING CODE AND REQUIRING OWNER REGISTRATION

 

ORDINANCE G-2003-11___ASD                                                                         ANGERMEIER

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 5.50

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

 

PUBLIC WORKS CHAIRMAN:  _________________________________              BAGBEY

Councilman Bagbey: Mr. President, we had a hearing at 6:00 on G-2003-10 which will be held along with a subcommittee appointed to May 12th, at 5:30.  And we have a do-pass recommendation on G-2003-9.

 

ASD CHAIRMAN:                                                                                                                  ANGERMEIER

ASD Meeting was held earlier at 5:45.  Council voted for a do-pass.

 

Councilman Melcher moved and Councilwoman Walden seconded the motion to adopt the Committee Reports and move these Ordinances to third and final reading.  Voice vote.  So ordered.

 

REGULAR AGENDA

THIRD READING OF ZONING ORDINANCES OR RESOLUTIONS:

ORDINANCE G-2003-9___PUBLIC WORKS                                                                BAGBEY

AN ORDINANCE TO VACATE CERTAIN PLATTED RIGHT-OF-WAY WITHIN THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE, INDIANA, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE 600 BLOCK OF WEST DELAWARE STREET

 

Councilwoman Walden moved and Councilman Melcher seconded the motion to adopt Ordinance G-2003-9 and call the roll.

 

ROLL CALL:

Ayes:                Kniese, Bagbey, Melcher, Robinson, Koehler Walden, Watts, Angermeier, Kiefer, John.

 

There being nine (9) ayes and zero (0) nays, Ordinance G-2003-9 is hereby declared ADOPTED.

 

REGULAR AGENDA

THIRD READING OF ORDINANCES OR RESOLUTIONS

ORDINANCE G-2003-11___ASD                                                                         ANGERMEIER

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 5.50

 

Councilwoman Walden moved and Councilman Melcher seconded the motion to adopt Ordinance G-2003-11 and call the roll.

 

 

ROLL CALL:

Ayes:                Kniese, Bagbey, Melcher, Robinson, Koehler Walden, Watts, Angermeier, Kiefer, John.

 

There being nine (9) ayes and zero (0) nays, Ordinance G-2003-11 is hereby declared ADOPTED.

 

RESOLUTION DOCKET

RESOLUTION C-2003-8 (DOCKET)                                              COUNCILMAN MELCHER

A RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE USE OF REMOTE CONTROL LOCOMOTIVES WITHIN THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE

 

President John: Councilman Melcher this is a Resolution that you have presented and I believe that you have some individuals that are present that would like to address this.  Is that correct?

 

Councilman Melcher: Yes, I would.  I think Mr. Ford.  You’ll have to state your name for the record here.

 

Bill Verdine: My name is Bill Verdine I’m the Chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Indiana State Legislative Board.  And I’d like to thank the Chairman of the Committee hearing this Resolution.  I want to thank Councilman Melcher for putting forward.  We passed out a booklet that states several different things in it that deal with remote control.  It has several Resolutions that have been passed. It contains four Resolutions that have been passed in other cities and towns.  A total of eleven cities and four counties have passed these Resolutions.  Also included in the letter in the booklet is a letter from Senator Kennedy to the FRA Administrator Alan Rudder concerning remote control operations.  We have a listing of several…there’s 37 derailments currently in the US that have happened with remote control operations.  One of those was in Michigan City that was a runaway remote control locomotive that got up to 30 miles an hour and did not respond to the black box, or the remote control, and ran into another locomotive.  There was no derailments associated with that accident.  We also have in there a study by an American Safety and Health Specialist Frank Grimes on fatalities and injuries associated with steel mills in the US.  Basically 41 fatalities have been in the US in the steel mills.  Thirteen of those have been associated with remote control operation.  There are also in the several stories related to different accidents around the US.  We also have a current letter or current…..how would you say…the FBI, through the Department of Justice, has issued a warning to the nations railroads that basically is dealing with the current high state of alert that is associated with the terrorists and the current concern we have in the US with terrorism in the US.  That document is in that booklet and basically our main issue with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and we have several engineers present with us today.  Is we have a lot of people here that have several years of working for the Nations Railroad.  Safety is an issue.  You have several schools and large business’ within the confines of the City of Evansville and we would appreciate you handling this Ordinance…excuse me this Resolution and passing it.  And I’ll answer any questions that you have.

 

President John: Members of Council?  Councilman Bagbey.

 

Councilman Bagbey: I talked with my uncle, who is a retired Trainmaster United States Railroad, about this.  And he strongly, strongly told me to tell the other Members of Council to

 

endorse this, because he talked specifically about an accident in Gary Indiana where one of the workers lost his legs as result of the accident.  So I strongly support this.

 

Councilman Kiefer: Thank you Mr. President.  I’m just curious, what’s the number of locomotives do you know locally that are running on remote?

 

Unknown: Right now there’s supposed to be only like…I think there is only seven jobs right now running on remote control.  And….but there’s been talk of adding more.

 

Councilman Kiefer: What’s a job, what do you mean?

 

Unknown: Job, you know first shift, second shift.

 

Councilman Kiefer: Oh okay.

 

Unknown: Right now we have like three different areas in Howell Yards.  But also they can use them…they say they can use them in yard limits.  Well our yard limits go from the Ohio bridge all the way out to Baseline Road, which is north of Evansville and anything in between.

 

Councilman Kiefer: Okay, well hopefully this would prevent further expansion of that then.

 

Unknown: Right, and that’s what we are asking for sir.

 

Councilman Kiefer: Okay, thanks.

 

Councilman Melcher: I also understand that they’ve got one that’s coming downtown to one of our industrial plants.  So it’s coming right under the Lloyd and right to the plant.  So, I mean, there’s just nobody on there, so it’s a safety issue that’s why we brought it forward.  I think with the state that the country’s in and the war, I think that’s something that we can’t have a train in remote control that somebody could get on to do something to somebody downtown.  So that’s why we’re urging for the safety of our Community asking the railroads not to have remote control in our area.

 

President John: Councilman Angermeier.

 

Councilman Angermeier: Mr. Chairman.  I think back there on one of them there plaques back there a fellow by the name of Walter Detch, who was President in 1960, had a fellow by the name of Hoofnagle, and you may have had a chance to run across his name.  But they said in the Council they’d be proud to know that there is somebody coming before the Council objecting to something for the benefit of the people there.  I know very well that in going down Franklin Street many times over, it has hurt a lot of business there.  And I appreciate your protection that you’re offering, the people who are workers involved with this train, and I side in with the other people.  I’m going to go ahead by voting against that proposal asking that you keep the people while they come through the city, because I know for a fact that some of those trains have undesirable so-called cargo that could be injurious.  And out of protection for the people I’m going to help them.

 

 

 

President John: Thank you.  Are there any other Members of Council that would like to make any comments?  If not is there anyone in the audience that would like to speak in favor of or in opposition to this Resolution?

 

Councilman Melcher: I’ll move for a do-pass.

 

Councilman Melcher moved and Councilman Robinson seconded the motion to adopt

Ordinance C-2003-8 and call the roll.

 

ROLL CALL:

Ayes:                Kniese, Bagbey, Melcher, Robinson, Koehler Walden, Watts, Angermeier, Kiefer, John.

 

There being nine (9) ayes and zero (0) nays, Resolution C-2003-8 is hereby declared ADOPTED.

 

MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

 

President John: I’d like to address two appointments that we have.  As many of you know we appointed Howard Williams as a Trustee to the Building Authority.  For those of you who aren’t aware of the set up, the Trustees meet annually at the beginning of the year and they appoint a Board of Directors.  The Directors then meet monthly throughout the year to carry on the day to day operations of the building itself.  Our appointment to the Board of Trustees Howard Williams was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors.  So now we need to reappoint a Trustee.  Now they won’t meet until next January, but we’ve had a recommendation of Ralph Kissinger to replace Howard Williams.  Is there any objections to that?  If not I’d accept a motion to appoint him.

 

Councilman Bagbey moved and Councilman Watts second the motion to appoint Ralph Kissinger to the Board of Trustees to the Building Authority for 2003. Voice vote.  So ordered.

 

President John: We will appoint Ralph Kissinger.  We also have an appointment that is expired with the Economic Development Commission.  And our current appointment is Michael Malone.  There has been indication that he would like to continue to serve in that position.  So if there is no objections I’d entertain a motion to reappoint Mr. Malone.

 

Councilman Bagbey moved and Councilwoman Robinson seconded the motion to retain Michael Malone on the Economic Development Commission for the year 2003.  Voice Vote. So ordered.

 

President John: I noticed that Mr. Downs is present now.  We’re under miscellaneous.  I assume you are here to explain, or discuss the handout that was given to us this evening.

 

Larry Downs: Yes, this is information which Councilman John had requested on the cost of the baseball stadium.  And I’m here to answer any questions that Council may have.

 

President John: I’m sure that I’ll have some that will develop over time we did just receive this this evening, but seems like we’ve spent considerable amount of money in anticipation of a project that apparently now is not going to go.  Is there anything in here that’s going to be salvageable?  Who will own the plans for the stadium?  And is it site specific as opposed to…..

 

Larry Downs: I believe that the City will own the plans Councilman John.

 

President John: Okay, will there be a market for that to where we could possibly sell those plans to someone else to recoup some of our investment?

 

Larry Downs: I’ll try to get some information on that for you, I just can’t answer that myself I’m not an architect. 

 

President John: I notice also that apparently Baker and Daniel’s had received a hundred and….almost $155,000.  Was most of that in negotiating?  It says baseball team issues.

 

Larry Downs: Yes, most of that would be in…..

 

President John: Negotiating the lease?

 

Larry Downs: In the lease and, you know, the preliminary is you’re trying to formulate the issues that should be in the lease.  That’s correct. 

 

President John: Okay.  And at the end it says we may be getting more bills from the firms…..or the firm that handled the English litigation and from the architect?

 

Larry Downs: Yes, I think there will be a final bill from, you know, the Rudolph Law Firm in terms of cleaning up that lawsuit and then the final bills from Mr. Hafer.

 

President John: There has been some questions about the negotiations for the other properties in addition to the English property and what if any liability the City will have in regarding those particular instances?  Are you aware of any liability out there the City may be facing?

 

Larry Downs: No, I mean as you well know President John, you can’t stop anybody from bringing an action against you, but we have no liability to account for.

 

President John: I didn’t know.

 

Larry Downs: There has been none threatened.

 

President John: Okay, we were under the understanding that many of the properties you negotiated a purchase, and are there any purchase agreements, or….?

 

Larry Downs: No, there are no…..

 

President John: It’s all in a formal….we….

 

Larry Downs: Yes.

 

President John: There have been no property…and here’s what we’ll give you and….

 

Larry Downs: (inaudible).

 

President John: Councilwoman.

 

Councilwoman Walden: Thank you.  Mr. Downs I appreciate the breakdown.  Then do we anticipate that these fees that you have here are going to be paid from the Aztar $10,000,000 that was to be made available. And then are those Aztar’s monies still available to the City even thought we are not doing the ball stadium at this time?

 

Larry Downs: Yes.

 

Councilwoman Walden: Okay.  So we have some additional funding that’s available for…..

 

Larry Downs: Yes.

 

Councilwoman Walden: use then?  Thank you.

 

President John: Councilman.

 

Councilman Melcher: So we’ve still got $9,000,000 basically in a Capital Development Fund downtown is what you’re saying.

 

Larry Downs: Yes Councilman Melcher.

 

Councilman Melcher: Do we have the money?

 

Larry Downs: Pardon me.

 

Councilman Melcher: Do we have the money from Aztar?

 

Larry Downs: No, the….that money under the terms of the original lease, which as you know that those….that schedule of lease payments was not changed.  For the most part not be due until years nine and ten of the lease.  Because the last five years of the lease were such that years 9 and 10 were when the rent payments increase substantially.  So if…so that money under the terms of the agreement can be advanced.

 

Councilman Melcher: Well it was my understanding at the Redevelopment Commission that I went to, and you were there, you know, Friday morning.  At the end of the year, you know between Christmas and New Years, that Aztar was going to bring $10,000,000 immediately, I thought, because they had to get it in their budget to be able to be able to give it to us this year.  Because that was the only reason why they were having a special meeting that morning was to vote on a contract where Aztar got to keep $10,000,000 of the Cities money and then they were going to put $10,000,000 into a Capital Development Fund.  And I thought we were going to get that somewhere around the first of the year.  And basically I thought that was the way it was going to work.

 

Larry Downs: Okay.  Councilman Melcher my understanding of that, of the $10,000,000 you speak of was the Aztar portion of the Downtown Development Fund in which we would be…they put in money, we put in money for projects on the Aztar properties to hopefully increase…..

 

Councilman Melcher: Now that’s the first $10,000,000 we let them keep.  They are going to put $15,000,000 in we’re putting $10,000,000 in for them to build a Conference Center/Convention Center or something.  There was another $10,000,000 that was going to go to the City of Evansville to go in the Downtown Capital Development Fund.  And that’s where this money is coming out of I thought.

 

Larry Downs: Well no, Councilman you are correct.  That’s where it would come out of, except I would be happy to double-check the terms of the lease.  My recollection is that the need for the meeting at that time for approval of that Amendment was for Aztar to be able to do planning for projects that they would be doing with part of that fund this year in terms of their capital project.  The other side, if I may continue for just a moment please.  The other $10,000,000 which is for the Downtown Development Fund for other projects is money which is advanced to the City upon request under the terms of the amended lease I believe.

 

Councilman Melcher: So if we requested $10,000,000 we could get the $10,000,000?

 

Larry Downs: If we had a project that everybody thought was beneficial downtown yes that’s correct.

 

Councilman Melcher: Okay, because wasn’t there supposed to be a Capital Development Board that would say where that money went?  Wasn’t that what the Mayor was suggesting?

 

Larry Downs: I believe it was a Capital Design.  I can’t recall the name, I believe there may have been discussion of that.

 

President John: Councilwoman.

 

Councilwoman Robinson: Mr. Downs, out of this million dollars right here expenses we occurred on the stadium project, that million is coming from the Downtown Development Fund? The $10,000,000 of Aztar fund?

 

Larry Downs: Yes ma’am.

 

Councilwoman Robinson: Okay, now how much have we …… has Aztar given us a million dollars out of that $10,00,000 yet?

 

Larry Downs: No, they will upon request.  This part was part of the process as to have to have all the…..

 

Councilwoman Robinson: But where did we get money to pay this?

 

Larry Downs: We will have money from this when we have all the statements gathered and we will present a detailed breakdown to Aztar and then we will receive that amount of money to pay this.

  

Councilwoman Robinson: Okay, but who’s paying right now, is it coming out of the General Fund?

 

Larry Downs: No, these have not been paid yet ma’am.

 

Councilman Kniese: Now we haven’t incurred these expenses yet from my understanding, is that correct?

 

Larry Downs: No, well no, well we’ve incurred them we’ve not paid them.  We were….that’s correct.

 

Councilman Kniese: Okay, thank you. 

 

President John: One other question now. The $10,000,00 that was ear marked which will now be $9,000,000 for the downtown stadium?  You’ve indicated that the City will still have use and benefit of that.  Will the same plan be in place where you circumvent the City Council and we’ll have no say so in how those funds are spent?  Or do you intend to include the Council in the expenditure of that $9,000,000?

 

Larry Downs: Well I think that’s an issue that would be more properly addressed to the Mayor.  I mean we…what may be doable is, you know, we both know is a matter of law, but it’s probably an issue better directed at the Mayor I think.

 

Councilman Melcher: At that meeting I was at it was pretty much said that $10,000,000 was going into a Downtown Capital Development Fund, which also was going to be one appointee from the Council, I think, and the others were going to be the Mayor and the Redevelopment Commission.  They will pick a project and that’s how that will be handled.  So I don’t think they have even met yet to pick a project.

 

President John: Councilman Bagbey.

 

Councilman Bagbey: Mr. Downs, I want to make sure I heard you correctly.  We’ve incurred the debt, we have not paid it, and to get the sufficient funds to cover this debt we must make a request to Aztar LLC?  Is that correct?

 

Larry Downs: Yes. 

 

Councilman Bagbey: Okay, now how is we make that request, mechanically, procedurally whatever term you want to use, how will that be paid?  Will that come to a line item into the Riverboat account or will it stay in the Capital Development account an Executive Branch of Government Issue a check?

 

Councilman Melcher: Redevelopment Account.

 

Councilman Bagbey: I’m trying to figure out how they…

 

Councilman Melcher: My understanding is it will be the Redevelopment. 

  

Councilman Bagbey: Redevelopment Commission will go into that line item…

 

Councilman Melcher: It will go into them and they will pay it.  What I don’t understand and still don’t know I thought State Board of Accounts said, we were always told we can’t sign contracts, we can’t do anything unless the money is in place.  That’s why I thought we had the money.  Because you can’t do any of this unless you have the money setting there ready to be…you can’t, you can’t get the horse before the cart in other words.  But City money, but maybe Redevelopment money is a different horse.  I don’t know.

 

Councilman Bagbey: Well, in my law enforcement career when I had to investigate certain things that occurred within this City dealing with finances.  One of the things the State Board of Accounts investigators, and auditors I guess is a better term always stated and sited a particular statute.  Mr. Shoulders you may be more familiar than I that any government entity in this State cannot incur debt without proper line item that they have to have sufficient funding, I think that goes back, again I’m not a lawyer Mr. Downs, I think it goes back to our Constitution. 

 

Councilman Kniese: I think, correct me if I’m wrong Larry, that the funding has been secured it just hasn’t been requested.  So the way I understand it we actually have secured the funding, but we just haven’t requested the funds yet from Aztar.  So I think, you know, the funding is there it’s just a matter of us requesting to pay these bills is the way I understand it. 

 

Councilman Bagbey: Well see I understood procedurally it was just the opposite, that you had to make sure you had the amount of money to cover whatever project or whatever business that you are doing within a City.  Now I’m not an expert.

 

Councilman Kniese: But I think that’s what the City did anyway.  What I understand that they have actually secured that funding there it’s like having a line of credit, but they haven’t exercised the line of credit yet.  It’s there, it’s available and has been approved and Aztar has agreed to that.  My understanding is that we just have not submitted any bills for payment.  That’s the way I understand it. 

 

President John: I think we’re dealing with a different animal when it’s the Redevelopment Commission and the agreement with Aztar as opposed to our normal procedures through the budget process.  If something is done improperly we’re sure not the ones that did it.  So we’ll let the Board of Accounts deal with them.  I would like to state that this Councilman and I’m sure some of the others from day one have had questions about the project.  Questions about the validity of the funding that the bond payment was based on.  Questions about the estimated cost of the project, and I think that if the Mayor’s poll had been run six months ago we probably would have saved a million dollars.  And I understand that it’s better to stop it now then maybe later.  But we’re a little disappointed with the way the whole thing has progressed.

 

Larry Downs: As I said, it’s like the Mayor said in his Press Conference you know decisions like this aren’t made by polls.  I respect your opinions.

 

Councilman Kniese: Councilman John I would respectfully disagree with your comments.  I think anytime in private industry, for example, you have projects that cost a lot of time, a lot of energy, and a lot of money.  And sometimes you get to the eleventh hour and because of timing issues things are out of your control sometimes, you have to kill the project.  You can ask any corporation, the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, throughout the United States that happens all the time.  The difference is, the real difference is, usually those projects are discussed and made a final yes or no in the Boardroom. Whereas these types of projects, because it is a Government project is played out in the media, so you get a lot of concerns out there.  But I’ve talked to several of the key business people involved with this project and they agreed with me that all the time they have projects that they spend a lot of time and energy and money that never come to fruition.  And it’s disappointing just like it’s disappointing for any economic project whether it be the Stadium or anything we’ve worked on.  These things do happen.  So this is not unusual.  This is very typical of any business out there that has projects that come before their own Board of Directors or their management team.  That because again, circumstances whether it be cost overruns, whether it be the economy, whether it be anything within their own realm of expertise that cause them to pause and say; maybe now we should wait and shelve this project.  That happens all the time so I understand believe me, I’m not the one that likes to just throw money out either.  I agree with that but at the same time you have to go to the nth degree to find out exactly what the true cost and the true validity of some of these projects are and some do get killed in the eleventh hour.  So this is nothing new at least in private industry that does happen. 

 

President John: The problem with your statement is that the Council on numerous occasions questions whether or not the funding that he was intending on paying this bond would be available.  Such as the rental car tax, which is a big portion of it.  And the estimate for the number of people that were going to attend the games and the hotel motel tax which is now was very iffy at best that the County Council approved.  And before you go and spend a million dollars you ought to make sure that that money is going to be available to fund the project.  And we’ve stated all along that we had a shaky foundation from day one and now a million dollars later we find out that the funding is inappropriate.  The project is over budget and we kill it after spending a million dollars and I just think that’s poor management.

 

Councilman Kniese: I respect your stance on that.  Again, I would just take a different viewpoint I guess because having worked in private industry for a number of years these things do happen and you do…and it does cost a lot of money to look at certain projects especially one of this magnitude.  You know this is a large project and you know again sometimes you have to spend money to make money and sometimes you get to the eleventh hour where it just doesn’t work.  Hopefully you are wiser for it.

 

Councilman Bagbey: Councilman Kniese I don’t disagree with your thoughts but I think there is one big exception.  And that is that we’re dealing with public money, we’re dealing with tax dollars.  And I think that is very, very different than Old National Bank holding back for eighteen, nineteen months to secure better funding, better rates before they start construction.  I think that the public feels that the elected nine representatives should have due diligence towards tax monies.  And you know many times….Mr. Downs asked me one time at a basketball game, if you remember Larry what did I feel about the baseball stadium.  I said then at Memorial High School at that basketball game and I say again today, it’s the funding, it’s the funding I’ve seen success with a project like that.  And I think when the community then becomes decisive because they are not fully informed, nor the Council who represent them because we’re dealing with tax dollars.  Believer me I understand where you’re coming from Councilman Kniese and/but I think the big difference is it’s tax dollars. 


Councilman Kniese: I will agree that is a difference.  I would equate that to shareholders of a Corporation.  It’s their company it’s, it’s, you know, the shareholders actually own the company nor the CEO, not the Chairman of the Board so it’s their company’s funds that sometimes are being used to look at certain projects.  So I would equate that to being a shareholder of a corporation where yeah you want to be diligent with every penny that you have of the shareholders that you’re accountable too.  I agree.

 

Councilman Melcher: I was going to say exactly what Steve said pretty much as it is tax payers money and I agree with the shareholder deal.  Shareholders get a vote.  I just got one from Northwestern for a proxy vote.  And the people that voted, voted us in to make those decisions.  We didn’t make that decision that’s the difference.  I mean the shareholders send their proxy’s in those people make the votes.  Not in our case we’re the ones that are elected, we’re the ones supposed to be answering questions and they were coming in February with their plan, they were coming in March with their plan.  I asked them to be here tonight because we supposed to talk on the Sports Development Zone.  So I think there is a lot of difference.  I think the tax payers money in private sector for that project goes heads roll.  Because I ran a corporation for 27 years and we did a bad project, which we did, people were gone.   So here’s the difference.

 

President John: Councilwoman Walden.

 

Councilwoman Walden: Thank you Mr. President.  You know it’s always interesting in an election year and I very much….

 

Councilman Melcher: This is not an election year.

 

Councilwoman Walden: Very much appreciate the topics that have been brought up and the ideas and I understand that we are the watchdogs of the tax payer money.  Just a couple of thoughts thought as we’re bantering back and forth here.  You know we have studies all the time to look into different types of projects.  You know we’ve had studies on downtown and we get different things all the time to study the merits of, is this a good project or not, is that a good project.  And I guess I kind of look at the money that’s been spent thus far from my perspective as you could look at it as another type of study.  That we investigated the project, we looked at a way to improve the quality of residential life through our community.  We waited until the Mayor I appreciate the fact that he waited until all the facts came in.  You know the auto rental tax we didn’t know about that until not to long ago.  And I also appreciate the fact that he did stop the project.  I’ve lived in this community for thirty-six years, I’ve served on this Council for ten years and I don’t ever remember a Mayor stopping a project before cost overruns set in.  So I appreciate that and we could sit up here all night and we could argue and disagree about the million dollars.  Looks to me like we’ve got $9,000,000 now that can be spent for downtown projects and I appreciate that we’ve looking at this prudently and we’re not overrunning and overrunning and continually coming back for more money.  I do appreciate the Mayor investigating ways to improve the quality of our residential life.

 

Councilman Melcher: The $9,000,000 is not just for downtown. Mr. Downs you were there when questions were asked about could they go into soccer, could it go in other parts of the City and they said yes.  So it doesn’t have to be a downtown project so I don’t want us getting hung up tonight on a downtown project.  That $9,000,000 could go anywhere as long as Aztar is able and want’s to fund it.  That is the part I didn’t like.  I didn’t like that Aztar held the carrot.  You know

 

saying oh I don’t like that project so you’re not getting it.  And that’s what I came out of that meeting with.  But basically it could go on the Soccer Complex, it could go on the Zoo, it could go on housing, it could go on anything, not has to go downtown.  Just for the ones who weren’t at the meeting.

 

President John: Councilman Angermeier.

 

Councilman Angermeier: Mr. Chairman I probably without the minority going to the Mayor I’m probably the only Councilman that called the Mayor up and congratulated him for dropping that project.  And I want it to be known one thing.  I don’t know of a single project that had been discussed with me more by many people that I meet and talk to throughout the whole City.  And again I repeat, I think that there’s more to the City of Evansville more than the downtown.  If we have money made available from the boat, or whoever had it, lets look at the project that the City of Evansville needs to develop and continue.  And I think the people of the City of Evansville will support whoever does that job.  And as far as I’m concerned if it had been a Democrat in that Mayor’s office I would have said the same thing to him.  As far as I’m concerned it had become a partisan issue.  It was one that the Council was cut out.  And I’m tickled to death that his withdrawal saved the Council Members the opportunity to explain it a hundred times over.  And I applaud you Counselor for your appearance here tonight.  Want you to believe one thing and I want the audience to believe one thing.  That they are here and I applaud them.  But I think this nine member Council had been very democratic for the period of time that I’ve been in this chair and I think that their interest has said to me that it’s more than….and there’s a lot of them around this table here, right here, these desks, talk to the Mayor frequently.  And they have the interest of the City of Evansville at heart.  What a tragedy that wasn’t discussed because maybe there could have been some messengers right here that could have convinced a lot of people that it was a good project, but I’m tickled to death that he dropped it.

 

President John: Councilman when you said that it had been democratic you meant non-partisan democratic correct?  We work as a body.

 

Councilman Angermeier: That’s right.

 

Councilwoman Walden: Absolutely.

 

President John: Are there any questions for Mr. Downs?

 

Councilman Melcher: No.  I want to thank you for coming because I didn’t know you were coming.

 

Larry Downs: Well, thanks for the opportunity and it was in response to Councilman John’s request.

 

President John: And we may request that the Mayor come and answer that other question that you deferred to. 

 

Larry Downs: Very good Councilman John.

 

President John: Thank you.  Any other items to come under Miscellaneous Business before the NCAA final game starts at 8:00?

 

Councilman Melcher: I thought it was 8:15 or 8:22.

 

Councilman Watts: We met with the Youth Leadership Grant Committee.  You have a copy on your desk.  Are there any questions by Members of Council?

 

Councilman Melcher: Then I’ll move that we have a do-pass it.

 

Councilman Melcher moved and Councilwoman Walden seconded the motion to distribute the funds for the Youth Leadership Grant. Voice vote.  So ordered.

 

Councilman Melcher: Mr. President, I also have the Youth Sports Grant. I think everybody should have it on their desk.  We didn’t save a dollar and a half.  We spent every penny.  That’s what we decided we were going to do.  We did have seven new projects this year.  Four of them we didn’t fund three of them we did.  We have one former applicant that didn’t get their application in on time.  They sent a letter saying they were going to be here and get it in but they didn’t get it in.  There’s nothing we can do about that because when we wrote these rules up everybody had to follow the same rules or we’d get thirty at that last day.  So with that we spent all $50,000 we had so I’d recommend that somebody make a motion for a do-pass for these groups.

 

Councilman Watts moved and Councilman Bagbey seconded the motion to distribute the funds for the Sports Grants.  Voice vote.  So ordered.

 

President John: Is there any other matter to come under Miscellaneous?  Councilman Angermeier.

 

Councilman Angermeier: Mr. Chairman in my conversation with the Mayor last week I told him about that proposal that was coming before the Area Plan Commission.  7600 Newburgh Road where they took that one house and the developer wanted to put up ten.  And I asked the Mayor I said: “ I want you to know that it’s coming do you have a voice, do you have a preference?”  And I said: “I’m going to be against it, and there are twelve other members voting against it”.  But the Mayor said: “I’m opposed to it.”  So I just want you to know that the Mayor has been involved in those and he told me that he was opposed to that development out there and I applauded him for it.

 

President John: Councilwoman.

 

Councilwoman Robinson: Mr. President I’d like to inform Council Members that 2004 Budget Hearings will held August 11 through the 15th. 

 

President John: Thank you.  Any other matters to come before the Council?  Councilman.

 

Councilman Bagbey: Very, very briefly.  The last time we met I made some general comments because the President was going to appear on National television and to notify the country and what has come to fruition is now what the nineteenth day of combat.  In the Lexington Harold

 

Leader it has some very vivid photographs of the prices of American citizens who have paid the ultimate price to defend this country.  I’ve been watching it at great interest about protests and etc.  And there have been several communities across the country that have introduced resolutions to support our President and also to support the men and women who are defending our country.  At this time I would like Mr. Shoulders or Mr. Hamilton to bring forward a Resolution of support that can be mailed, facsimile or whatever, to the White House and also to the Department of Defense showing that the community of Evansville is strongly behind our President and strongly behind the men and women who serve this country.  Thank you

 

President John: Any other matter to come under Miscellaneous?  If not we’ll go to Committee Reports, Finance Chairman.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

 

FINANCE CHAIRMAN                                                                      CONNIE ROBINSON

Mr. President your Finance Committee will meet on April 14th to hear Ordinance F-2003-4 at 6:00.  Ordinance F-2003-3 at 6:15.

 

President John: I’ve also got an indication that there will be two Ordinances….

 

Councilwoman Robinson: I’m sorry.  On April 28th.

 

President John: The 28th, 2003-5 and 2003-6.

 

ASD CHAIRMAN:                                                                                                       ANGERMEIER

Nothing at this time.

 

PUBLIC WORKS CHAIRMAN:                                                                                            BAGBEY

Mr. President now we are scheduled to hear Ordinance G-2003-12 at 5:45 and I ask that in my absence that you Chair that Committee.

 

President John: I would be more than happy too.

 

Councilman Melcher: Mr. President.  When you get to that I’d like to be here for that and I’m not going to be able too.  I’d like you to go ahead and hear it if you’d like to hear it, but I’d like to bring it back so we could here it when I’m here.

 

President John: Would you like to reschedule that for the 28th?

 

Councilman Bagbey: I have no problem but can we do it since it was advertised.  You could.

 

President John: I could call it to order and then…

 

Councilman Bagbey: Call it to order and then hold it. 

 

Councilman Angermeier: Mr. Chairman.

 

President John: Yes Ms. Braun.

 

Peggy Braun: I certainly understand Councilman Melcher’s desire to listen to that critical piece of Ordinance recommendation that our Department is bringing to this body.  It’s extremely critical.  This is April the 7th if we continue to postpone this what will happen with our Department is we will be working, I would hope, I’m going to make the assumption that we will be working under two Ordinances.  It would make it very difficult because this is a stricter Ordinance as far as the violation, but it’s also more flexible in allowing us to get out there and get the job done.  The current Ordinance that we operate under requires that we serve notice to the owner of the property via registered mail.  So we would…and this particular Ordinance does not, so we would be operating under two and I ask that you take that into consideration.  It would make it very difficult for our staff to interpret two particular Ordinances for the quote “weed season”.

 

President John: I believe we are having a meeting on the 21st.  I see no Committee meetings.  Could we have it on the 21st?  Would that kind of split the difference?  That was everybody would be here.

 

Peggy Bruan: Postpone it a week.  I can assure you now that there are yards and fields within the City limits that are in violation of the 12 inches at this point in time.

 

President John: I mean they can decide it and address right now under the existing Ordinance, right?

 

Peggy Braun: They could.  That would make it very difficult for us to do our job.  We’re set ready to go.  Again this comes back to my Department having an Ordinance ready to go and bring to this body three months ago and it’s been tied up in review processes that we finally was able to bring that to you a little bit over two weeks ago.  So, you know, my objective is not to operate under two Ordinances.

 

President John: What I’ll try to do is get with the various Council Members that will not be here and in the event that I’m able to answer a questions and get answers to their satisfaction.  Maybe we can do it that day and if not we’ll continue it for a week.

 

Peggy Braun: Appreciate that, thank you.

 

Councilman Melcher: You know I guess what I don’t understand we’ve had all this time to get it.  Seems like everytime we get something it’s the eleventh hour.  Everytime we want to hold something we can’t hold it because of the eleventh hour.  I don’t operate that way in business so I don’t under…..never understand that question.  There’s a house on the corner and I haven’t brought this up and I guess I will now.  On the corner of Governor and Columbia that the weed got up to almost four-foot high last year and fell over.  And what I kept asking Michael at the time is wh…..and I wouldn’t call it in because I wanted to wait.  And what happened was he said if you remember to us when he revamped and redid everything in the modern stages that as these Code Enforcement people are driving around they could see the property and they will write it up we don’t have to call it in.  Well, when it was this high it finally fell over.  That same house today on that corner, and I don’t know where it’s at, but there’s bricks everywhere out front, there’s trash been out there three weeks.  And there was a refrigerator at the second house for over a year and a half.  So I think there’s a lot of things to look at here.

 

Peggy Bruan: Again individual citizens of Evansville can file verbal complaints to the Department of Metropolitan Development with regard to weed violations.  And as this department implements it’s own independent web page they will be able to do that electronically also.  And the information or the stuff that you sited is outside of my department’s control.  That would be on the first floor with regard to trash, debris and rodent control.

 

Councilman Melcher: And I understand that, but supposedly we were all working together and as the Code Enforcement people by something they seen it they were going to stop and write it down.

 

Peggy Braun: And we do that also with the patrol…police patrols that….

 

Councilman Melcher: The only thing that I figured that not one Code Enforcement officer ever drove down Governor or went down Columbia last summer.

 

Peggy Braun: Well, personally I know that they have because…where did he go?

 

Councilman Melcher: He’s over here.  He’s running up to the microphone.

 

Peggy Bruan: Mr. Harvey and I ourselves have been down Governor and Garvin and Adams and numerous properties looking at….or numerous streets throughout the City looking at buildings…

 

President John: Well, hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’re going to be able to help you with two things.  The dilapidated housing and weed control.  And we’re looking forward to working with you on those two Ordinances.

 

Councilwoman Robinson: Tomorrow is your last day Mr. Harvey?

 

Steve Harvey: Yes ma’am.

 

Councilwoman Robinson: Did you want to address us with some words of wisdom before you leave?  What you think is wrong with that Department?

 

Steve Harvey: Thank you.  I will either respond to the house you have in question because I know the one you are referencing.  And if I’m correct I believe this is another one of these situations where a family has filed bankruptcy and the bank has yet to take deed title to it. We can’t get certified service on the owners of the property.  It requires publication in the newspaper on repeated extreme measures to get the job done.

 

Councilman Melcher: I understand some of it, but we also have monies that we’ve brought in and boarded up houses and fixed stuff up and that house hasn’t seen much.

 

Steve Harvey: I understand that.  It has been mentioned more that once because I’m also aware of the Safety Board Secretary is in that vicinity too.  And we’ve taken special measures to make sure that whole block is looked at because across the street there’s a row of houses too that are in desperate need of attention.

 

 

 

Councilman Melcher: I understand but you would have thought that the City would have at least cut the grass one time that summer, even if they didn’t get the service or anything that’s part of the (INAUDIBLE).

 

Steve Harvey: You have to have certified service before we can cut grass.

 

Councilman Melcher: (INAUDIBLE).

 

Steve Harvey: If it’s unsigned it’s not valid, but that’s part of the difficulty we’ve had with this existing Ordinance.  The new Ordinance will allow us to post the property and send US mail as good service, which will eliminate the certified service.  That’s been a major hindrance and a cost problem for this section with weed control. 

 

President John: We can address these when we’re in the other two Ordinances.  May I have a motion to adjourn?

 

ADJOURNMENT:

 

Councilman Bagbey moved and Councilman Watts seconded the motion to adjourn.  Voice Vote.  So Ordered.  Meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

 

 

                                               

PRESIDING OFFICER

 

 

                                               

CITY CLERK

Last updated: 5/18/2007 11:40:33 AM
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