Thursday, July 10, 2014

10 July 2014 Dearborn County Redevelopment Meeting Notes

10 July 2014 Dearborn County Redevelopment Meeting Notes


Present: Dave Deddens, Chairman, Jim Helms, John Rahe, Jim Deaton, Dennis Kraus, Sr.,

ABSENT: Dusty Burress (non- voting school board member)


Also present: Terri Randall, county administrator and economic development director, Andrea Ewan, attorney, Gayle Pennington, Auditor and DCRC Treasurer, Randy Maxwell Consultant, and Andy Baudendistel, county attorney


Erika Schmidt Russell (Register Publications) covered this meeting. Joe Awad on special assignment was present for PAC discussion. Celeste Calvitto ( Bright Beacon) and Kathy Scott were also present.

Action of Executive session that preceded this meeting: no action was taken and they set another executive session for next Thurs July 17at 8 AM. It will be followed by a brief meeting to announce any decisions.

The board welcomed Dennis Kraus, Sr.- as a new member replacing Maynard Barrett and Gayle Pennington who is now treasurer due to a change in state law.

Approved May 8 minutes. There was no June meeting.(Kraus abstained as he is a new member.

Unfinished business-none

New Business:

PAC (Public Access Counselor) Complaint and Advisory Conclusions- Andy Baudendistel- County attorney. Baudendistel addressed the proper way to handle the items the DCRC was found to have violated on open door law on executive sessions a concise and pointed tutorial. He advised them that they needed to certify that nothing else was discussed other than what was advertised at executive sessions. The president (Deddens) stated that he certified that and Baudendistel said they need to write that statement into the record. They also have to use the code to see what items they are allowed to call executive session for. They will keep this memoranda of the executive session actions as part of the minutes of the regular meeting that follows it. He encouraged them to only call executive sessions when absolutely necessary. He showed the public records access law to them and how to find it. He told them that minutes when kept have to be made available – even in draft form. He said he has developed forms for public records requests. He is proposing the form to be adopted and used the PAC office to see their samples. He wants to wait till the website is up and they are looking to have all public records requests to go thru Pennington’s office- Auditor is in charge of all records. Fax, email or regular mail you have 7 calendar days. If in person you have 24 hours business hours. This is to get a response- on when they can expect the records. The reason behind getting a form is to get one process to be sure the law is being followed. The county can also have a record of what they produced. It’s a CYA for the county as Judge Humphrey would say per Baudendistel. This does not apply to Clerk or Recorders office as they have their own separate statutes and fees. If the commissioners adopt the form then the DCRC can adopt it per Andrea Ewan, DCRC attorney.

Randall would like to apologize on her own behalf regarding the violations and said she did not have an “official” role at that time. She said this was a difficult process for her. She feels responsible for this. She noted that she was covering a lot of things at the time, but that was not an excuse. She also apologized to the public and said she is pretty much a stickler for being open to the public. Executive session memoranda and certification will be in the regular minutes following the session.

Andrea Ewan asked the DCRC board to start getting a list of attendants at their meetings now. I asked if it was legal to require that anyone attending the meeting sign in. Ewan said they wanted to have a list so that if questions come up later and that person was in attendance, then they can show that they had the opportunity to question things at the meeting.

[NOTE: This is because the DCRC was held responsible for violations more than 30 days old when the complaint was filed by Register Publications reporter Denise Freitag Burdette. It should be noted that even if the board tried to get off on a 30 day timeframe technicality- it does not change the fact that there were repeated open door violations and they needed to be corrected. Fortunately for DCRC Burdette told PAC she was interested in getting corrections made and not fines levied.]

 I asked about when they discussed the $10K salary for the administrator as the response to the complaint from the DCRC did not address that third part. No answer was given and when asked again after some non-answer was given, Rahe said he thinks they did it at the earlier 2013 meetings that they have no minutes for. (This would be April-June maybe- but the timeline shows this in November financials of their board- not the springtime 6 months earlier.) No other board member spoke up on that. I also asked how the DCRC knew what was being responded to the PAC on their behalf as it was never brought up in a public meeting. They said that the president, attorney Ewan and Randall did the response and emailed it to the board. Ewan said that was privileged info. They could have had input if they disagreed.

They said they want to just move forward- (and essentially did not answer my question regarding when they actually discussed and decided to pay the administrator the additional pay of $10,000 for work done in 2013 for the DCRC. [NOTE: There is no record of hours worked or dates and times to corroborate that $10,000 is a reasonable pay for the job done. The only evidence produced in meeting minutes, emails, and texts requested in researching the open door violations that show this salary request were emails from the administrator trying to get her pay worked out after the Nov- Dec claim was stopped by the auditor due to rules regarding salaried employees getting paid for two county jobs. There were no emails from commissioners, council, or DCRC board members. Was this ever discussed by the board?]

Financials and Claims- Pennington asked if they liked the way things are reported now with the spreadsheet. Randall said she wants to have the Lawrenceburg funds listed separately to make sure they are kept separate. She wants them to be listed as restricted funds and what they are restricted for to be sure they don’t touch it for the wrong things. DCRC board agreed. Grants will be assigned a fund also per Pennington.

Randall said that on the claims Hirlinger is separate. She wanted to maybe read thru the items on the claims to be more transparent. Hirlinger Motors has a claim. When they purchased from Tom Stone- it was agreed that he would pay $35,000 for access to the property. When this board took over the property this board took over that responsibility. They can pay it out of the TIF. This was all done thru EDI originally as Andrea Ewan acknowledged. DCRC board agreed to pay out of the TIF. They did not read the claims out- but approved them. Dennis Kraus received explanation for some of the claims as he asked about them. Pennington asked about if they were going to keep the separate website or be part of the county’s website. They plan to do a link to the county from their separate website per board. Discussion on late payment to Register Publications waiting on the payments from Lawrenceburg first. $457.90 is their bill. $16,840.84 was approved minus the Register’s amount. It will be paid as soon as they get it. [NOTE: I questioned this after the meeting. The claim for register Publications is for an ad that was run for the position for the economic development group formed by the cities, towns and county and their visioning process. It has nothing to do with Redevelopment Commission money and will be paid out of the Lawrenceburg grant money to the visioning group when they get that in. It is interesting that a local business has to wait to be paid from a group trying to attract more business into the county. Erika Schmidt Russell from Register told them at the meeting that it was no problem- they understood that this happens sometimes.]

Resolution #2014-DCRC-001-“Determination of Need to Capture Tax Increment Revenues.” and Letter regarding the need to capture all incremental assessed value - annually the DCRC is required to look at their TIF funds to see if any should be returned to the taxing unit. Since a lot is not coming in- they will not be returning any to the taxing units. They need to send a letter to each of the taxing units involved to let them know they are keeping all the TIF funds. DCRC board approved both items. 

Ratify support letter to the city of Aurora- Randall said they were contacted to have a letter that they discussed with Deddens as president. It was needed quickly to get support to INDOT in time as they are improving an access to their state road. Ratified.

Ratify consulting Agreement with Economics Center for Labor Shed Study out of University of Cincinnati. Some time ago the DCRC had discussed this with Randy Maxwell per Randall. We need to have this as it is a number 1 consideration in many potential new businesses we are seeking. State info was not complete and not seen as credible. They want more than just data- they want a report or marketable piece. A response was due on a large project that was concerned about this labor pool. DCRC ratified the agreement. The cost amount was questioned by Kraus. They told him it was just shy of $7,500.  Approved by the board.

Mark McCormack- Planning and Zoning- The Blight Elimination Program. This is specific to housing- not commercial. Sometimes it will be greenspace or sold to adjoiner or redevelopment for commercial purposes. They have some in Moores Hill and Aurora and Wilmington and Kaiser Rd. They are needing a program partner and sponsor for possibly 2 properties to hold title to these. They would cost some money up front. It may not even be used, but they need everything by next week to turn in. They should know by next week if they need DCRC or not. They only need a 10% match. That’s $1500 or $2500. DCRC Board decided to support this program. Legion and N Dearborn is one property. Rahe wanted to know if any Aurora properties were in historic district. None were historic register. DCRC agreed to sponsor the 2 properties in the county if needed.

County Administrator report- Redevelopment Commissions have been lax in the state on their reporting so the DLGF is requiring a lot of info now. They need to do the TIFs and she needed to get more history. Ewan has old EDI records. Pennington said the new state law changes get more seamless reporting for the gateway so all this is accessible. Rahe said the TIFs have only been around about 4 years.  He asked about the Aurora Industrial Park sign. Randall said she is trying to work on that and also find out what companies do this. She had Sue Hayden put it the agenda for the next meeting to remind her to look into it again.

Attorney Report- Andrea Ewan- nothing more

Other Business- Pennington introduced Craig Zwiren- the new GIS Coordinator, who moved up from Georgia. He worked for EPA and a local city government previously. He has worked in Americus GA for a renaissance project. Also he described part of it as getting bars more focused on being “for working professionals instead of crazy college kids.” Bicycling programs also. Mapping the county utilities throughout the county – has experience in all of that. Pennington said he will be a good resource for many organizations. Randall said they are hoping to get an interactive map on their DCRC website.

 Meeting adjourned at 11 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township


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