Perry Township Board Meeting Minutes

February 15, 2018

The meeting is called to order at 12:02pm.

 

Members Present: Barb Sturbaum, Susie Hamilton, Jack Davis, Dan Combs

 

Non-members present: Pat Combs, Sharon Yoder, Novella Shuck, Seth Lahn, Branden Surigao, Jayla Leverenz

 

Agenda:

Introduction of Township Attorney: Seth Lahn

Election of Officers

Nepotism

Conflict of Interest

Organization of Finance Board

Annual Report

Rainy Day Fund Resolution

Other:

            Cemetery

            Employee Raises

 

Introduction of Township Attorney: Seth Lahn

Seth Lahn is the new township attorney, a graduate of Mauer School of Law. He is introduced to the board at this time, and will give a presentation at the end of the meeting on another subject.

 

Also introduced to the board is Jayla Leverenz, the part-time employee/intern in the Township office who has been working on and off for the office since summer 2017.

 

Election of Officers

Susie moves that Barb Sturbaum remain president of the Board and that Jack Davis become Secretary.  Barb seconds this motion, and all vote “Aye.”

 

Organization of Finance Board

Barb moves that the Jack remain President of the Finance Board and Susie remain Secretary. Jack seconds this motion, and all vote “Aye.”

 

Nepotism and Conflict of Interest

The board signs paperwork acknowledging and accepting that they are each in compliance with the Township nepotism policy on employment and the Township conflict-of-interest policy on contracting. Dan and Pat are married and Pat falls under the grandfather clause of this policy.

 

Annual Report

The Board was sent the annual report in advance and given time to look over it. Their job today is to vote to either accept the report or not. If factual errors are found, they can also vote to amend that.

 

Page 11 discusses in Capital Outlay a payment to the Monroe County Treasurer, for $94,560. This was for a payment that was intended for the Perry Clear Creek Fire Department, but was automatically deposited in our account accidentally. Because this does not apply to us, it was sent back, with proper documentation, but it had to be recorded in the report.

 

The Township did not spend its whole budget, and gave out about $0.80 for every $1.00 in administrative costs. The general fund continues to be drawn down, but that is expected and is in good shape considering. Compared to the previous year, the Township is paying out much more in housing assistance this year.

 

On page 10 is the amount the Township paid to Hoosier Hills Food Bank (HHFB) in 2017. The amount, $10,344.80, includes both the grant of $10,000 that our office awarded them, but also an early invoice for food that we purchased there. Usually our checks for invoiced food are meant to be made out to Community Kitchen, as there are regulations regarding payments that non-501-c3s can make to HHFB, and we are a government agency. Our office likely just invoiced HHFB directly at that time, but the policy is to pay Community Kitchen instead.

 

Branden gives the board an overview of Township Form 17. He points out that the total “in-kind” assistance that the Township provided/arranged was $3,0561,926.62, through supporting Community Kitchen, working with landlords to provide additional nights of housing in clients’ apartments/homes as well as in shelter, the total costs of goods we provided, Energy Assistance Program referrals, etc. This is a lot higher than in 2016. The total cash value we provided directly through our assistance funds is also higher than in 2016. The annual totals from food pantry assistance are all higher than the previous year too, and continue to rise.

 

The total nights of shelter the Township provided its clients through rental assistance is 31,000 nights in 2017. Clients completed a total of 1,274 hours of workfare in exchange for assistance last year.

 

Susie moves they accept the 2017 annual report, Jack seconds the motion, and all vote “Aye.”

 

Rainy Day Fund Resolution

The Township can take up to 10% of its surplus budget at the end of the year and transfer it to a rainy day fund with minimal paperwork, so that the board does not have to make additional appropriations for certain things. That means that this year, the Township can transfer $45,000 into the fund. Sharon and Dan recommend that the board moves $25,000 into the account, so that a decent operating amount is left in the general fund.

 

Barb moves that the board moves $25,000 from the Township general fund into the Rainy Day fund, Susie seconds the motion, and all vote “Aye.”

 

Other

 

Cemetery

Attorney Seth Lahn gives a PowerPoint presentation on two cemetery cases the Township has been looking into recently, after receiving two unrelated phone inquiries by individuals in August requesting Township maintenance on these cemeteries.

 

The first cemetery is Campbell Smith, located at 527 Victor Pike (the corner of Victor Pike and Dillman Road). The last owner of the cemetery that could be established was Nathan Smith in 1920.  A title search was done by John Bethel, and the only other historical ownership that could be found was by a church that no longer exists. No one has been paying taxes on this land, and it is classified exempt because there is no owner. There are also no apparent descendants, and no liens on the property, making this exactly the type of property that is designed for Township Trustees to take over maintenance and ownership of. If we want to take responsibility for this property, the process is relatively straightforward. If there is anyone with a plausible connection or claim to the property, we can ask them to sign a quit claim deed. As of right now, it appears that a neighbor is using some of this 5/8 or an acre as their own personal yard. Seth recommends publishing a notice in the Herald Times about this property.

 

The board defers passing a resolution regarding assuming cemetery ownership at this time, but states that they are comfortable with Seth reaching out to potential stakeholders (the neighbors, etc) in a low-key way about this property.

 

The second cemetery the Township was contacted about is the Kelsey Hughes property located on Snoddy Road, and could barely be discovered. It has five or six graves within it, and all but one date back to the early/mid 18th century. It is believed this property at the time was owned by abolitionists from South Carolina and Scotland. In the 1930s an earlier Perry Township Trustee paid to install a small concrete border in the cemetery.

 

However, the final grave in this gravesite was opened in 2007 to bury the current owner’s wife, which should not have been allowed. The current owner (Walbridge) is also paying property taxes on this property, so the Trustee does not have the obligation to maintain this cemetery.  Seth states that it may be in the Township’s interest to resolve ownership of this site now in anticipation of future owners, but it is also an easy denial. The board is not interested at this time in acquiring this cemetery, and Seth states that he will send a letter to the Walbridge lawyer (as he is the one who reached out in the first place to inquire about Township maintenance of the property).

 

Employee Raises

The board already approved employee raises in September, but the paperwork regarding raises for 2018 was off by $0.04 in one spot, and was also not filled out on a 2017-year form. This paperwork was amended to fix these two clerical errors.

 

Barb moves to accept the raises as they are now presented to the board, Jack seconds the motion, and all vote “Aye.”

 

 

Barb adjourned the meeting at 1:20pm.

 
 

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Perry Township 812-336-3713
1010 S. Walnut St. PerryTownship.info
Bloomington, IN
47401

 

 

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