Perry Township Board Meeting Minutes: September 27, 2018
The meeting is called to order at 4:27 pm
Members Present: Barb Sturbaum, Susie Hamilton, Jack Davis, Dan Combs
Non-Members Present: Pat Combs, Sharon Yoder, Novella Shuck
- Awarding of Community Grants
- Approval/Accept 2019 Budget
- Township Form 17
Awarding of Community Grants
The board starts by discussing the request for funding from the new organization Made Up Mind (MUM). Dan had originally budgeted $0 in his recommended grant amounts because he had no information on the organization at that time, as it was before their presentation at the last board meeting on 9/13/2018. Barb states that she thinks it is duplicative of some other groups that are already in the Bloomington community and says that they are asking for a lot for food, especially since their clients can presumably get SNAP food stamp benefits and have access to other programs. The board states they wished they had the opportunity to ask more questions of MUM, and that they wished the director was able to attend the board meeting instead of a stand-in presenter. Jack states that his initial thought is he hopes this organization succeeds. He is not comfortable filling the entire amount that MUM requested but was thinking about granting them $2,000. He is concerned that this amount would seem insignificant and unable to fulfill the needs of their request though. Susie agrees with Barb and Jack and agrees with the concept of MUM, but believes it is a duplication of services. She states it would be nice if the three service organizations that already deal with this general issue in Bloomington sat down with a mediator to see what they all need, what the preferred organizational outcomes will be, etc.
There is general concern that services for incarcerated and recently incarcerated individuals are getting scattered across multiple organizations, meaning money is being spent on the same basic items, like desk chairs and office supplies. Susie states an umbrella organization to steer the smaller organizations would be a good idea. Susie states that she would love to see MUM get grant funding because she knows the people who presented for them, but she thinks they should come back next year. Dan agrees very much with the board’s general sentiments, in particular regarding some type of umbrella organization structure to handle all these programs serving the same community. For example, he had never before heard New Leaf New Life describe themselves as only short-term support before the last board meeting. Dan also states he cannot recall assisting with such a big request for an agency with no record yet.
Barb recommends allocating $0 to MUM this year but inviting them back in future years to make grant requests once they are more established. The entire board agrees with this.
Moving onto Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Barb wonders why Julio requested $12,000 and Dan only recommended that the Township grant them $10,000. Dan states his recommendations were made before the Township even got their request letters in. Dan is fine with granting $12,000 if that is what the board wants to do. Their grant would provide funding for refrigerated transportation for the acquisition of more perishable food, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Their grant is paid in quarterly payments. Barb recommends they raise the grant to the requested $12,000 amount.
Dan states that any money the board adds to the recommended grant amounts can be taken out of the Emergency Shelter set-aside fund, so if the board increases the Hoosier Hills grant to $12,000 the set-aside fund will still have $13,000 of its original $15,000 available. Susie states that it seems like they set aside money in the fund every year, and Sharon states that this is not a cumulative account, and if the Township does not spend this money it just goes away. The Township also has $35,000 in its rainy day fund as well as the money in the Emergency Shelter set-aside fund.
Jack states that New Hope Family Shelter seems to have pared down their expenses quite well and are only asking for $3,000 this year. He would like to give them $5,000 if possible. Sharon states that they may have only asked for $3,000 because that is what the board granted them last year, and the new director probably just based their request off of what they previously got. The year before that they had requested $6,000. Susie comments that she likes the fundraiser they have been doing, as opposed to the mailers other non-profits send out.
Barb asks why Centerstone did not apply for funding on behalf of Stepping Stones, and Sharon states she contacted them but the organization never sent in a request letter. They had even contacted Sharon ahead of time to ask about the grant requests but did not ultimately send us any request. Sharon also says that they did not receive a request for Growing Opportunities this year, and that organization has not even picked up their check for the grant we gave them last year. The board discusses why this may be the case and how to communicate and get that check to Growing Opportunities.
Susie states that she likes the new organization Kids with Absent Parents (KAP) and is comfortable filling their $2,000 grant request. Dan allocated $0 for this but states they can take an additional $2,000 out of the Emergency Shelter set-aside fund. Dan states that money can also be shifted from the rainy day fund for more grants if needed, and Barb states that the Township should leave that money in that fund, not only for the potential court advocate discussed at the last meeting, but also in case another organization (Stepping Stones for instance) contacts them during the year in need of funding for something else. Sharon states that KAP will have to prove they are helping Perry Township residents, as they are new and may not be aware of this. Agencies who receive Township grants always have to give our office organizational numbers before we give them the check anyway.
Dan states he has heard rumblings that there is an independent organization that the Department of Corrections may be revising in the future to help people coming out of incarceration. Sharon reminds everyone that the Township cannot help fund other government agencies, and Dan states he will talk to Geoff McKim about this for more details.
Barb motions that they accept the recommended grant amounts, except for New Hope Family Shelter and Hoosier Hills Food Bank, as she moves to increase their grant amounts by $2,000 each and decrease the amount allocated to the Emergency (set-aside) Shelter Fund by $4,000. Jack seconds this motion, and all vote, “Aye.”
A full record of the grant amounts awarded to each organization can be found in the “2019 Community Service Grants” document attached to these board minutes.
Approval/Accept 2019 Budget
Dan states that this year he had tried to simplify the presentation of the budget changes to the board, but feels that he confused it instead, and he apologizes and states that next year the board will receive the highlighted budget changes in the same format as they had in the past. Barb asks if any other board members have questions about the 2019 budget, and Jack and Susie both state the budget looks great.
Barb moves that the board accepts the 2019 budget as presented, Jack seconds the motion, and all vote, “Aye.”
The board signs the budget paperwork.
Township Form 17
Dan states that the employee positions are as they are last year, with a 1% cost of living increase and a 1.5% merit pay increase. He states the 1% cost-of-living increase is a given for every employee, and the 1.5% budgeted merit-based pay raise can range anywhere from 0-1.5% depending on the employee’s evaluation. Dan also says that he would really like a salary study, to see how the Township compares to Monroe County employees and to other counties. He says that every one of the Township’s employees holds a higher-than-entry-level value, and the closest position he can think to a case investigator salary-wise in FSSA is their child protection employees. Jack states he would totally support something like this, as he thinks our case investigators are underpaid across the board. Susie recommends the Township ask SPEA, to see if they can conduct the study.
The new Township employee Amanda’s pay is scheduled to start at $15.50 per hour and will increase over the next few months. Barb asks, if the Township does complete the study, whether the board would be able to increase wages in the middle of the year or have to wait until the next budget. Dan states that if the board wanted to increase pay in the middle of the year, it would have to somehow redefine the employee positions in question, so the raise would apply to these new responsibilities. Dan also reminds the board that his pay is still beneath that of the big five townships.
Dan introduces Amanda Messic to the board. She is the new case investigator filling Laura’s vacated position, and she came to the Township from FSSA and just started work this week.
Dan states that the new lawyer the Township employed, Seth Lahn, is not working out. He is very difficult to get any response from. They have not even been able to pay him for the work he has already done, as he never billed them, and they cannot send him a check without an invoice. The Township has not yet paid a yearly retainer to him either. For these reasons Dan states he is in the market for a new lawyer, who is to represent the board, not Dan himself. Barb and Susie both make recommendations for lawyers who may be good fits, and Jack urges Sharon and Dan to contact Seth once again (as they have already tried previously) to see if he will finally invoice the office for his work.
Jayla wrote a press release for the upcoming Township food drive earlier today. The office plans to buy trash cans for drop-off donations, and they just found out that they are able to use township money for fundraising and food drive advertising if needed for the food pantry.
Barb adjourned the meeting at 5:17pm.