The Santa Claus Town Council met in a special session on July 21, 2014 at the Santa Claus Town Hall.
The meeting was called to order by Ron Smith at 5:31 P.M.
Present: Ron Smith, Kevin Burke, Mike Johannes, Seth Windell (joined at 5:47 pm)Dennis DellaMorta (joined at 6:28 pm)
Also Present: Town Attorney, Kevin Patmore; Clerk-Treasurer, Kelly Greulich.
The meeting was recorded.
Smith opened the meeting with stating that this meeting is for funding of the trails for the Town of Santa Claus. Smith noted that there were a fairly large number of people in attendance, if anyone would like to speak please come forward.
A discussion followed about the Santa Claus Community Center that is operated by the Santa Claus Park Board.
Smith stated that we are only in the early stages of reviewing our options for the building. The building cost the town about $ 55,000.00 a year in tax payer money that is 15% of our total general budget.
Ed Rinehart stated from the floor that there is grant money out there to help the center and why isn’t the community center ever advertised so that people know it is here and they can rent the building. The parks department needs to do a better job of using the building.
Smith stated the building is too big for some things and too small for others. The building has been a money pit ever since the town took over the building.
Rinehart stated that if the town is going to have the building tore down then the town should explore a grant for a new building and not low income housing in its place. The people in this community want a center.
Smith stated that Lincoln Hills Development has expressed interest in the property and housing 40 units based on a family of 4 income of less than $ 40,000.00 a year.
Patmore stated about 6 or 7 years ago he was instructed by the council to look for grants that would help with funding of upgrades to the building and we did not qualify because people in Santa Claus make too much money.
Johannes stated that we are not making any decisions tonight on the community center this meeting is about funding of the trails for Santa Claus and before we do anything with the community center we will have public meetings for the residents input.
A discussion on funding of the trails-
Smith stated that he is not going to turn down free money from INDOT. There is money out there for trails and we want to capture as much as we can. Johannes stated we have been given documentation that trails do bring in revenue communities; people will stay an extra day and spend it exploring.
Windell joined the meeting. 5:47 PM
Johannes stated to the people in attendance that the town has been working on a trail system for the last 5 years and has been very public about the trails.
Windell stated the town needs to look into selling the acreage at the Industrial Park to help with the cost of the town’s 20% for the trails; the town should not issue debt over trails.
Burke stated that we have surrounding towns that want to eventually join our trail system. (Ferdinand, Tell City)
Conrad Higgon stated the Parks Department has not done their job properly, not hiring a Director you need someone in place that is going to promote and think ahead and add new programs. If it doesn’t work you change it up and find something that does. Years back the YMCA wanted to partner with the seniors and come up with programs and that never happened.
Smith stated the town will have to decide if they want to put any more money into the building. It needs a new roof; we did receive insurance money in the amount of $ 29,000.00 minus the deductible.
Smith thanked the seniors for coming.
Dennis DellaMorta joined at 6:28 PM
Patmore stated to the council that the council will need to start at the county level and ask for money then move to the state level. The council discussed that it would be a good idea to call Dan Scherry or Marc Schum (NS School Corp), Kendall Thompson (National Park), Brad Young (State Park) and Melissa Brockman (Visitor’s Bureau) to see if they would be willing to attend the commissioners meeting along with the council on the trails for support. Greulich stated even if they can’t attend a letter of support would be beneficial.
Patmore was instructed to put a packet together on the trails for the council when they meet with the county commissioners.
Johannes stated that Holiday World is making a donation of $ 75,000.00 over the next 3 years. Smith stated we have to get the county to pitch in and help with the cost, these trails will benefit Heritage Hills, the State and National Parks and so much more.
Patmore stated we need monies starting now and up to 2017 for the 4 projects (Yellig to CLV Trail, Lincoln Discovery Trail, the Eastside Trail and the Westside Connector) in the amount of 1.8 million.
Smith stated he believed the town could come up with $ 500,000.00.
Patmore stated he had a quote on appraising the 9 lots in the Industrial Park it will cost roughly $ 4, 200.00. (Total acreage of 180).
Windell made a motion to have Ron Smith sign the agreement with Dave Matthews & Associates with a cap of $ 5,000.00. DellaMorta seconded the motion.
Patmore was instructed by the council to put together a proposal for the realtors.
With no further business to come before the Council Smith moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:15 P.M. Windell seconded the motion.