CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
OCTOBER 6, 2003
The Honorable Council of the City of Evansville met on regular session at 6:30 pm on Monday, October 6, 2003 in the City Council Chambers, Room 301 Civic Center Complex, Evansville, Indiana with President Curt 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.
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 Bagbey led the pledge of allegiance this evening.
John Hamilton is Council Attorney this evening.
RECOGNITION OF SCHOOLS
Craig Kerkhoff-UE Civil Engineer Major Pat Meunier-UE
Brenton Hasenour-UE. Sara Brown-Central High School
TEEN ADVISORY COUNCIL
Jillian Porter Ashley Elpers
Alise Echele Ray Perry
READING AND AMENDMENT OF MINUTES OF PRECEDING MEETING
Is there a motion to approve the minutes of the September 22, 2003 meetings of the Common Council as written?
Councilman Bagbey moved and Councilman Kiefer seconded the motion that the minutes of the regular meeting of the Common Council held September 22, 2003 be approved as written. Voice vote. So ordered.
REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
IN YOUR OCTOBER 3RD PACKET:
*City Council Agenda for October 6, 2003 meeting.
*Committee meeting schedule.
*Minutes from September 22, 2003 City Council Meeting.
*Ordinances G-2003-24, G-2003-25, G-2003-26, and F-2003-18.
*A schedule of meetings in the City/County Administration Building for October 2003.
*Board of Park Commissioners Agenda for October 1, 2003 meeting.
*Evansville Redevelopment Commission Agenda for October 7, 2003 meeting.
*A copy of a letter to City Controller Glen Barnes from H.J. Umbaugh & Associates
Regarding Park District Bonds of 2003.
*A copy of Park District Bonds of 2003 furnished by H.J. Umbaugh & Associates.
*A copy of a letter to the editor of the Evansville Courier & Press from
James D. Spiller, M.D.
*A copy of Capital Improvement Plan for 2004.
*A News Release announcing the formation of the Public Arts Commission.
*A copy of the 2003 Budget Book.
*United Way Campaign Drive information.
ON YOUR DESK THIS EVENING:
*Notice from the Evansville–Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Agency.
*An Invitation to St. Vincent’s Day Care 85th Birthday Celebration.
Councilwoman Robinson moved and Councilman Angermeier seconded the motion to receive, file and make these reports and communications a part of the minutes of the meeting. Voice vote. So ordered.
FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES OR RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE G-2003-24 PUBLIC WORKS BAGBEY
AN ORDINANCE VACATING A PORTION OF WEST ILLINOIS STREET BETWEEN THE WEST LINE OF EDGAR STREET ON THE WEST AND THE WEST LINE OF MARY STREET ON THE EAST AND A PUBLIC ALLEY SOUTH OF FRANKLIN STREET AND NORTH OF WEST ILLINOIS STREET IN THE BLOCK BETWEEN EDGAR STREET ON THE WEST AND MARY STREET ON THE EAST
ORDINANCE G-2003-25 PUBLIC WORKS BAGBEY
AN ORDINANCE VACATING A PORTION OF EDGAR STREET SOUTH OF WEST FRANKLIN STREET ON THE NORTH AND WEST ILLINOIS STREET ON THE SOUTH
ORDINANCE G-2003-26 PUBLIC WORKS BAGBEY
AN ORDINANCE TO VACATE CERTAIN PUBLIC WAYS OR PUBLIC PLACES WITHIN THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE, INDIANA, COMMONLY KNOWN AS A
30-FOOT INGRESS/EGRESS & DRAINAGE EASEMENT CENTERED ON THE PROPERTY LINE DIVIDING LOT #2 1325 N. CULLEN AND LOT #3 1335 N. CULLEN AVENUE, CULLEN INDUSTRIAL PARK.
ORDINANCE F-2003-18 FINANCE (ROBINSON) JOHN
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS WITHIN A CITY DEPARTMENT
RESOLUTION C-2003-24 FINANCE ROBINSON
A RESOLUTION OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE CONFIRMING THE DECLARATION OF AN ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION AREA FOR PROPERTY TAX PHASE-IN FOR REDEVELOPMENT OR REHABILITATION (CAPE SENIOR HOUSING PROJECT)
Councilwoman Robinson moved and Councilwoman Walden seconded the motion to adopt the Consent Agenda as written. Voice vote. So ordered.
SECOND READING OF ORDINANCES OR RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE F-2003-17 FINANCE (ROBINSON) JOHN
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS, REAPPROPRIATION AND TRANSFER OF FUNDS WITHIN A CITY DEPARTMENT
Yes, Mr. President. Your Committee on Finance met on Ordinance F-2003-17 and it comes before you with a recommendation for a do-pass.
May I have a motion to adopt Committee Reports and move these Ordinances to Third Reading?
Councilman Bagbey moved and Councilman Watts seconded the motion to adopt the Committee Reports and move this Ordinance to Third Reading. Voice vote. So ordered.
THIRD READING OF ORDINANCES OR RESOLUTIONS:
ORDINANCE F-2003-17 FINANCE (ROBINSON) JOHN
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EVANSVILLE AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS, REAPPROPRIATION AND TRANSFER OF FUNDS WITHIN A CITY DEPARTMENT
Ordinance F-2003-17 and call the roll.
Ayes: Kniese, Bagbey, Melcher, Robinson, Koehler Walden, Watts, Angermeier Kiefer, John.
There being nine (9) ayes and zero (0) nays, Ordinance F-2003-17 is hereby declared ADOPTED.
President John: There will not be a City Council meeting next Monday on October 13th. We have one matter listed under Miscellaneous and that would be Mr. Rob Kerney, here to speak to us about the possibility of creating an office for Disabled Services. Mr. Kerney welcome.
President John: Mr. Coker, I see you out there and I assume that you want to follow him.
Mr. Coker: Please.
President John: Welcome Mr. Kerney, how are you today?
Rob Kerney: All right. Thank you Mr. John. And for Alberta’s sake it’s R-O-B.
Clerk Matlock: I know how to spell your name, Rob.
Rob Kerney: And just so I get my schools in too, I’m an instructor at USI and Ivy Tech. He came in a few minutes late, but one of my students from Ivy Tech just walked in, so I know he’s here. He gets extra credit now. But I’d like to talk to you a few minutes. As you can see I brought the lovely Rob Kerney dancers today, and she’s handing out the packet of information that I have put together for you. I’d like to talk to you about the possibility of starting an Office of Disability Services in order to address the needs of the citizens of Evansville. If you look on….in the census data, it shows you that among five to twenty year olds, the average, or the number of disabled, is about 11%. Among twenty-one to sixty-four year olds, it’s up to 19%. And if you look at sixty-five and older, you’re talking about 42% of the population has a disability of some sort. There are many things that this office could do to improve things that we have now. The first, as you can see on the second page, there are the possible proposed ideas for this economic development. The late Governor Frank O’Bannon said at a press conference that Southwest Indiana has 65% unemployment among the disabled. If you look at the census it says 55% are employed compared to 81% of those without disabilities. However, I question those numbers a little bit because this is basically employed or not employed. So it doesn’t say that these are people who have employment to satisfactorily support themselves and their families. These things can be done such as bringing in businesses that cater to hiring the disabled. One example I can give you at the moment is Master Brand Cabinets in Ferdinand. Actually, these are for programs for the Governor’s Planning Council on people with disabilities to hire people with disabilities. Also, just to help bring in types of….to encourage our current employees or employers in Evansville to hire people with disabilities and show them, and educate them on the abilities of those with disabilities. Second one on there is ADA Compliance and this is….they have a similar office to this in Indianapolis, and their primary function is to make sure that the City buildings, as such, are ADA compliant. For the most part, all of our buildings in the City and County would be, or are ADA compliant, with a few exceptions. I’m not saying that they are by law required, but it would be nice to make the City’s swimming pools and other recreational parks accessible to people with disabilities. One other problem area is with the Robert’s Stadium. When you have large functions such as Gather’s Trio and other things that the Gather family does, the wheelchair accessible seating fills up quite quickly and so it would be nice to see more things done there. Community involvement. Just like everybody knows, if the people are involved with their community, the community becomes stronger and better. This is an area for people with disabilities to be able to show their talents and their gifts.
It would also then kind of help make work the …..in the possibility of jobs and such so it could not only help the community, but the people with disabilities. Emergency rescue is the next thing that we would put under this office and that is…..I don’t know this for a fact, but I question it if the Firemen, Rescue, and Police are well trained in the exportation or transportation, I’m sorry, of people with disabilities especially those in wheelchairs at a time of a multi-level fire. Some people with certain spinal cord injuries and spinal cord birth defects have to be carried in a special way or else they could actually be damaged worse. So, I think we would need to look into this area a little bit. The next one’s really more for the County because I am proposing this to be a City/County joint office. However, it does affect the City Council because obviously this year is an election year for the City, but many of the polling sites are not accessible by people in wheelchairs. There are no machines that are accessible for somebody like myself to obtain a secret ballot. I always have somebody to help. I’d like to have the same right as everybody else to have a secret ballot. So, I’d like to work with the County in this area to improve the polling sites and machines and such. Also, the office could work with Floyd Edwards and the Human Relations office to help investigate on discriminations against the unemployed disabled. I myself have been discriminated against. I had eight interviews with a company and then was told they were not hiring. And a friend of mine was hired off the street a day later. So, there are cases of discrimination going on when it comes to employment in Evansville. The other thing is to make sure that the disabled have the same rights as everybody else to housing. Sometimes it would be helping with first time loans and such that they could help to become homeowners just like everybody else, or to make sure they can find affordable, clean, and safe housing in apartments and such. Also I’m unaware of any disabled worker for the City or County and so this office could also go out to such as job fairs and such to look for disabled workers to get them hired with the City and County. Okay, and the last thing I’ve got on there, and there are other possibilities, is that these are just the ones I’ve thought of off the top of my head, is the reassignment of Sara Curtains current services. The one that I can think of mostly is the municipal building which is an excellent service, however, it could be run better if you allow the Director to do it more as disability service and less as a mass transit. I challenge each one of you to go out and ride one afternoon for two or three hours with the mobility drivers and you will see what they do. No, they don’t handle the number of riders that the city bus does, but they do drive off the beaten path. They do help people to the door and from the door. They help people get strapped in. They also have to strap in wheelchairs and the lift and everything so they do put in a lot more extra time I think could be better ran as a disability service and not as a mass transit system. And I will say that I am quite aware that the Council does not have the power to enact this currently. I’m just here tonight to ask for your support in this system so I can go to the Mayor with it next and ask for him to bring it back to you to actually look into it. I will be talking to the County Commissioners next week and ask them of the same thing. Are there any questions I could answer?
President John: Rob, you and I have talked about this a couple of times and you asked whether or not it would be good to come up here. Whether we would allow you, and sure you know we’re more than happy to hear about any proposed program especially if the necessary funding is going to come before us. I like your presentation. It appears in there that there may be some room in there with interacting with the Human Relations Commission. Is that the way you’re going to go about it or…?
Rob Kerney: Not taking that away from them, but actually interacting with them and helping them to investigate and help them in areas of discrimination. Not actually take over the investigations or take anything away from Floyd and his office, but actually work in conjunction and try to help them out some.
President John: And you are correct in that we don’t initiate programs like this but the funding ultimately the funding request gets to us too, I guess, as the final decision.
Rob Kerney: Right.
President John: Your next step would be go to the County Commissioners and the City Administration to see if they are willing to listen and maybe work with you on incorporating some of your ideas into either the existing structure that we have or a new structure. Are there Members of Council that have any questions or comments?
Rob Kerney: I either did that great of a job or that bad of a job I’m not sure which.
President John: I thought you did very well.
Rob Kerney: Is it safe to assume that at least part of the Council would be interested in me pursuing this further?
President John: Councilman Bagbey.
Councilman Bagbey: Rob, I definitely support this. My brother-in-law helped write the…part of the ADA bill. And I’m very in tuned with people with disabilities, and I would strongly not only give you my personal support, but anything I can do to be of help.
Rob Kerney: I appreciate that Councilman Bagbey.
President John: Councilwoman Robinson:
Councilman Robinson: Yes Mr. President. Rob, I’d like to echo the same concerns as Councilman Bagbey. I think this is a worthwhile project and probably much needed and a segment of the population that we have, at times, we have a tendency to overlook. But they have the same rights as everyone else.
Rob Kerney: Thank you.
President John: Do any other Council Members have any comments? If not, thank you very much Rob and I encourage you to continue your pursuit of this and I guess your next step is to either set up a meeting with the Commissioners or the City Administration or both.
Rob Kerney: Like I said, I am on the agenda for the Commissioners meeting next Monday night. So that will be my next step, and then I’ll talk to the Mayor after that then.
President John: I would appreciate it if you would keep us posted.
Rob Kerney: All right, thank you.
President John: Thank you. Mr. Coker, I see you are present this evening. You missed a Council Member right there, as a matter of fact a member of the school…a schoolteacher. David, do you happen to have another one for our Clerk?
David Coker: No, I do not.
President John: Okay, we’ll get one.
David Coker: They are readily available.
President John: Okay, thank you.
David Coker: My name is David Coker. I’m the President of Vanderburgh County Taxpayers Association. First thing I’d like to say is the last time I appeared before the Council was during the Finance Committee several weeks ago. And the topic that we were discussing at that time was the bond issue, and we were favorably impressed by what the Council did with that bond issue. We thought that scaling the bond back was the right thing to do. And we’d like to commend the Council for that initially. I’m not going to spell my name for you Alberta. I think you probably read it in the newspaper several times in the past week. As you all know what happened, you can read the newspapers with respect to the County Council and the fact that the resolution that I asked for did not even make a vote last week before the County Council. We learn from our mistakes. And I’m not here tonight to ask for a resolution because I doubt seriously if the reaction would be any different from the City Council as it was from the County Council. However, what I have handed you is a copy of the vote tally from April 8, 2003, the special election that was held on the $10,000,000 tax increase referendum over seventy years, seven years, excuse me, $70,000,000 tax increase that was requested by the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation. And if you’ll look at these vote totals very carefully, you will see that we carried every ward, not every precinct, but every ward in the City of Evansville, and we carried every township in the County of Vanderburgh County. This was a strong resounding statement that was made by the voters of both the City and Vanderburgh County. Over the past several months our organization has continued to meet, and we probably haven’t reached out to you all enough to keep you abreast of what we’ve been involved in and so forth. But we have been approached by numerous candidates, many of them challengers for City Council in the upcoming election. And, subsequent to the referendum, we did file our required papers with the County Clerks office so that we are now a bonified Political Action Committee, and we are not strictly tied to the constraints of the referendum. When we formed the Vanderburgh County Taxpayers Association we were dedicated solely to the referendum and defeating it. Now our basic mission is to just keep the public aware of tax issues. And by way of giving you a copy of these vote totals, I would like to extend an invitation to any or all of you to appear personally as citizens of the City of Evansville, and not necessarily as City Council people, but strictly as citizens to perhaps appear before the Department of Local Government Finance on October 14th at 8:30 in the morning to say something about this proposed $13,000,000 tax increase that the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation is proposing. I understand that Councilman John did speak with the EVSC officials last week at the same time that the County Council people did. We are dead serious about this. The statements that I made then are….they are just as serious for the City as they are for the County. We are creating a mountain of debt. Well, our researchers have located some $85,000,000 in debt that has been created by the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation that is due and payable over the next ten years. And you know with the shrinking tax base and the aging tax base that we have in this community, we are setting ourselves up for a major train wreck if we don’t put the brakes on now. It may even be too late at this point, I don’t know. I’m not an actuary. I don’t deal with floating these bonds or anything. But I know that from looking at the various projects that have been approved over the past several years that we are continuing to mount this debt. And I just wanted to extend an invitation to you all at your own discretion. Look at these vote totals and look at what the people from all of the various precincts in the wards that you all represent, what they said. I can’t speak as loud as they did. And I would only hope that you would respond. And in the interest of these people who are juggling food bills, and medical bills, and utility bills, and tax bills, and wondering how they are going to pay for all of this, you know it’s a serious, serious problem for many seniors in this community. I can tell you my great-aunt who lives on Gum Street between Alvord Boulevard and Boeke Road, lives in a… well it’s a combination house. It’s like a one-bedroom apartment attached to a three-bedroom house. It’s Bedford stone. There is a small two-car garage on the back of the lot and they raised her….this is a 92 year old shut in that is on fixed income, she has some investments so it’s not critical at this time, but they raised her property taxes $1,000.00 a year. And you’re probably hearing that same thing from constituents in all of your various wards and all over the city. Please come and help us out. We desperately need to put the brakes on this situation now and we’re trying to recruit support from as broad a base of individuals in this community as we possibly can. And that’s why I wanted to come before you. I didn’t want to ask for a resolution. As I said, I didn’t think you’d probably vote on it if I did, but I would appreciate it if some of you would try to appear.
President John: I appreciate your comments. Council Members does anyone have a question for David? You say that’s October 20….
David Coker: It’s October 14th, the day after….well it’s Tuesday of next week, but your meeting would have been on the 13th, but it’s that Tuesday, the following day at 8:30 in the morning. I’m not sure of the meeting room it’s changed. It was supposed to be in the Auditors office. It’s now tentatively scheduled for room 307. We’re going to be doing what we can to turn out lots of people so they may end up putting it in this room. I have no idea. But we would really like to get some support if we could. Thank you very much.
President John: Thank you very much. Is there any other matter to come under Miscellaneous? Councilman Kniese.
Councilman Kniese: Just real quick. At our last Council meeting I was remiss in not thanking Rose Zigenfus and her staff and Pete Swaim and his group they helped me out putting some of those detour signs on Lloyd Expressway that take traffic from the east going west. Now the westbound Green River Road on ramp is closed. So they were very expedient in putting that up and I think it has helped. So I just wanted to publicly thank both of them. Thanks.
President John: Thanks. Councilman Bagbey.
Councilman Bagbey: I noticed the Mayor issued a press release talking about the Public Arts Commission. And I quote: “I’m also inviting the City Council to appoint a representative to this commission” end of quote. Have you been assigned that task in your role as President?
President John: I read the news release. I haven’t had any contact from the administration. If anyone has a recommendation, they are more than welcome to bring it to Council floor. Any other matters to come under miscellaneous? If not we’ll go to Committee Reports.
FINANCE CHAIRWOMAN ROBINSON: Yes Mr. President. Resolution C-2003-24, October 27, 2003 at 6:20. Ordinance F-2003-18 October 27th at 6:10, 2003.
ASD CHAIRMAN ANGERMEIER:
Nothing at this time.
PUBLIC WORKS CHAIRMAN BAGBEY:
We will hear G-2003-26 at 6:00 p.m. and 24 and 25 at 6:15 p.m.
President John: Thank you. Any other matters to come before Council this evening? If not I’ll accept a motion to adjourn.
Councilman Bagbey moved and Councilman Kiefer seconded the motion to adjourn. Voice Vote. So Ordered. Meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.