City of Austin again successful in receiving Blight Elimination Program loan dollars
Written by Administrator
Friday, 03 February 2017 10:33
The City of Austin has again been successful in obtaining a Blight Elimination Program (BEP) loan from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA).
An announcement made by the authority on Tuesday, January 31, stated that the City of Austin will receive $252,000. This award follows a 2016 BEP loan of $392,000.
All local units of government in Indiana’s 92 counties were eligible to apply for BEP funding. Loan dollars are used exclusively to eliminate blighted, vacant and abandoned homes in the State’s effort to decrease the number of foreclosures.
Austin is listed in the BEP’s Division Six of communities which applied for these latest funds, and it received the highest amount of funding in Divisions Four, Five and Six, aside from the City of Richmond, which received $254,000. The funds were made available after they were de-obligated for various reasons from other communities’ 2016 loans.
BEP loans are made on a “forgiveable” basis. The program allows the IHCDA to make funding available, with the loans being restructured as loans using dollars from the $221.7 million Hardest Hit Fund money allotted to Indiana in 2014. The loans can then be written off or “forgiven.”
According to IHCDA estimates, approximately 4,000 blighted and abandoned homes in Indiana will be eliminated through the BEP. To date, more than 1,500 homes have been demolished.
Through BEP, property owners are offered $6,000 for a building with no basement or $10,000 for a building with a basement.
In Austin, 20 such structures were initially targeted under the 2016 program. A total of 14 have been torn down, with another six slated for demolition. The new funds will allow the Austin Redevelopment Commission (ARC), the acting agency for the City of Austin, to contract for more eliminations.
Those homes already demolished or under contract include:
458 West Maple Street
1253 North Church Street
219 Paulanna Avenue
232 East Main Street (State Road 256)
1316 West Gibson Drive
180 Paulanna Avenue
338 South Third Street
49 North High Street
1266 Pearl Street
503 Cross Street
95 Rural Street
136 Wilbur Avenue
971 North Second Street
1027 North Third Street
180 North Street
410 Broadway Street
331 Wilbur Avenue
285 Broadway Street
990 Mann Avenue
825 Mann Avenue
A contract for the final six homes was approved by the ARC on Tuesday, January 31. CLG Disposal of Henryville won that contract with a bid of $29,972.11.
Other communities receiving new monies this year in Division Six include Connersville, $122,000; Dunkirk, $97,000; Hartford, $198,000; Knox, $36,000; Montpelier, $18,000; and Rushville, $176,000.
Special meeting set February 8…. Lone bid submitted on county’s unused paving plant; Fairgrounds Road re-opening demanded
Written by Administrator
Friday, 03 February 2017 10:30
It was a fairly unusual situation in which Scott County Commissioners found themselves on Wednesday morning, February 1.
They had earlier followed the procedure to sell an unused paving plant obtained as surplus from the U.S. Army nearly two years ago. A legal notice was placed in these Green Banner publications, but that legal notice only attracted one bid.
One sealed bid was submitted by Wingham Paving Inc. of Charlestown, the same firm which had won the county’s contract to do nearly $2 million worth of road paving last fall. Wingham workers got a lot done, but there are still more roads to be addressed.
If the firm is successful in obtaining the paving plant setting at the Scott County Highway Department, local residents may see it at work on remaining roads to be paved under the 2016 contract.
Valued as high as $1.6 million when brand new, the plant had been used by the Army to teach proper paving procedures for plane runways and the like at overseas sites. It was among equipment labeled surplus by the Army and offered to any unit of U.S. government free which could transport it. Scott County won that right.
Commissioners had hoped the plant could be upgraded and then used by the Highway Department to pave more cheaply than awarding contracts to paving companies. Unfortunately, an expert in the field told them last year that its operation would cost the county more, not less.
Consequently, officials made the decision to sell it.
Kelley Robbins, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, held up the sealed envelope and then looked at fellow officials Bob Tobias and Mike Jones. “So, do we open it?” he asked them. “It’s the only one we got.”
Tobias was not in favor of opening the bid. “If we don’t open it, Wingham’s bid won’t become public knowledge and then he isn’t harmed and could rebid if he wanted to if we advertise it again,” explained Tobias. An auctioneer, Tobias wanted to advertise the equipment on-line and in a different publication to attract more bidders.
Ken Wingham, the bidder, told the officials that he felt his bid was a good one and for a good price. “I’ll probably have to spend around $150,000 to update and upgrade it,” he estimated.
Robbins and fellow Commissioner Mike Jones understood Tobias’ stance, and Jones offered, “I’m at a disadvantage here. I don’t know anything about this equipment, so I’m not sure if the bid would be a good deal for us or only a good deal for the bidder,” he told them. Jones was sworn in as a county commissioner on January 1. “Letting it just set there and deteriorate is also not a good idea,” Jones went on. He looked at Wingham, the bidder, telling him, “If you are comfortable with us thinking about this, we could take this under advisement and come back later with our answer.”
Wingham said he was fine with any decision on action by the Commissioners.
Robbins opened the bid. Each Commissioner read the information and handed it to Robert L. Houston, county attorney, who gave it back to Robbins.
Wingham proposed $400,000, not in cash but in paving. He proposed providing $80,000 worth per year for five years. That would add a little over one mile more for paving projects each of those years. That’s with adding two inches of pavement, Wingham said. “If you just wanted 1½ inches put down, that would be more paving,” he added.
All three Commissioners voted to table the bid. Robbins then set a special meeting for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 8. The meeting will be in the Commissioners’ Room, Suite 128, in the Courthouse.
“This should be the only thing on the agenda unless something else urgent comes up,” he stated.
Another issue brought up by Jones was the last item they considered that morning.
At the Commissioners’ meeting on January 18, Jones asked for background on why the short section of Fairgrounds between U.S. Highway 31 South and South Main Street Road, also known as Vienna Road, remains impassable to traffic.
L&I Railroad and its partner CSX had contracted with a Kentucky firm to replace all rail and repave crossings in a multi-million dollar effort to improve the short line between Louisville and Indianapolis for longer and faster trains to travel. Work in Scott County was undertaken last year, crossings being the last task attempted by R.J. Corman crews.
Most crossings were closed for only one to three days. Fairgrounds Road was closed while the company lengthened an existing side rail. It never reopened. Concrete barriers remain on the road so that motorists won’t attempt a crossing.
Commissioners discussed the closing several times as rail work wound down. They also voted last year to demand that the L&I Railroad reopen the crossing. At the January 18 meeting, Jones said he’d talk with L&I’s contact person and report back.
“He gave me this story about how no one ever used it. Sure, a lot of people don’t use it, but what they need to realize is that that is the last road south of Scottsburg. If one of their trains is blocking the tracks at Lovers Lane and ambulances or fire trucks have to go down to Vienna to cross there, it adds three miles to responders’ trips. Three miles is a lot if you can’t breathe,” he related.
On his recommendation, Commissioners agreed to have Houston send the company another letter requesting its reopening as quickly as possible.
“I’ll send them a letter. It’ll probably be a really short letter. I don’t think I’m going to have to explain the terms ‘open’ and ‘closed’ to them,” Houston remarked, causing some laughter.
All of the Commissioners will sign the letter, it was decided.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 February 2017 10:30
District 2 Board Discuss Bonds as well as Personnel Matters
Written by Administrator
Friday, 03 February 2017 10:29
The Scott County School Board of Trustees held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, January 10.
As a follow up from December, Board Member Christy Roberts asked how much was spent in total on the locker room renovations. Dr. Slaton stated that he had given the Board the cost for paint and carpet and was waiting for Mr. Riley to determine the number of man hours spent working on those projects. Mr. Riley said he would have to estimate because they had 3 different people working on the different pieces of the job, but would get that information to them. Mrs. Roberts asked how much was spent on the trophy cases. Mr. Riley stated that he had not realized they would have to use safety glass instead of regular plate glass, which was about $3,500 more expensive. He will get the total cost figured and provide it to the Board.
Mrs. Roberts stated that even though the Board had approved raising the amount of expenditures requiring Board approval to $5,000, she would like the Board to be made aware of any and all projects regardless of the cost of the project or whether they were renovation projects, CPF projects, etc.
Christy Roberts asked when the Board could expect quotes for the middle school projects, stating that she hoped they could get them well in advance of the final bond completion. Dr. Slaton stated that they were already working on obtaining quotes and would get those to the Board as soon as possible.
Mr. Mike Therber explained that the bond market changed after the election and there was an immediate impact on interest rates. A couple of months ago bonds were selling at a much lower interest rate, however, the savings that will be realized from refinancing the 2007 bonds is still substantial. Today a net savings of about $400,000 - $500,000 in debt service savings on the remaining obligation would be realized. The outstanding principal amount is $10,135,000 which will be paid on until 2024. Interest rates will continue to change during the next couple of months, so there is no way to quote an exact amount.
Bonds can’t be redeemed without penalty until July. Bonds can be sold in March and close in April. In terms of raising cash for projects, extending the lease on the debt will extend the repayment term, which allows you to add one or one and a half years of payments on to that term and in return you get project cash. Mrs. Roberts stated that she wants to be able to see, whichever scenario is chosen, how much interest will be owed.
Mr. Therber stated that right now, if you add two payments and one additional year of debt service, you would be looking at approximately $1,500,000 - $1,600,000 cash in return and about $1,544,000 paid out, which cancels each other out. It is his opinion that the benefit to the District warrants refinancing. Ms. Melinda Sparkman stated that it is a “no brainer” to refinance, but the question is whether or not to extend the payment. Extending the payment would raise the debt capacity, which is needed in order to keep it level. Mrs. Roberts stated that they would need to look at each option and the overall debt capacity in conjunction with how much the interest will be. She added that she would like to preview the projects as they come in rather than waiting for the agenda to be able to think about them.
During the next portion of the meeting the board was presented the Personnel Recommendations and others business.
Janice Lawson - SES 4 Hour Duty Aide
Dan McDonald - SMS 5.75 Hour Special Programs Aide
Beth Hamilton - SHS 5.5 Hour Special Education Aide
Support Staff Recommendation(s)
Michael Hall - SHS 5.5 Hour Custodian
Robin McDonald - School Nurse
ECA Staff Recommendation(s)
Maxine Rembusch - SMS Destination Imagination Coach
Angie Richey - SMS Destination Imagination Coach
Elementary Girls’ Basketball and Cheerleading Coaching Staff NOTE: Dr. Slaton will let the Board know if there are changes to this list as there are some positions still open.
Professional Leave Request(s)
Dustin Marshall - Focus on Inclusion, Indianapolis, IN, Feb. 21-22
Permission to Post
SES 4 Hour Duty Aide
SMS 5.75 Hour Special Programs Aide
SHS 5.5 Hour Special Education Aide
Board member Christy Roberts made a motion to approve items 1-5. Josh Mays seconded and motion carried 5-0.
The board then talked about administrator contract rollovers. Board member Ron Moore stated that he felt the high school principals should have the same number of days since they all have the same title. Mrs. Roberts made a motion to approve a one year rollover for the administrators listed below. Mrs. Soloe seconded and motion carried 5-0.
Melinda Sparkman and Kevin Smith
Kristin Nass and Bobby Riley
Scott Borden and Bobby Doriot
Debora Yost and Jordan Warner
Tiffany Barrett and Heather Crites
After discussion as to how to realign the number of days for the high school administrators (Rick Manns, Kerri Hammons and Mr. Johanningsmeier), the Board asked the high school administrators and Dr. Slaton to provide a calendar with coverage needs stipulated to the Board for consideration. Mrs. Roberts made a motion to table the high school administrator contracts until this determination is made. Mrs. Soloe seconded and motion to table carried 5-0.
Mr. Kendall reminded the board that there was be a public hearing as required on January 24 to consider Dr. Slaton’s contract extension and stipend.
Superintendent Dr. Slaton advised the Board that the elementary principals would attend the meeting on February 14 and 28 and the middle and high school principals will attend on March 14 to present their ISTEP+ data, school letter grades, and to discuss strategies for improvement in any weak areas.
Dr. Marc Slaton asked that everyone remember Scott 2 staff dealing with deaths in their families. Elementary Art Aide Dustin McIntosh lost his grandfather, who was also LES teacher Sherri Hale’s uncle, at the end of December. Mr. McIntosh sent an email of thanks for the remembrances sent in memory of his grandfather.
Also, VFES teacher Heather McCoskey, lost her grandfather over the weekend. The Board received a card from SMS Custodian Bruce Henry in appreciation of remembrances sent after the loss of his father, last month. Dr. Slaton advised that VFES principal Tiffany Barrett was in a car accident recently and should be released from the hospital and able to return to work. Mr. Kendall asked if any of the Board members had anything else they would like to add. Mr. Moore stated that he wanted the Board to consider having a full time elementary counselor at each elementary building for next school year.
District 2 Exceeds Goals to Having Over $2 Million Dollars in General Fund and $1.1 Million Under Budget
Written by Administrator
Friday, 03 February 2017 10:24
The Scott County School Board of Trustees held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, January 10
Superintendent Dr. Marc Slaton recognized Scottsburg Middle School (SMS) Teacher Mr. Tony Carter for being awarded a $500 MAC grant from McDonald’s which will be used for student supplies for math-based animation projects using Pixar activities from Khan Academy. Mr. Carter also received a $5,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant which they hope to use to put a roof over the existing brick pad on the west side of SMS which will make that area more useable as an educational lab environment. Mr. Carter spoke about how the grants were obtained and how they would be used in the classroom. Dr. Slaton thanked Mr. Carter for his efforts to obtain these grants to help students and to improve our facilities.
Congratulations was also offered to Scottsburg High School Senior Katie Hunger for being named the 2017 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar. Dr. Slaton stated that it is great to see someone with Katie’s work ethic be rewarded for all of her hard work. He congratulated Katie, who was unable to attend, and wished her continued success.
A link to an interview that Chuck Rose and Nick South did with Renaissance Learning recently was provided. The article is posted on the Renaissance Learning website and spotlights Lexington Elementary’s National Blue Ribbon status and use of the Renaissance program. The CEO of Renaissance read the article and asked for a conference call with Mr. Rose and Mr. South. He plans to use Lexington Elementary’s success story and how Renaissance Learning was a part of that success to highlight their product during 2017. Dr. Slaton offered kudos to Mr. Rose, Mr. South and the LES staff for this opportunity to showcase some of the great things happening in Scott 2.
There board was also updated on the Homebound Student Report. Presently, there are currently 5 medical and 5 behavioral students receiving homebound services.
In other matters, Dr. Marc Slaton shared the most recent school improvement plans for the Board’s review. He noted that SHS, SES, LES and JES will be revising and rewriting their school improvement plans as they expire in June of 2017. VFES is good until 2018 and SMS until 2019. Dr. Slaton explained that it is challenging to update these plans without knowing what the state is going to do with ISTEP since those scores have been used to guide the plans in the past. He hopes to get clarification on that soon, but stated that the revision process will begin regardless with he and Mr. Rose being heavily involved.
Josh Mays made a motion to approve the minutes from the December 13, 2016 Board meeting as presented. Christy Roberts seconded and motion carried 5-0.
VII. Financial Considerations
The board was presented the following the Expenditure Summary, pay claims and regular claims for the following dates: 1. Dec. 15, 2016, Jan. 3, 2017
Regular Claims: Dec. 1-9, 2016, Dec. 12-16, 2016, Dec. 19-29, 2016, Dec. 30-31, 2016, Dec. 30-31, 2016, Jan. 10, 2017
Board member Christy Roberts questioned the claim for Grace Christian Academy for ISTEP prep. Dr. Slaton explained that this is part of the Title I budget and Scott 2 is required to pay Grace Academy and is then reimbursed through Title I. Mrs. Roberts made a motion to approve, seconded by Mr. Mays. Motion carried 5-0.
Ms. Melinda Sparkman reported that the District goal was to have between 8 and 12 percent of revenues in the general fund as recommended and the year ended with over 2 million dollars in the general fund, or 11.4
percent of revenues which is up from 7.3 percent at the end of 2015. She also noted that the District finished the year 1.1 million dollars under budget and with enrollment at 2,669 as of December 1. Current enrollment is now 2, 679 which is 2 above count day in September. State support funding is up $451,000 due to the enrollment figures. Ms. Sparkman added that she will be providing a monthly report on the financial status of the greenhouse and HVAC projects to keep the Board informed.
Ron Moore asked if the District has a rainy day fund. Ms. Sparkman answered that there is such a fund and that the goal is to add $75,000 per year into that account. The balance is currently $225,000. She reminded the Board that the fund is mainly to supplement retirement for those employees with the bridge.
The board was presented with an offer to purchase the following items:
Conrad’s Music $2,950- This is for an instrument needed for Band. Mr. Tim Johnston checked with 2 other places, Prowinds and First Chair Rewards and found the cost considerably higher.
BSN Sports $3,840 - This is the invoice for the Elementary Boys’ Travel Team Basketball Uniforms. The parents each paid $175 for this opportunity so this invoice will be paid out of those funds in the Basketball Account.
Dr. Marc Slaton noted that though these invoices are below the new $5,000 requirement for Board approval, he added them to the agenda because they were received prior to that change. Mrs. Roberts made a motion to approve seconded by Mr. Mays. Motion carried 5-0.
The board was presented the following invoices for payment:
Kovert- Hawkins- SHS HVAC Invoices
Invoice #1- $85,500
Invoice #2- $18,000
Invoice #3 - $13,189.62
Dr. Marc Slaton stated that these bills are for the services of Kovert Hawkins for the HVAC Project at SHS and includes 100% of their design, construction documents fee, and bidding process fee along with 10% of
the construction administration cost. It also includes $589.62 for reimbursable expenses for reproductions. Their total fee for the HVAC project is $180,000 and after these bills are paid there will be a balance of $32,400 for construction administration and any reimbursable expenses. Mr. Mays made a motion to approve seconded by Mrs. Soloe. Motion carried 5-0.
H. Boatman Road Lease Agreement
Josh Mays made a motion to approve the same terms of agreement as in the past few years with Mr. Darlage on the Boatman Road Lease Agreement. Mrs. Roberts seconded and motion carried 5-0.
The board was then presented invoices for the district's waste disposal.
VIP Waste Disposal $1,092.79/mo
Best Way Disposal $618/mo
Dr. Marc Slaton stated that based on the consultation he and Mr. Bobby Riley had with school attorney Josh Stigdon, they recommended rejecting all quotes and issuing a new request for proposal form to each vendor with more consistent specifications. There was discussion as to what clarifications should be made in the new requests and those included: a 3 year contract, specific fuel escalator plan, cost for extra pick ups, metal dumpsters and specific pick-up time windows. Christy Roberts made a motion to reject all bids and rebid. The motion was seconded by Mr. Mays and carried 4-1. (Mr. Moore voted against.)
Mrs. Roberts made a motion to publish the notice of the determination hearing on the SHS Roof and Other Site Improvements (which will also be known as the SHS Roof Bond 2017) with the hearings scheduled for February 14, 2017. Mrs. Soloe seconded and motion carried 5-0.
Dr. Slaton recommended contracting Kovert Hawkins for the SHS Roof and Other Site Improvements Bond stating that this will allow them to get to work on all the documents for the bid process in order to get the work scheduled for this summer, which would allow them to do the roof simultaneously with the HVAC. Their fees for the bond would be $180,000. There was discussion as to the possibility of using a design-build where the architect and general contractor work together as one instead of different entities as a possible 6 to 10 percent cost savings. Mr. Bobby Riley will check into that possibility and get the information to the Board in order that a determination can be made at the next Board meeting to prevent delay of the project. Mrs. Soloe made a motion to table, seconded by Mrs. Roberts. Motion to table carried 5-0.
Dr. Marc Slaton recommended adoption of the Resolution authorizing refinancing of the 2007 SMS Bonds and hiring Therber & Brock and Ice Miller for professional services to move ahead with the refunding process in order to achieve interest cost savings.
Scott 2 is funding this improvement project through a lease financing, as it has done with other past construction/renovation projects. Lease financings are used by school corporations across the State in order to borrow for renovation and construction. This type of financing does not count against the school corporation’s constitutional debt allowance. SMS is currently subject to a financing lease and we are amending that lease to increase the lease rental due from the school corporation equal to the reduction from the refunding. In exchange for the increased lease rental, Scott 2 will use the bond proceeds to make the needed improvements to the building. The increased lease rental (as shown as a maximum amount in the Third Amendment to Lease) will be sufficient to pay the principal and interest due to the bondholders. Dr. Slaton recommended adoption of the resolution approving form of amendment to lease.
Dr. Slaton recommended adoption of the Resolution Determining the Need for these Projects as required by the School Leasing Statute (IC 20-47-3.
The IRS requires that a school corporation declare its official intent to reimburse as documented in this resolution. Dr. Slaton explained that this allows work to start on some of the projects sooner than this summer with the District being reimbursed from the refinance. The goal is to close on refunding the bonds in late April. He added that one of the projects listed was the activities center however, that can be removed if there is not enough money to cover that undertaking . Mrs. Roberts made a motion to approve all items. Mrs. Soloe seconded and motion carried 5-0.
Mrs. Roberts made a motion to approve repairing or replacing the SMS boiler. Mr. Mays seconded and motion carried 5-0.