Markle Town Council awards Tracy Street contract to FW company

The Markle Town Council awarded a contract for improvements to Tracy Street to Brooks Construction Company, of Fort Wayne, at a total cost of $38,473.

The unanimous vote to accept Brooks’ bid was made at the council’s regular meeting on Wednesday, June 21.

The project covers the stretch of Tracy Street from U.S.-224 to CR 600W and will include repaving the roadway in front of Hare Canvas.

Engineer Jay Stankiewicz of the firm JPR says he spoke with Markle Clerk-Treasurer Carolyn Hamilton, and she has money to cover the 50 percent match that is required for the project.

Stankiewicz says he expects the project to be completed by Oct. 11.

Brooks Construction is also working on the Novae Parkway improvement project. Stankiewicz said a pre-construction meeting between Brooks, Novae and himself will occur July 5 or 7, and construction will tentatively begin on July 17.

On another matter, Stankiewicz says the town will be able to apply for a Community Crossings grant next year. He and Town Supervisor Rick Asher met to pick out streets and alleys in need of repaving, which Stank-iewicz estimates will cost around $173,000. The town has $70,000 still in its Local Option Income Tax fund to disperse. That amount, representing a 25 percent match from the town, would provide $280,000 in total construction costs, he said, allowing the town to add three to four more blocks of streets that need to be repaved.

Streets currently included in the project are portions of 1st Street, Clay Street, County Line Road, East Sparks Street, East Wilt Street, North Clark Street, North Draper Street, North Haflich Street, North Lee Street, West Sparks Street and six alleys.

“I think that if you can add a couple more, let’s get what you can get,” said Council President Jeff Humbarger. “Let’s go ahead and allocate whatever we can to whatever projects we can get done.”

Councilmen approved the project unanimously.

The council also approved Resolution 2017-8, which will authorize the clerk-treasurer to pay invoices that come due before the town council meeting date, in order to avoid paying late charges.

Previously, the council had to authorize payment of the bills before they could be paid. If the accounts payable came due before the third Wednesday of the month — which is the regular town council meeting date — late fees could be incurred. Hamilton says she has to pay the fees out of her own pocket.

“If I don’t pay them and attach it to the vouchers when the State Board of Accounts comes in and audits, any late charges that are incurred by the town, the clerk-treasurer is responsible for,” she said. “To me, it really didn’t seem fair.”

Hamilton recently attended the annual conference of the Indiana League of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers and asked what could be done to keep from incurring the charges. The resulting resolution will allow her to pay invoices that come due before the town council meeting occurs.

“What this will allow me to do is pay those bills in a timely fashion so that no late charges are assessed,” she said.

On a separate item, Hamilton was granted permission to contact Umbaugh & Associates to conduct a rate study of the Markle Water Utility and the Wastewater Utility. She said the last study was done in 2002.

“We haven’t had any water (rate) increases since 2009, and wastewater increases since 1997,” she said. “We’ve got several things going on and two water towers now that we have to paint.”

The fee would cost the town $5,500 per utility for the studies.

Humbarger said the town needs to know what resources it has to maintain the water towers and the wastewater treatment plant.

“I feel it needs to be done,” he said. “We haven’t done one in quite a while, and we do need to have an idea of what we’re looking at in the future and also compare our rates to others’.”

The council also renamed Administrative Coordinator Stephenie Hen- sley’s position to that of deputy clerk-treasurer. Hamilton said Hensley has learned how to pay bills and do payroll. The updated title will let her work in the Gateway program and let her begin certifications as a municipal clerk.

“I would make her a deputy clerk-treasurer, because if something would happen to me, she could do the work and you could sign the checks,” Hamilton told Humbarger. “Then you’ll be prepared if something does happen … I think that’s part of the internal controls, is to have a plan of action.”

Hensley’s pay rate will not increase as a result of the council’s action.

Finally, Hamilton and the council discussed the upcoming 2018 budget. Hamilton said Town Marshal John Markley has asked for a separate line item for each employee in the police clothing budget.

In addition, health insurance will cost around $170,000, she said.

Hamilton also said Asher would like the sidewalk replacement program to go back into the budget to pay part of the portion of a resident’s sidewalk if they choose to replace it. Asher said the town could also put in ADA-accessible curbs. The town had covered between 45 and 50 percent of sidewalk costs back in the 1980s, he said.

Hamilton said she could put up to 10 percent into the Rainy Day Fund from money not used from this year’s gas budget line.

Humbarger said there will be additional conversations on the budget as well as a public hearing in future council meetings.