2018-02-07 / Front Page

Delphi Mayor reluctant to discuss water situation with City Council

Council pauses on vacation rentals ordinance
By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

At least one City Council member is unhappy about the lack of information coming to the Council from the Mayor’s office about the city’s water situation. Delphi Mayor Shane Evans was confronted by City Council member Dale Seward at Monday night’s meeting why he, Evans, has not communicated with the City Council about the water situation in Delphi. Seward said he’s heard the Mayor may be getting ready to request the Council approve a bond issue and raise water rates.

“I don’t know what the cost is going to be,” Seward said. “Why aren’t we being communicated with?”

Evans disagreed he is withholding information from the City Council. He said he sends the same information in the Council packets as is discussed in Board of Works meetings.

“You are just not communicating with us,” Seward accused the Mayor.

“I disagree,” Evans responded.

Seward said the Mayor told the Comet in a previous story he does not believe the relationship between him and the City Council is “broken.” Seward said this is an example of how the relationship is broken. He accused the Mayor of giving information to others and not to the governing body of the City.

Council President Carolyn Pearson said she attended the Board of Works meeting earlier in the evening in which the situation was discussed at length. She said she learned more about the problem there.

The Mayor reported at the Feb. 1 Board of Works “work session,” and informed the Council Monday night, for every million dollars the city secures in a bond to address a water problem, water bills will increase for residential customers by $2.92 per month. Depending on how the situation is addressed, the projected bonds were estimated to be between $5 million to $26 million on Feb. 1.

The Mayor said in the “work session” he plans to request the Council approve a bond for the water by the end of February or the beginning of March this year.

Evans told the Council he did not want to talk about those numbers because there is no definite plan. He said he met with U.S. Aggregates earlier in the day and learned they do not plan to mine deeper than they are currently, for the next five years. When the mining is deeper, the water table is lowered, which negatively impacts the City’s ability to provide usable water.

Water Superintendent Craig Myers’ written report for January indicates the total gallons pumped last month was 28,507,000. Of that total, 23,410,156 gallons were pumped for Indiana Packers Corporation.

APC

Seward said it was mentioned by the county zoning administrator at last month’s Area Plan Commission meeting he intends to incorporate the Delphi Zoning Ordinance into the county’s document. Seward questioned the Mayor about not hearing about this at a City Council meeting.

Evans said Zoning Administrator Doug Wagner came to him with the plan. He said it is his understanding the city’s ordinance would continue to be autonomous. Mayor’s attorney Makenzie Martin said the move is necessary because “no one knows where to go.”

Vacation rentals

Although the adoption of a vacation rentals amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance was on the agenda for the third and final reading, it was not adopted. Seward said he wanted to table the matter to discover additional information about what should be in the amendment. Seward said he received a telephone call from Sheriff Tobe Leazenby with a concern about the wording of the ordinance. He also said the City of Carmel near Indianapolis just adopted a policy about vacation homes which has some restrictions he thinks the City of Delphi should review.

Off-road vehicles on city streets

Delphi resident Norman Hunt requested the city’s ordinance governing what kind of vehicles can be legally driven on city streets be changed to include an enclosed vehicle, a UTV such as an Arctic Cat, which can travel between 40 and 45 mph. He said his stepson currently rides a three-wheel moped to get to and from his job at Wallmann’s and he is exposed to the elements. He suggested the City Council allow the faster, enclosed vehicle be driven by those without a valid drivers’ license but with a moped endorsement. He said he thought senior citizens would also appreciate the ability to drive such a vehicle.

The matter was tabled to allow City Council members an opportunity to explore the suggestion. Police Chief Steve Mullin advised the Council to consider the safety of all of the public. He said the city streets should be safe for everyone.

Other business

The City will hold a public hearing as the first step to sell unused real property owned by Delphi. Evans said there are five parcels near Kerlin St. and Driefers Ave. and a one-acre lot near Boones’ Corner. The City is required to secure two separate appraisals of each property before disposition of the properties.

The City Council heard a short annual report, including slides, from the Delphi Municipal Airport manager, Jason Hart.

The next City Council meeting will be March 5 at 7 p.m.

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