Updates are designated in blue, 5/17/20
The May City Council meeting will be held on Monday, May 18 at 7:00pm. I provide this summary for your information and as an encouragement for you to participate!
Your city government is still open and working for you. However, meetings can’t be held the way that we are used to, due to physical distancing requirements. Fishers City Council meetings will adhere to the Governor’s orders. On March 16, Governor Holcomb signed an Executive Order that limits public meetings and Indiana’s Open Door Laws, which was extended to June 4, 2020.
Here are the ways that City Council Meetings will be modified for the May 18 meeting.
- The meeting agenda will be limited to essential matters only.
- City Council members will participate via a conference call.
- Public is still invited to participate in the meeting electronically. See below.
- For more information, please review the City Council page of the City of Fishers website.
- A video of the meeting will be broadcast live starting at 7pm on Monday, May 18, so you can listen from home.
- Fishers residents are welcomed to submit public comments electronically prior to the meeting. All comments received before the meeting will be presented at the meeting and will be part of the meeting’s Community Comment. The May Public Comment Form is live on the website right now. Please submit your comments as soon as possible, before noon on Monday, May 18 is ideal.
- “Community Comment” at the end of each City Council meeting is always open for your comment on any Fishers topic.
- There are two action items on the meeting agenda which include a Public Hearing. #9 and #11. A public hearing means that any resident is invited to comment on this particular topic. A public hearing is the only opportunity to make a comment and address the City Council on this specific action item before a final decision is made. Submit your comment by submitting the May Public Comment Form. Please submit your comments as soon as possible, before noon on Monday, May 18 is ideal.
- Meeting agendas and past meeting minutes can be found here, under City Council tab.
- Past City Council meeting videos can be found here. The meeting videos are posted within 48 hours of the meeting.
The May City Council Meeting agenda is available here. As always, the agenda has items that appear in blue that are links to open the supporting documents. Here’s my rundown of the meeting agenda items and my interpretation of them.
- Finance Committee Report. This committee met last on May 13. You can listen to the audio of the meeting here. Usually, the Finance Committee meets and discusses the Budget/Financial items before these items appear on the City Council agenda.
- Consent Agenda. There are two items on the Consent Agenda.
The Consent Agenda is a grouping of routine reports that should be approved in one swift action, instead of approving each one separately. I believe that all items included on the Consent Agenda should be approved as presented and approved unanimously. If not, the item that requires a revision, abstention, or other action needs to be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered as a separate voting item.
a. The April 24 City Council Meeting Minutes. The April 24 meeting was the special City Council Meeting that was called to discuss the establishment and funding of the city’s new Fishers Health Department. The last several pages of the meeting minutes include the public comments that were submitted electronically last month from residents about the proposed Health Department. As an attachment, these public comments are included in the official meeting record.
b. Transfer of Funds. This action transfers a total of $11,900.00 in the Parks Department budget. A transfer of funds within the city budget is needed periodically. The transfers do not adjust the bottom line at all. This is a transfer of dollars from one budget category to another to avoid a negative balance in a category.
- Proposal to add an exception to the Noise Ordinance
Thanks to nearby residents looping me in, I understand that this action is in response to noise complaints from nearby residents about the construction of a multi-story parking garage in the downtown Fishers area. I was first made aware of the residents’ complaints in early March, when it was reported that the construction activity was happening at 4am! The current ordinance reads that the use and operation of construction equipment should be 7am-10pm May 15-Sept 15 and 7am-9pm Sept 16-May 14. This proposal gives a Developer the opportunity to receive an exemption from the noise ordinance and work outside of the designated hours. The Developer would apply for a waiver that could be approved by the Board of Public Works & Safety. The waiver is for construction for the downtown Nickel Plate District only.
This proposal seems to put the Developers’ interests ahead of nearby residents. But I would like to understand more. Here are the questions that I have posed about this amendment to the Noise Ordinance.
- Why does City staff recommend approval of this exception to the current Noise Ordinance?
- I understand this exception is being proposed per Browning’s request, is that correct? (Browning is the developer of the First Internet Bank building with a parking garage that is between 116th Street and South Street.)
- Please share Browning’s Substantial Need and how they’ve engaged with residents and considered any accommodations that nearby residents have requested. This will provide us a good example of the application for the noise waiver would be approached.
- Has Browning been adhering to the current noise ordinance requirements faithfully?
- This ordinance already has 13 exceptions. Why doesn’t Exception I. cover this scenario? (Sounds emitted by construction work approved by city or governmental entity)
- Please provide the link to view the current and complete Chapter 98 of Fishers Code of Ordinances. This link doesn’t seem to be the current version.
The current version was last amended in 2017 and includes an exception for entertainment events at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater.
- Can this proposed ordinance document be structured like the most recent amendment in 2017 – with the full listing of ALL of the exceptions?
On May 16, Browning submitted to neighbors of the parking garage a proposed schedule of 46 days within the next 5 months of overnight work/early morning work with noise and lights. Neighbors were asked to sign an agreement to consent to the plan and would be paid by Browning $1,000 per household to agree. Browning stated that the concrete contains a corrosion inhibitor additive DCI-S that sets up quicker when “exposed to sunlight and/or higher temperatures. Because of this, concrete containing the DCI-S additive is often poured at night.”
- Reimburses expenditures that were paid out of cash reserves.
As I understand it, there’s recently been a cost overrun of $2.5 million for Fire Station #91. This overrun was paid for out of the City of Fishers’ cash reserves. This action changes course and replaces the $2.5 million back into cash reserves. The $2.5 million will now be funded through a bond, not cash reserves.
In November 2018, the City Council approved to issue a bond (take out a loan) to pay for the demolition and reconstruction of Fire Station #91, next to City Hall. The amount was $9.5 million. There’s recently been a cost overrun of $2.5 million (+26%) for Fire Station #91.
On April 24, 2020, the City Council approved to use $2 million of cash reserves to fund the new city health department and COVID-19 testing. Also, the COVID-19 crisis will impact the municipal budget and planned revenues. Cash reserves are important to weather this crisis.
Now, on May 18, the decision to pay for Fire Station #91’s $2.5 million overrun out of cash reserves is being rescinded. Instead, payment of $2.5 million for the Fire Station #91 will be funded through a bond instead of cash reserves. See agenda item #11 below. This action pays back the $2.5 million cash reserves that was paid for the Fire Station.
9. Appropriate Bridge Impact Fee funds – PUBLIC HEARING
The redesign of 96th Street from Lantern Rd to Cumberland Rd is over budget by $125,000, which Fishers needs to pay to INDOT. This amount can be paid using Bridge Impact Fees revenue that the City has collected. This appropriation of Bridge Impact Fees requires a Public Hearing.
A public hearing means that any resident is invited to comment on this particular topic. A public hearing is the only opportunity to make a comment and address the City Council on this specific action item before a final decision is made. Submit your comment by submitting the May Public Comment Form. Please submit your comments as soon as possible, before noon on Monday, May 18 is ideal.
- Temporary transfer of funds as a result of delayed property tax payments.
On March 19, 2019, at the start of the COVID-19 Crisis, Governor Holcomb issued an Executive Order that waived late fees on County Property tax payments. Property tax payments are usually due on May 11 and late fees are incurred after that. With Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-005, late fees will not be incurred until July 11. This is good for the many Hoosiers who found themselves in an immediate household budget problem due to the economic consequences of COVID-19. It allows Hoosiers to pay property taxes up to 60 days later without penalty.
However, the City of Fishers was planning on receiving that tax revenue at the usual time to pay for expenses. A solution to make up for the City’s cash flow timing problem is to move dollars around. This action is to authorize a temporary transfer funds to cover the expenses that were to be paid from property tax revenue that will not be received a few months later than expected.
Some municipalities have no choice but to apply for a short-term loan to cover their expenses before the tax revenues are received. Fishers doesn’t need to do that because available cash reserves are available.
- Authorizing a Bond (a loan) – PUBLIC HEARING
At the March 2020 City Council meeting Ordinance 32320A was given 1st Reading. In April it was given a 2nd reading and was approved. Ordinance 32320A was issuance of a bond to pay for construction of 126th and Ford Drive roundabout, not to exceed $9.9 million. Funds from a refinanced loan were applied to it. This refinancing (re-funding) was also approved at the April 2020 City Council meeting.
Now, the City has determined to expand the scope of bond to include $2.5 million for cost overages incurred by the Fire Station #91 project, making the total final appropriation for the bond to be $12.4 million. See agenda item #8 above.
A public hearing means that any resident is invited to comment on this particular topic. A public hearing is the only opportunity to make a comment and address the City Council on this specific action item before a final decision is made.
Planning & Zoning
12. Request to approve a rezone from R2 Residential to PUD-R for a new single-family residential development to be called Iron Pointe –FINAL READING
This property is located at 10777 E 106th St. It is a 20-acre area located on the Southeast corner of 106th St and Mollenkopf Rd. This property is adjacent to Windermere, near Geist Reservoir, in the South East District.
Iron Pointe is a proposed new 52-home development by Pulte. The homes would all be ranches, between 1,683-1,953 sq ft. The price point is $350,000-$450,000.
Planned Unified Development Meeting on March 11 (item e.) and Plan Commission Meeting on March 11 (item a.) included public comment. You can review residents’ concerns about this proposed development and how the concerns were addressed. Comments about this project from the public have included drainage concerns, Pulte’s ability to resolve homeowner concerns in other Pulte developments, the price point of the homes, and other issues. The concern that seemed to be most worrisome was turning the Fairwoods Drive cul-de-sac into a through street connector into neighboring Windermere. Instead, the connection will now be emergency/pedestrian/bicycle access only.
- Payment In Lieu of Open Space (PILOS) Fee as it relates to the Open Space Standards
PILOS is Payment In Lieu Of Open Space. I will pronounce it “Pie-Lohz” for now and hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong. PILOS is an option for developers that relaxes standards and still accomplishes the City’s goals. Residential developers could elect to pay a fee in exchange for a smaller minimum open space standards. The fee would be directed to support public parks.
Commercial developers could also elect to pay a fee in exchange for a smaller minimum open space standards. This fee would be directed to support public art. This is a helpful document to learn more.
This is the final reading, where a final vote can be taken.
- Rezone two properties Grantham PUD
These properties are located at Southeastern Parkway and 113th Street, approximately 16065 Southeastern Pkwy, near Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate/Jr High School. Development of a housing subdivision of 314 lots is being proposed. The homes will range from 1600 sq. ft – 2400 sq ft.
This is a first reading. There will not be any public comment about it but a good introduction to the idea. After first reading, the matter is taken up by the Planned Unified Development (PUD) Committee on June 3rd. And, it is also reviewed by the Plan Commission on June 3rd, where the only Public Hearing is held on the matter.
- Unfinished/New Business
I have requested an update from the City on three public health items: COVID-19, the new Fishers Health Department and 5G small-cell tower installations.
- Community Comment
In an attended meeting, the first 10 people to sign up before the meeting begins have the opportunity to speak for three minutes each on any city matter. During this socially-distanced conference call meeting, Fishers residents are welcomed to submit public comments electronically prior to the meeting instead. All comments received before the meeting will be included in the official meeting record. The May Public Comment Form is live on the website right now. Please submit your comments as soon as possible, before noon on Monday, May 18 is ideal.
If you have any comments or questions, please send them my way. Email is a good way to get a hold of me. If you would like to leave a voicemail, please ring me at 888-518-7117.