Batesville Board of Works members approved two contracts Jan. 13 but decided to table a third one.
They approved a contract addendum with HWC Engineering, Indianapolis, for the State Road 229 sanitary sewer relocation for the bridge replacement project at Hillcrest Country Club. Mayor Rick Fledderman said the bridge project is being taken care of by the Indiana Department of Transportation and is set to begin in Spring 2015.
Prior to that, utilities need to be taken care of. “There’s a gas line that needs to be moved, but the bigger problem is that a sewer line needs to be relocated ... When we entered into our original agreement in 2011, there was an understanding with INDOT that all utilities would be bid at the same time, but INDOT came back and changed how we would proceed .... There were some additional expenses that were incurred because designs had to be updated, bid packets had to be put together, etc.” at a cost of $25,900.
The mayor added, “The city will be reimbursed by INDOT.”
Members signed the 2014 Emergency Medical Service Contract with Ray Township in Franklin County. Township officials will pay the Batesville Fire and Rescue Department $5,000 to provide service to the township.
The 2014 contract with Ripley County for EMS was also on the agenda. Fledderman said, “All four EMS units in the county are facing some financial problems.” Last July, officials “from all the units collectively approached the commissioners for help. They did listen somewhat, reducing the cost for a paramedic run from $150 to $50, but we (Batesville EMS 10) have to pay them whether we get reimbursed or not.”
He explained, “We do soft billing, which means we will collect from insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, but if they (patients) aren’t under any of those categories, we don’t bill them .... We will have to have some serious conversations about things EMS are facing.”
The commissioners want a contract with Batesville EMS 10 to provide service in the county for $37,500 for the year, which will be paid in quarterly installments. “We’ve only seen about a 1 percent increase per year over the past 10 years, even though costs have increased more.”
Fire Chief Todd Schutte revealed, “Two squads have already signed, and Milan is still considering .... I don’t see them (commissioners) increasing the payment because their budgets are already in place.”
The mayor pointed out, “I think we’re going to have to have another meeting on this .... (the EMS financial problem) is a serious issue for the entire county.”
Members agreed do more research before signing the contract.
In other news, Mike Kruse, a Rotary Club of Batesville member, requested to use the downtown area Saturday, May 3, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. for a new festival the group is planning, Batesville Sawdust Days.
“We’re thinking about Batesville’s great history of wood crafting,” he noted. There will be “activities for the kids and families, and we’ll let vendors come and display their wood crafting projects and give some demonstrations. What I’m thinking is putting up a tent similar to what was set up for the holiday parade.”
Fledderman said, “I like the idea that you’re doing something that plays to our heritage.”
Member Gene Lambert agreed, “I like the idea a lot because we’re trying to build on the downtown and creating that opportunity for spending and visiting .... We should support it.”
The group gave a nod to let the organization use the downtown for the event.
Diane Raver can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.
City council action • Batesville City Council allotted $2,500 from Belterra riverboat revenue-sharing funds to offset advertising and other expenses for the Rotary Club of Batesville's Sawdust Days. • Members discussed a smoking ban for the city parks. The proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking in all shelters, playgrounds, areas in and around baseball fields and sports complexes, grandstands, restrooms and kitchens. Designated smoking areas would be clearly marked. If passed, the ordinance would be enforced by the police. Member Bob Narwold stressed, "I think we're getting carried away. I can see having a ban in the pavilion, but I can't see it happening in the ball parks .... I don't smoke. I don't like the smoke, but if someone's smoking and blowing it toward me, I have the sense to walk away." Member Beth Meyers noted, "I'm not a smoker, either ... but to start calling the police or dispatch, I don't think that's a good use of the officers." Members decided to discuss the smoking ban more next month and see if there was any response or opinions from the public. • Gene Lambert was chosen as council president. Meyers and Darrick Cox were appointed to the redevelopment and planning commissions and Luke Kaiser was appointed to the zoning commission.