City Council main topics are roads, deer

Roads and deer were the two big topics on the Warsaw Common Council’s agenda Tuesday night.

Since the city recently was awarded $720,346 from the Indiana Department of Transportation Local Road and Bridge Matching Grant Fund, the council had to establish three new funds for holding those matching grant dollars.

Through an ordinance passed on first and second reading, the council approved the Rainy Day Restricted-Wheel and Sur Tax, the Rainy Day Restricted-Local Road and Street and Rainy Day Restricted-Motor Vehicle Highway funds.

The city will provide $720,346 for a total of more than $1.4 million for road projects. Another ordinance passed by the council Tuesday night transferred $280,000 from MVH Fund to the newly created Restricted-Wheel and Sur Tax Fund; $130,000 from Local Roads and Streets to Restricted-LRS fund; and $83,000 from MVH to Restricted-MVH.

Street Superintendent Jeff Beeler then gave a presentation to the council on how and where the money will be used. He said the roads are already locked in and can’t be changed because they’ve already been accepted by INDOT.

The funds will be used for road preservation, rehabilitation and reconstruction, depending on the road.

Beeler said road treatments that are going to be used with the grant money to maintain the city’s road will include: 0.9 miles of hot mix; 10.9 miles of asphalt rejuvenator; 14.4 miles of micro-surfacing; and 11.8 miles of crack sealing, for a total of 38.06 miles.

He then broke it down by the city councilmen’s districts. District 1 will be getting $381,970 worth of work; District 2, $271,550; District 3, $401,072; District 4, $213,000; and

District 5, $175,258.
Mayor Joe Thallemer later said, “I do want to add that there may seem to be a little inequity through the council districts, but those were all based on PASER ratings Jeff referenced earlier on. It’s a completely objective means of looking at the road, grading the roads and then those roads are in line to be treated. That will be an annual process as our needs continue and funding options improve.”

Beeler discussed how the city now has a plan to address its road issues, but it will take time for people to adapt to the plan.

Thallemer said the state legislature will wrestle with a long-term solution next year on road funding, and Warsaw is heading in the right direction in addressing its road maintenance concerns.

He later said color-coded maps of where the work will take place and what kind of work it will be will be posted on the city’s website.

The council also approved a resolution  confirming a handful of  deer nuisance areas where deer reduction efforts will take place.

Deer Task Force chair and councilman Jeff Grose said nuisance zones indicate where deer have become problematic. There are eight declared nuisance zones in Warsaw. Within a nuisance zone, a management team identifies areas called reduction zones.

Hunting of deer takes place on public and private property where landowners have given their OK for archers to help reduce the number of deer.

Training for the archers is set for 6 p.m. today at the Warsaw Police Department. Only veteran archers are asked to participate.

The deer reduction program, which is in its 12th year, begins Oct. 1 and ends Jan. 1, according to Grose. “I believe it’s a great public service for residents,” Grose said.

Last year, he estimated that 30 or 35 deer were taken, which has been the yearly average. In some years past, he said there’s been about 60 deer taken. Grose said residents have seen a reduction in the number of deer, and officials have seen fewer deer related traffic accidents.

Participating archers take a doe first before they can take a buck. Once they take a buck, they are only allowed to shoot does for the rest of the program.

In other business, council:

• Approved a grant application to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs by the Parks & Recreation Department for $500,000 for two park projects on East Market Street. The park department will provide matching funds of $100,000, with the Kosciusko County Community Foundation providing a match of $15,000.
Grants won’t be awarded until November, but if the department receives the money, it has 18 months to start and finish the projects.

• Heard a funding request from Karl Swihart representing the City County Athletic Complex.
The CCAC is seeking $31,000 for 2017, the same as previous years.
Swihart said the CCAC is in the process of raising money in hopes of purchasing the land it uses from RR Donnelly. Donnelly owns the entire property, and the city administers a lease of the property to the CCAC.

The city is not seeking to purchase the Donnelly property, but the CCAC has been trying to buy it for years. By owning the property,  Swihart said the CCAC would be in better position  to acquire grants.