Winona Lake Council Pays Tribute To Late Clerk-Treasurer

Kent Adams

WINONA LAKE – The family of Winona Lake Clerk-Treasurer Kent Adams and the Town Council paid tribute to him at the start of the Council’s meeting Tuesday.

Adams, 85, died Sunday morning.

His family supplied a tribute video for the Council to show at the meeting. Over a recording of the song “Amazing Grace,” the video showed photos of Adams from his youth, playing baseball, football and basketball; him and his wife Nancy and their family; and his election campaigns and time in various offices.

Swaim then read a list highlighting the different jobs, roles and involvements Adams had during his lifetime. Among those were a Travelers Insurance Co. investigator; Indiana State Police trooper; an FBI agent; Warsaw Community Schools teacher, coach, principal, director of finance; a state representative (1988-1992) and senator (1992-2004); county treasurer; and, since 2012, the Winona Lake clerk-treasurer, among others.

Mark Adams, the youngest of five children of Kent and Nancy, said watching the video was the first time he watched it in public.

“It’s hard to believe he’s gone and at the same time, we’re so thankful for where he is,” he said, with tears in his eyes. “And, I just want to really, on behalf of our family, thank all of you here. As you know, his family was really important (to him), and you guys have all been his second family. And, just on behalf of our family, I just want to say thank you because we know how much  it meant for him to come here. We know how much all of you meant to him. Especially since my mom passed in January, it was really comforting to us to know that he could come here and be around such good people. So thank you very much from our family to your family.”

A moment of silence for Adams was followed by a prayer by Council President Rick Swaim.

After the meeting turned to business, one of the items on the Council’s agenda was the introduction of the ordinance to increase trash and recycling fees from $6 a month to $8, effective Jan. 1. Town Manager Craig Allebach said the Council had talked about the increase about two or three months ago.

A public hearing on the increase is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28 at the town hall.

Town attorney Adam Turner said the process for increasing the fees is laid out in state statute and “it’s pretty clear.” He said the first reading and approval of the ordinance was Tuesday night, with the second reading and final approval advertised for Dec. 28. He asked the Council to not only approve the ordinance on first reading Tuesday, but also to ratify the notice of hearing, which they did.

“I would note, too, just for the press and everyone here, the notice then also provides an opportunity for the public to appear, or if there’s any written comments that they are submitted before that public hearing as well,” Turner said.

Allebach then presented a sale of town property to two local families.

“We were approached by a couple of property owners over the course of maybe the last year or so. We have our pit where we take yard waste to. And in the two extreme corners – one in the northeast, so up near the end of (Robson) Road, and the other is southwest, which is kind of near the entrance to the pit – the owners wanted to purchase slivers, very small portions of that actual pit. One side is basically not being utilized … the other one in the other corner is more in a wooded area, again not really being utilized,” Allebach said.

He said they advertised for bids for the properties and the two property owners came back and accepted the town’s asking price for those parcels of land. He said Turner has had the properties surveyed, and the closing will be at a later date.

Turner said, “This is, again, a very specific statutory provision for properties that have relatively low value as far as marketability and sales to adjoining land owner. We did publish notice so the public is aware that these properties are being sold.”

He said the adjoining land owners are really the only ones who can bid through that process.

The Council agreed to sell the first parcel to the Widman family for $2,000 and the second parcel to the Bosch family for $3,000. The buyers also are responsible for all costs associated with the sale of the land, including title work and Turner’s professional fees.

“So the town doesn’t bear any cost with regard to anything that you would traditionally think of as far as closing costs. All of those are going to be a part of the final number that’s paid for the land,” Turner said.

In other business, the Council approved:

• An ordinance for the vacation of the alley behind 301 and 303 Boy City Drive. A public hearing was held on the vacation at the Council’s November meeting.

• The purchase of radios for $40,396 for the Winona Lake Police Department, which will be paid for by grants.

• The purchase of pagers for $16,662 for the fire department and the purchase of radios for $91,492.44. The money for the radios will come from grant dollars.

• The purchase of a new truck for the street department for $63,000, as requested by superintendent Tim Goshert. Goshert said the department’s International plow truck, which was at least 20 years old, had its frame break off. It would have cost more to fix it then buy another one, he said, so they found another one in Minnesota.

• The 2022 Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation annual agreement, which Allebach said was the same as the 2021 agreement.

• A resolution updating the Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan. All communities that receive federal funds must have a plan and regularly update it.

• The Nov. 16 meeting minutes, claims and the year-end claims.

• An encumbrance for the Park Department for concrete walk. Park and Senior Center Director Holly Hummitch said it was for the sidewalk extension from the back side of the Community Center to along the beach.

• The board and commissions appointments. They include Oxana Mullins, Park Board; Bruce Shaffner, Dennis Daniels, Al Disbro, Alan Alderfer, Redevelopment Commission; Swaim, Joy Lohse, Disbro, Mary Pat Wallen, Retha Hicks, Terry White, Art Commission; Jill Serbousek and Ken Nisly on the Board of Zoning Appeals; and Barry Andrew on the Plan Commission.

• The 2022 town engineer and town attorney agreements.

Turner introduced attorney Jennifer Naue, who will fill in for him when he is unable to attend a meeting and also sit in on the BZA meetings, which is part of the attorney agreement.

• To establish a merchant account for processing of payment for the Miller Sunset Pavilion at Crossroads Bank.

The Council also heard upcoming events include a Winona Lake Community Church service with Marc Eckel and his SPLAT Experience at 7 p.m. Thursday; and the Polar Dash at Green Earth Multisport is at 1 p.m. Jan. 1.