More discussion regarding the upcoming INDOT Community Crossings Grant Matching Fund application cycle occurred at the Oldenburg Town Council (OTC) meeting on Monday, December 2.

Tim Hunt, business development manager with HCW engineering out of New Albany, was present to discuss the town’s hopes and desires regarding the street improvements which they would like to include in the upcoming application cycle beginning in January.

With Hunt’s guidance, OTC board members had already made many decisions regarding their desired street improvements at previous meetings. However, due to some misunderstanding between Hunt and the board members, a couple sections of street repairs had been omitted from the previously estimated cost of the project. Therefore, Hunt addressed that misunderstanding and explained what the cost for the full project would look like overall at this point.

The two sections of street repairs which had been omitted in previous figures were sections of Washington Street from Water Street to State Road 229, and also from State Road 229 to Vine Street. The section from Water Street to State Road 229 currently has four driveways with quasi drainage or PVC pipes under them which will all need to be redone. The driveways will have a roll curb transition to the curb and gutter.

“It will work better, and it will also look better; but it is going to be a huge expense,” stated Hunt. “It will be about $132,000 for the repairs within that one small block which is huge.”

OTC President, Dennis Moeller, questioned, “That will eliminate the ditch completely, correct?”

Hunt answered by saying, “Yes, that makes it a rolled curb and gutter all the way through, and it will match the other side of the street.”

OTC board member, Greg Struewing, asked, “It would be a one-time deal, correct? After we would do these improvements, then all we (the town) would have to take care of would be the road itself, right?”

Hunt confirmed Struewing’s thoughts.

The second section which was previously omitted in estimates was the section of Washington Street from State Road 229 to Vine Street. This section of street has several manholes that need to be corrected. This section would entail a project cost of approximately $57,000.

All of the street sections which the town hopes to be able to improve with funding through the upcoming cycle of INDOT’s Community Crossings Matching

Grant are listed below.
* Washington Street from Water Street to dead end
* Washington Street from State Road 229 to Vine Street
* Washington Street from Water Street to State Road 229
* Pearl Street from Water Street to dead end
* Water Street from State Road 229 to Averdick Street
* Averdick Street from Vine Street to Main Street
* Averdick Street from Water Street to Hamburg Road
* Main Street from Averdick Street to dead end
* Hamburg Road from State Road 229 to Averdick Road
* Hamburg Road from Averdick Street to town limits
* Douglas Street from Water Street to St. Mary’s Road
* Werner Street from Water Street to St. Mary’s Road
* Sawmill Road from St. Mary’s Road to town limits

With all of these improvements, the total project will be $782,193.

“The total project is almost $800,000, which is a really nice project as far as the contractors are concerned. It will probably get some better pricing than what I estimated. If that is the case, then the town’s matching amount would also be less. If I estimate it low and the bids come in higher then it can’t be built unless the town wants to pay for the extra costs,” explained Hunt.

At the estimated project total of $782,193, the town of Oldenburg would have a matching fund of $198,048.33.

OTC board members made a motion to accept all of the suggested road improvements and to include all of them on their upcoming grant application.

Hunt explained to the town INDOT will announce the grant recipients around the middle of April of 2020. A town can either receive its full requested amount, a portion of its requested amount, or no funding. Hunt assured the town that if they were to not receive any funding through the upcoming cycle, they can always resubmit the application packet in the following grant application cycle in July of 2020.

Sister Janet Born was in attendance at the OTC meeting on behalf of Sister Claire Whalen who was not able to make it. Sister Claire Whalen typically gives a monthly update on the Oldenburg Renewable Energy Commission (OREC) at the OTC meetings. At last month’s meeting, Sr. Claire Whalen had asked OTC if they would consider paying a fee to enable OREC to participate in a program which would help them to continue working towards achieving their mission of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions within the town of Oldenburg. With that being said, at this month’s meeting, Sr. Janet Born explained that the program which Whalen is currently hoping to get OREC involved with is the 2020 Resilience Cohort which will begin in January. This program would allow participating towns to work with Environmental Resilience Institute staff, ICLEI USA, and Indiana University externs to begin reducing carbon emissions within their town. It would cost $300 for Oldenburg to participate in the cohort, and Born asked the OTC board members at the meeting for their decision as to whether or not they would be willing to pay the fee.

OTC board member, Greg Struewing, stated, “I’m opposed to the town spending the money. I certainly think that was Sister Claire Whalen is doing is a good thing, but I believe that is something that the Sisters can do and in a year from now they can come back to the town and share what they have found.”

Born responded, “It’s a town issue; it’s not just a Sisters issue.”

Struewing expressed he was understanding of Born’s point.

OTC President, Moeller, asked for a motion, and Struewing made a motion in opposition of OREC’s request by stating, “I’ll make a motion that we do not support it with the $300 that is asked right now, but if the Sisters want to continue it on and report back to us in a year from now, we would certainly accept that then. I believe it is very important, but we as a council have a lot of other important things on our plates, and we are only a part-time council. So, overall it is a matter of how much time we can give to every issue that we have.”

President Moeller explained that being involved in the cohort would require OTC board members to volunteer about 15 hours per month.

All board members were in favor of the motion made by Struewing which was in opposition to paying the fee.

In other business

* The LED lights have been installed in Oldenburg’s street lights. At the OTC meeting, several members of the public voiced that they really like the new lights and that they feel the upgrade was worth it.
* Due to previous requests by the Oldenburg Police Department and OTC members, Oldenburg’s attorney, John Kellerman, constructed and presented an ordinance regarding the use of skateboards and scooters within town. In general, the ordinance states individuals can not ride skateboards or scooters on public land within the town unless wearing helmets and proper protective equipment and individuals may not ride skateboards or scooters on the streets of Oldenburg. Any individual in violation of this ordinance will be fined $25. The document was accepted as written by the OTC members, a first reading of the ordinance was held. A second reading will be held at the January 6, 2019 OTC board meeting.
* OTC members made a motion to extend their lease of the building which houses the fire department to Eagle Fire Company for another year.
* OTC members made a motion to keep Dave Mannix as Oldenburg’s representative on the BZA board.
* A motion was made to accept OTC President, Dennis Moeller, as a continuing member of the Regional Planning Commission.
* There is a new 4-way stop sign at the corner by the post office in Oldenburg.