Brookville Town Council met on Tuesday, May 25 where board members gave updates on ongoing projects.

A draft of the sidewalk improvement program was discussed. As it was currently written, town administrator Tim Ripperger would approve the projects. However, board member Brooke Leffingwell said she liked the idea of the whole board approving that the project. Ripperger had no preference. Some additions to the draft the board made were adding the program covers sidewalks within the town's right of way and the homeowner can select the contractor.

Brookville Police Chief Terry Mitchum asked the board to allow him to hire a part time secretary. Mitchum's original proposal was a part time secretary who would work 30 hours a week with 60 sick hours per year, one week vacation at $15 an hour with paid holidays. The department previously had a secretary, and he explained everyone in the office is filling in that position which takes away from them being to perform their actual jobs.

Mitchum's proposal would save the town money, but it would also mean amending the handbook and salary ordinance. The previous secretary worked 32.5 hours which is fulltime. Mitchum explained he offered the benefits in his proposal so the position was competitive and he could secure a quality employee. The board leaned toward offering a full-time position and gave Mitchum permission to advertise to see what kind of interest there was in the position. The board was all in approval aside from Chuck Campbell, who opposed.

The hiring opportunity has been posted on the Brookville Police Department Facebook page. It is for a fulltime front office manager. The schedule is Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an hour for lunch. Benefits include 60 sick hours a year which can be accrued up to 240 hours, one-week paid vacation and paid holidays set by the town. Salary is set at $15 an hour. Those interested can pick up an application at the Brookville Police Department and need to be returned by June 9.

The town was approached about covering some aquatic center invoices until the final pledges are received. The town would cover $141,492 which they would receive back once the pledges are collected. They are estimating to receive $58,000 from donors in 2021 and the rest in 2022 and 2023. The board approved this request and town attorney Tammy Davis is drafting up an agreement.

The board addressed a maternity and paternity leave policy. Davis said most municipalities follow the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which is usually up to 12 weeks of leave. BTC president Curtis Ward said he believed it would be a good thing offer, but wanted to make sure they were doing it correctly. Davis warned if they created their own policy, it may complicate things. The matter was tabled until they can acquire more information.

Davis also addressed some information that may need to be updated for the Valley House project tax abatement. In 2018, the town approved a tax abatement for Valley House and every year they have to file a CF-1report. Davis explained that Valley House developer Bruce Rippe produced a report, but the information is the same as it was in 2018. Because of the complexity of the project, some assessments are not complete yet. Davis also said another form was submitted under the name Whitewater Partners LLC, which she questions because the abatement resolution refers to Valley House Flats LP. The third floor of the building was always in consideration, but when the fourth was added it made financing a little trickier. The third and fourth floors are technically Whitewater Partners LLC. The board agreed the matter needed to be cleared up.

Town administrator Tim Ripperger gave an update on the Hidden Valley sewer main. The town agreed to pay a $2,500 deductible and the first step to fixing the issue is removing a tree.

Carla Hacker submitted some questions in regard to annexation. Her first question was if there were any updated on the feasibility study because at a prior meeting it was said the study was complete aside from property tax assessments. Ward said there were no updates. She followed by asking if the firm contacts the board with any updates. Ward again said they do not have any updates.

Hacker questioned if the town would wait for the area to be subdivided before releasing the results of the study. Ward said it is not in consideration at this point. She then asked at what point the annexation effort would end, to which Ward said people can petition indefinitely for annexation. Hacker also asked if the current proposed annexation map would continue onto U.S. 52 just past Pizza King. Ward said the only map they considered does not show any property past Pizza King.

Other items on the agenda:
The Franklin County Public Library District requested the use of the town park for its Story Walk in the Town Park. Book pages would be placed in yard signs along the walking path and the reception of the program was positive last year, so it was approved by the board.

Gary Dorrel requested the use of the town park on July 10 for an Alzheimer's walk, which was approved.

There was a request that the board put in an Americans with Disabilities Act entry at the playground across the pool. The board received a quote for $826 for an entry ramp into the playground, which was approved if the town could not make an acceptable entrance themselves.

Brookville Main Street Inc., requested a street closure of 7th Street for June 25 for Canoefest and Aug. 7 for Wild West Night. The Brookville on Tap event is also expanding so there was a request for a street closure from 8th Street to behind the police department and blocking off the old Rosenberger's lot for overflow.

A second read through was done for the American Rescue Plan ordinance. The ordinance establishes the fund and its uses.

There was a brief update on the 21 by 21 campaign. The current farmer's market is not very interested in moving to a new location; however, there is still interest in bringing one to Main Street. There was discussion of making it a farmer's and craft space market, but they would pursue it in a way that still supports the existing one.

The next BTC meeting is scheduled for June 8 at 7 p.m.