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November 27, 2021

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Summary of Nov. 22 Bluffton Council Meeting

By Andy Chappell-Dick

Bluffton Village Council held a regular meeting on Monday, November 22 with the Icon reporter comprising the audience. The council packet is attached.

Council advanced four pieces of legislation, all dealing with financial matters.

  • First reading by emergency of Ordinance 10-2021-10, town hall building improvements, $22,000.00
  • Third reading by emergency of Resolution 20-2021, Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District grant funds
  • Second reading of Resolution 21-2021, accepting bulk water rate
  • First reading of Resolution 22-2021, temporary appropriations

The Utilities Committee recommended that Council accept a quote by All-Terra for waterline work through the Bluffton University campus. Administrator Blackburn reported that the project had been approved by the EPA.

The Finance Committee recommended updated 2022 appropriations.  The Committee will also keep their eye on the recently-passed federal infrastructure bill, which may be an unexpected source of funding for projects in the Village.

The Ordinance Committee reported they are initiating an overhaul of Bluffton's zoning ordinance. Upcoming meetings will seek to identify what issues exist, consider how to work with the Planning Commission, and determine whether hiring expert help may expedite the process.

The Tree Commission reported that AEP's work in town will result in up to seven trees being culled from the Lake Street arboretum. Negotiations with the utility will result in compensation funds that will be used to replace them.

Among highlights from their report, administrators Jesse Blackburn and Bryan Lloyd described updated instrumentation at the sewer plant that will hopefully result in more automation and a reduction in EPA-required staffing; new diving boards arrived just this week as a warranty replacement for the swimming pool.

Water bills will see a change in March, when the billing cycle will be adjusted to reflect usage by calendar month. Residents will see a higher bill in March, but it will reflect usage from Jan. 17 to Feb. 28. Water rates are not increasing and haven't since 2015; this is despite incremental increases in the bulk water rate that Bluffton pays Ottawa.

Council briefly discussed public safety in light of the recent vehicular attack on a parade in Wisconsin. The police department will consider changes to how roads are blocked for such events.

The attached packet includes:

  • Agenda
  • Approved minutes of November 8 regular meeting
  • November 22 vendor voucher list
  • Committee meeting minutes
  • AEP photo of arboretum
  • Allen County public health update
  • Ordinance and resolution details
  • 2022 appropriations items
  • Administration report
  • NatureWorks grant letter for disc golf course