Palmyra council selects MAC contractor for grant roadwork
Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer
The Palmyra Town Council awarded a contract for upcoming roadway improvements at its meeting last Wednesday evening to MAC Construction of New Albany.
Based on bids opened publicly Jan. 8, MAC’s proposal came in with the lowest final cost. Project funding is being made possible in large part by a Community Crossings grant from the Indiana Dept. of Transportation bestowed on the town in late 2019. To be considered for CC grants, interested towns and counties submit applications to the INDOT for road and street enhancements, which are accepted in spring and fall cycles. Monies are presented contingent upon a local matching component (which for Palmyra is 75-25 since its population is below 10,000 residents, meaning INDOT supplies 75% and the town must allocate the remaining 25%).
The CC grant amount was $248,220.36 (75% of an estimated $330,960.50 detailed in the town’s application). Chelsea Crump, a charitable financial specialist with River Hills Economic Development District and Regional Planning Commission, is administering the grant through a partnership with the town. Crump was present at the meeting and said MAC’s signed contract included a performance bond and, now that an agreement is in place, final documentation can be sent to INDOT to complete the process. Crump said it generally takes about a month for INDOT to release financing for projects, which arrives in one disbursement. She recommended copies of all paid invoices be retained so they can be sent to INDOT, upon completion of work, as proof of final payment.
“I also suggest you set up a meeting with MAC,” Crump added.
In his report on town police business, Marshal Dennis Lemmel reported to the council about efforts to address an ongoing noise complaint. Lemmel said he conducted decibel testing that day between 3 and 3:30 p.m. near the purported location. Readings were between 45 and 55 decibels, acceptable under the town’s noise ordinance (which specifies sound not exceed 65 decibels between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. and 55 decibels between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.).
Another attempt in a nearby location around the same time was too low to register on the department’s equipment. Lemmel said he previously conferred with the Harrison County Prosecutor’s Office and was directed to the noise ordinance as means of enforcement. The issue, Lemmel said, is when he has responded to prior noise complaints in the area, he has not observed the excessive noise.
“Every time I run up there, it’s stopped,” he added. “We are working on it.”
Council member Christall Ingle said she was aware of the issue and invited neighbors to attend a meeting so the council could get a better idea of the circumstances.
“We’ll be happy to hear your concerns,” Ingle said.
As discussion about noise continued, Ingle mentioned she had also observed numerous loud vehicles passing through town.
“There’s been an increase in cars hot-rodding down 135,” Ingle added.
Lemmel said the town finalized its noise ordinance in 2009. Lemmel and the council discussed the possibility the department’s decibel meter may be due for recalibration. The town council also expressed interest in re-evaluating its noise ordinance and, as part of that process, may review regulations of other towns.
“I think that would be a good place to start,” Lemmel said, adding town signs expressing the noise ordinance have become faded with age and he will research options and cost to update them.
In another police matter, Lemmel said the town’s reserve vehicle is currently not in service due to a problem with its alternator. Ingle asked about prior problems developing with that unit. The council and Lemmel agreed to look into other local options for repair of the department’s vehicles.
As part of her report, Clerk-Treasurer Debra Jones said the town is adjusting its systems to accommodate new codes as required by the State of Indiana.
“The State Board of Accounts is making everyone be consistent on their codes,” Jones added.
Ingle asked Jones for and will be provided with information on the code updates. She also requested documentation from the town’s municipal utility adviser about how they would adjust. Jones also stated auditing of the town’s utilities for 2017 and 2018 were to begin Feb. 3.
In other business, the council:
Voted to amend the town’s 2020 salary ordinance for employees, which will be retroactively effective to Jan. 16, 2020. The amendment was necessary due to some changes made at the council’s meeting in late December 2019, Ingle said.
Agreed to pay for continuing education coursework for employee Jim Hale, who must complete the training to stay current with his license, which he uses through commission of his duties.
Signed an agreement for workers compensation coverage.
Granted a request from the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Dept. to close Huff Street from the department’s building to the highway on May 30 for a WHAS Crusade for Children event the department will host. The closure will be similar to what was formerly done during the town’s annual fish fry.
Was informed by Jones that she would provide a report on a recent conference she attended at the next regularly-scheduled meeting, as she is still compiling information from that event.
The town council’s next meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. at the town hall.