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Georgetown considering S.R. 64 property sale

Georgetown considering S.R. 64 property sale Georgetown considering S.R. 64 property sale
By Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer

The Georgetown Town Council announced during its regular meeting last month two appraisals were received for property it may sell at 9000 S.R. 64 and those would be addressed during an upcoming executive session.

Council president Chris Loop mentioned the appraisals were complete and sealed copies available for examination.

Neighbors and adjoining property owners Morton and Darlene Kellams previously inquired about purchasing the lot, located at the corner of S.R. 64 and Kepley Road. Independent appraisals were commissioned following discussion of the town’s options for sale during its November council meeting.

Town attorney Kristi Fox said the council could move to open the appraisals during the regular meeting or review during an upcoming executive session. Loop and the council decided to postpone opening the appraisals.

“We’ll take that to executive session,” Loop said, adding the possible real estate sale would be covered along with several other topics during an executive meeting of the council Dec. 29.

Loop told Mr. Kellams it would likely be January before a decision is reached on the sale, the process for which could include offering the property at public auction to the highest bidder.

In another real-estate related matter, it was mentioned that the town’s redevelopment commission met recently to unveil its new plan. The commission’s proposed strategy includes details on six properties the town may elect to purchase or negotiate the future purchase of for redevelopment, should those become available.

The council voted 4-0 (Councilman Billy Haller was absent) to accept the new plan, which is slated to go for review and comment during a public hearing in January.

Town engineer Bob Woosley also provided an update to the council on improvements planned for the old town hall location. Possible enhancements include trees and lighting, and Woosley said solar lights might also be a viable option.

“We can think about that,” Woosley said of the solar lighting upgrade.

Woosley said the town would need to decide if it preferred to retain existing light poles or install new, decorative poles as part of the project.

The council signaled new poles would be the favored route.

Woosley said quotes for the work at the old town hall site are scheduled for opening and discussion at the January council meeting, set for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Optimist Club building (moved from Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday).

“It’s really going to enhance the aesthetics and usability of that lot,” Woosley added.

Loop added that after the project is completed, hopefully some time in early 2021, the council would need to revisit a public parking ordinance for the site. He also said he met with owners of the Georgetown Bakery across S.R. 64 from the old town hall site. The bakery hopes to open a drive-
thru lane soon and requested the town’s permission to add striping for the drive-
thru lane (the lane is on town-owned property). The bakery’s sign will also have a lighted arrow showing the route for the drive-thru.

“It’s going to look nice what they’re going to do,” Loop added.

The council voted unanimously to allow the striping work to occur, at the bakery’s request and expense.

Woosley also provided updates on several ongoing projects. He indicated work on the front retention basin at the Catalpa Ridge development has been completed by contractors Temple & Temple, of Salem, and recommended formal closure of that project from the town’s perspective. Woosley said his hope is the retention basin will prove beneficial in controlling downstream flooding issues.

Woosley also mentioned the Georgetown Park basketball court project is progressing as planned. While most site work has concluded for the winter, Woosley added he believes the basketball goals will be set in January.

“That’s going real well; it’s going to look very nice once it’s finished,” he added.

Woosley also reported work to correct a taxation issue related to properties on the town’s west side, annexed in the 1990s and recently uncovered, has been completed.

The remaining matter at hand is completing necessary revisions to the town’s zoning map, Fox added.

Woosley announced a zoning work session is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 1 p.m. in the Floyd County Sheriff’s training room in New Albany. Several town council members, along with members of its zoning board, will be in attendance.

In an item related to year-end financial management, the council voted to pass the first and second readings of its 2021 salary ordinance. The ordinance provided 2% cost-of-living adjustments for town employees. In addition, the ordinance was updated to include an additional compensation section. The information is not new, Fox said, but was added to the body of the ordinance.

“I think we made some tangible progress in 2020 with challenges,” Loop said, adding he was excited for what the town has planned on its 2021 road map.

In other business, the council:

Voted to extend its prior action of paying police salaries from the town’s Economic Development Income Tax funds through June 30.

Directed Clerk-Treasurer Julie Keibler to pay Temple & Temple’s bill for $56,531 for paving of the town basketball courts from the town’s share of gaming revenue from Harrison County and also to complete payment of mileage reimbursement for a town employee from the General Fund.

Received an update from police Sgt. Travis Speece, who indicated the department was completing annual training utilizing an accredited, online program that also allows the department to upload its policies. Speece pointed to the new police vehicle obtained by the department and new deck on the police station, a progress made in 2020, and thanked the council. “I do appreciate the support for the year,” Speece said. “I feel like we’re moving along and maintaining as best we can.”

Heard from Fox that an order was received Dec. 16, related to the ongoing Lakeland Estates sewer matter. Transfer of assets should soon be underway, and Fox asked the council to authorize her to retain a closing agent. The council voted to allow Fox to take those steps on its behalf.

Acknowledged comments from Loop that damaged guardrail near the intersection of Kepley Road and Autumn Drive was scheduled for repair the end of December. Also, Loop mentioned damaged retaining wall at S.R. 64 and Kepley was scheduled to be repaired the third week of January.

Agreed through unanimous vote to allow Keibler to submit a request for reimbursement totaling, $9,172.84 to the Indiana Finance Authority, through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for eligible expense relief.

Noted, through confirmation by Woosley and Fox, that the town council previously approved abandoning of right-of-way in Catalpa Ridge. As such, no further work is required by the town. Fox and Woosley have discussed with property owners and provided the statute and information. The next step is for the property owners to submit additional information.