Zionsville Times Sentinel

November 6, 2013

Council awards façade program more money

By Matt Werner Times Sentinel Writer
Zionsville Times Sentinel

---- — Two buildings on Cedar Street could be getting a makeover thanks to additional funding for the façade grant program.

The Zionsville Town Council unanimously approved, 5-0, to reappropriate $30,000 from the food and beverage fund to the façade grant program. Council members Tom Schuler and Candace Ulmer were not present at the meeting.

The extra money was needed for the Zionsville Architectural Review Committee to fund an additional project at 20 and 40 E. Cedar St.

Plans were filed with the town’s planning and economic development department to rehabilitate 20 E. Cedar St., the home of Village Cleaners, and to demolish 40 E. Cedar St., which housed Nana Market. The plans must be approved by the ARC during its 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, meeting.

Barbara Jennings, who is coordinating the project for the property owned by her mother, Carol Chauck, said the council approving the additional funding was great.

“I think it’s wonderful that the council recognizes the value of helping business owners and landowners to improve their property to help the overall look of town,” she said.

Jennings said if the project is approved, they will begin demolition by the beginning of December. She said no plans have been finalized for a tenant for 20 E. Cedar St.

ARC member Brad Johnson said the additional money is needed because the program, which started in 2009, has really taken off in the past few years.

“With the success of the program and the upturn in the economy, we are getting more interest and applicants,” he said.

Councilwoman Susana Suarez asked if this would be the only time the ARC would ask for more money or if they would continue to ask every year.

The ARC has an annual $50,000 budget. The façade program provides matching grants for up to 50 percent of the project cost for qualifying projects in the downtown area.

“That’s a policy decision we need to talk about,” Johnson said. “We need to know how much the town wants to put into this program. We talked about ratcheting down the percent we match, but the town council needs to be integral in that discussion.”

Council President Jeff Papa asked Johnson if they have ever had unused funds at the end of the year.

“Since 2009, we’ve had quite a bit reverted back to the general fund,” Johnson said. “I am not saying that we are considering that our money in any way, but it shows that we have not hit that $50,000 mark in previous years.”

Councilman Steve Mundy offered his thoughts before the vote.

“The impact these projects have are ones that everyone sees,” he said. “I think this is a fair request since it’s a significant makeover, and I like that you are looking at ratcheting back your percentage matched.”

ALSO AT THE MEETING:

The council appointed Katie Culp to the redevelopment commission. The commission had a vacancy after Dax Norton was hired as the town manager of Whitestown.

The council reappropriated more than $42,000 from the tax increment financing district fund to the line item for the 106th Street water and sewer project.

“These are not new monies,” said Wayne DeLong, director of planning and economic development. “This is a reimbursement from Citizen’s on a change in parts for the joints in the water project. The money came into the town coffers. We are now getting that money back into the line item to facilitate the completion of that project.”

The council also made it possible for a new compliance director to be hired before the end of the year. The council passed several measures including adding the position to the salary ordinance and appropriating money to fund the position until the end of the year.

The council approved an increase in fees to fund the position beginning next year.

The council rectified the town’s budget by appropriating money from lesser used line items into other line items.

“This is not additional money,” said Town Manager Ed Mitro. “We are just moving money within the line items to ensure we are not going into the negative on anything.”

Mitro said he is monitoring the town’s legal fees closely.

“The legal fees line item is much higher than anticipated because we had two attorneys for some period of time,” he said. “I am hoping to not have to ask for an additional appropriation for that.”

The council will hold its agenda-setting meeting at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25, in the Town Hall Conference Center, 1100 W. Oak St. The council’s next full meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, in the Town Hall Beverly Harves Room, 1100 W. Oak St.