July 22

Starke County Park Board Minutes

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June 8th, 2021

Present: Richard Ballard, Kathy Norem, Rik Ritzler, Chris Lawrence, Karl Swihart, and Attorney Lucas

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Ballard at 6:00 p.m. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Discussion

  1. Motion made by Mr. Ritzler to table the May 11, 2021 minutes until the next meeting in July. Mr. Swihart seconded.   PASSED.
  • Bob Harper gave an electrical update at the Bass Lake Beach & Campground. Due to the numerous different services, Harper recommended collecting the current electric bills to know what the draw is and then create a plan that would better serve the beach and campground in the future. Harper offered to look at the utility bills and assist with coming up with a plan that would coincide with the 5-year plan. Motion made by Mrs. Norem to ask Bob Harper to evaluate current system and provide a plan that will service now and in the future. Mr. Ritzler seconded.   PASSED. 
  • Larry Clarich provided an update of the Bass Lake Beach & Campground update. Clarich stated that the beach is open and they passed all of the water samples so far this year. Clarich mentioned that they do have a food vendor, Nana’s Tacos at the beach every weekend, excluding Fourth of July weekend. Clarich stated that the campground is almost full and that he is still collecting revenue for those sites as they are due in installments throughout the season. Clarich also mentioned that he has collected payment for thirteen piers and believes that may be all he receives as water levels are low.
  • Mrs. Norem and Mr. Lawrence stated that they would like to see the Bass Lake Beach and Campground Facebook page ran through the park board. Mr. Lawrence mentioned a post about lift stations and boats being put out in the water. Mr. Clarich had previously not been charging lift stations and boats as he did not know if they could legally charge. Mrs. Norem mentioned that she posed this question to Attorney Lucas. Attorney Lucas asked for more specific information so he could look into the legality further. Mr. Ballard asked if the park board secretaries could take over managing the Facebook page along with the park board website. Mrs. Norem instructed Mr. Clarich to pass along the login information for the Facebook page to the secretaries.
  • Mr. Ritzler gave an update on the Bass Lake Beach sand. Mr. Ritzler stated that he contacted Barber and they have a machine called The Sandman that can be rented to complete the work at the beach. Mrs. Norem contacted the county highway department regarding the sand that they have. The highway department would charge for the delivery of the sand, but not the sand itself. Mrs. Norem mentioned to the highway department about Koontz Lake Beach also receiving sand and they delivered to the beach. Mr. Ballard requested a motion to approve the claim to the highway department for the delivery of the sand to Koontz Lake Beach. Mr. Lawrence made a motion while Mr. Swihart seconded. PASSED.
  •  Next on the agenda was the insurance carrier recommended forms for various agreements. The first sample agreement was for campsites. Mrs. Norem made a motion to adopt the campsite agreement for all new rentals going forward, Mr. Ritzler seconded. The next sample agreement was for the kayak rental. Mr. Ritzler made the motion to adopt the kayak agreement, Mrs. Norem seconded. The third sample agreement was for the pier rentals. Mrs. Norem made a motion and Mr. Lawrence seconded. All Passed.
  • Mrs. Norem applied for a grant from the Starke County Community Foundation for kayak rentals at the Bass Lake Beach. The Starke County Community Foundation funded the entire $1500 for the kayak purchase. Mrs. Norem went to Tractor Supply in Knox and they were able to supply the park board with 6 different kayaks for an estimated $1500. Mr. Swihart made a motion to purchase the kayaks and the grant agreement and Mr. Ritzler seconded. PASSED.
  • Along with the kayak purchase, Mrs. Norem mentioned that the park board is looking into options to accept credit card payments for rental of the kayaks. This would ensure renters would be charged a deposit and if necessary, the cost to replace a paddle or kayak. The park board could also look into accepting deposits on available campsites and lifejacket sales when needed.
  1. Mrs. Norem explained that she had looked into what other kayak rental services in the area charged. Mrs. Norem stated that she thought $10 an hour per kayak would be a fair price. Mr. Ritzler made a motion to charge $10 an hour per kayak rented and Mr. Swihart seconded. PASSED.
  • The DNR sent a few letters to the park board regarding the 5-year plan. The current park board’s 5-year plan will be expiring January 15, 2022. In order for the park board to be able to apply for grants beyond local entities, there needs to be an updated 5-year plan. The board discussed their options as to hiring a professional service to assist in creating the plan. Mr. Ritzler will be contacting K-IRPC to inquire about funding options for professional services.
  • The county auditor provided the board with a fund ledger showing the income and expenses thus far for the park board. The report reflected the income thus far for the Bass Lake Beach & Campground, which was $28,400. Mr. Clarich provided bills that needed to be paid through the county claims process. Mrs. Norem advised that Mr. Clarich should meet with the auditor to ensure that the appropriate documentation is provided in order to have those bills paid.  Mr. Ballard made a motion to approve Mr. Clarich’s claims for the June 21st commissioner’s docket pending a review by the auditor and then signatures by the president and Mrs. Norem seconded. PASSED.
  • Mr. Ritzler submitted a budget to the auditor as it was needed quickly. The auditor informed Mrs. Norem that she would ask the county council for an additional $36,000 as the park board adjusts and moves to being self-sufficient. Mrs. Norem made a motion to approve the budget Mr. Ritzler submitted and Mr. Swihart seconded. PASSED.
  • As the meeting turned toward public comment, Mr. Clarich mentioned he had a few items he wanted to bring before the board. His first concern was the lifeguard station located in the water at the beach. He stated even with a buoy out there it has already been hit this year. Mr. Ritzler mentioned he may be able to contact someone from the DNR to see what their options would be. Mr. Clarich also mentioned his concern over the compensation of the piers at the beach. Mr. Clarich believes he has a right to the piers. Mrs. Norem countered that she believed the contract was with Callahan LLC and Callahan LLC is who put the piers up. Mr. Clarich stated that part of his pay went into paying and building those piers. Attorney Lucas advised for Clarich to submit a proposal to what he believes he is owed for the piers, and the Park Board would evaluate that proposal.
  • A member of the public asked the board if the food vendors are paying the county any of the money they are bringing in while set up at the Bass Lake Beach. Mr. Clarich stated that he is currently not charging vendors to set up and sell. The board discussed charging a percentage of sales or a flat fee per day. The board decided on a vendor fee of $20 per day. Mr. Swihart made that motion and Mrs. Norem seconded.  PASSED.   Mr. Swihart amended the previous motion and added that the vendors must have a permit from the county health department and liability insurance. Mrs. Norem seconded. PASSED.

Mr. Ritzler made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:32 p.m. Mr. Swihart seconded.  PASSED.


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