01-10-2023 Meeting Minutes

Starke County Parks Board Minutes

January 10, 2023


R. Ballard, R. Ritzler, K. Swihart, T. Busch & S. Byer

R. Ballard called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M.

T. Busch made motion, seconded by R. Ritzler and the minutes from the December meeting were approved 5-0

Discussion and approval of the Beaver Agreement was tabled until the February meeting.

K. Swihart gave a report on the Veteran’s Memorial. Jackie from the Northern Indiana Community Foundation received a bill for $1,500.00 for light repair. This was paid by them. The total available from this fund is $146.00. The endowment gift balance is $5,450. Plus, the Historical income balance of $20,682.31 equals a total of $26,133.31.  This is invested money that brings in quarterly interest income.  It was suggested that, in the future, the parks department obtain pricing prior to any work necessary for the Memorial.

K. Swihart noted that he is the chairman of the committee and will get representation from Knox, Hamlet and North Judson and schedule a meeting to begin working on issues beginning with the donor’s dinner.

Bob from B&R Boat Lifts has offered free “blow beach sand” for Kramer Beach. T. Williams will go see the sand to ensure it is suitable for the beach and then work with the county garage to see if they can assist with the hauling.  Because the sand will not be added to the water there is no need for a DNR permit.

T. Williams presented a report on the lift station installation. In speaking with D. Pearman he suggested that the department approve and pay for this out of the new 2023 budget and committed that, if later in the year, there were financial issues, he would support a request for additional funding. T. Williams will move forward in getting the parts ordered by March.

T. Williams reported that the DNR is not aware of any program that would assist in removal of the sunken diving platform. However, a permit would be required if the platform required any excavation or digging to remove. R. Ritzler suggested J. Schram be contacted to see if, since the DNR placed it there, they would be responsible for the removal.

T. Williams will meet with the local DNR representatives for additional clarification on the topic of the swimming ropes to provide a safety barrier to the swimmers.

Surrounding campground’s pricing and amenities showed that 99% of them offer full hook-ups and many more amenities than our park offers, some for much less monthly.  The department will continue to make improvements and will reevaluate pricing for the 2024 season.

The 2023 lease agreements have been mailed to the seasonal campers. The first installments will be due on 4/1/2023. K. Berry requested the new lease be posted on the Park Department website.

T. Williams reported that the pier permit package was sent to the DNR. The permit required the shore stations be shown but without knowing who will have them she was allowed to “project” where they may be placed.

Bass Lake Beach House/Trail Head report was given by R. Ritzler. He stated that the committee met and that D. Pearman said the counsel will support moving forward, adding these improvements are necessary. Some improvements could be $200,000.00 just for HVAC and electrical. This is beyond what the county can do. They met with Mike Reese regarding the proposed master plan. It is necessary to hold the Troyer Group to the scope of services. The second part is for the application for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant. No funds are available for two years. We will use combined funds available now to implement improvements and combine with state funds.

If started now we can get his done by December. R. Ritzler made motion to accept Troyer proposal contingent upon detailed commitment from Troyer group to provide detailed specifics of how they will move forward. K. Swihart seconded and it passed 5-0.

R. Ritzler agreed that it was committed that an evaluation at 3 or 6 months should have been conducted in regards to the superintendent salary adding that T. Williams has done a good job but they have been remiss in conducting the evaluation. Her starting salary of $37,500.00 is below the bottom of the salary range for this position. It was agreed to increase the salary to $41,000.00, which includes the 5% county annual increase and committed to a review in six months. K. Swihart made motion, seconded by R. Ritzler and passed 5-0.

R. Ritzler made motion to approve the payment of claims, seconded by K. Swihart. Passed 5-0.

K. Hensel asked about the signs for Kramer Beach. T. Williams will work with the county garage’s time frame and have them installed as soon as possible. Additionally, she will look into having the tree stump ground and/or removed.

R. Ballard reported that he spoke with D. Estok regarding the kayak launch by the park dept. He suggested giving them the money to develop and maintain that site. The legality of this came into question and it was decided that J. Schram will need to do research on this.

K. Berry asked about the security of the campground. T. Williams reported that the lock has not been put on the gate yet do to the county needing access to the wood chips but that it will be locked in the very near future.

Meeting adjourned at 7:00 P.M.