Continuance procedures discussed in Hobart
By Ben Rodgers
HOBART – The Hobart village board looked at implementing changes that would continue to keep the village government operational in a variety of scenarios at its Wednesday, Feb. 20, meeting.
Aaron Kramer, village administrator, presented background information and recommended changes, but did not present those changes in ordinance form.
One of the proposed changes is to the presiding officer ordinance and would establish a clear definition of who would be responsible for signing documents in the event that the village president would be absent for an extended period of time.
“At present the village does not have a clear procedure for continuing day-to-day municipal operations in the absence of the village president,” Kramer said. “In addition, when the president has been unavailable to sign legal documents, bills and invoices, a board member has done so in the past, without clear municipal code or statutory authority. The proposed changes to the existing ordinance would address these issues and formally codify the procedure.”
Village President Rich Heidel was arrested for his third OWI on Feb. 1, and has entered a not guilty plea. His next court date is April 9.
“Ninety nine percent of the time I’ve been able to (sign documents), but you can’t bank on that,” Heidel told the board.
The second proposed change would be in the event of a natural or man-made disaster that could limit Hobart’s operational government.
“This is more of the catastrophe ordinance,” Kramer said. “The most likely scenario here in Hobart would be a plane crash. We do live in the immediate area of a large airport, or a tornado could hit… This effectively establishes criteria for how we continue to operate as a functioning government providing services.”
This change would define, starting with the village administrator and going down through nearly 20 people, who would run Hobart in the event of a disaster. It contains the same information for elected village board members.
They will both be considered for adoption in ordinance form by the board sometime in March.
Another ordinance to be considered in March is the proposed snow and parking emergency ordinance.
“The intent is to get cars off the streets for major snow events as we develop and we have more residents,” Kramer said. “This isn’t going to be a big issue out in the country roads, but in our subdivisions or more congested areas, yeah.”
The board also did approve a pre-employment agreement that would help with the retention of newly hired law enforcement officers.
Newly hired officers would sign an agreement where over the course of three years $4,000 will be withheld from their paychecks.
At the end of the three-year period the money would then be given back to them.
Randy Bani, police chief, called the measure a tool to retain talent and keep them from leaving for a bigger department once trained.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction in trying to retain some employees and keep them on board here and not having this be a stepping grounds,” Bani said.
The board also approved two contracts with Technology Architects, one for $10,000 to purchase support time and another for $18,474 for server upgrades.
Next year village staff will ask the board for new computers, because many currently run on outdated operating systems.
Trustees also requested to enter into an agreement with Brown County for the possible development of 69 acres of county-owned land adjacent to the Brown County Golf Course.
Finally, the board set public hearings on March 19 for:
• Amending the village street map to include the addition of Cross County Court, the extension of Centerline Drive and the proposed possible access road for the State Highway 29 interchange project.
• A rezoning request and conditional use permit for a 37-unit contractor storage condo development in the 3500 block of West Mason Street.