Brownsburg Council approves the restructuring of the Brownsburg Parks Board

By Melissa Gibson

The Brownsburg Town Council met July 27 for a regular meeting at the Brownsburg Town Hall. The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at 61 N. Green St., Brownsburg.

What happened: Chief Joe Grimes shared the Police Department Report.

What this Means: As staffing levels rise, the Brownsburg Police Dept. plans to revitalize the narcotics unit. Grimes said drugs are a gateway to crimes in the town of Brownsburg and the department puts a great emphasis on those crimes to ward off catastrophic incidents. In order to be proactive, they have put very qualified and specialized individuals on this team. They want to monitor not only local narcotic related events in Brownsburg but from adjoining districts and towns in the area.

What happened: Aaron Love, Street Superintendent shared the Street Department Report.

What this Means: Love addressed the work being done by the street department in regard to light poles in the community. The team has totaled the number of lights that are not working or not standing. The goal is to correct or fix those that can be, before replacing new poles. Many parts are currently on backorder, creating a slower process than preferred but they are moving forward with the project as quickly as possible.

What happened: During the public comment portion of the meeting, several citizens spoke against ordinance #2023-11, authorizing a restructuring of the Brownsburg Parks Board.

What this Means: At least half a dozen citizens claimed the Council has released limited information on the reasons the Park Board should be restructured and several asked why a Park Board, whom they believe was doing a good job, would need to be restructured at all. All speakers asked the Council to vote against the ordinance.

Councilman Ben Lacey responded to several of the comments, explaining the parks board has a significantly different role from that of the police or fire department boards, who can hire, fire and discipline employees. Lacey said removing this layer of government would streamline the process and align more closely to the town’s vision.

“The Parks Department does a stellar job. Our parks are beautiful but it’s the behind the scenes stuff that bothers me. We have a lack of reporting structure and accountability,” Lacey said.

What happened: The second, third and final reading of Ordinance #2023-11 for the restructuring of the park board was addressed by the council.

What this Means: Council President Travis Tschaenn reminded residents that no changes to the current staff and programming of the parks department would occur. A section for the Parks Department would now be set aside on the Council agenda each month and the department would report through Town Manager Deb Cook in the future.

While Councilman Chris Worley again stated his disapproval, the motion was approved 4-1 with Worley opposed.

What happened: A motion to consider the annual COLA Rates for Water and Sewer fees was brought before the council.

What this Means: Each July, the Council reviews current water and sewer rates for the Town of Brownsburg. Cook walked council members through the rising expenses and said some costs were stabilizing, while others were at an unprecedented high. In order to avoid a sudden, large increase the council considered typical costs regarding replacement of lead lines, pipe and joint failures, preventative maintenance and inspection requirements.

With an increase established the past two years, the council felt there were additional funds that could be used to offset costs and avoid an additional increase to the taxpayer this year. They voted against the motion unanimously.

What happened: Nonprofit Misty Eyes Animal Center requested a fee waiver for their annual Bow Wow Bash event held on Sept. 24 at Williams Park.

What this Means: Per Council direction, a new application is required to request fee waivers, in which Misty Eyes submitted. The cost of the waiver is approximately $2,500.

Councilman Lacey requested further discussion on criteria and a plan for future cost waivers. While he supports the organization and didn’t have an issue with this particular waiver, it brings to the council’s attention that this is an area they might want to reevaluate for 2024.

The waiver was approved unanimously.