Town Administrator May 16, 2019
Wise Farm Purchase. On Tuesday night the Board of Trustees approved an ordinance authorizing the purchase of the 169 acre Wise Farm property, which is located at the SW corner of Jasper Road and 119th Street. The Town has a 45-day period to conduct due diligence on the transaction details and expects to close the sale by the end of June. Of the $7.2 million purchase price, $6.7 million will come from the Trails and Natural Areas Fund (TANAF) and $500,000 from the Parks & Improvement Impact Fund.
Lafayette IGA. Erie and Lafayette staff continue to work on final details of the proposed IGA to resolve the Nine Mile and other disputes. I expect that IGA to be ready for consideration by the Board of Trustees on May 28th and by the Urban Renewal Authority on June 4th.
Facility Rentals and Campaigning at Town of Erie Facilities Policy. Many questions and comments are circulating regarding the Town’s current policies on facility rentals and campaigning at Town facilities. The Town’s current “Campaigning at Town Facilities Policy” states, in part, “Use of any Town facility…in support of any issue or candidate”, and, “Campaigning for any issue or candidate at Town facilities” is “not permitted”. Consistent with this policy, Town staff recently revoked a rental application after learning that the group intended to solicit petition signatures at the event in the Erie Community Center (ECC).
There are both legal and operational issues to consider regarding this policy. For instance, one issue is whether patrons of the ECC or other Town facilities should be able to use the facilities without being interrupted by others asking them to sign petitions. There are other issues involving security and who bears the cost of providing adequate security. Some issues on all sides of the political spectrum provoke reactions that may create security risks for proponents, opponents and bystanders. Handling those security issues is complex and can be costly.
Because of these issues, and because the legal case law associated with such issues is evolving, and because the Town’s existing policy was last reviewed in 2016, I have scheduled this matter for discussion at the Board of Trustees’ May 28th regular meeting for Board consideration of any policy clarifications or changes the Board may wish to adopt.