Council passes measure to launch unsafe building ordinance

Authored by Jim Langham on Jan 25, 2012

City Attorney James Beitler introduced an ordinance at Monday's board meeting to enact an unsafe building code that would allow for proper measures to rectify unsafe building sites in the city.
Council then initiated emergency legislation steps to adopt the measure and authorize the attorney to fulfill the required publication of the legislation twice in the paper. Beitler stated that under the provisions of state legislation 36-7-9-1 through 36-7-9-28, all proceedings within the City of Berne for inspection, repair and removal of unsafe buildings would be governed.
"All buildings or portions thereof within the city which are determined after inspection by the Building Commission to be unsafe as defined in this subchapter are herby declared to be nuisances shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal," states the ordinance.
The ordinance further states that the Director of Building and Planning (Shannon Smitley) shall be authorized to administer and proceed under the provisions of this law in ordering the repair or removal of any buildings found to be unsafe as specified.
Beitler had said at the last council meeting that while the legislation will be designed to handle all situations within its stated provisions, this will especially allow the city to start the process to address unsafe building situations, particularly the burned out house on North Jefferson Street.
Also on Monday, council approved an upgrade in insurance coverage for the Berne Police Department that would enable employees to have the same coverage as city employees.
"During a recent police injury, it was discovered that the workman's compensation for the police department was not in line with what other city employees are offered," explained Clerk-Treasurer Gwen Maller.
Council members also discussed coverage by BFIS Insurance that would provide compensation and medical assistance for the reserve police force.
"We were not in error in the coverage that we have. Everybody in the state has this," said Maller. "We are going above and beyond what the state requires. It was great that we had what we had. We're even going to do better than that."
Council passed a resolution to improve the updated Indiana Public Employer's Plan for the city police department. In addition, a resolution was also passed to insure those in the reserve police force with BFIS Insurance.
In addition, council:
- passed legislation to offer the property on which the old water tower stood on Berne Street for a cost of $3,400. The cost includes appraisal, survey and various other expenses in preparing it for sale.
- approved a request from the South Adams Senior Center board to appoint Van Wulliman to replace Blaine Fulton who will be retiring from the board of directors.

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