Martinsville Common Council – January 9, 2017 Meeting Minutes

City Council

Mayor Shannon Kohl called the Martinsville Common Council to order on Monday, January 9, 2016. Scotty Manley then led those in attendance in opening prayer followed by the Mayor’s leading attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.



  • Shannon Kohl, Mayor
  • Terry Buster, District 1
  • Ben Merida, District 2
  • Mike Lanam, District 3
  • Chip Keller, District 4
  • Phil Deckard II, District 5
  • Eric Bowlen, Councilman-at-Large
  • Kris Fuller, Councilman-at-Large
  • Troy Swan, City Engineer
  • Dale Coffey, City Attorney
  • Craig DeMott, DPW
  • Terry Anderson, Fire Chief
  • Lachell Mauer, Assistant Chief of Police
  • Valerie Hugart, Clerk-Treasurer
  • Rebecca Tumey, Acting Clerk Treasurer

A quorum was declared present.


A motion was made by Councilman Eric Bowlen to waive the reading of the minutes from the December 19, 2016 and to accept the minutes as written. This was seconded by Councilman Phil Deckard II. The Motion passes 5-0. Councilmen Chip Keller and Terry Buster abstained due to absence.


MCEDC Director Mike Dellinger appeared to report the 2017 Contract for MCEDC has increased to $60,000.00. Also, 2017 is shaping up to be a great year. Further, the tax abatement for Form Tec will allow the company to apply for a training grant and to add up to twelve new jobs. Another machine shop in the area will be adding ten jobs that will target minorities.


Troy Swan reported the Artesian Stormwater Project is now under pavement. There are a couple of items that will be taken care of in the spring.


2017 Morgan County Economic Development Corporation – Director Mike Dellinger presented the 2017 Contract to the Council last night. There is an increase from $50,000.00 to $60,000.00. Councilman Chip Keller made the motion to accept the increase and the 2017 contract. This was seconded by Councilman Ben Merida. The Motion passes 7-0.

2017-1735 No-Smoking and Tobacco Ordinance for City Parks – City Attorney Dale Coffey presented for a first reading, an ordinance that will ban smoking and vaping in all City Parks and green areas. Public comments of support of the ordinance came from Lori Long and Jennifer Walker. Police Chief Matt Long stated liquid marijuana is now available. He thinks it’s a good decision to include vaping in the ordinance. The second reading will occur on January 17, 2017.

2017 Election of Common Council President – Councilman Terry Buster nominated Eric Bowlen for the 2017 Council President. Councilman Chip Keller seconded the nomination. Hearing no further nomination, Councilman Phil Deckard II made the motion to close the nominations. Councilman Ben Merida seconded the motion. The motion passes 7-0. Council President Bowlen then asked for a show of right hand vote. The vote was unanimous.

2017 Plan Commission and Solid Waste – A motion was made by Councilman Chip Keller for Ben Merida to remain on the Plan Commission and Solid Waste Management. This was seconded by Councilman Mike Lanam. The Motion passes 7-0.

2017 Economic Development – A motion was made by Councilman Ben Merida for Chip Keller to remain on the Economic Development. This was seconded by Councilman Mike Lanam. The Motion passes 7-0.


Ordinance 2017-1736 Five Election Districts – City Attorney Dale Coffey presented an ordinance that will recognize and accept the current Five Election Districts. A motion to recognize and accept these areas was made by Councilman Phil Deckard II. Councilman Terry Buster seconded the motion. The Motion passes 7-0.

Discussion of Dog Waste – Councilman Kris Fuller started the discussion of dog owners cleaning up dog waste. He suggested an ordinance be drafted and that a fine be imposed for violating the ordinance. Councilman Fuller will circulate Marion County’s ordinance for Council review. A discussion will occur in the future.

Retreat at Mineral Springs – MCEDC Director Mike Dellinger appeared and asked the Council to consider a $400,000.00 tax abatement for the Retreat at Mineral Springs. There will be 40 housing units established at the former Kivett Building and the property located on West Harrison. The Council meeting recessed at 7:35 p.m. for the Public Hearing on this topic.


Council President Eric Bowlen opened the Public Hearing regarding a tax abatement for the Retreat at Mineral Springs. Bowlen then called for public comments.

Cecelia Kreft, 11 N Jefferson Street, appeared and asked the Council to not approve the tax abatement. She said there will be no jobs added and no security. She also said the tax abatement is not a reasonable use of tax dollars. Bowlen called again for public comments. There being none, the Public Hearing closed at 7:41 p.m.

Council President Eric Bowlen reconvened the Council meeting at 7:42 p.m. Councilman Chip Keller stated the RDC had an affirmative vote that the project move forward. It is estimated as much as eight million dollars could be pumped into our local economy. Bowlen reminded those present that people and businesses coming into our community are more like to stay here, move here and work here if they see the City taking positive moves to attract and retain people. A motion to allow the tax abatement was made by Councilman Chip Keller and was seconded by Councilman Ben Merida. President Bowlen asked those approving the abatement to raise their right hand. The count was 7-0. The Motion passes.

Proposed Bobby Helms Memorial – Scotty Manley has been talking with Robert Nolan and Brad Bales, concerning a memorial for local singer, Bobby Helms. Manley recited many of the late singer’s accomplishments and reminded everyone he lived in Martinsville. The Helms Family has given their blessing for a memorial to be erected. Manley suggested the memorial be place at Doris Daily Park. Tonight he asked for the blessing of the Council to proceed with fund raising and design. The Council agreed for Manley to continue. A committee will be created for this project. Councilmen Mike Lanam and Kris Fuller volunteered to be a part of the committee.

City Park Planning Discussion – City Attorney Dale Coffey presented an idea he along with Councilman Eric Bowlen and Park Director Brad Bales has come up with. Brad Bales described various improvements at the Jimmy Nash City Park that include: eliminate the tennis court; remove one of the basketball courts; turn the house into a community building, equipped with a kitchenette; opening up a wall in the bath house; installing puttputt golf; Frisbee golf; a general store in the community building; refurbishing Shelter Houses 2 and 6. Labor will be provided by Park staff. Only materials will need to be purchased. Coffey went on to say initial funding is available in the amount of $70,000.00 from the Riverboat fund. An additional appropriation from the same fund will complete the project. Councilman Deckard said other projects in the City need to be considered. He would like to see the Water Shop on Mulberry Street have attention and also the septic at the Street Department. A motion by Councilman Ben Merida to move forward with the Park projects and to appropriate and additional $150,000.00. This was seconded by Councilman Kris Fuller. The Motion passes 7-0.


A motion to accept the claims as reported was made by Councilman Eric Bowlen. Councilman Terry Buster seconded the motion. The Motion passes 7-0.

Mayor Kohl asked for comments or questions from the audience. Anthony Beck, 760 Baker Road, appeared to ask the Council to update the sign ordinance. Mr. Beck owns the portable, black signs in our area. Councilman Ben Merida will check with the Plan Commission to determine if that Commission is already working on this issue.

Mayor Kohl reminded everyone of the prayer vigil for Ava Bowlen to be held on Tuesday, January 10th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers.


There being no further business, Councilman Eric Bowlen made the motion to adjourn. This was seconded by Councilman Phil Deckard II. The motion passes 7-0.