At this week’s Warsaw Common Council meeting, the Council approved ordinances regarding skateboards in the downtown business district, stipends for the city’s IT Governance Committee and a change of fees at Oakwood Cemetery.

Lisa Harman, of Live Well Kosciusko, also gave a presentation on the county’s well-being.

The Council approved the skateboard ordinance amendment on second and final reading, having approved it on first reading July 6.

Mayor Joe Thallemer said the ordinance has been on the books for some time and skateboards have been prohibited in the downtown Warsaw business district since 1974. “What we’re adding is basically the enforcement penalties,” he said.

A “person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be punishable by way of a fine,” the ordinance amendment states. The fine for a first offense is $250; $500 for a second offense; and not less than $750 nor more than $2,500 for a third or subsequent offense.

Councilwoman Diane Quance was concerned about enforcement of the penalty when the offender is a minor. She said there was nothing in the ordinance about parents being responsible for the fines. Thallemer said that while he isn’t an attorney, “I do believe that parents are responsible for their minors.” Quance said in other communities, they weren’t going to be able to enforce the penalties without a clause in the ordinance stating that a parent was responsible for their minor’s fines. Thallemer said the ordinance could be amended if Quance felt the need to do that, but “I think what we’re really trying to do is send a message that there are penalties now.”

Councilman Jerry Frush said, “Personally, I felt that parents are responsible for anything, damages that their kids do, or anything like that to get into trouble. I always felt like parents are ones that are going to be held responsible for making sure they do right. They are the ones that should be.”

Jeff Grose, councilman, said he had no problem in taking action now. The ordinance was approved on final reading.

Human Resource Director Jennifer Whitaker and Thallemer presented an ordinance amending the 2021 general salary and police salary ordinances for the city employees who serve on the IT Governance Committee. Each of the four members will be paid a biweekly stipend of $454.55, beginning with the July 25 pay period.

The committee includes the GIS coordinator from the wastewater utility; systems administrator from the Warsaw Police Department; mayor’s assistant from the mayor’s office; and an additional member selected by the other three individuals. Currently, the fourth person serving on the committee is Airport Manager Nick King.

The committee helps manage the city’s technology and already has been working for about a year. The committee will be permanent going forward and the committee duties and pay will be a part of the first three job descriptions starting with 2022. The fourth person on the committee can change as needed.

After the IT Governance salary ordinance amendment was approved, Oakwood Cemetery sexton Hal Heagy presented the fee changes, which the cemetery’s board of regents already approved. The fees were last raised in 2015.

In Harman’s presentation, she said Live Well Kosciusko is a small nonprofit in the county. Its mission is to promote health, well-being and engagement in the county. They have four main initiatives they are working on and supports the Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition, the Cancer Consortium of Kosciusko County, the Employer Health & Wellness Coalition and the Healthy Community Initiative.

Harman said the Healthy Community Initiative began with the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce’s Health Care Committee that’s been going for at least 15 years.

She said they decided to use Gallup to do a survey of the health and well-being of Kosciusko County residents. Along with Live Well Kosciusko and the Chamber, partners include K21 Health Foundation, Zimmer Biomet Foundation and the Kosciusko County Community Foundation.

The survey was planned to be done in March 2020, but then the pandemic hit. The survey was done between Sept. 14 and Oct. 14. Gallup sent out 5,000 random surveys in the county, with a response rate of 25.6%, which Harman said was “really good.”

The definition of well-being, according to Gallup, is “living a life well-lived” and there are five inter-related areas: purpose/career, community, social, physical and financial.

“The overall well-being index for – it was actually great news for Kosciusko County – our well-being index score exceeded U.S. levels and that was really because of very high levels in the areas of career, financial and community well-being,” she said.

Gallup does the study in 156 metro areas. If you compare Kosciusko County’s well-being score, Harman said, the county ranks 20th among all of those metro areas, “which is really great.”

The county does have some challenges. In physical well-being, she said the disease burden is elevated in the county. Physical pain, high blood pressure and lifetime occurrences of heart attack and cancer all exceed national levels. Obesity and overweight are higher than national levels. People in Kosciusko who have visited the dentist in the last 12 months was “much, much lower” than the national average.

Harman reviewed a number of the survey questions and results. She also said five committees of 45 community members have been formed to help address the issues.

The career/purpose well-being committee is hosting an open house Thursday at Ivy Tech from 4 to 6 p.m. The committee is asking for feedback on curriculum for a mentoring/coaching program they might pilot starting in January. The public is invited.

Warsaw Community Development and Economic Director Jeremy Skinner presented a request to transfer funds in two different budgets. The first transfer of $7,050 was for debt services in the Redevelopment Allocation fund; and the second transfer was for $100,000 for professional services related to the Owen’s project predevelopment contract. The transfers were approved.

Skinner also presented a resolution for waiving noncompliance of tax abatement deduction filings for Little Crow Lofts LLC. Little Crow failed to timely file documents necessary for receipt of the tax abatement deduction regarding the 2021 tax year. The waiver and the CF-1 were unanimously approved by the Council.