BROWNSBURG — In an ongoing effort to promote town transparency and take citizen feedback on everything from road construction projects to water bill costs, town officials here held their first morning town hall meeting of 2013, where Grant Kleinhenz, town manager, focused on defining the upcoming goals for the year.
Kleinhenz said the goal at this point is to hold the meetings on the first Tuesday of every other month to gauge resident feedback and communicate what’s going on in the town. He outlined a litany of goals and provided updates on some of the things that have been going on recently.
“Economic development is one of the biggest areas we focus on very heavily,” he said, noting a plan that requires businesses to meet certain guidelines, most notably pay scales, to receive tax incentives. “We want businesses that are receiving any type of tax incentive to pay a living wage. If the average wage is $16 for a machine operator, you’re going to get those incentives if you’re near that average or incentives if you go above that. Disposable income runs our community.”
Kleinhenz said the Economic Development Commission approved the plan, which will go before the town council at its Feb. 14 meeting.
He also gave designs of a facade improvement program, where the town would set aside a matching grant program for business owners to help improve the look of their buildings, if need be.
“For instance, peeling paint or windows that aren’t up to snuff,” he explained. “In these economic times, a lot of business owners don’t have the dollars to fix up those problems. I want to see a vibrant downtown. It also protects the building. In my experience, for every dollar you put in for something like that, you usually get a return of about four to five times.”
Kleinhenz noted that around $200,000 was budgeted for this new program. Future plans also include phasing out traditional water meter reading.
“Currently, we are working with the energy savings project,” he explained. “We’re looking at replacing water meters. There are other technologies out there that will either allow us to drive by and read meters or we’ll look at a system that’s a direct dedicated system that will report to town hall what the usage is.”
As far as construction projects go, he highlighted the desire to eliminate truck traffic on State Road 267, diverting it to Northfield Drive, which would allow more projects to be able to be done regarding landscaping on the road.
“We also will be working in the next 60 days on a wayfinding sign project that will direct people to different major landmarks, such as downtown, town hall, various schools, and parks,” he said. “We’ll create an image that will help people get around the community better. Indianapolis has done a lot of this and it’s really changed the character of those neighborhoods.”
Kleinhenz said that 1.5 seconds were added to the length of the green light going east and west where Northfield Drive meets S.R. 267, something residents had been requesting. Also, the town received a grant that will allow smoother passage through all traffic lights for emergency vehicles.
“We did receive a grant from the state that will allow police and fire vehicles to have transmitters in their trucks, so as they approach an intersection, it will transmit to the signal that it needs to start the cycle to turn green,” he said. “We will install these everywhere. It saves three to five seconds and that can be the difference between life and death. It will be a nice addition to our public safety.”
For additional updates, follow the town on Twitter @BrownsburgIN.