Ingalls mulls using firm to help run town

town hall, 3D rendering, traffic sign

INGALLS — The town of Ingalls is considering hiring MS Consultants Inc. — a regional engineering, architecture, planning and environmental consulting firm — to take workload off council members and act as a stopgap until the town can hire a town manager.

The town is looking at an arrangement lasting at least six months.

Council president Scot Lawyer called a special meeting Monday at town hall to introduce Dax Norton, a municipal administration and management specialist with the consultant company, who would be lead contact for the town.

Council members are expected to continue discussion and possibly vote at their next regular meeting Monday, June 22, to approve the firm as a consultant to the town.

Ingalls has been without a town manager since Frank Owens resigned the position Aug. 5 of last year. He had served in the position for only four months. The town has also been without a street superintendent.

Norton is currently working with Indiana towns Nashville and Jamestown in a similar capacity. He is a former town manager himself, holding the position for 16 years in Whitestown.

One of Norton’s duties will be to help define the position of town manager.

Along with bringing the consultant firm on board, Lawyer said he wants to get the street superintendent job advertised.

“I don’t see Dax and MS as a long term solution,” said Lawyer, who has been fulfilling town manager duties along with his council president responsibilities. “I see them as a temporary, maybe a year or two stopgap, until we get the town manager position under control.

“(The job) has grown in responsibility, and I think we need someone to help lead us and help guide us in that role. That way, when we do bring someone in, we can give them every opportunity succeed rather than fail.”

Norton spoke to the council about the successes he and the firm have had in aiding Nashville and Jamestown.

“This program has done a very good job of filling the gap when needed,” Norton said. “This program has been very successful and I think if you called (Nashville and Jamestown), they would say the same thing.

“This is a stopgap program. This program is not intended for someone to contract with us for five years. We want to get people to the point to, when the new town manager comes into play, there is a strategic direction plan in place by the council, that is basically an agenda, and the town manager can understand exactly what the 5-, 10-, 20-year process is.”

Norton said his hope is to make the next town manager more efficient.

Lawyer added, “I am looking at this as a six-month trial. I want to get him in here on July 1 and then see where we are on Dec. 31.”

The town also moved Matthew Egerton, who was recently hired as seasonal/part-time to help with town maintenance, to a full-time employee.

“He’s done a really nice job and has been better than anything we’ve had since I’ve been here, and I would like to see him put on as full-time,” Lawyer said, addressing the council.

Councilman Tim Green made the motion to make Egerton’s employment full-time.

Egerton will move from $14.50 per hour to $16 per hour plus insurance.

four council members voted to approve the hire. The fifth member, Councilwoman Teresa Egerton, is Matthew Egerton’s mother and abstained from voting.

The town also is looking to create an ordinance that will prohibit after hours “heavy equipment noise” work in residential areas.

Lawyer said he has received many complaints from residents in the Maple Trails housing area of workers operating heavy equipment in the neighborhood as late as 10 p.m.

The council is looking at adopting an ordinance that will instruct heavy equipment in residential areas to only be able to work during specific hours.

“We’re going to have to develop something because as we get more and more communities come in, it will become more of a problem,” Lawyer said.