PANDORA - The proposed sale of the former village maintenance building came under fire at the Village of Pandora's last council meeting.

Several residents attended the Oct. 22 meeting to express concerns about the sale of the building, or rather, about the future owner.

Local auctioneer Aaron Siefker conducted the auction of the building on Krohn Street on Oct. 17. Steve Guthrie, who lives next door to the property, spoke out against the proposed sale of the building to the one who is in the process of buying it.
Guthrie said he has a wife and two daughters, and has concerns living next door to the property given this person's criminal history. He is also concerned about some of the rumors of the plans for the building. Village Administrator Stan Schneck said there were some reports the structure may be turned into apartments, but the person Guthrie is speaking about would not live there. There had also been some discussion about the possibility of a business in this building which would require a change in zoning.

Currently the property is zoned R2 which is a residential designation. Turning this location into a business would require ultimate approval from the village council. The party must request the zoning change and then all adjourning property owners are notified of the request and a legal notice is put into the local paper regarding the zoning hearing. There has not been any request for a change in zoning and Schneck pointed out there is nothing village officials can do to stop the sale.

"Fortunately or unfortunately, we live in a free society," Schneck said.

However, Schneck pointed out there no official plans for the building and the party has 30 days to close on the deal. Schneck said they were originally hoping the building would sell for between $15,000 to $20,000 and $27,000 was the winning bid. But, Guthrie does not believe that amount is worth it.

"You are not doing what is in the best interest of the community to sell this building," Guthrie said.

Meanwhile, council approved the first reading of annexing 75.68 acres of property currently owned by Keith and Mark Hempfling which is adjacent to the current industrial park. Last August, the Putnam County CIC assisted in an agreement between the village and the Riley Township Trustees, who have agreed to the plan. Schneck said they are hoping to eventually be able to use the land for future economic development purposes.

There are no proposed economic development projects currently, but once there is a project, the land will be available. Schneck told council they may have to update their current Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) plan once the annexation process is completed.

Fiscal Officer Lana Burris also reported to council there are changes coming with the Public Employees Retirement System. Next year, an employee must make a minimum of $1,000 a month to earn healthcare credits. She also informed council that beginning Jan. 1, 2014, they will be paid based on salary and not per meeting that they are currently. The amount of payment remains the unchanged.

Another resident complained that his water was rather brown and had an odor. Schneck said they flush the hydrants once a year and it was just flushed three weeks ago. They will start flushing the hydrants twice a year beginning next spring.

"It should be getting better," Schneck said.