The Shelbyville Common Council approved four items and heard an update from Advantage Shelby County at its Monday evening meeting.

Stephanie Amos and Ami Carter from Advantage Shelby County provided the council with an update on the educational program’s success.

Advantage Shelby County is a two-year college program that makes higher education attainable for Shelby County high school graduates and prepare them to be ready for the workforce, according to its website.

Amos started by saying that Shelby County’s Ivy Tech program would be aligned with the Columbus campus, rather than the Indianapolis Campus.

“About a year ago, Ivy Tech started looking at the Indianapolis service area to review a restructure,” she said. “Indianapolis currently serves Marion County as well as all the donut counties, so it’s the largest campus in our portfolio of campuses. It currently serves one-fourth of the student population within the state and one-third of the entire state population, so it’s a very large campus.

“As we were looking at that, we thought it would be good to break off some of those donut counties, and with that, we are aligning Johnson and Shelby County with the Columbus campus,” she added.

Amos reported that in 2018, 44 percent of Shelby County graduates enrolled in the Advantage Shelby County program, which is significantly larger than the statewide average of students attending Ivy Tech.

“That goes to show the program is working, students are coming out and going to school, and thanks to your support and the community support, that is showing a larger average than our statewide average of students attending Ivy Tech,” Amos told the council.

Carter said what she’s most proud of is the number of volunteer hours the students complete.

“Advantage Shelby County students do 10 hours of service every semester they take,” she said. “Those hours are done back in Shelby County at 501(c)3 vendors. ... Those students have completed 11,220 hours back to the county. If you put a dollar amount on that of $10 an hour ... you’re looking at over $100,000 in value they’ve contributed back in return for their scholarship, tuition and fees.”

Other business

The council approved a late edition to the agenda – a resolution to extend an executive order regarding face coverings.

Mayor Tom DeBaun signed an executive order earlier that day that requires masks be worn at all city-controlled buildings.

“The discussion basically revolved around making sure the hospital is not overwhelmed, should there be an uptick in any COVID cases once the mask mandate does expire,” he said, referencing Governor Holcomb’s mask mandate expiring on Tuesday.

The council approved this resolution, which will expire on May 3, or the first council meeting in May.

City-controlled facilities include the Excel Center at Intelliplex, the airport, the animal shelter, City Hall, the conference center, all three fire stations, the Parks Department, the Police Department, the Public Utilities Office, the Street Department, and the Water Resource Recovery Facility.

The council also approved the second reading of the rezoning of the Progress Parkway rezoning.

This rezoned a 12-acre piece of property (known as the Summerford Property) located at the southwest corner of Progress Parkway from neighborhood business to single-family residential.

The Plan Commission issued a “favorable, unanimous” recommendation for the rezoning. This acreage will be combined with an additional 52 acres nearby (known as the Fansler Property) to form a 180-ish lot subdivision.

Under new business, the council approved a salary ordinance amendment that will extend the salary ranges for certain Parks Department jobs and the Assistant Engineer.

“We are trying to keep pace with the current trend in the private sector,” Mayor Tom DeBaun explained. “We’ve been having difficulty finding some employees at the Parks Department, specifically lifeguard, lifeguard supervisor, assistant pool manager and pool manager. And then on the engineering side, our assistant engineer is actually receiving solicitations to leave the city at a much higher rate.”

Parks Department Director Karen Martin told the council that the lifeguard and pool manager role are pretty competitive.

“It’s pretty competitive now that White Rock Park is hiring lifeguards in Franklin and stuff, but we’re not just competing with that,” she said. “We’re competing with Walmarts and restaurants and stuff, because as Scott [Ferguson] probably knows” – she gestured to the city council member who also owns Cagney’s Pizza King – “restaurants are having a hard time hiring people as well.”

The council also approved the 2020 financial reports.