Cindy DiFazio- Staff Writer
The Ripley County Council met in
regular session on Tuesday, January 16. With the exception of
Edward Armbrecht who is on vacation all members were present
along with attorney Neil Comer and county auditor Mary Ann McCoy.
Council president Donald Dunbar told the council that he wanted
the council to consider paying off the jail in 2007. Dunbar
noted that $771,000 in cumulative capital funds comes due on
February 27 and the choices are to reinvest or pay off the jail.
He went on to say, If we are to consider building anything
else Id like to pay the jail off. Commissioner Lawrence
Nickell asked, How much could we pay right now?
Dunbar responded, We could pay it off right now.
The balance owed on the jail is reportedly around $930,000.
Dunbar told the group that there would still be ample monies
left in the cum cap budget after paying off the jail. He also
assured, I dont want to bring this to a vote tonight.
I just want the council to think about it. Commissioner
Chuck Folz commented, Wasnt your projection to pay
it off at about this time? Council member Mark Busching
added, To me its a no-brainer to pay it off.
Dunbar went on to say, Before I leave Id like to
see the jail paid off. Ive put three things on priority
for 2007: number one - the jail, number two - the Honda situation
(economic development) and number three - the annex. He
then asked Nickell and Folz what their priorities, as commissioners,
Nickell agreed that the jail was his number one priority, followed
by economic development, and then the development of new water
resources. Folz put the jail on the top of his list as well.
The council will decide at its March meeting whether to reinvest
the money or pay off the jail.
Donald Dunbar was re-elected as council president and Dephane
Smith as vice-president.
Appropriations were approved for two bridge projects. Lawrence
Nickell reported that $24,805.00 is needed for materials and
rental equipment for the county bridge crew to complete Bridge
#9. He stated, Weve been trying to fix it all fall,
but the water has never been down. An additional $250,000.00
was approved for Bridge #8 on Cavehill Road. Nickell told the
council that the $250,000.00 represents the 20% the county has
to pay for repairs on that bridge.
Katherine Taul of the Ripley County Tourism Bureau brought copies
of her budget and annual report for council members. She reported
that the bureau is staying busy with projects and new events
for this year. Taul said that a travel writer from the Cincinnati
Enquirer had visited recently and stayed at the Stonebridge
Inn. The reporter collected information for an article, which
Taul noted, would be great publicity for the county.
Before closing, Donald Dunbar proposed changing how the council
meets. Dunbar said, I dont see the need to meet
every month. It was decided to eliminate the February
meeting and hold the next meeting on Thursday, March 1 at 7:00
p.m. Dephane Smith commented, We dont want to spread
the meetings out too far. Neil Comer agreed, stating that
he felt the council has operated better in recent years because
they have met more often and been more actively involved in
the running of the county. Smith offered that it might work
to meet every six weeks instead of monthly. The issue was tabled
until the March 1 meeting.