Cindy DiFazio, Staff Writer
The Ripley County Council met in regular session on Thursday,
March 1. All members, except Dephane Smith, were present along
with Attorney Neil Comer and County Auditor Mary Ann McCoy.
Council President, Donald Dunbar, told members that the lawsuit
against Belterra Casino has been settled. Ripley County had
entered into the suit with Jefferson and Crawford counties to
recoup shortfalls from the casino. Belterra agreed to split
a maximum of $1,000,000 between the three counties - $500,000
to Jefferson, $250,000 to Crawford and $250,000 to Ripley.
If slot machines are approved for use at racetracks, casino
revenues might be adversely effected which, in turn, would mean
less money for the counties.
Belterra also will subtract monies it says that Ripley County
was overpaid. That will occur in the first two quarters of this
year, making Ripley Countys share only $13,000 for each
of those quarters.
The counties and towns will have to split the cost of attorneys
A new agreement will need to be signed by March 31.
Ripley County Clerk, Ginger Bradford, came before the council
to request an additional appropriation of $3,640. Bradford told
the council that she had conducted a study comparing salaries
of the Ripley County clerks clerical workers to those
employed by other Indiana counties of the same size. She noted
that her clerical workers do the same work as those who are
deputized, but are not paid the same. The additional appropriation
would provide a .50 per hour increase. Im asking
that this be put in the perpetuation fund to increase their
salaries, Bradford explained. She stated further, Weve
done as much as we can do to trim the budget. Ive had
six clerical people quit to go to higher paying jobs.
Council member, Ed Armbrecht, agreed, Its very costly
to the county to lose employees. However, he told Bradford,
We need to sit down and look at this, but doing it in
the middle of the budget year is a slippery slope. Mark
Busching added, I agree 100%. I think youre doing
this the right way, conducting your own studies. But,
he went on, I agree with Ed about not doing this in the
middle of the year.
Bradford received assurances from the council that the matter
of salary increases would be entertained at budget time.
Sheriff Tom Grills reported that shower repairs in the jail
should be a priority. Grills stated that water stands in the
corners and around drains. He said that industrial tile needs
to be laid in five of the stalls. An estimate of $18,000 for
1,296 square feet has been obtained. Council president, Donald
Dunbar, inquired, Was this in the last report on the jail?
Grills responded that although the report on the jail was favorable,
he did not believe it addressed many ongoing problems. Commissioner
Lawrence Nickell, said, Weve got problems, nothing
major, but they need to be fixed.
In old business, Dunbar reminded the council that at the January
meeting paying off the jail had been proposed. He stated that
since then he had been informed by Neil Comer that leaving that
until next year will actually save the county $9,000. Armbrecht
concurred, At least for this year well make more
in interest by not paying it off. Dunbar noted, We
will revisit this issue next year.
Ted Spurlock, Ripley Countys representative to the Rising
Sun Regional Foundation, presented the foundations 2006
annual report. The foundation has operated for ten years and
awarded in excess of $19.2 million in direct grants within its
grantmaking region. According to the report, that $19.2 million
has assisted in leveraging $230 million in government, foundation
and personal contributions to 800 projects, or an equivalent
of $12 in project funding for every $1 of RSRF grant funding.
Commissioners president, Robert Reiners commented, It
(the RSRF) has improved the quality of life for the citizens
of Ripley County and we appreciate it.