Surveyor will continue to maintain maps

Cindy DiFazio – Staff Writer

The Ripley County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, March 12. Commissioners Robert Reiners, Chuck Folz and Lawrence Nickell, plus County Attorney Neil Comer and County Auditor, Mary Ann McCoy were present.

County Surveyor, Jeff French, addressed the commissioners regarding an issue recently brought up at the Ripley County Council meeting. Clarification was being sought as to who is supposed to maintain county maps. Council member, Ed Armbrecht, who also serves on the Technology Committee had expressed concerns that although the responsibility currently falls to the county surveyor, the maps have been the property of the auditor in the past.

French reported that since 1995 the surveyor’s office has been charged with that duty. “That’s the county surveyor’s expertise,” said French. French said that the maps were in horrible shape when his office took them over, explaining, “Over the past twelve years we’ve really improved and corrected them. They are as close to perfect as they can possibly be.” He noted that it has taken two years to parcel two townships with the least population. Commissioner Chuck Folz, who has worked with French’s office concurred stating, “They were really rough when we first started. They are in good shape now.”

Neil Comer asserted that the surveyor’s office has the responsibility for the maps and not the surveyor personally. French agreed, “That’s our job, the mapping. It’s why there is an office staff now.”
It was reported that there is a lot of talk in the state legislature about counties being required to provide their GIS data to the state. Robert Reiners suggested that Ripley County look into requesting grant money to get help with completing the GIS computer mapping layers. Folz added, “We’ve been talking about this for ten years.”

Tad Brinson, of the planning commission, brought several zoning requests in front of the commissioners for a vote. Brinson informed the commissioners that all had received unanimous favorable recommendations.

Three parcels of property for a business park outside of Versailles were rezoned from A-2 to I-1.
Setbacks were changed from five to 100 feet.

Also, although individuals wishing to erect billboards will still be required to go through the planning commission, rezoning will not be required. Special exception criteria will have to be met for approval.
The zoning issues were approved by the commissioners.

Scott Meisberger, of the New Marion Fire Department, came before commissioners to get signatures on a grant request to the Rising Sun Regional Foundation for a new building. The department will erect a 3,500 square foot building if they are approved for a grant.

Commissioners approved improvements to the shower stalls at the county jail. Sheriff Tom Grills showed a picture of shower floors that do not drain properly posing a slipping hazard. Grills stated that he had tried to obtain several bids to install tile, but had only been successful in getting one. The bid, $18,000+, is to install tile in a 1,296 square foot area. The job should require 12-15 days of labor. Reiners asked, “Is it state approved to use tile?” Deputy David Pippin told commissioners that tile is used at other facilities including the Dearborn County Jail.

Commissioner Lawrence Nickell asked the sheriff if the inmate population had gone up, noting that numbers had been down recently. Grills responded that he has asked the department of corrections to send inmates to Ripley County as well as e-mailing other departments to let them know the jail has space. Grills and Pippin noted, however, that because of the repair work that needs to be done at the jail, having fewer inmates has been a positive thing.


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