Public Library request heard
Council signs to join water district
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
A Resolution to enter a three county water district was signed
by County Council members at their regular meeting Monday, April
County Attorney Neil Comer presented the information to the council
with the assistance of Commissioner Chuck Folz. The two have been
involved with a steering committee that has been looking into a
solution to water problems for the county. While the problems are
not immediate, they certainly loom on the horizon, according to
The resolution says Ripley County is a willing participant in the
water district that also includes Jennings and Decatur counties.
Initially, counties were asked to contribute $20,000 for start up
fees. Now the fee is more reasonable, only $5,000. Also, they have
applied to Lawrenceburg Riverboat for $100,000. The water district
will be governed by a nine-member board, three participants from
each county. Ripley County is somewhat at risk if they dont
go with the district, Comer advised, saying water could become
a scarce commodity. He highly recommended the county join with the
others. Looking to future economic growth he said in years to come
those who have a good water supply will be ahead of the game.
Folz said he has been in contact with the Mayor of Batesville, and
officials from Versailles and Osgood towns who had given positive
feedback concerning the project.
Comer noted that the steering committee will meet with the Indiana
Department of Environmental Management this Friday to get the final
details. If this project is approved by IDEM, the water district
will be formed.
Osgood Public Library Director Andrea Ingmire came before the council
requesting they support the Capital Project Fund. She explained
that the library serves four townships: Center, Delaware, Franklin
and Washington. They also offer student cards to all Jac-Cen-Del
and Milan students. They have two locations, one at the historic
Carnegie site that was recently renovated and added on to, in Osgood,
and one in Milan. She noted that circulation has increased 56% from
2005 to 2006. They have 300 participants in the Summer Reading Program
that is offered to children and adults.
Ingmire said the librarys annual budget is $300,000 with most
of that money going to salaries and benefits. The Capital Project
Fund would be used for maintenance at the facilities, computers,
(they presently have 13 public computers that are used frequently),
emergencies (such as a furnace breakdown etc.) and to save money
for the Milan building project.
The council approved several appropriations including:
$7,000 from the Endowment Fund for non-profit organizations
use of the Showmobile Stage.
$13,693.22 for SISWD for 2007 expenses.
$408.65 for EZ ID Training Kit/EMS grant
$38,031.50 for Clerk Ginger Bradford to purchase one Accuvote
OS Tabulator, and five Accuvote TSX and equipment.
$5,000 was approved for employee wages for the assistant
building inspector. Tad Brinson had requested $10,813.80 to make
the position full time. He said with the increased work load, one
person could no longer handle the burden. He noted that they have
more permits applied for than ever before. We dont squander
money, he told the council noting that the current inspector
takes his job seriously and does a good job. Council member Ed Armbrecht
said he has a concern about adding staff, but also understood the
situation Brinson was in. Juanita Kaiser made a motion to give Brinson
nearly half the money requested ($5,000) which was seconded by Mark
Busching. The Council were all in favor with the exception of Armbrecht.
$1019.00 was approved for Workman Compensation Funds for
the Ripley County Department of Parks & Recreation.
$945.00 for rental deposits and $1950 to purchase and install
items requested in a RCCF/Tartar Fund Grant.
Tabled was the request from the County Highway Department for an
additional appropriation of $20,000 to pay for additional salt due
to extreme weather conditions.
Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul appeared before the council at their
request. He noted there would be no major changes in his office
come budget time. He presented the council with an idea to recoup
some public defender fees. Armbrecht said he would get with Taul
and discuss the options available. They budgeted about $85,000 last
year for pauper council fees.
Chief Probation Officer Shannon Schmaltz also came before the council
at their request. He asked for an additional adult probation officer
saying it would only cost the county $15,700, the rest of the money
would come from probation user fees. He also noted that there will
be a shift in other personnel that would make a difference (less
one person). He noted that the workload was heavy and referred to
a Year End Review document compiling all of the case loads worked
along with other pertinent information about his department. We
do not want to compromise services, he stated. He also requested
a new copier. The old one was purchased in 1998.
Armbrecht thanked both Taul and Schmaltz for their input and dialogue.
He said they are talking with each county department head before
budget time, so they can work through their needs and requests for
the following year.
Recorder Tammy Borgman noted that new laws will prohibit her department
from recording any documents with social security numbers on them.
New software has to be purchased, along with other computer equipment.
She noted that while computer services cost $36,768 this year and
are expected to be $40,000 in 2008, the following year they would
be cut in half, coming in under $20,000.
Assessor Shawna Bushhorn noted that the reassessment rate would
have to be increased due to the trending process that will take
place yearly. She noted that in 2011 another reassessment would
take place. That will begin in 2009. Armbrecht agreed that, if
we start dealing with this now, it wont hit us all at once.
He noted that further discussion would be held on the matter.
Sheriff Tom Grills also appeared at the councils request.
He gave a description of his job duties and noted that he has a
heavy work load. He noted that he was short on officers and needed
additional jail employees. He said his job is to monitor 35 employees,
run the jail, which had 75 prisoners (as of Monday, April 16), keep
up with a fleet of vehicles, oversee contracts, attend a lot of
meetings, and return numerous phone calls. Thats just a portion
of what he does as the Sheriff of Ripley County. He said he averages
about 60 hours a week easily. Recently, he said his chief deputy
actually made more than him per hour, because of the hours he amassed
due to job demands.
The sheriff noted that his department generates a lot of money for
the county and will continue to do so as long as his office is treated
fairly. He said he has a guy from Ohio who is working as a handyman
at the jail right now doing community service. That saves the county
a lot, he noted. He said he was trying to do the best I can,
and be resourceful. Recently, he cleaned up some junk around the
jail and turned it into cash at Schneiders Scrap Metal. This
in turn was spent doing repairs at the jail that were needed.
Armbrecht advised the sheriff he needed to request appropriations
from the council to spend money in some accounts. The Sheriffs
Improvement Fund was discussed, along with how commissary money
could be spent.
Sheriff Grills invited the council members and commissioners to
ride along with him for a day to see what his job was like.
Council members Mark Busching, Ed Armbrecht, David Simon, Ben Peetz,
and Juanita Kaiser were in attendance at the meeting held in the
courthouse annex in Versailles. Daphane Smith presided over the
meeting in the absence of President Donald Dunbar. The next meeting
is set for May 21, at 7:00 p.m.