Sheriff approaches council concerning improvement fund

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

Sheriff Tom Grills appeared before the Ripley County Council at their June meeting. He said the Sheriff’s Improvement Fund, which has about $167,000 in it, was not set up according to State Statute. The fund needs to be dissolved and the money moved into other funds.

It was decided a check for $13.52 which was a refund for overpayment would be sent as a claim from the Sheriff’s Improvement Fund. The sheriff will have to return to council and ask for an additional appropriation for two bills: one for $1,703.86 for repair of a camera and one for $341.30 for gasoline.
Then the sheriff needs to go back to the start of the Work Release Program and see how much money from that program went into the fund, which could be around $15,000. That money should be placed in the Work Release line item by writing a check. The balance of the money would go into the Commissary Fund, also by writing a check into that fund.

Bill Neal, representing the Ripley County Parks Department, asked council for $10,000 for repairs and maintenance for the Fairgrounds Park. Neal said the 6.23 acres recently purchased next to the horse barn and playground area is moving along with its improvements. Several outbuildings have been torn down as well as the old house on the property, but the board has decided to leave the barn. The barn roof needs to be painted.

A new road will be added on the property from Fairground Road to the horse barn. Neal stated reasons for adding the new road are to keep the traffic flow away from the playground area; keep heavy trucks off the other roads; and to alleviate congestion during the fair. The barn area of the 6 acres will have a park like setting since it is next to the playground area. The Park Board would like to ask for a grant of $10,000 from the Rising Sun Regional Foundation toward the road project. No one objected to his requests.

County Commissioner President Bob Reiners asked for a transfer of $150,000 from the Economic Development Fund to Bituminous. This will enable the highway department to do additional road work like patching and leveling, getting the roads ready for a capital project next year. They will also do some chipping and sealing.

Ripley County Assessor Shawna Bushhorn asked for an additional appropriation of $20,000 to be used for 2007 Trending with Appraisal Research. Bushhorn said the cost would be placed in her 2008 budget for next year. The appropriation was approved.

Connie DeBurger from Family Connections requested $5,000 be put into the 2008 budget for their programs. DeBurger said they have been serving the needs of Ripley County for 24 years. During that time they have served 15,000 families with their Healthy Children, Healthy Families and PSUPP programs. They serve about 300 families a year from Ripley County.

In the council’s attempt to learn the needs of each department prior to budget time, several department heads spoke about their departments: 911 Coordinator Judy Schebler; Jeff Meinders, Soil and Water; Auditor Mary Ann McCoy and Treasurer Earlene Copeland.

Five of the seven Ripley County Council members were present: Donald Dunbar, Dephane Smith, Dee Dee Kaiser, Ed Armbrecht and David Simon. Auditor Mary Ann McCoy and Attorney Neal Comer were present to advise the council. All three County Commissioners were present. The next meeting of the Ripley County Council will be held on July 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Commissioners’ Room at the Ripley County Annex.