Sheriff holds out for more money
Rebate checks for homestead credit discussed
Cathy May, Contributing Writer
The Ripley County Council has offered Sheriff Tom Grills
a contract for $73,000 for 2008, but Grills refused to sign the
contract because he wants more. In addition to his salary, Grills
also wants the money garnered from tax warrants which would add
another $12,000 to $15,000 to his salary. By state statute, the
sheriff has to be paid 60% of what the prosecutor is paid, but
the state pays the prosecutors salary, not the county.
This discussion took place at the November 19 meeting of the Ripley
County Council. When Councilman Ed Armbrecht explained to Grills
that if he didnt sign the contract his salary would go back
to the old method. [The old method is based on meals
served and tax warrants]. Grills threatened to fill the jail to
150% capacity, since the county wouldnt be sued at that
capacity, and said he could make a $1.00 a meal. [Jail capacity
is 120 prisoners. If there were 180 prisoners and Grills made
$1.00 a meal profit, which he said he could do, he could make
$197,100 in one year on meals alone].
Armbrecht said if they went back to the old way, Council
would pay him $1.00 a year and he would make his money on meals
and warrants. Grills replied Youd be forcing me to
be a businessman instead of a police officer. Grills has
until the end of the year to decide whether to sign the contract
Sheriff Grills also received additional appropriations of $60,000
from the council: $20,000 for meals for prisoners, $20,000 for
inmate medical, and $20,000 for garage and motors. When asked
about the new $36,000 Tahoe he just purchased, Grills justified
it by saying, It is an off road vehicle which several people
could get in and use in an emergency.
Council President Donald Dunbar asked Grills why the sheriffs
department had 17 vehicles when there are only nine deputies.
Grills said several of the vehicles are junk and dont even
run. They also use vehicles for reserves and extra transports.
Grills said, Even though they are allowed to be taken home,
most dont because it is like being on duty 24/7. Councilman
Armbrecht said with the cost of fuel continuing to rise we need
to look at how the vehicles are used.
Auditor Mary Ann McCoy asked for a transfer of funds of $2,000
and an additional appropriation for clerical of $1,500 for the
state rebate order. The state sent $865,957.73 for rebates on
the Homestead Credit, but if that is not enough money to cover
the rebates, the county must make up the difference. There are
7,643 parcels and 1,619 taxes paid in escrow. Each one has to
be investigated by the county treasurer to see if there are any
judgments against it and those have to be paid first. McCoy hopes
to have the rebates out by the end of the year. Council approved
her requests 6-1 with Armbrecht voting no.
In other business: council voted to give the Ripley County Humane
Society a contract for services payment of $60,000. It will come
from Riverboat Funds.
Reimbursements from the Ripley County 4-H corporations to the
Ripley County Parks and Recreation were accepted in the amount
Additional appropriations were approved for the Ripley County
Highway Department: $10,000 for garage and motors, $45,000 for
gas, oil and lubricants.
Transfers were approved for the Ripley County Health Department:
$110.64 to vital records telephone.
Transfer approved for the Ripley County Commissioners: $700 for
dog warden mileage.
The amended salary ordinance for Superior Court Judge James Morris
Auditor Mary Ann McCoy suggested council familiarize themselves
with Bill 1478 of the House and Roads Act creating a Capitol Projects
Board for each county. This board will have both appointed and
All seven county council members were present: Donald Dunbar,
Mark Busching, Ed Armbrecht, Dave Simon, DeeDee Kaiser, and Dephane
Smith. Attorney Neil Comer and Auditor Mary Ann McCoy were present
to advise the council members. All three county commissioners
were in attendance. The next regular meeting of the Ripley County
Council will be Monday, December 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the commissioners
room of the Ripley County Courthouse Annex.