County payroll issue heard

Beth Ramsey, Staff Writer

Ginger Bradford, Ripley County Clerk, came before the commissioners at the December 17 meeting to request the problems in the payroll department get fixed. Assessor Shawna Bushhorn and County Treasurer Earline Copeland also attended to represent employees affected by this problem.

According to Bradford, there will be seven courthouse employees who will be getting paid for nine days, instead of ten. The computerized payroll program is set up for 28 weeks, sometimes leaving a day left over. The program compensates for this by allotting a portion of the wage to the paychecks throughout the year. But, this program doesn’t compensate for someone hired in the middle of the year. “The employee who started in the middle of the year will not get enough,” said Bradford.

Bushhorn stated, “We have had people to quit and hired new employees. We don’t have any money to pay them.” Four employees in her office and three employees in Bradford’s office were affected by this shortage. “We are talking about a day’s pay per person,” said Bradford.

“This needs to be fixed,” stated Bushhorn. According to Bradford, if the problem isn’t fixed, then there will be two days lost next year. Bradford emphatically requested the commissioners, “Before you sign that first claim next year, be sure that everything is correct.” President Robert Reiners replied, “We will try to do our best to fix it for next year.”

Sheriff Grills request for $875 for the installation of a chain link fence at the jail was unanimously approved. He reported that he purged the insurance coverage on the vehicles and is working with Brad Samples to ensure that only the 17 vehicles in use are insured. A bill from county Attorney Neil Comer charging the sheriff’s office for writing ordinances was given to the commissioners. According to Grills, the sheriff’s office can only pay for those ordinances that were requested by them.

Inmate medical expenses were addressed by the commissioners. According to information provided by Grills, the medical expenses have exceeded the approved budgeted amount since 2003. Advance Health Care has saved the sheriff’s department $45,561 in 2007, according to Grills. Also, Advance Health Care pays for any prescriptions, so the county prescription card will not be necessary.

The jail has approximately 90 inmates per day, according to the sheriff. “When you increase the amount of population (inmates), you increase the amount of medical costs,” he stated. Chief Deputy David Pippin related how the sheriff’s department is working with the judges to put as many as possible on home incarceration as a means to reduce costs. Pippin gave as an example: one with a high-risk pregnancy was released on her own recognizance, with the understanding to return after the child is born. An inmate with stage four cancer was placed on home incarceration, according to Pippin. “We’ve been really diligent to cut costs,” stated Grills.

Ripley County Economic Development Director Brad Buening requested to appropriate money for a micro-enterprise loan on the behalf of a business owner in Osgood to start a butcher shop that will provide local ly grown meat. The amount of $20,000 was unanimously approved by the commissioners. The loan will be repaid over five years at 4% interest. This money will pay for the remodeling and to put in drains.

Tad Brinson, Ripley County Planning Commission, presented a request for a second extension for the remodeling of a house. The commissioners allowed three months, instead of the usual six. President Reiners requested that Brinson remind the owners of the mobile home park on Western Avenue in Sunman to have the mobile home inspected before the hook up of utilities.

Johnnie Lohrum, courthouse maintenance, reported on the inspection of the boilers by the state inspector. Lohrum stated, “The inspector was quite impressed. He told us we were doing a very good job.” The commissioners told Lohrum that there is a contingency plan in the works in case of tornado, fire, loss of electricity over several days. They are working with Wayne Peace, Ripley County EMA, and will address the issue at the next meeting. The commissioners told Lohrum to take every measure to get water out of the pipes to prevent any damage from freezing. Lohrum requested that several broken chairs be recycled. Commissioner Folz told Lohrum to keep a count of the number of chairs recycled for inventory purposes.

Ken Hylton, Ripley County Veterans Officer, requested a handicap sign to be placed on the veterans van so that the driver can park the van in the handicap parking spaces. Commissioner Folz told Hylton, “The veterans need help and we’re glad to have you there to help them”

Bushhorn updated the commissioners on her need for extra filing cabinets. According to Bushhorn, the Office Shop in Batesville has assessed her situation and given a quote on a filing system. The commissioners requested a second quote, and will address the issue at the next meeting.

Larry Prickel, of District 1, was before the commissioners requesting something be done about the condition of County Road 200E. “It’s a pretty pitiful mess,” stated Prickel. President Reiners said, “We will give it some kind of extra attention this spring.” Prickel also requested something be done to keep down the dust. According to Prickel, there are families who live on 200E who are having health problems from the dust.

In other business, bids for 2008 were read by the commissioners:
• Bids for fuel were presented by Retzner Oil and Laughery Valley Ag.
• Crushed stone bids presented were from Newpoint Stone Company of Greensburg, Napoleon Quarry, and Hanson Quarry of Versailles.
• Ready mix concrete bids were presented by Irving Materials Inc., Roman Nobbe, Inc. and Raver Ready Mix of Greensburg.
• Rohe Company, Hot Mix Inc., and Dave O’Mara Inc. presented bids for ready mix asphalt.
• Asphalt Materials, Inc., Terry Materials, and Marathon Petroleum presented bids for liquid asphalt materials.
• CPI Supply was the only bid for culvert pipe.
• E&H Bridge and Grading of Bedford and CPI Supply presented bids for steel beam bridges.
All bids will be awarded at the December 31 meeting, held at the commissioner’s meeting room in the courthouse annex.