Wanda English Burnett, Editor
A request to approve tax abatements for Wagner
Truss and Ertel Cellars Winery brought much discussion at the
Ripley County Council meeting Monday night, March 16.
Paperwork submitted was not complete, with council member Ed
Armbrecht saying, Its our obligation to make sure
theyre in compliance. The motion to approve the
requests almost passed, but was quickly squelched when Attorney
Neil Comer cited some discrepancies in the submitted forms.
Finally, after much discussion and Auditor Mary Ann McCoy leaving
the meeting to get files on the matter from her office at the
courthouse, the council decided to recess the meeting to 2 p.m.
Wednesday, March 18.
Sheriff Tom Grills approached the council with a request to
pursue a grant that will put additional police officers on the
beat. The grant will be through the COPS program - Community
Oriented Policing Services.
The sheriff explained to the council that the applications were
being taken for $1 billion in Recovery Act Funds. This will
allow approximately 5,500 law enforcement officer jobs to be
created or saved. Sheriff Grills said he wanted to at least
get in on the application process and try to get additional
officers for Ripley County. He said his officers were swamped
and the additional manpower would be welcomed.
The question of how the additional cars for the officers would
be paid for, was asked by council member Donald Dunbar. He asked
if the sheriff could buy the cars out of his home incarceration
account. Sheriff Grills said he will be willing to pay as much
as he can out of that account, but cautioned he already takes
a lot out of this account and didnt know how much it would
After taking a straw poll of the council members, it was noted
they were in favor of the sheriff pursing the grant as long
as it falls in a certain perimeter.
The sheriff also requested that officers be vested for retirement
at 10 years instead of the present eight. He noted that someone
off the street could run for sheriff and only serve eight years,
getting the retirement that some road officers have worked years
for. He didnt feel the present system was fair to officers
who have been with the department for several years. The council
discussed the issue, but didnt take any action on it.
This will be brought before the sheriffs merit board and
then back to the council.
In other business:
A request from Ripley County Clerk Ginger Bradford to
take $2,331.00 from the Perpetuation Fund for storage shelving
in the Hunter Building and old bank, was approved unanimously.
The additional appropriation request from Ripley County
Technology Director Kelly Vollet of $40,000 to purchase the
final layer for the GIS system was unanimously approved.
Council members gave unanimous approval for requests
for additional appropriations for the Ripley County Health Department:
$500 for registration and conference training expenses; $500
for dues and subscriptions; $2,500 for public health threat/emergencies
advertising expenses; and $1,597.74 for public information educational
Julie Brancamp, representing the Ripley County Parks
and Recreation, was granted an additional appropriation of $21,408.00
from a Rising Sun Regional Foundation grant for a lighting project
at the fairgrounds park.
The request to transfer $54.37 from one account to another
within the recorders department was granted. This money
will go for dues.
The council agreed the yearly return from the Ripley
County Community Foundation will go into an endowment fund as
it has in past years.
Owen Menchhofer was reappointed to the Ripley County
Area Planning Commission for a four-year term with unanimous
The meeting resumed at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 with all
council members present. Within a half hour, both abatements
were passed unanimously. Larry Eaton, attorney for both businesses,
was present and cleared up any questions that council members
had regarding the paperwork.
The next regular council meeting will be held Monday, April
20 at 7 p.m. in the Ripley County Courthouse Annex, Versailles.