rates concerning Osgood Public Library discussed at county council
English Burnett, Editor
Questions were raised about the high amount some people are paying
on their property taxes at the Ripley County Council meeting held
Monday, August 17. The rates in question concerned the Osgood
While members of the library board were in attendance, they too
thought the amount seemed high with Richard Parks, library treasurer,
saying, The debt is overstated.
Taxpayer John Peetz questioned the percentage taxpayers were charged
saying it was way out of proportion.
While there wasnt a clear cut answer to the question of
why the amount seemed so extravagant, council member Ed Armbrecht
requested the library board to bring additional documents to the
next scheduled hearing and they would try to sift it out.
Parks said he believes the high rate isnt correct, but even
if it is, its something that has to be paid. The debt was
put in place by a previous board. I cant count the
number of hearings on projects where rarely anyone showed up,
Parks continued, saying taxpayers should watch their newspapers
and go to the hearings to be heard. In essence, he was saying
its too late now to change the debt the library owes. You
could shut the library down tomorrow, but youd still have
Peetz noted that he is not anti-library but felt the
rate was excessive.
Gene Pitts noted that the Milan branch of the Osgood Library has
operated for the past nine years out of a donated building. He
said, It (the library) does make a real impact on our taxes.
He also noted that the library board wants to make good judgments
for people paying taxes and also for library usage. Were
doing this for generations to come, he noted. [Editors
note: A public hearing in the matter will be held at the Osgood
Public Library on August 25 at 6:30 p.m.]
The meeting on Monday included budget hearings for townships and
towns that saw no passage of the budgets. Instead every budget
submitted had at least one category that did not come into compliance
with the state law that says the budget has to be within 3.8%
of last years budget.
Armbrecht explained that while the overall budget might not be
over that amount, some portion of the budget was, therefore the
council adopted a non-binding resolution to amend all budgets
submitted Monday night, which included every township and town
in the county.
With state laws changing from last year, the council proceeded
with caution to not cause any township or town hardship. Council
President Dephane Smith said, It doesnt make sense
that you cant just go with it. She was referring to
kicking back the whole budget even if one portion was over the
limit, with the rest under the rate limit.
In other business:
Kim Jolly with the Ripley County Soil and Water, presented council
members with a document they requested from last month. This was
comparing salaries of employees to surrounding counties. She said
it was a hard document to create as Ripley County has one of the
largest argiculture bases in the state. She noted that they have
lost two employees to surrounding counties where they paid more
and had less of a work load. The initial request was for salary
increases. This was for information only so the council would
have time to look it over before the hearing.
Additional appropriations were granted unanimously to the Ripley
County Health Department for the following:
$700 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Social Security to appropriate
monies for additional temporary RN/LPN.
$1,500 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Public Education to
appropriate monies for public awareness.
$10,000 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Operating Supplies
to appropriate monies for operating supplies.
$1,500 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Office Supplies for
office supplies needed.
$4,000 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Communication Equipment
for communication equipment.
$1,500 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Advertising for advertising
$2,370 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Travel for health department
staff travel expenses.
$1,500 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Conference Fees to
appropriate monies for health department staff training.
$7,500 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Computers-Printers
to appropriate monies for computers, printers, and equipment.
$10,000 from H1N1 Preparedness Grant/Computers-Printers
for equipment needed to store vaccinations and anti-virals etc.
$1,137.41 from Tobacco Settlement/Travel Expense to appropriate
monies for travel and training expenses.
$10,000 from Local Emergency Planning for monies to reimburse
grant for Hazardous Materials Transportation Flow Study.
Pat Thomas, health department director requested $196.56
be transferred from the Ripley County Community Tobacco Grant
fund for operating supplies. This was given unanimous approval.
Ripley County Treasurer Earline Copeland requested $2,000
be transferred from Clerical for supplies. She noted that due
to the extra mailing for taxes, letters, tax sale letters, this
transfer was needed. It was unanimously approved.
All council members were in attendance: Bill Dramann, Ed Armbrecht,
David Simon, Donald Dunbar, Dephane Smith, Bill Warren, Juanita
Kaiser, along with Neil Comer, attorney and Mary Ann McCoy, auditor.
The next regular meeting of the council will be held September
21 at 7 p.m. at the Ripley County Courthouse Annex in Versailles.