Commissioners hear request for new building
Probation officer raises safety concerns

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

The Ripley County Probation Office is in need of a new location, according to Shannon Schmaltz, director. His request to consider the purchase of a new building was made at the regular commissioner meeting on Monday, November 30.

According to Schmaltz, the office has been at its current location at 102 W. 1st NorthStreet, Versailles, for 11 years and is now causing health and safety issues for the nine employees.

When given the opportunity to address their concerns regarding the work conditions, the main employee concern was for health issues such as allergies, sinus infection, or breathing problems. These concerns were sent to Schmaltz via emails, which were provided to the commissioners along with the request for a new office location.

According to Schmaltz, property across from the current annex is available for sale for $195,000, and would provide adequate space for the probation and technology offices, as well as additional space for expansion. Although there is a newer furnace and central air unit, the building will require additional work such as an elevator, carpet, and data lines for the computers.

Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul and Superior Court Judge James Morris expressed their support for the need of new office space for the probation office. According to Judge Morris, he sees the purchase as a relatively inexpensive option which would provide office space for future growth. Judge Taul told the commissioners that the purchase of the building would improve the employees working conditions.

The commissioners acknowledged that the current location for the probation and technology offices is in need of repairs, but the purchase of another building would need some consideration.

Mary McCarty, Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, updated the commissioners on upcoming funding opportunities to benefit communities in the county that were affected by flooding in 2008. According to McCarty, there were more than 80 counties that were declared a disaster area at that time. The total $253 million will be used across the state for several projects including clearing waterway blockages. More information will be learned at workshops scheduled in January, according to McCarty.
In other business:

• The commissioners unanimously approved the request by the Knights of Columbus to hold a prayer on the square event on January 18 beginning at 11 a.m.

• The motion to enter into a contract with CSI for the new court system was unanimously approved.
• The motion to give Junior Heaton, county highway supervisor, the authority to execute a change order for Bridge #72 in the amount of $9,086 was approved. The change was due to the unforeseen need for additional materials.

All commissioners were in attendance, along with county auditor Mary Ann McCoy and county attorney Neil Comer to advise. The next meeting will be held on Monday, December 14 beginning at 7 a.m. at the Ripley County Highway Garage in Osgood and reconvening at the courthouse annex at 8 a.m.