County council adopts 2011 budget

Wanda English Burnett

Recently the long hours of budget hearings came to an end with the Ripley County Council finalizing the adoption of the 2011 budget with a vote of four to two, with William Warren and Juanita Kaiser voting against the budget as submitted. The total county budget presented was $14,495,787.00. This meeting was held October 20, after recessing from Monday’s regular meeting on October 18.

On Monday, October 18 council members finalized the sheriff’s budget. The sheriff had requested two additional deputies be added to his staff. That request was shot down with a final four to two vote with Ed Armbrecht, Dave Simon, Donald Dunbar, and Dephane Smith voting against the request and William Warren and Juanita Kaiser voting for it.

Council members discussed the situation with Kaiser making a motion to accept two additional deputy positions. Warren seconded the motion, but it was voted down. Warren made a motion for one additional deputy to be hired, with Kaiser giving the second nod. That too was voted down in the end.

Armbrecht motioned to keep overtime at $50,000 for the sheriff’s department and not hire additional deputies. The final vote was four yes, with William Warren and Juanita Kaiser voting against. Bill Dramann abstained from action taken concerning the sheriff’s department.

Armbrecht reported that he had talked with judges from the superior and circuit courts, E911, and EMS, who all told him they did not have problems with services from the sheriff’s department with the present staff.

At the September meeting, a lady appeared before the council saying that her home had been broken into and the sheriff’s department had not interviewed her neighbors ten days later. She said the sheriff told her he didn’t have enough help to go around. Council member Ed Armbrecht said he would check into the situation. At the October meeting he reported that at the time of the break-in, the sheriff had $18,000 in overtime funds available. “Why didn’t somebody go in ten days?” he questioned.

Although Sheriff Tom Grills was in attendance at the meeting, he did not publicly comment or answer the question from Armbrecht.

It was decided to hold off on approving the sheriff’s salary until after November 2.
In other business:

• An appropriation of $1,904 was approved for insurance for the Ripley County Health Department.

• Transfers were unanimously approved with the health department taking $4887.04 from the medical professional liability fund to the insurance fund. This was to amend the insurance fund due to increases. The veterans service office transferred $200 from telephone to office supplies to purchase veteran’s manuals.

• Other transfers included $40,000 from the highway department’s new equipment fund to the equipment repairs fund to pay for repairs to the Gradal; $10,000 from the service contracts fund to the tires and tubes fund to cover a forthcoming deficit in the tire account.

• Approval was given for commissioners to take $10,000 out of the change of venue account to be place in the unemployment fund. This will pay the remainder of unemployment claims for the rest of the year. Armbrecht explained that it wasn’t necessarily for county workers that had been laid off from their jobs now, but ones that had left the county to work somewhere else, and had then been laid off.

• Clerk Mary Ann McCoy was given approval to take $324.62 from the office supplies fund to the clerical perpetuation fund and $220.00 from the copy machine maintenance agreement fund for the same purpose. This is for scanning and filing in her office.

The next regular meeting of the Ripley County Council will be held November 15 at 7 p.m. at the courthouse annex in Versailles.