Courthouse odor problem solved

Wanda English Burnett

At the Ripley County Commissioners meeting held July 25 it was noted that the bad smell in the assessor’s office has been pinpointed and taken care of.

Johnnie Lohrum, maintenance employee, noted that the State Department of Health had looked into the matter determining that a chemical used in moth balls and bathroom scent bars was the cause of the odor. The items were removed from the basement area beneath the assessor’s office, and the problem was resolved.

Lohrum further reported that he had finished painting the men’s bathroom at the courthouse and will paint the women’s in the next few weeks. Both will have the floors painted as well.

The saga of fixing the courthouse clock continues. R.J. Kunkle of The Traditions Group, came before the commissioners with options for the repair of the clock. He said to replace the copper on two sides would be $15,300.00. To replace the other two sides would be an additional $12,900.00. The belts also had damage and rivets were loose. To repair those would be an additional $2,300.00. Also, the clock tower could be painted gold for $9,300.00 and the belts for $1,300.00

Another option given was to remove all copper and replace with Terne metal, repair the belts and paint them all gold for a total cost of $35,700.00. The county would keep the copper salvage. Kunkle said he would repair the caulking around some windows without additional charge.

The commissioners said they would take the matter under advisement.

The annex project is underway with Gary Turner of LWC at the meeting. He addressed the commissioners’ request of high density floor storage files on the second floor of the annex building. He told them the change would result in an additional $150,000 for the added steel. He did not recommend the change saying that type of storage would more than likely not be needed for long term. The commissioners accepted his recommendation.
Turner also asked about the Bauer property, which is a house still on the location where the annex project is underway. County Attorney John Ertel said he had talked with the property owner, the Indiana Attorney General’s office and IDEM. He said that IDEM would take half of the funds paid for the Bauer property to help with remediation of the property after the county purchases it.

Turner went on to say the county would need to get control of the property within the next few months to keep the project on schedule.

Auditor Bill Wagner advised the commissioners that LWC still needed a decision on the construction of the electric panel cover for the Versailles Pumpkin Show. They decided to use an enclosed structure with a cover.

In other business:

• The commissioners discussed the problem of crops being planted too close to intersections. Attorney Ertel will look into the situation. They discussed the option of placing an ad in the newspaper next year to try to eliminate some of the problems before planting season begins.

• Technology Director Kelly Vollet raised a concern about the health department having a separate employee handbook that is different than other county employees. She was told it had been in place for quite a while and that new hires from 2008 forward were on the same handbook as the rest of the county employees.

• Newly hired emergency management director Patrick Rose reported that the paperwork for the storm damage in the county had been completed and submitted.

• The commissioners decided not to sign the contract concerning the reverse auction at this time on the advice of their attorney, John Ertel. He said there were some problems with wording.

• The motion to amend Ordinance 2011-11, which clarifies payments for burial allowance for military members, was unanimously approved.

• Attorney Ertel will work on the wording for the Town of Osgood for the sewer tap information needed.

• The commissioners and attorney were advised by the auditor that the Ripley County Humane Society would require a contract service for budget requests for 2012 if approved by the county council.

• Sheriff Tom Grills was present to discuss his request for an ordinance that would regulate door-to-door sales. His concern was to have a way to protect the citizens of the county. The ordinance would allow his department to run a check on individuals wanting to go door-to-door. Attorney Ertel will draft an ordinance for the commissioners to review and then act on.

• County clerk Mary Ann McCoy was present to advise the commissioners that the election precinct line maps had changed due to the recent census. She said the minor errors and changes would not affect voting. After a discussion, the commissioners unanimously signed the maps.

• The Ripley County Economic Development Corporation Inter-Local Agreement for 2012 was presented. They asked to receive 12% of the Economic Development Tax funds received from the state in 2012. The commissioners approved the request.

The commissioners recessed the meeting until 11:00 a.m. today, August 2 where they will meet at the Southeastern Indiana REMC Training Center in Osgood to open bids for the annex project. The bids will be formally accepted at the August 8 meeting of the commissioners.