Friday, July 09, 2004

6 July 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

6 July 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Dan Batta and Vera Benning, acting president. Absent: Karen Shell
Also present: Cary Pickens, auditor, Lisa Lehner, attorney, and Lorie Howard, county administrator.

1. Planning and Zoning: Travis Miller – gave a short update on the abandonment of the CSX rail lines and answered potential ownership questions regarding liabilities and the need for uses that can revert to the railroad should they need it back. Trails are the most frequent uses, apparently. The park board has also been advised of this potential.
Commissioners want to know how many trestles we would own. Travis stated they could use 10-15,000 in special projects and that Council would need to approve it for this proposal.

2. Veterans – Bill Ewbank- reported that he passed his reserve office training again and that they are still having problems with the van drivers and the need for national standards for volunteer drivers for the veterans.

3. Emergency Management – Bill Black – reported that Dearborn County has been included in the disaster declaration 1520 for storm and flood damage between May 27 and June 25.
Test of the emergency system went well.
He is still working on the mutual aid agreement with the tri-state area. Lisa advised that they need to remember the statute on interlocal agreements when setting this up.
The grant for the 800 system and some GIS is not here yet.

4. Transportation- Mike Davis- Council approved $8,000 to study the Tripple Whipple Bridge repairs after being advised by John Graf of Barth and Associates that they would have to clean it up if it fell into the Creek - and it would be more expensive.
He is going to get with Jewell DuBonis- one of the county’s lobbyists- to help push the TEA grants to help pay for the bike path along the George St. Bridge.
Wilson Creek is still closed for slip repairs etc.
Report included tire and hydraulic repairs, brush cutting and culvert replacements that are proceeding in each district.

5. County Administrator – Lorie Howard – set the date as Thurs July 15 at 1PM to have executive session to interview for county engineer.
RQAW received the signed contract to study the jail expansion from Sheriff Lusby.
Lorie is renegotiating the Harrison EMS contract for the end of this year.
Still working on the impaired workers policy.
Questions involving the security in the administration building surfaced- looking for a way to improve this. [NOTE: County may be able to use a system similar to the schools with cameras etc. particularly in light of the openness of the building during meetings etc.]
Anti-harassment policy for personnel is being written.
Lorie is developing a property policy governing how vehicles, etc. are bought, sold, and transferred.
Commissioners scrapped two vehicles for auction ( 96 Chevy Caprice- canine vehicle and a 96 Jeep Cherokee with 178,000 miles needing rotors replaced) and transferred or retained 4 others.

6. County Attorney – Lisa Lehner- advised commissioners of the impending 90-day deadline to approve or deny the zoning code ordinance changes according to IC 36-7-4-607. This was tabled till the next meeting when Karen Shell could be available. (rescheduled from July 19 to July 22 9:30 AM)
Lisa is trying to keep the Siemens HVAC issue alive. If the statute of limitations runs out before the HVAC is fixed suitably, they county won’t be able to sue. [NOTE: This has been an issue for over a year. Vera Benning reported that the judges have NO PROBLEM AT ALL with the HVAC. They don’t know what the issue is. This makes little sense in light of previous history of those problems. Perhaps a check of each department or office in the Courthouse is in order to see if the HVAC problems are adequately resolved.]
The new software can accommodate the GASB rule so that every department can tag their inventory. Cary Pickens stated this was the case and also noted that it was another UNFUNDED mandate from the state.
Lisa is researching the drainage board at her hourly rate. Commissioners instructed her to limit her scope to the legals of how it is set up. They want Lorie to do the legwork, as their paid employee, thus a cheaper rate.
Lisa advised that they need to think about next year’s holiday schedule so that the courts can set up their calendar.

7. County Auditor – Cary Pickens- signed claims. Held minutes till Karen Shell returns.

8. Joan Seitz – Assessor appeared to ask permission to use commissioner room for overflow on assessment hearings. Approved.

9. Vera Benning – Piper Landing Road and strip mall area questions surrounding its acceptance as a road. There is a condo association and detention ponds etc. there. Commissioners are going to get info from the Planning files from Travis Miller before deciding this.
Vera Benning discussed issues surrounding not getting minutes from their administrative focus meetings and being concerned about decisions made during these meetings. [NOTE: These meetings were NOT to be for major decisions, but for administrative ones.]
Vera Benning elaborated on the acceptance of the roads into the county inventory from Sunrise Estates, Dan Fugate’s subdivision. This was apparently done at the administrative focus meeting and not at a regular commissioner’s meeting.
She stated, “Dan (Batta) was upset and that it was a very unpleasant experience for me.” She further stated that she has issues with these meetings being held in the Transportation Department, out of the public eye. [NOTE: This seemed odd and when I researched it further after the meeting, there were only 2 commissioners at that meeting also- Dan Batta and Vera Benning. There apparently was no agenda, but Fugate was there to get his subdivision roads approved. Questions were related to the actual proof for the highway dept. that the roads were ready to be accepted. Bonds must have lapsed etc.]
At this point I questioned the commissioners about the purpose of the meetings and also reminded them that the minutes were the official legal record of any decisions. If minutes do not exist- it’s as if it didn’t happen.
Vera Benning became quite upset at this point. She terminated my time at the podium.
Lisa Lehner, however, stated that she would check into it.
Before leaving the podium I stated that I was questioning the procedure only- NOT the Sunrise Estates issue specifically.

10. Commissioner Meeting for July 19 at 7 PM is changed to July 22 at 9:30 AM due to a seminar conflict.

Adjourned 11:20 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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