Monday, October 04, 2004

4 October 2004 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

4 October 2004 County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Dan Batta, acting president, (Karen Shell had laryngitis), Karen Shell, and Vera Benning. Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Lisa Lehner, Attorney, and Lorie Howard, Administrator.

Denise Freitag was present, covering for Register Publications.

1. Bill Ewbank- Veteran’s Officer- reported that the driving situation is easing up somewhat and that he’ll be on vacation Oct 14-20 so the Office will be closed.

2. Bill Black- Emergency Management- reposted on a meeting with the cities and towns and county on the 800 mgHz system on Oct 12 at 5 PM in the new Lawrenceburg Firehouse. Dan Batta praised Bill for keeping us regionally involved in the homeland security and EMA processes. Commissioners signed off on a grant application requiring no match from Homeland Security for $34,483 to do automated fingerprinting. Bill also reminded the commissioners that they needed to settle the fuel pump tax issues so as not to jeopardize any of the Homeland security grants.

3. Dearborn Gravel – Kurt Weismiller (represented also by Terry Crouch, surveyor)- request for vacating several streets was approved after a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission. Lisa Lehner quoted IC 36-7-3-12 on street vacations as part of this approval process. There was no public opposition. Streets were left open that access the Oxbow and an easement was confirmed to allow access to a cell tower on the land.

4. Charlie Ashley- 911- got approval to fill a vacated seat on the board with Matt McKinley.

5. Ruth Ann Batta- withdrew request to go to Council

6. Travis Miller- Plan Director - Comprehensive Plan presentation was given again in abbreviated form for those not present in September. He included a detailed reading of the 12 guiding principles.
Vera Benning stated that she had talked to Travis at length and he and suggested that she make an appointment to meet with the plan commission members and people on the Advisory Board with her concerns.
Dan Batta spoke at length regarding the expressed concerns in the article in the local paper regarding the lack of commercial and industrial development coverage in the plan. He then went on to cite in detail where the plan document covers those issues. He stated that 3 out of 12 guiding principles were specific to economic development issues on page 136-137. He stated that #3,4,and 12 also allude to it indirectly.
Batta went on to state that on page 26 there was considerable discussion of the brain drain issues. He stated that on pages 32-37 there were continual references to the economy and commuting patterns, tax bases, and employment segments as well as the community profile and statements on page 37 that one of the key issues was that we have a disproportionately high amount of residential tax issues. It also references the Riverboat revenue and states a desire to broaden the tax base beyond dependence on the boat.
Batta noted that the principles are the directions that were given as to how to move forward. He said that it was fair to criticize it as being a very general document with somewhat subjective guidelines. [NOTE: This is a plus in the long run, because it allows for increased flexibility as development progresses. Also the guidelines are supposed to be subjective- it’s a document about the unique needs of our county.]
He stated that he couldn’t emphasize enough that you need to read the document or else you will be mislead by some of the statements made about it. He noted that he wasn’t at most of those meetings but that he thought it was an excellent process. He stated that we do need some specific maps AND a thoroughfare plan that MATCHES those maps.
When asked if the public wanted to comment- no one did. There were 18 members of the advisory board and other interested citizens there for this vote.
Lisa Lehner read the state law on the resolution needed to approve this plan. Karen Shell whispered (due to her laryngitis) that "it was a great living document and a great place to start." She motioned to approve the plan. Vera Benning would not second it, so Dan Batta seconded the motion. Motion to approve the master plan passed with Vera Benning voting Nay. (She gave no reasons for her Nay vote)

Travis Miller also presented the commissioners with a formal resignation for Dave Schmidtgoesling form the Plan Commission and BZA. The law states that of the 5 citizen members no more than three can be of any one party. Currently there is one democrat, one independent, and two republicans. The new member can be of either party or an independent. Commissioners took the request under advisement.

7. Mike Davis- Highway Director – introduced John Rockwalter (sp?) and Andrew Scherer of United Consulting who did the small structures inventory. (4-8ft “bridges and culverts). They reported 298 small structures with a map and prioritized list of the scheduled repair, rehab, and replacement recommendations from 2004-2012 at an estimated cost of $4.2 million. 22 need to be replaced in the next 8 years.
wanted to be sure it stays as a living document and gets updated. It can also be digitally layered with the transportation study for the planning office.

Phase 2 paving items had an amendment added. Rohe is also contracting to do the inspection of the roadways. [Note: This seems to be a conflict!]
The paving bid for $739,498.35 was awarded to Rohe. Vera Benning voted Nay- no reason given.

A second motion was made and passed to allow Lori Howard to sign off on the inspection agreement after Lisa Lehner has reviewed it. There is some language in it that is contradictory.
Line striping for $70,971.84 was approved subject to Lorie signing off on it.
The work on Bridge 68 on Main Street in Guilford will proceed (motion passed) after Lorie signs off on it after Lisa Lehner reviews the contracts. Schneider estimated it would cost $250,000 and the bid amount for the contractor came in at $219,500.
There was discussion on the financial issues of riverboat revenue being moved to other accounts, and the overspending that apparently went on in local road and street dollars. [NOTE: There has been some issue with money being spent unevenly in the districts with district 3 proceeding to spend road dollars without the other district commissioner’s approval.]
Bottom line- the request was to use $124,550 to pay the bills to date and $193,942 to cover the expenditures to the end of the year in the bituminous account. This includes $21,000 for crack sealing. Mike Davis is to send letters to Charlie Fehrman to get this approved by Council. Batta specifically stated that it might have to wait until November when Council meets.
Salt and gravel are apparently ordered for the winter.
Mark Seiler updated the commissioners on the $5000 IDEM fine for the oil storage tank issue. Lisa Lehner will try to negotiate this down

8. Lorie Howard – Administrator-
$73,500 was approved for the 3-year contract with Harrison for EMS services
in the northeast part of county. Lorie tried to get other entities to bid- but only Harrison had the capabilities.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and Safe Passage had a presentation at noon outside the courthouse.
October 18th the Employee handbook will be presented for approval.
Lisa Lehner is changing the letters to Siemens as we now have the software and laptop to control the courthouse HVAC internally. Training is being sought so that several employees can do this.
Lorie gave an overview of the tax collection meeting. (See Council meeting notes for the end of September for details) Cary Pickens will NOT be closing his office for lunch regarding the possible suggestion that this might speed up the tax process.
There was an addendum to the health agreement that will allow access to the Healthspan PPO.

9. Lisa Lehner- Attorney- covered her issues in the above presentations.

10. Cary Pickens- Auditor – claims and minutes approved. Lisa Lehner asked for the Sept 20th minutes to be held till she could review them.

11. Karen Shell brought up the issues of using cum courthouse funds for unapproved items like uniforms. SBOA wrote them up on this. Pickens stated that they were using an opinion letter that Jim Humphrey wrote when he was county attorney to get around some of this. Karen Shell noted that this letter was no longer “working” that it was too general and that SBOA wants it addressed.

12. Vera Benning reported as Advisory Chairman to the Sewer District that the interlocal agreement on the loan was signed with Council and that GRW needs to look at the infrastructure at the High Ridge Plant to see if resleeving the lines is an option.

13. Dan Batta announced that they had a 1 PM executive session this afternoon followed by a public meeting on highway employee issues. These will be further discussed at the next commissioners meeting.

14. Public Comment- Ralph Thompson asked Cary Pickens if they were going to close at lunch- (it was unclear earlier) The answer was no.
He told Vera that he would be open to meeting with her if she wanted to discuss the Master plan issues.
He asked also what the problem was with the highway budget. Vera said it was a mismanagement problem. He stated that in the private sector that would get you fired. Vera smiled and said- yes it would.
Dan Batta stated that some of this would be aired in their executive session.

Meeting adjourned at 11:50 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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