Present: Vera Benning, Chairman, Rick Fox, and Jeff Hughes.
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, Messmore, Administrator, and Ewbank, Att’y
1. Annual bids were opened and given to the respective departments to make recommendations for approvals at a later date. Highway: Rohe and O’Mara, CPI for guardrail and pipe, gravel- Harrison Sand and Gravel, Newpoint Stone, and Hanson Aggregates; Jail Food: Ellenbee Leggett and GFS; Commissioners Vending Machines: All American Vending; Fuel: Johnny Resner, Laughery Valley, and Petroleum Traders.
2. Chris Walls of 39 Degrees North- introduced their company (Bloomington area) and demonstrated how their GIS product works in Monroe County with 400 employees with this on their desktops. (58,000 parcels of land). He noted the layers for road data, tax data, house pictures, SEWER AND SEPTIC data, etc. Health dept. takes a GPS locator and notes the septic location then, downloads the data back at the office for the GIS Septic layer. This info is available to the public on the Internet as soon as it is entered and saved. Aerials are done by the state every 2-3 years and available to download so no big cost there. Everything is tied to the parcel number. He will get a cost estimate by next week to them.
Margaret Minzner- GIS Coordinator- presented an update on the GIS contours maps where orthophotography can be used from Earthdata. These will produce 2 ft contours (better) as opposed to the 4 ft contours from LIDAR. Cost savings is nearly $100,000 from the budgeted amount from Council. LIDAR was $192,000. Earthdata is $92,700. Could be on by late spring or early summer. Due to only one potential source, they referenced IC codes to allow them to accept this company. Fox and Hughes motioned and approved.
3. Keith Moberg- INDOT land acquisition on SR 48 project near the hospital and CMHC for culvert work. The land will revert to the county after the work is completed.
4. Phil Weaver- Clerk of Courts presented county portion ($60,000) out of $100,000 that was earmarked for the total match to a fed mandate for voting software for the blind and visually impaired. Total cost $294,000. Approved.
5. Lou Broghammer- Park Board- noted that Ewbank is both County Att’y and Park Board Att’y. Asked if they were wanting to have the park board take over the county farm. Noted history of uses there and also previous commissioner wanting to put senior housing out there (Beckley and the Reverend Gerald Lach, who ended up in legal trouble). Thought they could put sports fields out there or…
Noted that they would need funds to take care of it- that maybe they could peel off some of their other parks to adjoining entities like the Bright Fire Dept, the school, or the town of Dillsboro.
Earl Dawson of the COUNTY FARM BOARD- asked what would the advantage be to giving it to the park board?
Benning stated farmers that maintain it- she wanted more farmers to be allowed to farm it- bid?
Pickens stated that it’s better to have farmer who knows how to take care of the land than the lowest bid.
Lou Broghammer noted they are running water to Gladys Russell nearby so that their very fine one-hole outhouse can be replaced with restrooms.
[NOTE: Where did this dialogue start? There have been numerous discussions in the past about the farm and the need to keep the YES home in a more secluded setting. The Boy Scouts and 4H train out there (trail blazing and shooting.) Timber is harvested, highway garage is located there, and the Animal Shelter. All need some buffers- the farm seems to provide that.]
6. Schiff-Kreidler-Shell- Bob Higgins presented their scope of services that they can provide in evaluation all the county’s insurance needs and safety and risk management per Ewbank’s suggestion.
They consider them selves to be a NEUTRAL source of info- as they do not sell any insurance products, though they gained experience by being employed in that sector or the legal field. Commissioners engaged their services to arrive at a cost for a possible contract to do this work for the county.
7. Emergency Management- Bill Black- adopted a resolution for the weather emergency warning and travel advisory guidelines.
Black is to get Council “proof” before Commissioners sign to go to Bond Bank for loan of $466,000 to be paid over 20 years for the 800 MgHz funding. They are hoping the loan will be “forgiven” ultimately…
8. Richard Bower- County Farm Timber Sale (has a forestry degree from PU, but not enough connections to get a wide range of bidders for their sale.) They will use Steve Doll Forestry as consultant to get the bids out. Doll gets 10% of the sale for his services. About 250 trees to be culled- that’s about 8 per acre. Office Bower also gave some history of the shooting range and his role in training there at the County Farm.
9. Engineering Dept- Todd Listerman- Commissioners OK to go to Council to transfer leftover money from Whites Hill project to the Stateline and Stephens Road improvements.
Approved Timber Ridge sub’n roads (core samples done and maintenance bonds lapsed- old sub’n) pending Listerman getting the appropriate legal write-up for their signatures.
Listerman and John Graf gave update on the Triple Whipple noting that Mayor Hastings wants to keep it because of the bike trail and Historical Landmarks does as well. Fox and Hughes motioned to approve them going to SIRPD for another grant application to get the “extra” money needed now that the project costs have DOUBLED in the last 10 years. [NOTE: This is more than inflation.] County is 80/20 on this.
Commissioners signed the SMM for MED BEN- Pharmacy amendment.
Benning brought up several tabled items that she had Messmore research to get them off the table:
1. Equestrian Estates zone change request- I told them this was over 90 days old and so per state law it was effectively denied. They agreed.
2. Videotaping meetings- denied
3. Creation of a Housing Council- denied
4. Appointment of a business rep to the Region 9 Board- denied at this time.
2006 Holiday schedule approved.
2006 Meeting schedule approved – 1st and 3rd Tues- BUT TIME IS CHANGED TO START AT 6 PM NOT 6:30.
Pickens noted that he will no longer be writing paychecks for Solid Waste- they can write their own. [NOTE: Nice Christmas “present” for the Solid Waste Board!]
Pickens also asked who was going to represent the county’s interests at the Dec 12th hearing in Ripley County. He persisted, saying he would go - and commissioners approved. [NOTE: This is the sentencing hearing for former Democrat commissioner Dan Batta. As Auditor and Republican Party Chairman, Pickens has been closely following this. The Republican Party is mostly concerned with Batta possibly running again for an office or being appointed to one, as that was in their plea deal, which wasn’t taken. It would seem a moot point considering the dim view that the general public takes regarding elected official use of the county’s credit card or rating.]
Meeting adjourned at 9:35 PM
[NOTE: I did NOT attend the sewer board meeting tonight, which was held at 7 PM in the basement break room. Mark Neff went down to observe this and briefly told me that the Board went over the 3 potential consultants to evaluate the county’s sewer needs (GRW, Black and Beech (sp?) and Wolpert (sp?) Wolpert from N KY received the nod. They were not the cheapest. Other factors were discussed in their decision.]
Christine Brauer Mueller