Wednesday, January 25, 2006

24 January Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

24 January Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

Present: Fehrman, President, Ullrich, VP, Cheek, Mitter, Kraus, and Morris.
Absent: Lansing
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, and Messmore. Administrator

Fehrman was reelected as President and Ullrich as VP

For Council appointments see #13 at the end of the meeting.

1. Fehrman welcomed Liz Morris from Bright (appointed to replace Negangard) and thanked Aaron Negangard for his service as replacement for Messmore’s Council seat.

2. Sally Blankenship- Judge Superior Court 2 – requested total of $4608 change in the salary ordinance for the two employees she hired for her court. New Court reporter was allotted up to $33,000 and she hired at $30,887. Bailiff was allotted $24,893 and she hired at $26,393. She was going to use $1500 from overtime to cover the bailiff, but Council wanted to keep that there. [NOTE: This still doesn’t add up to $4608 – see Witte’s comments below for possible explanation.]
Ullrich 1st, Morris 2nd to amend salary ordinance for Superior Court 2 for $4608 needed. Cheek voted Nay and Fehrman voted aye to get the requisite 5 votes for salary change.

Judge G Michael Witte from Superior Court 1 addressed the council at this point to make them aware of the disparity in salary ordinance. He wanted Council to be aware of the domino effect of their previous vote, though he stated he was not asking them to change their previous vote. He had for several years tried to bring court employees salaries in line with respect to the jobs they performed. In 1999-2000 they apparently achieved this eliminating the ruse of giving employees tasks to do in the probation dept. to access those funds to achieve parity in pay for similar positions in the different courts.
He noted that he and Judge Humphrey came to budget hearings to give them a well thought out budget for the new superior court 2. Council pledged to increase those salaries if there is lateral movement in court offices. That is what happened here. (Blankenship hired two of his employees) One of these people got an apparent increase and also a $2,000 raise. He stated he was not critical of Judge Blankenship, but now her has 2 employees who are asking for the same thing. Witte noted this had an impact on morale as now these employees are working harder to take up the slack along with some temp help until they can replace the two employees that Blankenship hired from his court. He doesn’t really want to go back to the old way of using Probation funds, nor does he want to be the judge who unilaterally gives pay raises instead of having COUNCIL do it, as they are the body that should be getting it done. He does not intend to usurp Council’s authority, but is giving full disclosure of what he may have to do. He mentioned salary grids as the federal system used with G-1, G-2, G-3 etc, as a future option to consider. He ended with saying that he has to remember who he took to the dance and who stayed with him.
Blankenship stated that the one employee went from an assistant court reporter to being a main court reporter for her.

3. Frank Cummings and son Reuben- accountants for the county – presented the option of using their software to create a list of all assets for the GASB (Government Accounting Standards Board) mandate from the state plus a depreciation schedule. He stated they would provide Pickens with a hard copy, digital data, and the software so that they can add equipment as it comes in and keep the file current. He estimated it would take one employee one day to update it annually. Upside is that they get into compliance with GASB, they can increase grant opportunities, and it will help with bond issues so that people have an accurate appraisal of the county’s assets to back up the bonds, and will help out with insurance coverage limits.
Pickens recommended using Riverboat revenue, as it was a one-time expense. Ullrich 1st, Cheek 2nd to use $25,000 from Riverboats funds and not use county general for this. All ayes.

Cummings added that for the new court he thought they might be able to appeal for the excess levy to cover Court. They will need to pass a resolution to do this at some point.
After hearing the sewer board presentation Cummings also stated he didn’t think they’d qualify for an extra tax for sewers.

4. Mike Hankins- Sewer Board- requested release of the $200,000 that was set aside for construction costs on Stewart and Cole Lane so that they could use it instead for Woolpert Engineers to do a county wide study of their needs. The bid was for $189,000 and they expect about 5% change orders.
Ullrich asked about High Ridge Estates- their original impetus to getting a sewer district set up. And also about his 2nd priority which was to get sewers to the TIF area for Jim west and DCEDI. Ullrich asked if St. Leon was remaining a separate entity. Hankins said Yes- and that’s why they need Woolpert to assess their needs. Hankins noted that the sewer board made “tremendous progress.” Fehrman said this is the year that the sewer board should grow legs of its own… They haven’t heard from rural Development grant- they’ve waited 2 years now.
Ullrich asked about sewer lines going past properties on WORKING septic systems. Hankins noted the preferred rates that were available during construction of the lines as incentive to hook on. He said Woolpert has N KY solid waste experience where they combined 32 entities into one district. He also noted that Sewer Board would talk at the next Council meeting about replenishing the $200,000 they are using for the study. [NOTE: This implies Council will have to fund more.]
Council wanted to know about St. Leon- are they still on their own- Hankins said- yes- for now. [NOTE: Woolpert’s experience is combining 32 entities into one in N KY. The DCRSD is impressed by this fact. Perhaps the DCRSD is trying to combine ALL sewer entities in the county into one district- so St. Leon, SDRSD, LMH, and VRUC would all be under the county’s roof.]

It appears they got their $200,000 released.

5. Todd Listerman- Transportation Dept. Director. - requested a transfer of the leftover funds from the White’s Hill Project be used for the Stephens Rd-Stateline Rd intersection lanes and improvements in anticipation of the stoplight that Sugar Ridge is paying to install. Cheek 1st and Kraus 2nd to transfer $150,000 from 203 to Stateline Stephens Project. All ayes.

Ullrich noted there will be some more money in MVA funds from the Governmental Major Moves Campaign. He thought $1.25 million. Cummings noted that is for 3 years only.

6. Bryan Messmore, County Administrator- requested $1500 per month ($18,000 per year) MORE as an increase in lobbyist fees for Barnes and Thornburgh, the federal lobbyists. These are the lobbyists who are taking credit for getting the US 50 study money and Tanners Creek bridge money. The lobbyists supposedly started the county on a reduced rate and now they want their regular rate. [NOTE: This was not stated at any Council meeting before. Council looked unhappy at this rate.]
They still cost less than the state lobbyists. Fehrman noted- that they do less also. Mitter asked what we are getting for our money. Messmore stated they got $4.6 mil to pave SR56 from part of Ohio Cty to the city limits of Aurora and $400,000 to supplement the US 50 Corridor study. Negangard spoke from the audience in support of the lobbyists. Messmore noted he was in a conference call with them and California and Denver over FY 07 money (fiscal year 2007) available in transportation bills, storm water, juvenile detention, wastewater, etc. He said he is trying to “capture quantifiable data and get calendars marked about who to talk to and when.” Benning spoke and noted that they have opened doors that we couldn’t access before. We got $5million for an $18,000 expense.
Pickens wanted to know why they didn’t send a contract for renewal. Much questioning on the federal transportation funds. [NOTE: It appears there is a large gap in knowledge on the board as to how federal transportation dollars get apportioned.]
They also noted again the $400,000 that Council appropriated for ME to do a coordinated land use and economic impact study to supplement the US 50 Corridor Study on Travis Miller’s recommendation.
No one mentioned where this is going now- and with L-bg pursuing the already designed extra 2 lane bridge next to the main one with lanes from Main St. to just past Krogers center it seems that this entire study has fragmented.
Kraus 1st and Morris 2nd to approve an additional $18,000 to the contract for Barnes and Thornburgh lobbyists. All ayes.

Messmore also noted they have begun the insurance needs evaluation process. (as recommended with Ewbank)
He now sees that may be duplicating info from the GASB process with Cummings. Cary Pickens noted they could compare evaluations of the assets between the two studies.
This will allow a brand new set of specs to get insurance bids now. $15,000 won’t get them through all of this- they will be looking for another $15,000 by the end of the year. Messmore says he is “tracking hours to be sure they are billed appropriately and trying to manage service elements within the scope of what we paid for.”

8. Bright EMS- not present.
Bill Black took their time- for Emergency Mgmt request for $468,000 for radios for 800 MgHz system. They will need $30,000 per year for the L-bg loan as debt repayment and Pickens needs to write a letter to the state to notify them of the debt amounts to be sure we aren’t exceeding our limits.
Council is comfortable with proceeding with the loan from L-bg. Kraus noted he’d like to just pay it off. Council is hopeful that L-bg will “forgive the loan” instead.
Bill Black also asked for a on-reverting fund to be created for donations and funds raised for emergency management. Fehrman to get Ewbank to check on writing a resolution for this to be done.

9. Wesley Holt Coroner- requested $5000 to get the van maintained- it was used when they bought it and sees no service records on it- it needs brake work and power steering looked at. This was NOT advertised. Pickens noted they can use $1500 out of emergency funds and the Hwy garage can do the oil changes. Will advertise for next meeting. Kraus 1st, Cheek/Mitter 2nd for $1500 out of Emergency Fund. All ayes.

10. Juvenile Center requested $3500 pay for accrued vacation for employees who left. Cheek 1st, Kraus 2nd. All ayes.

11. Salary Ordinance including portion as amended for Blankenship Superior Court 2 request passed with Mitter 1st and Kraus 2nd. Unanimous and Fehrman voted as well.

12. COIT distribution assignments will continue as before still eliminating Solid Waste as they have their own tax levy now. Mitter 1st Cheek 2nd. All ayes.

13. Council Reappointments:
L-bg Library- Ruth Ann Walker
SIRPC – Ron Selmeyer
Alcohol Board- Ralph Schaffer
Division of Fam and Children- Bonnie Haas (sp?), Bruce Smith, Ruth Wright
BZA- Jake Hoog
Plan Commission- Mark Mitter
Advisory Board- Dennis Kraus
Solid Waste- Bo Lansing
Emerg. Mgmt and Animal Control – Bill Ullrich

Changed Board Appointments:
DCEDI- formerly Travis Miller- now Charlie Fehrman
Juvenile Detention- formerly Negangard- now Liz Morris
And Fehrman saved the best for last
DCRSD Sewer Board- formerly Greg Vollmer- now John Maxwell

[NOTE: Fehrman wanted to know if the chair could nominate someone. (Fehrman is reportedly employed supervising one of Maxwell’s projects at HVL POA) They talked about issues with attendance with Greg Volmer.
I spoke up regarding conflict of interest issues- stating that besides being a developer, Maxwell is on DCEDI (Econ Dev) Redev. Commission, and is being considered for the St. Leon sewer board also. They argued that he is an engineer and has vast knowledge and that is important now that the sewers are taking off. I countered with what's going to happen when the board is determining WHERE the sewers go and who gets service? If he can't vote it'll be as bad as being absent... (The board needed to table this and look further for someone with less potential for conflict of interest.)
Charlie Fehrman asked Brett Fehrman who is also on DCRSD as Aurora's appointee about attendance issues and the new bylaws of the sewer board. It was noted that the by-laws were changed to deal with absentees as Volmer’s case brought up. (Other board members including the chair have issue with attendance- and being on call and leaving meetings)
Brett said that both candidates were qualified and that Maxwell won't vote on jobs that he has issues on...
Liz Morris (the new council rep) stated that Hankins recommended considering Maxwell.
Pickens stated that Hankins letter states the sewer board actually recommended appointing Volmer again. (This was true at the sewer board meetings also – including voting to send it.- are they hypocrites?)
Then Charlie Fehrman said a couple DCRSD board members came to him with absentee issues...
Kraus said Dennerline came to him with the excuse about Volmer's mother's death and Ullrich said he'd heard that also.
Pickens also stated that they need to get Maxwell to fill out a conflict of interest statement.
(They aren't even trying to make these boards diversified and open to debate any more.)
Fehrman said he wanted grants to help us pay for sewers so that our growth can help us pay for the new jail. (Yikes!)
Kraus nominated Maxwell, Mitter 2nd.
Cheek nominated Vollmer. No 2nd. Votes approved Maxwell with Cheek voting Nay.
Fehrman said Pickens should notify Maxwell and ask him to be aware of conflict of interest and fill out a form.]

Minutes signed

Messmore on behalf of Gayle Pennington- Treasurer- wanted $2000 for Don Russell to get tax info online using the county’s server. Only problem was it was down on weekends, Morris wanted to make funds available so that when dept. heads coordinated it they could proceed, as Council wasn’t meeting till May. Fehrman was voted to put a memo out to the dept. heads to prepare something for this and present it at next council meeting. No money appropriated yet. [NOTE: Using County’s server would require increased firewalls etc for security, as opposed to using an off site server or web site. I would think the county’s financials should be preserved as a high priority. Mannitron put out the Assessor’s site. Perhaps there is a way to combine all the tax info there or transfer that to the county’s new page.]

I asked about road paving approvals. Council still intends to approve an itemized list of all road paving projects as well as special projects for 2006.

[NOTE:I rec’d info from the Transportation Dept on the approved lists: Six roads from the 2005 approved list have yet to be finished- Blue Creek (District 2), Dole, Henderson, Kocher, Stateline, (District 1), and Stewart St (District 3)

From personal research - earlier in 2005 Sawdon Ridge was widened for the special projects list that Council was notified of last year. FOX ROAD, appropriately named, ( a little over 1 lane wide off Yorkridge) was not on the 2005 list but was supposedly widened to be paved this year. These are being prepped to be on the 2006 list. The remainder of the list is yet to be developed.]

Adjourned 10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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