Friday, January 23, 2009

22 January 2009 Dearborn County Council Meeting

This meeting was changed from its usual meeting time on the 3rd Tuesday to Thursday.

Present: Dennis Kraus, Sr, new President, Maynard Barrett, new VP, Charlie Fehrman, Liz Morris, Bill Ullrich, and Dan Lansing.
ABSENT: Tom Cheek

Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor.

Commissioners Thompson and Orschell were in attendance and had attended the previous executive session as had Mike Witte, County Attorney.

Board Appointments- made by consensus- there were no motions or “votes”

Advisory Board- Dennis Kraus, Sr.
Alcohol Board- Ralph Shaffer
Animal Control- Bill Ullrich
BZA- Rick Pope
CVTB- Maynard Barrett
Economic Development- Dennis Kraus, Sr.
Emergency Mgmt- Bill Ullrich
Juvenile Detention- Liz Morris
OKI – Mark McCormack
Planning Commission- Dan Lansing
PTABOA- Mary Booker and Ken Maddin
Redevelopment Commission- Kevin Lynch
SEI Regional Planning- Mark McCormack
Solid Waste- Tom Cheek
Sewer Board- Art Wenzel and Jeff Stenger (both surveyors- Kraus, Sr , who is also a surveyor, said this was a good qualification for this board) [NOTE: These 2 replace John Maxwell and Mike Hankins]

Margaret Minzner- GIS- ( and Cary Pickens, Auditor) – request for $60,000 for part time qualified help to deed research to get the parcel map back on track. Numerous plats wee rejected and have to be fixed to fit the maps. GIS wants this process to get back on track. Current rates would take 3 years to complete. This will speed that up considerably. Approved out of contingency fund, as the auditor’s budget only had $20,000 left for this.

Jessica Tibbetts- Auditor’s office- obtained Kraus’s signature for the non binding resolution to keep St. Leon’s budget at 4% increase or less.

Tibbets’ had them approve salary ordinances for circuit court and others that were corrections. Morris questioned the 2 from Community Corrections as she said there were to be no new spots created without Council approval. They were approved.

Overtime for Auditor’s office was reviewed by the county attorney was granted at $18,473 plus FICA- 1414 and PERF 1113. Jessica will send a memo out warning all dept. heads about these inclusions in overtime requests etc.

Tibbetts also noted the new software that will replace the excel files used for budget will be much easier to use and see on screen.

Jewell DuBonis- Lewis and Kappes- Lobbyists- went through an update similar to Tues at Commissioner’s meeting. She noted that state budget will be $700 million short by June 30 and in tough economic times they will look to the boats for revenue. The easiest money to take is the hold harmless money, which is $3.75 million of the county’s fund. She said our 3 representatives – Knollman, Nugent, and Bischoff are with us on keeping this. The new vice-chair of Ways and Means is from Michigan City which has a boat- and that will be helpful.

DuBonis does not see a lot of support for eliminating commissioners to have just one super commissioner. She said the boat money revolves around what we will give in trade to keep the revenue. She said Nugent traded his votes last time- like for Daylight Savings Time, etc.

The Gaming Commission wants control of Economic Development Incentive Payments, but has been defeated several times. This could give them control over reviewing the Argosy to Lawrenceburg special funds and if they wee not used for economic development in their opinion- they could be taken. Barrett asked if Jean Leising was helping- Du Bonis said yes.

She also said that we can’t win this in a fight on the floor of the legislature. You have to do this – how shall I say it- (since the media is here)- “in the back room!” Du Bonis stressed this is all about horse-trading. [NOTE: And folks that’s the way it goes with lobbyists- so what do you think they are trading in the “back room” that can’t be discussed in the light of day on the floor of the legislature?] Council later voted to renew the lobbyist funds per contract.

Tracy Agner- Juvenile Center- Approval granted for youth specialist ($2,000) and Matrix raises- $6490

Carl Fryman- Building Dept- $11,000 granted for part time help with Argosy inspections, vacations, etc.

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman- NO REQUEST FOR MONEY- Listerman gave an overview of some possible ways to raise money for operations so that highway work could go back to using riverboat funds for that instead of operations. Listerman stated that the highway budget from the state decreased 4% in 2007, 3 % in 2008, and 10% in 2009. He has frozen all positions and eliminated 2.

A wheel tax of $25 per car and $40 per truck were discussed. Even if enacted – we would collect in 2010 and not see it till 2011. ALL MONEY from this comes back to the county, cities and towns. County gets 83% and cities and towns share the other 17%. It is based on road miles and population. Listerman estimates about $1million a year from this for the county alone with our current licenses.

Majority of our revenue comes from fuel tax now and 60% of that collected goes to state police fund.

Since 1999 this fund has gone down EVERY year!

He noted also we have 103 bridges to maintain and Chesterville alone too $900,000 to repair.

Council also approved a transfer of funds of $300,000 from 147 account for ROW acquisition for North Dearborn and Stateline.

Mike Rozow- Redevelopment Commission and DCEDI and Chamber- requested $1.5 million for land acquisition to match the $1.5 million that L-bg granted them for the Redevelopment Commission. They intend to purchase land in or around the TIF areas. They are setting up a task force to oversee this of Pres of Council, Pres of Commissioners, Pres of Redev Commission, someone from L-bg, and Kevin Lynch- appraiser from US Bank and also on Redev Commission. Council approved a pledge of $1.5 million in a special account earmarked for this and contingent on the approval of the 5 member task force. [NOTE: This item was NOT ON THE AGENDA and was not advertised. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE $300,000 THAT THEY RECEIVED ABOUT A YEAR AGO FOR LAND OPTIONS?]

Gayle Pennington Treasurer, via Charlie Fehrman presenting, received approval for $10,000 for part time help – advertised from previous meeting.

Sewer Funds transferred from 207 to 162 for $38,979 for part time person, bonds, legals, etc.

Bill Ullrich and several other councilmen thanked Charlie for his years of service as Chairman.

Adult Probation Users fund of $2680 for furniture for Judge Humphrey’s Court approved.

Children’s Psychiatric Residential Treatment- $50,000 approved.

Family and Children- Child Welfare Services- $424,319 approved

Probation- $98,502 approved

Maynard Barrett- asked for $56,364 plus travel exp not to exceed $3200 – rounded to about $60,000 for Kent Irwin and company to do a job classification study and rewrite the personnel handbook. [NOTE: AGAIN!!!- this has been done twice before since 1995]

In the discussion that ensued it became obvious that there is a large rift occurring between the courthouse and the adm building over employees being “taken” for higher wages to the courthouse. Apparently the judges can pay whatever they want for the same classifications of workers and they lure away good adm bldg employees. Barrett said the model is the sheriff’s office with a matrix and job descriptions etc. He noted that Cary Pickens had to create 2 positions to keep good people who were qualified there. They want to do this job with the best and Kent Irwin is the best, according to Pickens and Barrett.

Pickens went on to say that this will have dept. heads doing job performance appraisals or they get no raises. It will have parity with the courthouse- so no more raiding.

Fehrman cautioned them that when they vote for this- they are agreeing to enact it when complete. [NOTE: Fehrman seemed to be cautioning them about the politics involved here. Personally, I am not sure HOW they are going to get around the fact that the judges seem to be able to mandate whatever they need- or want. Creating a salary ordinance never stopped this practice- so how will this do it? The Courthouse depts. are moving employees around now with the new judge. Who is monitoring that set of salaries and duties?]

Fehrman advised Council that Gary Hensley- Assessor was questioning the $4,000 for certification. He was informed that $1,000 was for him and the rest was for others who get certified.

NEXT meeting is scheduled for May 26th. Others will be advertised if scheduled.

Meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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