Wednesday, February 18, 2009

17 February 2009 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Thompson, President, Hughes, and Orschell.
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, and Witte, Attorney.


Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan remains tabled from 20 Nov 2007. Commissioners are scheduling PUBLIC HEARING on March 17th at 7 PM on this plan.

Bright Fire Protection District- remained tabled from 20 Jan 2009, but Chief Gary Theurer was allowed to say a few words. (The room was about 2/3 full of Bright residents both for and against the district.) Theurer asked the Commissioners to sign the agreement before the March 1st deadline. If after that it won’t be effective till Jan 2011 at the earliest. He turned in 317 signatures saying that weather and jobs of the volunteers hampered efforts. He also stated that HVL Manager (Keller) told him they were not allowed to go door to door in HVL as this was solicitation.
He gave the revised numbers to Pickens that he had asked for, and said this cost an extra $3,000. He said they have applied for grants and received them and the hospital is willing to work with them on EMTs. He heard their township trustee was NOT in favor of the district and that trustee has $91,000 in reserves. He also stated that the newspaper was not behind them and that the county highway dept was worried that this would take their money. He said other fire depts. wanted to know why they hadn’t included them in their plans. He said they had the same opportunity as Bright has.
Theurer claims his territory would have 45% of the county’s population. He said paying people to provide essential services is the norm. He ended saying there are consequences if we don’t do this.

Commissioners set up a public meeting in Bright for Monday March 2 at 7 PM with the location to be announced in the local paper. Theurer had noted that they planned to have public sessions all over their area explaining what they are doing after it was approved. [NOTE: What good is that to the public- after the fact? Commissioners are correct in getting public input before enacting something with this significant amount of taxation. A flat per house tax makes more sense than a property tax.]

Lifetime Housing Group signature was ratified after the fact. This item was tabled to get correct current form last meeting.

Mark McCormack- Planning and Zoning presented three ordinances for approval. All three were passed. (Article 2 Sections 216,232,244, and 260, Article2 2 Section 280, and Article 7 of the Subdivision Control Ordinance.)


Mark McCormack- Planning Director was given approval ( with Hughes voting Nay) and also is going to approach Council to comply with their budget ordinance requiring all positions to be approved before refilling, should they become vacant. Katie Rademacher resigned as Enforcement officer and planner and they may fill that with the current assistant planner and then fill that position or may fill the Enf Officer spot. McCormack will know more after he talks to the current ass’t planner (a position that is shared with Harrison and St. Leon.) Hughes kept trying to get other dept’s to fill that spot, seeming to be oblivious to the need for a planning degree to be able to cross train, cover, and perform current ( and future) services for the county. The county planning dept. maintains an excellent web page, helped obtain grants for several entities in the county, and aids the GIS dept.

Ruth Ann Batta was given approval to go to Council for money for her summer art program, which is in its 22nd year.

Ron Denney and Robert Hoffmeier were reappointed to the hospital board. The hospital provided information on their backgrounds.

Level 2 Weather Advisory for early Feb was signed.

Todd Listerman- Highway Dept gave a 10-minute report.

Commissioners signed an interlocal agreement with Aurora for Aurora to pay the county back on the $7500 for the sidewalk study on the George Street Bridge.

0.44 miles of Indian Ridge Drive from Dutch Hollow to Tall Oaks Drive was accepted for county highway maintenance. It exceeds county specs for road construction.

The deadline moved to March 11th for the shelf ready plans for INDOT to consider for stimulus money. Listerman is also meeting on Fri Feb 27th with INDOT. He will again submit the same 3 bridge projects for federal money- Collier Ridge Bridge, Bonnell Bridge, and Coldsprings Road Bridge.

Road school at Purdue in March 10-12.

Thompson also noted with Listerman that the Artemis contractor was approved for 2 cameras on our portion of I-275. Becky Skillman’s office notified them.

Pickens- Auditor:

Greendale EMS was approved for $40,000.

Claims were approved pending review by 2 commissioners.

Pickens gave a brief summary of county numbers in their annual budget report: Rounding off- he said they started with $34million, had $148 million in receipts, plus $144million in distributions, this left a 36 million balance. They have $17 million invested and $54million total cash and investments. (This budget was published in the Public Notices on Thurs Feb 12th.

Pickens explained an issue with payroll concerning an employee who was terminated. (For those who are curious- the employee is Bryan Messmore) Pickens wouldn’t pay out sick and vacation pay if he was just moving to another position in the county. Moving straight over required no new physical or drug test. The employee said they wouldn’t take the other job, so Pickens paid out the sick and vacation pay. The employee was working at the new county position and Pickens talked to the dept. head (Aaron Negangard) who said there was one day of separation- period. Apparently no physical or drug test? Pickens said we need a policy on this – he wants commissioner and attorney input.

Thompson said the laptop and phones went to the new position- and were a misappropriation of county property. We should have the county attorney check out these policies and investigate necessary action on misappropriation of county property.

Hughes said it was all tax money.

Thompson said- that new position is funded 100% by grants.

Hughes agreed with investigating the personnel policy, but not the laptop or phones.

Orschell and Thompson approved Witte to investigate both the misappropriation and the personnel policy.

[NOTE: Kind of takes me back about 5 years- to misusing credit cards. Since when does an employee think he can TAKE equipment with him without permission? Or does having the prosecutor be your new boss protect you from repercussions? Does giving it back absolve Messmore? Did paying the credit cards off absolve Batta?]

Mike Witte- Attorney- notified commissioners of 2 cases he handled outside his scope of retainer. They approved.

He also asked for clarification on what they wanted him to investigate regarding the employee with the laptop and phone plus payroll issue.
Witte said it was a case of using 2 separate sides of the same argument. On the one hand the employee says he separated from employment in order to get 3 weeks of vacation and sick pay. On the other side he says he is just making a lateral move so he can keep the phone and laptop. [NOTE: The employee ( Bryan Messmore) didn’t ask the commissioners, he just took these items with him. The budget for these two departments ( Administrator, which is under Commissioners Budget, and Victim’s Advocate Coordinator, which is under the Prosecutor’s rule) is separate and funded totally differently. This employee also doesn’t seem to need commissioner or council approval to be hired, unlike the employees in the adm bldg. Why are Courthouse employers allowed to fill positions without this constraint? Council voted in August to have all new hires and rehires approved by both commissioners and council in an attempt to consolidate positions and trim the budget.]
Hughes- announced a program Purdue was putting on at IVY tech. Couldn’t get the details- he was back from the mic.

Orschell- stated he met with Todd Listerman and was meeting with Larry Smith- property owner on North Dearborn in Dover to try to get safety worked out on the hill as INDOT won’t have money till 2014.

Emergency Mgmt Grant for multicounty area was signed for $849,999.93

Carl Fryman- received permission for part timer and to go to Council for their consideration. The part timer is William Shelton. It will be paid for in permit fees. Fryman plans to run the dept with part timers, when his full timers leave in the next year or two.

Gary Hensley was approved for signatures on his contract for trending and new construction for $61,900, under the $65,000 in budget. This was subject to Witte’s review. Witte will have review by tomorrow evening via email to commissioners.


Linda Zix- 21519 Stateline Rd. (in a humorous way) complained that a deer was dying in her front yard Sunday morning at 11:30 AM. A deputy arrived and shot it. She was told to bury or burn it. Dispatch told her the county does not pick up dead animals. Listerman said they pick them up in the road or if they are in front of a house.

TJ Jacobs- 3296 North Dearborn- stated reasons that he opposed the Fire District tax, which was $240 per $150,000 house. (The fire chief said the NEW numbers put it at $207 for that house) Jacobs said it would take over $300 in new taxes to get a $36 savings on house insurance with the ISO ratings for the county being on average in the 6s except for the cities.
The Bright budget was $2.4 million and Harrison’s is $2.7 million. He claimed Bright FD would be the biggest employer in Bright. He noted they compared it to Bargersville, which also has 6 full time deputies. Does Bright need that, he asked.

Cliff Eibeck- Can you fix these speakers in the room- they keep making random noises. Thompson said they would.

Tom Jacobs- TJ’s father- thinks the FD is well and good as a VOLUNTEER F.D. They claim 22,000 people in the district and yet they only have 317 signatures? That means over 21,000 people are not in favor. The economy is bad now- people can’t afford an increase in taxes. The highway dept covers the whole county- is their payroll this big? There are 351 fire runs- how many are actual fires? Who owns this dept if this passes? Why can’t this be on the ballot in Indiana?
Commissioners noted this will be addressed in the Public hearings.

Meeting adjourned at 9 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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