Tuesday, April 06, 2010

6 April 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

6 April 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Ralph Thompson, President, Tom Orschell, and Jeff Hughes
Also present: Mike Witte, Attorney and Bill Ewbank, County Coordinator.

ABSENT: Gayle Pennington, Auditor (illness.) Cathy Heist serving for her tonight.


Purchasing Agency Ordinance- Witte said no further questions from last month. Personal services contracts are to be reviewed by the attorney and approved (or not) by commissioners. Commissioners vacated and amended the purchase agency ordinance regarding personal services contracts. Commissioners passed a new ordinance requiring that all personal services contracts including those less than a year in duration that could be negotiated by dept head will all come to commissioners for approval.

Cathy Dwyer and Jan McMullin –gave info on the Clothes Line Display on Friday for awareness of violence against women especially sexual violence and rape. They will be doing Take Back the Night at Tate Street next week too. Indiana will have a new license plate also to end violence.

Ordinance regarding fee for tax list tabled due to Pennington being back in the hospital. Witte told commissioners that he has gone over this with her. This fee is to cover the work involved in preparing these lists for requesters. He thinks they can do it, as she is Ok with the ordinance. Commissioners untabled this and then approved it.


Commissioners ratified Ralph Thompson as OKI Committee member for Clean Water Act.

Proclamation for Mental Health Awareness Month. There is as major federal grant and the month of MAY will be proclaimed as Mental Health Awareness Month for children and youth and their families. Movie month in Aurora for these families on May 15th- weather pending. Commissioners approved.

Ruth Ann Batta was approved to go to Council for Summer Art Program that she has held for 23 or 24 years. Last 7 years have been funded with a grant from Council. Had 96 last summer. This summer they get to tour animation dept at Ball State. Request will be for $2000.

Corporate Cost Solutions- Bill Ewbank presented proposal to audit our workers comp for the past 3 years to determine if the premium calculations have been correct. May get refunds or lower future rates. Contingency arrangement is that they get 50% of what they save us over the 3 year period evaluated. Witte reviewed the contract per Ewbank. They claim between a 10-20% recovery. Our premium is about $300,000. Tabled so that Hughes and Orschell could meet with the company or they will be scheduled to present at next meeting.

Bill Black- EMA Contract signatures- district wide grant for $680,000 for all 12 counties. A video conferencing setup is include in this. About $800,000 was requested. County will administer it- but it is for the entire district. Grant signed.

Black had done quarterly reports for 10 different grants. Harrison received their certification from the state now. Would like the commissioners to set a date for an auction as Listerman has unloaded many vehicles there. Ewbank will coordinate an auction date and see if other depts have material to be auctioned. Hughes asked about getting vehicles for other government agencies also.

Margaret Minzner GIS Updates and working with Aurora. Parcel project will be delivered by Sidwell on the 21st. Have to decide what to do about maintenance of the parcels. She doesn’t want it to take too long and lose what accuracy they have. There are about 3 people certified. Need to get more people certified.

Minzner spoke with Randy Turner and Mayor Hastings in Aurora- there are layers of GIS they are interested in having. They are willing to help fund this, if they can find people to do this. Digital sewer, water, and utility lines would be useful. This would improve data for all work in the area. She will proceed with checking into this as commissioners agreed
Paul Pearson- Spy Glass- Communications Auditing Company. They look at phone bills, and any communication bills to see if they can cut or reduce the bill. He has spoken with Ewbank and Thompson. They audit our records looking for unused lines, faxes, modems, etc. The recommendations come back- if the county approves, they will then work with the phone companies etc. Retroactive statements- get a 50% share of what they save. Going forward they charge the monthly savings times 12 as their fee. No charge if they don’t find anything. Witte has reviewed the contract. If we want a cell phone audit- there is a flat fee- because thesecontracts usually end at different times- fee is $4,000 for that. Commissioners decided to sign a contract to audit the landline communications- not the wireless yet.

PERF (public Employees Retirement Fund) – authorizing agent- no longer necessary as Auditor has been appointed and does this.

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman gave a 40-minute report followed by public for 15 minutes on Collier Ridge Red Bridge comments.

Annual salt bid went out and will know sometime in June who the supplier will be for next winter.

Working on a $10,000 grant application with PZ help to get a new salt facility at Randall.

Hartford Bridge on Ohio County side- and our side-to be fixed with no cost to us. Have to certify that we own the approach there. State just needs the ROW agreement from county.

April 14- public meeting at North Dearborn Library to present the Stateline road improvement plans for the heart of Bright business area.

Hired a co-op student this summer. Imperative to meet new mandates for signage requirements he learned road school. Engineering student from Rose Hulman who lives in Bright will be doing that.

Highway Maintenance worker spot that is vacant and needs commissioners’ approval to go to Council to fill this. Commissioners approved.

Red Bridge at Collier Ridge – problem discovered by Doug Graf- cord had fractured. Listerman and Grieve went out to inspect it 10 days ago on a Sunday. Trying to get federal funds for this- but none appear available. Going to Seymour tomorrow to seek them again.

County bridges $700-750,000 per year from property taxes received from 3.5 cents rate and we can go to 10 cents max. No one wants to raise taxes. $1.7-1.9 million needed annually. This is the 4th bridge in the last 2 years we’ve had to close - Holt, Kuebel, Lower Dillsboro, and now this one.

This one could be a connector and may raise its priority. This is the 3rd time he will go to INDOT for this bridge. Collier Ridge only carries about 200 vpd. That may work against us. He will be at Seymour District tomorrow with Thompson to try to get this funded. Shortridge Bridge has plans from years ago- also needs to be replaced. Hughes noted it takes a long time to get federal funding. Todd said that had been shortened to about 3-4 years. Red Bridge takes about $950,000 for just the structure. (Something like what they fixed on Chesterville)
Hughes thinks we should try to go to Council to get this done with our funds maybe and not realign perhaps. This would keep it open. Federal does give us 80/20 but also more rules to follow and more expense. Some requirements have been taken out to speed things up at INDOT. This is a country-wide problem.

Thompson said they will try to avail the county of funds tomorrow. Council does not meet till May. This is a historic- non-select bridge- but there are many like this- not like the Triple Whipple or Guilford Covered Bridge.

Orschell asked if someone would be able to tear it down for what it’s worth. Thompson said the problem will be lead paint on the bridge. Worse the bridge is- the higher it will be rated in one category in the rating system with INDOT. We have 8 fracture critical bridges in the county that have to have more inspection done every two years. The old truss bridges run $8-10,000 on inspections.

Neighbors (about 25 showed up) using Collier Ridge spoke asking about the ratings showing deficiencies on the bridge and explanations of their meaning. Todd said it was structurally deficient if 50% or less. Todd looks at the reports to see what the county is required to do. He will check with INDOT about the official and unofficial comments as they seem to be contradictory on this bridge. Comments include the fact that this is a problem known for a long time. Fire dept access is an issue, as are truck routes. Perhaps just fix it with something similar to what they have now. Manchester will be first responders because the fire trucks can’t go over the bridge as rated regarding weight. Comment that Pribble and Kaiser also limit truck traffic due to winding road. This leaves no good connection for SR 48 for deliveries. Worried that INDOT said if the bridge not fixed in 5 years they just chalk it up. The governor’s office said there was $650 million in stimulus. ( this has been spent or allocated already) Bischoff said he’d like to be at the meeting when the commissioners went. Thompson said he had talked to Bischoff and he needed a month notice to get to the meeting. Scenic and good environment. Most people happy with a one lane bridge. Get it done as soon as possible. School bus issues now because of the bridge being out. Now a 13-mile trip. Todd had contacted Sunman Dearborn- Chris Wilson about a turn-around there to let kids out. An engineer living on the road gave detailed ideas of how the bridge could be repaired. He stated that the cord was broken a long time- not recently – in his opinion. The question is whether we fix it short term or long term. Lower the weight limit to 5,000 lbs maybe. A certified structural engineer would have to look at it per Thompson.

Listerman will try to get an operating budget for bridges from Council- he doesn’t have one currently in the budget. A woman noted you have to wait 6 weeks to get to Council?? You probably could do better with a hand out on the road collecting…. (laughter)

Auditor- Claims approved. No minutes were prepared.

Attorney- Witte – still have the grant approval ordinance to be prepared. Probably have it next meeting. No appeal on the Greg Davis case. County is out of that now.

State legislature created a loophole for charitable organizations to get refund on property taxes. Woodland Hills Nursing Home applied for this. The legislature closed the loophole and reversed what they did last year. County no longer has to worry about this property tax loss possibility.

County Coordinator- Bill Ewbank- Commissioner Orschell had requested a working session to develop a new ordinance regarding the new animal shelter run by PAWS. Wants to schedule it for April 20th at 1 PM. Approved.

Veterans Fund donations from Cary Pickens have been substantial nearly $22,000 to date received from 60 donors so far.

Commissioner Hughes- nothing

Commissioner Orschell- nothing

Commissioner Thompson- Veteran’s Officer Appointment- Mike Burgess- a military resume and also corporate human resources experience. Many qualified candidates and his stood out in that group. Commissioners approved and he will report at 8:30 AM.

Signature for Reaction PC Contracts not done- as contracts have not arrived yet.

Late Arrivals- none

Public Comment- none

Meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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