Tuesday, February 15, 2011

15 February 2011 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

15 February 2011 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Jeff Hughes, President, Tom Orschell, and Shane McHenry
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor, Bill Ewbank, County Coordinator, and Andy Baudendistel, Attorney.


Lifetime Resources CDBG grant award signatures- in June 2010 commissioners signed an agreement and the stimulus money changed to community block grant. The agreement didn’t change- just the funding. Commissioners signed the grant. It lasts for 18 months or until the money is spent- there is no local match – so no cost to the county itself.

Reaction PC- Maintenance renewal for website- Bill Ewbank conducted a survey of dept heads. The average rating was 3.5 out of 5. The depts. with good skills have good pages and other depts. have little on their pages. He wants to meet with Reaction PC to see if they can stimulate more dept heads to get into developing their pages. One of our weaknesses is that we don’t have an internal IT staff. In practice the staff of PZ for example is very helpful to others in the county needing help. Tabled until Reaction PC could be at the March 1 meeting.


RQAW and Umbaugh and Associates- Jail expansion project- Brett Dodd accepted a position with another firm and is no longer with RQAW. Brett has been on this project for a number of years. Mark Van Allen spoke- he is director of the justice studio. They went over the executive report. With more detailed plans – they have more costs for extensive remodeling of the existing building. This brought the costs to a total of $12,700,000 and $14,800,000. [NOTE This gets to referendum level.] Umbaugh will show funding formula options for this.

Staffing needs to be figured. With the analysis for beds needed, staffing can move from one area to another for some staff relief. Think they can accommodate this with 1 person per staff. Staff increases total 10. With inmate costs filling it will be about $1.3 million for extra staff in 20 years. At move in – maybe about $250,000for staffing increases. This would require moving inmates to lower security areas as needed. Mark thought it might be sticker shock- but they feel comfortable with their numbers. They put in a 5% contingency on the project. Typically they spend 1-2% on their projects. Three council present also- no questions- Kraus, Morris, and Barrett.

Collette from Umbaugh presented their funding options. Lindsay was also present from Umbaugh. This project was to be done without a property tax increase. Three options have a property tax component but no increase, and three do not. Their data is based on the highest estimates.

County has general obligation debt limit of 2% at $15.5million. Original jail was done as a lease option. You might not want to use general obligation debt if you had other borrowing needs down the road. Total of $14,955,000 includes financing costs etc. Last 3 options have Riverboat funds to lower the borrowed amount.

1st option- Annual payments must fit within the amounts we paid on the Courthouse of $855,000 of property tax revenues per year. 3.3337 cents is the tax rate- same as before. The difference of $475,000 of riverboat funds makes up the rest. Pays over 19 years.

Option 2 – $590,000 riverboat revenue- $730,000 payable from property tax revenues of 2 + % Pays over 19 years

Option 3- $590,000 riverboat revenue- $855,000 will pay it over 16 years. And decreases payment by $2million.

Option 4- there’s a $5million up front riverboat and $9million plus on bonds (19 years)

Option 5- 7 million up front +riverboat- and $7.9 million bonds (19 years)

Option 6- 9 million up front +riverboat and $5.89 million plus bonds (19 years)

She showed payments and debt service might only be needed if riverboat money decreased on the annual payments. This can be done without a property tax increase. They recommend a backup plan for taxes in case riverboat revenues decrease.

[NOTE: Jim Hughes- Council arrived at this point.]

Options 1-2-3 would be subject to a referendum- per Collette of Umbaugh. Referendum is a requirement of the property tax element. The other 3 might also- you need to check with an attorney on this.

Commissioners would like to see options that are a hybrid of these two main scenarios. They also are thinking a working session would be helpful once they review these options. Umbaugh will have options in next few days and will be available when requested to meet, preferably an evening meeting.

Letter of support for Aurora’s grant application to Lawrenceburg- Mike Hall, surveyor spoke on behalf of Aurora. Looking for sewer main revamp with two 8” lines with a 16” line. They want Commissioners support as it will open up west side of US 50 for development. There is no cost to county- just a letter of support is asked. The city of Aurora does not have enough money to fix all the things they need to fix. They are trying to keep the impact to the residents and businesses that are affected and not spread it over all of their sewer recipients. Commissioners were in favor and agreed to sign a letter of support.

Ordinance banning sale of “K-2 spice”- synthetic marijuana- Baudendistel has nothing new to add other than dates updated on Jack Gay’s draft ordinance. McHenry said neighboring areas have an ordinance and yet they can buy it in Dearborn County. Hughes read it into the record including the chemical names of several versions of these substances. Commissioners approved the ordinance.

Purchasing agent ordinance- Dept. heads have powers to purchase the following: not to exceed $25,000 for materials and $5,000 for services and contracts of up to 1 years. If more than 1 year or over $5,000 they have to come to the board. Commissioners motioned to approve the ordinance. Discussion that follows resulted in them TABLING this. McHenry asked if the $5,000 was too low. Ewbank said these personal services contracts typically were in this range. Prosecutor, judges, highway supervisor, and engineer are named in this ordinance. They will check on who else should have this power.

Review committee for IT renewals- Orschell asked if Midwest Data’s will also be rebid? Pennington and Ewbank will get together on this. Tabled.

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT- Todd Listerman gave a 5- minute report

Working with Hrezo Eng for new salt building at Randall Ave facility. Clearspan is the company working with this for roof. Looking to have bids done this spring and construction completed $72,800 is the cost and that is $157 under the amount they asked for in their grant. Rest of project including concrete footings, walls and flooring, drainage system to collect any runoff will be bid in March for construction to start in April.
Total project cost approximately $125,000.00. $100,000 covered by
Foundation Grant. Approved by commissioners after review by county attorney.

Met with west Harrison to get OKI help with STP funding to join with Harrison OH to get State St revamped. Mark McCormack was there also. Half of state St is in Ohio- so it has to be a joint project.

McHenry thanked Listerman for quick turnaround on complaints he’d had.

AUDITOR- Gayle Pennington- claims and minutes- Ordinance to have election days added to holidays for the county. They replace the 2 floating holidays. Hughes read the entire ordinance amendment on holidays. This does not affect Matrix employees. Approved.

Contracts with Aurora EMS and Dillsboro are 2 life squads at $20,000 apiece. Approved and signed.

Claims signed and approved.

ATTORNEY- Andrew Baudendistel- nothing.

COUNTY COORDINATOR- Bill Ewbank- Maximus Consulting- had no contact with Maximus.
Thurs 17th working meeting at Guilford fire house for evaluation of routes for Collier Ridge.
Friday this week- Board of finance meeting.
March 15- 1 Pm working meeting with health reserve corps on policies.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS- Orschell met with citizens on Dover hill project and Knue’s are resolved and with meet with one other citizen soon. There is another who refuses to meet.
PAWs building moving forward- all looking forward to working together, 3 ACO’s deputized in uniforms etc.

McHenry- received a letter regarding trade zones and he thinks this might be helpful for jobs. Ports of Indiana- working with dept of commerce on this. Giving it to Baudendistel to work up a letter on this. OK’d.

LATE ARRIVAL INFORMATION- Mike Hornbach- County Extension office for grant for new copier for their office. Needs their support and approval. $3,000 appropriated for this and that will be added to $9,528 amount. Commissioners signed the letter approving the grant process.

PUBLIC COMMENT- Chris Mueller asked Commissioners to review whether a claim approved by Commissioners and paid to Bose McKinney, and Evans in December 2010 for $23,828.53 for legal fees for Prosecutor Aaron Negangard’s defense on a grievance filed against him was able to be paid with county funds.

Mueller stated that readers of the blog had asked about this payment. She did some research and ended up asking the auditor for details of the claim and then emailed Negangard.
Mueller read Negangard’s email reply when she asked him about who and what the payment was for. “ The public records are available at the Auditor’s office. The law firm represented me in a grievance that was filed against me.”

Mueller stated that state law ( 33-39-6) and the auditor confirmed that the prosecutor is not a county employee, but a state employee. His salary and benefits are paid by the state. The Council approved the transfer of $25,000 from an intern account to the profession fees account on Dec 14 for the prosecutor when Negangard told them it was for legal fees for an employee issue. [NOTE: Kraus, Sr. confirmed this as he was in the audience with Morris, Barrett, and Hughes for the jail information section]

McHenry wondered if they were able to undo a payment that was made the previous year.

Mueller also showed the state law indicates that the state does not pay defense for disciplinary actions in IC 33-39-9. There was a question as to whether the county was liable for this and that hinges on what the grievance is about. [NOTE: If it affects Negangard’s law license- that is his to defend- and may come under his liability insurance if he has it.] The county pays for a bond to cover any liability the county may incur as the result of actions of the prosecutor. But a grievance may not cause any liability to the county.

The question is whether the county should be paying to defend a state employee for a grievance filed against him.

Baudendistel asked for the code cited and was instructed by commissioners to research this for next meeting to see if the county needs to get reimbursed for those fees.

Liberty Mutual presented material to see if they could meet with our employees to enhance benefits. Ewbank to check into that.

Meeting adjourned at 10:40 AM
Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


Anonymous said...

Is an IC coad a crimanal coad. I don't know the law but it seems you could not just pay the 25,000 doller's back if the law was broken. I might be wrong like i sead i realy don't know the law.

conflicted said...

but WHO will prosecute a prosecutor? :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Christine for you dedication in keeping us informed.All funding should be fully understood before being approved.

Anonymous said...

I agree, thanks Chris for bringing this to their attention!

Dan Brewington said...

Who approved the $25,000; the commissioners or the county council? If it was the council, how could Messmore vote on giving his boss $25,000? That's an obvious problem with holding two county positions at one time.

outraged said...

Ullrich as well is an employee as well as a councilman. And now McHenry double dipping as commissioner. Remind me. We're not a police state are we?

Observer said...

Good catch on what is likely misappropriation of Co. Funds, Chris.

Here's another Idea to save taxpayer dollars on this whole jail thing...

Container Jail!!


I wonder how much money these folks in Mobile, AL could save us?