Present: Jeff Hughes, President, Tom Orschell, and Shane McHenry
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor, Bill Ewbank, County Coordinator, and, Andy Baudendistel, Attorney.
Executive session preceding this meeting regarding a Med Ben claim. Commissioners decided to deny the claim at the main meeting.
1. Purchasing Agent Ordinance- After revisions requested by commissioners and review by county attorney, Baudendistel read the ordinance into the record. Can’t bind commissioners for more than one year or more than $25,000. Lost one county court and added an additional superior court was also reflected in this. Commissioners approved. Twelve additional purchasing agents approved on a yearly basis to these approved by code- Elected officials, county engineer, circuit and superior judge, county highway supervisor. This was approved and will go into effect in 30 days.
2. Dennis Kraus, Jr.- County Surveyor presenting as a private surveyor: Nolte Road- said there was not a whole lot of information on this. He did bring an aerial to show this. County maintains to the end of Gilbert Nolte’s niece’s property. The last several feet are not paved. He has been approached as a private surveyor regarding this. They are looking for something from the commissioners to say they believe this is an apparent ROW. He briefly researched county records in the 1980s. They went back to the 1920s. then the roads were not mentioned by name but by petitioner. By walking it you can tell it was the access to the property. There is also evidence where it went down to the creek, where Roberts Road connected to it from SR 62. There are cabins that are using Nolte for access. Roberts Road runs along the creek and would take equipment to access. There are gates with multiple locks on the gates. Nolte has not been vacated since the 1920’s. He’s not sure if it’s an old trustee road. Those old trustee roads were given to the county for maintenance.
Baudendistel thought it would be prudent to have a survey completed for the apparent ROW before signing off on this. The county will not pay for this – the owner of the properties will pay for this. Kraus, Jr. will research this more with county records. He will present survey to the board and have a written request from his client.
Gayle Pennington asked Kraus, Jr. to come in a fill out a conflict of interest form as he is assuming two roles for this request. He agreed to do that.
1. Investment Policy Resolution - Baudendistel presented this resolution. Primary objectives will be 1st- safety, 2nd -liquidity, and 3rd- yield and return. Investments shall be made with judgment and care – using the prudence rule. He then listed 8 different funds. They shall only use approved institutions. They will use the bidding process as outlined. At maturity or liquidation – monies will only be invested as stated by this policy. Commissioners approved.
COMMISSIONERS RECESSED BRIEFLY-FOR McHENRY TO HANDLE A PERSONAL FAMILY EMERGENCY.
2. Barb Kaffenberger- Treasurer- Personal Property collections- Thanked commissioners for their investment policies. She went on to state there was over $1-2 million going back 10 years owed to the county. Noel Williams was introduced of American Financial Credit Services. In business since 1993. They have worked with treasurers in the state since 2001. This occurs at no charge to the county. There is a 27% collection fee that the taxpayer who owes the money pays. They are looking to take on just the last few years before looking back 10 whole years. They may also work for the demand notices. They are set up so they can see a complete audit of how they handle the county accounts. The state statute says this rate has to be deemed reasonable- and it has been. Their history of collections has been good and they handle it well. They have never been sued and have collected $40 million on 60 accounts in the state. Occasionally they reduce their fee based on the taxpayer’s ability to pay.
Hughes asked if the sheriff is supposed to collect taxes. They can issue a demand and if not paid in 30 days the assessor has the right to seize the property. Our assessor refuses to do that. Noel Williams said usually the county hopes to NOT get into that process. They prefer to use this method instead. They do this with the medical accounts that they service as well. Baudendistel read the agreement and has no problems. He says there is an adequate termination process.
Tammy White SBOA certifies their demand thru certified judgment process. They also have a fair debt lawyer on staff. Commissioners approved using this company – American Financial Credit Services. Hughes abstained with no reason given for abstention.
3. Compensation Ordinance- Hughes said he’d researched this some time ago- and he gave Shane a copy. He thinks we have lost track of what property rights are here. He cited a property decision of ours made in Jennings County and the manufacturing use of Ag land. He quoted Jefferson and Madison. He talked about Kelo vs. New London.
He said a former commissioner told him the county couldn’t afford to pay this difference.
Both McHenry and Orschell said they needed more time to look at it and it will be costly.
The commissioners tabled this for further review.
A member of the audience also brought up the land use plan recently enacted. Commissioners wanted to get this published and get comments and they will get a PC member involved as well.
4. Planning Commission Regulations Discussion (Classifications)- Mark McCormack. Planning Director- talked about the new districts added- Ag Residential, Single family Residential, and Multifamily residential. They propose to eliminate highway interchange as a separate district. Hughes wants the minimum district sizes to take away. Zoning committee will meet again in mid May ( 18th) to discuss this further. Indiana is changing planning code procedures. We will have to change to be compatible with this. Hughes brought up off site sign rules as hampering business. McCormack said more research is needed on this. Mike Hall PC Chairman said that we have to look at the district size- because we are not getting big Honda businesses here. We can fit these smaller ones in and have the infrastructure in place. There are larger land areas- but they have no infrastructure in place. Hughes said that he wants to see where commissioners stand on this. He said with this economic climate we need to promote jobs. McCormack asked for a copy for PC members. He cited legalities like the Nolan or Dolan cases. He said we need to be sure any ordinance is legally defensible. Hughes said he wants to be sure a person can use his land to benefit the community or himself. McCormack said it still has to be legally defensible at the state and federal levels also. No reason to enact a law that isn’t.
HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT- Todd Listerman gave the following report:
Drew Barth of Howard Barth and Associates- was introduced to talk about replacing the small structure on lower Dillsboro Road. It requires a DNR permit and it lies within wetlands that are forested. They revised project boundaries to stay within existing roadway corridor to avoid problems. DNR responded with environmental concerns still on the revised plan. DNR will not allow riprap on slopes to control erosion. They want a concrete spillway or a flat way to allow animals to cross under the bridge. These will increase the cost of the project thru additional ROW acquisitions, etc. They will ask to hold a meeting with DNR that commissioners can attend. They want to see if they can work through these issues. This would be his advice to them before paying all the costs. Orschell said- well at least they didn’t ask for a wheelchair ramp.
Listerman opened bids for new salt building that are over budget and will require a new wage rate hearing . He wants to reject all bids and modify the building and rebid. Commissioners rejected bids.
Still trying to meet with last property owner on North Dearborn Road. They hope to have it shelf ready by the end of the year for 2012-13 construction.
Need approval for offer letters for temporary property use of Irwin property to get it for the Shortridge Bridge construction. Approved.
Council meeting May 24th- he would like permission to approach them for line striping for roads for 1000 vpd or more again. Many are fairly faded. He will get a cost estimate to present to come out of account 172 RR account.
They are looking for tandem axel trucks (3) and tractors(3) to be replaced at one per year each for the next 3 years.
Listerman is contacting the hiring board of Council Barrett, Hughes, and Kraus, Sr. for temp intern help in the summer for sign inventory and 2 seasonal mowing helpers. These are $11.50 positions with no benefits. Grieve added that he was going to try to not hire for maintenance- and try to muddle through.
AUDITOR- Gayle Pennington- Commissioners approved claims and March 22nd joint Council Commissioners meeting minutes.
Pennington opened discussion on the Sidwell GIS software claim. It was for $12,779 and this was to be held until the work was finished. Pennington negotiated with her all along. They have complied with everything and training is scheduled with 2nd meeting in May. They will set up a portable classroom for a couple days. Penningon is satisfied that they will meet their obligations. Commissioners want her to hold this till training is completed.
COUNTY ATTORNEY- Andy Baudendistel- The Auditor can collect $5 fee for each real property endorsement. They enacted an ordinance to allow this and the fees will go to a plat book maintenance ordinance. This will go on agenda for next meeting. They can sign it at the next meeting.
COUNTY COORDINATOR- Bill Ewbank- has a request to amend the minutes where you adopted a change to the county’s maps. These reflect the details of why they are digitizing them as well. Approved.
Two more special meetings today- 11 AM and 2 PM at Happy Hollow Road. Ewbank will take minutes at the Happy Hollow site as Pennington did not bring waders. (It is raining heavily today)
PUBLIC COMMENT- Mike Hall – asked for clarification on deed fee’s just approved. Descriptions of easements do not get this fee. People may want to consolidate legal descriptions to get lower fees. Though he said $5 is not very much. Pennington said this also affects sheriff’s sales.
Meeting adjourned at 11:00 AM
Christine Brauer Mueller