Thursday, June 30, 2011


29 June 2011 Joint Dearborn County Council and Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Dennis Kraus. Sr., President, Dan Lansing, Jim Hughes, Liz Morris, Maynard Barrett, and Bill Ullrich.

ABSENT: Bryan Messmore

Commissioners Hughes and Orschell were also present.

ABSENT: Shane McHenry

Also present: Bill Ewbank, County Coordinator

Jeff Hughes said he’d called the meeting to get more information regarding the referendum. He had talked to the attorney from AIC (Association of Indiana Counties) and asked him to come. Collette of Umbaugh and Associates also presented financial information.

Collette: $15.5 million is the general obligation debt limit for the county.
The jail project is now at $11,260,000. The scenarios are similar to what they presented before- but the amount are different due to the decrease in cost.
They were to figure these without getting any property tax INCREASE for the project.
If borrow the full amount ($11million+)- requires $855,000 and $130,000 RR each year. The other scenarios require less tax revenue. Collette said we have a lot of options and financial flexibility.

Rick Hall, the Barnes and Thornburg attorney for AIC, then spoke. If you use riverboat revenue exclusively to pay the bond, you would have a property tax levy to back this up. The process takes about 60 days. The Council adopts and ordinance that approves the bonds, give public notice to get the lowest bidder.
IF property taxes are involved there are two separate processes.

If it’s less than $12miliion- and that is the TOTAL cost of the project, you have to file an additional remonstrance process.

Dan Lansing asked – what if it goes over the $12 million during the process. No answer.

The petition remonstrance process has a timeline. The Council announces they are going to issue bonds. Taxpayers – voters and property owners (at least 100) would have to file to have a petition process WITHIN 30 DAYS. If they succeed, there is a period where these petitions are circulated for EACH side of the question. Whoever has the most signatures wins. This could stop the process for one year. Then the county can try again if they want. This takes about 180 days and another 60 days to get bonds issued. If 100 voters don’t do this then the county proceeds with the project.

Over $12million is a referendum process. The county CAN require a referendum even if it’s under $12million. Council holds a public hearing and preliminarily decides to issue the bonds. This triggers a 30 day time period where 100 voters can ask for a referendum. If they don’t the county can move forward without the voters deciding.

If they do come forward, they are verified and it goes to the DLGF to approve what is on the ballot. It takes about 150 days. The first time that could possibly occur for us would be the primary election in 2012.

The first question is – do you want to levy property taxes and incur debt service?
Jim Hughes questioned the need to incarcerate all these people.

Bill Ullrich said there are a lot of different cases out there.

Maynard Barrett said the judges are doing their job and the sheriff is doing his job- our job is to provide the place for them to do this.

Jim Hughes said we are going to lose RR eventually- then what?

Dan Lansing- you are going to use RR to do this, then we don’t have it for the other things we use it for. Either way you end up raising taxes.

Bill Ullrich brought up the age old story about the potential of a lawsuit.

If that happened and it gets mandated by a federal judge, then you don’t have to comply with a referendum or remonstrance process. The judge decides the cost of the project.

Liz Morris said the staffing costs are neutral because of the new technology. She asked how the remonstrance process worked.

Rick Hall said there are DLGF prescribed forms and then people who are on each side use these forms. You have to have a coordinated system out there of people for this- you cannot use local officials to do this. The county clerk would be overseeing this.

If you get all the money up front- no referendum is required. If they pay it with RR only- that’s no referendum either.

What triggers referendum or remonstrance is if you incur debt and any part of it is payable with tax revenue. And in both cases there is a 30 day time window for a petition of 100 voters to be filed to require the remonstrance or the referendum.

Lansing said- new slate in L-bg- a new mayor and 4 new council people- wait and see what happens there. We may get some money.

Rick Hall said you can annually decide what you are going to use to pay the debt.

Per Kraus, Sr.; 2.2 million RR and 680,000 lost revenue last year.

We need broader tax base per Morris.

Jeff Hughes said there are some questions regarding the length of stay of people in the jail. They want to look into that some more.

Bill Ullrich- said that if we have extra room over there we can bring money into this county. Years ago we were housing federal prisoners and making money on them. $130,000 a year is being paid out to other counties to house people we don’t have room for.[NOTE: So are we opening up a jail business in the county at taxpayer expense?]

Jeff Hughes said if there were money to be made we’d see more private prisons.

Marion county has a privately owned jail. It has a deal with the county to take a certain number of inmates from Marion County.

Jim Hughes said jail shouldn’t be a cakewalk- we shouldn’t be operating a hotel for them.

Bond Counsel for jail project is about $50,000.

Meeting adjourned at 7:40 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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