Wednesday, November 23, 2011

22 November 2011 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

22 November 2011 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

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

Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Bill Ewbank, County Coordinator

The meeting began at 6:30 PM

County General, Bail, and Pretrial Amount Requested-Superior Court II—Sally Blankenship- Public Defender fees required due to economy- $7500 because several of the cases have gone to trial which increases fees. $3,000 from part time salaries to Public Defender fees and $4,500 from bail and pre-trial budget. Council approved.

County General Probation users Fees- Sally Blankenshup –This is for a computer server and needed Parts - $10,828 for probation and courts. It’s slow. Because it serves probation- $7,000 would come from user fees. $ 3828 from county general. Council approved.

County General Riverboat-Prosecutor-Aaron Negangard- Funds needed for transcripts, depositions, etc. due to major felonies-$10,000. $6,000 is already spent of this request. The remainder will get them thru the rest of the year. Depositions are the sworn statements of witnesses. Greateramount needed because more cases are going to trial. Liz Morris said $25,000 was budgeted in 2010 and $20,000 allotted for 2011. So they are about $5,000 over 2010 budget with this total. Council approved.

Planning and Zoning:- Mark McCormack- Planning Director- Four computer tablets - $2,000- this is for highway, building inspectors, health, and planning. Only need $1500 of this – health dept has one already. Council approved $1500. The also need to replace three computer towers and one monitor- $2,180- to replace ones that have burned out or have needed extensive repairs or have software issues. They need units that can handle the GIS etc. Council approved.

Dearborn County Jail-
Mike Kreinhop - Funds needed to cover remaining 2011 holidays- $20,000 to cover 3 upcoming holidays. Three employees were off over 3000 hours and two have been dismissed after using up all their leave time. One is back to work. $60,800 were their total salaries. One inmate at the hospital for a week required overtime for one officer at the hospital 24/7. Bill Ullrich said that money left on the road side of the sheriff’s dept can’t be transferred for this jail side per SBOA. There is a surplus on the road side. Lansing questioned how they pay for replacements. Budget time they asked for more money to hire for the jail. Any replacement for them was at time and a half for two of the employees. It takes 5 employees to cover the jail as a skeleton crew. Sheriff said they could get by with $17,000 instead of $20,000. Ullrich voted Nay on this- 5 voted aye- passed. ( No reason given for nay) [NOTE: Ullrich is an employee of the sheriff’s dept.]

Ken McAllister- asked for funds to replace the canine who has cancer. They paid $10,000 in 2008 for that dog. The price is the same now except for the classes and the 5 week stay there to train the new canine. He has some grant opportunities thru CASA for $7500 ( will know in Jan) and $225 in donations so far. Maynard Barrett said HVL said a gentleman there would match up to $7500. McAllister said they are working on trying to set up a 401c3 to do this. Ullrich said that total $14,370 is needed to get things started as they have to put the current canine down. Schools and demos – the canine dog goes with him. Gayle Pennington said this was not advertised so will have to be on Dec agenda. (Dec 20th) He may have more money by that time as well- or even by Jan 14th meeting. April 30th date is his target to go off to school for 5 weeks. County is willing to take a look at this. No decision.

Health Department- Doug Baer- Vehicle to transport two health emergency trailers- $35,000- readvertised from last meeting. If you table this- I’m looking at other options within the county to solve it. Tabled.

Regional Sewer District-Steve Renihan- Additional funding request for contingency Fund set up for Sewer District- $18,500. Tabled until the end of the meeting, in case he shows up. At meeting’s end- Vera Benning couldn’t answer what this was for to Council’s satisfaction. Remained tabled.

Communications- Charles Ashley- Repair transmitter that was struck by lightning- $5,500- damaged in early summer on Henderson Road. $7283 with $2200 paid by insurance after deductible. $5500 is the deductible. Council approved.

Circuit Court Probation-Stephen Bradley-Needing additional appropriation in paying cost of drug treating- $3,000- Pennington read his letter into the record. He is asking to transfer from the part time employee account to this account. He is asking just for a transfer to drug testing. Council approved.

Commissioners- Bill Ewbank- Complete renovations on Hoosier Square Building, Courthouse, and Administration Building - $650,000. Ewbank gave report on Hoosier Square, Votaw, and Shumway Bldgs. This is the estimated soft costs of all the proposed plans. He has scaled back his requests to just complete Hoosier Square. He will come back for the rest later. He’s asking for $80,000. $1.5 million will cover all the property acquisitions, renovations etc. This affects 13 county agencies. This also relocates agencies with similar functions. If we do everything I asked for it will come in at $2.1 million. This is being done in steps to work with the architect at each stage. Hope to start Monday and be done March 1 on Hoosier Square. Barrett noticed the parking lot is still flooding at Hoosier Square. The parking lot was excavated below the water table there. With the unique rains this year- can solve it with a pump. $80,000 approved for Hoosier Square. Approved out of Contingency.

Highway Department -Todd Listerman- Encumber funds for Short Road bridge as couldn’t complete this year. Approved.
Projects funded up front by county and reimbursed after completion Stateline Rd slip repair- $225,000 this is 80/20. We get 80% reimbursed on this. This should come out of the infrastructure account. INDOT has approved this already. This was not advertised as it was already allowed thru the infrastructure fund approval . Approved.
Hogan Hill- $155,000- and West Laughery- $ 165,000- hold on this until FEMA approves.

Clerk Perpetuation Fund- Phil Weaver-Clerk of Courts- Funds needed to manage and maintain records of the court- $17,407. This fund has about $26-29,000 per year. Already has $6,000 in budget so only needs $11,407 for equipment from 2008. They have been going around on it and he owes it. This is an old bill. Council approved.

PAWS-Sandy Carley-Resolution signed by Commissioners in August 2008. Paws is asking for the remaining balance of the 97 account of $121,000 to be turned over to PAWS. Discussion about where this money came from. Approved with leaving $100 in it to keep it open for future gifts at Liz Morris’s suggestion.

Cardinal Office Products- Randy Foley-not here??

Treasurer- Barb Kaffenberger- raises and title changes for employees in that office- after meeting with them in committee Dennis Kraus, Sr. said they are giving an unfavorable recommendation to their request. Request denied by Council.

Park Board- Steve Walker- Ordinance- Kraus said he didn’t like this ordinance at all and doesn’t want it approved. Walker said it was looked over by auditor and county attorney. They added a 30 day deposit per SBOA rules. Disbursed and surplus property were singled out by Kraus. Why can’t Park Board operates like others? Walker said this is a way to put money we raise separate. It’s not intended for any major transactions. Gayle said we have capital improvement fund and land acquisitions that are non- reverting. Capital improvements from 2010 has $21,250. They could also put money in these accounts. Messmore said the concern was that they needed to have oversight on the funds. Denied the operating fund for the park board.


Kraus said he doesn’t see why they should change it.

Lansing asked when money came in first- answer- 1998. Thirteen years we have been doing this with this rule said Lansing. Ullrich was there in 1998 also. Lansing said my father thought enough to do this back then. Why now?

Messmore said back then we wanted to protect it for projects like this.

Ullrich said this was a safety mechanism as we didn’t know how big the pot might be. One vote could grind a project to a halt.

Jim Hughes said- if you put it in with 7 votes- how can you take it out with less? Answer: Not sure it was even an ordinance. [NOTE: why haven’t they gotten the original minutes on this discussion? I was present at budget when this was originally discussed abck when the Riverboat accounts were first set up. There were many of these same questions raised and answered. Bo Lansing went to Florida in the winters and they worried that he wouldn’t be present if an emergency occurred. Discussion was that if it was that big a deal, he would come back for it. And they were united on not spending it for anything but a capital one-time expense. They also were united in wanting it to be a consensus- noting that if all of them agreed to it- them it was more likely they were representing the wishes of the taxpayers. If there were areas of disagreement or a person was voting nay- it was likely that some needs were not being met by the project and they wouldn’t proceed. This was a Council that worked together. And they knew there would be times in the future that people would want to raid that money. They wanted it to be spent wisely.
Now it seems like two of the checks and balances built into this system of capital projects to protect taxpayers are being bypassed. The first is a referendum- being bypassed by breaking the project into parts. The first part is estimated at about $9 million and does not include the work release expansion. This will be asked for afterwards because it is an easier sell. The law needs to be addressed as to legality on phasing projects to avoid referendum. The RQAW project sheets have disclaimers on them in a few places noting that this plan does not address the full needs of the county at the 20 year level. The second is the unanimous vote to use Riverboat SAVINGS (and thus deplete it by more than half.) id Council does not want to pitch this project to the taxpayers, then they should at least assure that the taxpayers are likely to agree to it by showing a vote that is unanimous or at least a supermajority should they elect to change the unanimous rule.]

Kraus said it was written on every budget- that this account takes 7 votes to take it out. Kraus said if it does get changed you have to be specific about what this gets spent for.

Lansing- we hit a brick wall so now we try to do this?

Liz said she never considered she was binding herself to that rule by passing the budget. She said a previous Council can’t bind a future Council by a rule like this. [NOTE: This makes no sense as Council bound future Councils when they approved debt to finance the Courthouse. This rule can be changed by future Council’s. But it was intended to make it hard to do that.] Morris said,if one can turn it down- a lot of power in one person’s pocket. What if someone had an interest in it and had to abstain?

Lansing said- maybe that’s why that money has accumulated to that amount- no one touches it easily.

Tom Cheek- taxpayer (also former county councilman) a lot of people don’t realize we had savings beyond the RR we spend in 146 and 147. New casinos in OHIO will affect us by maybe 25-30%. He thinks this should be publicized and let everyone know what is going on. Why build it if it’s not going to meet your needs? Bridges in the county need replacing- and we are taking money from these projects when we use this money for the jail. We will take over half that savings account. Do the bond issue as Messmore was talking about. If we run into more emergencies down the road- we will have no means to address them. If someone is not here- we would wait- it’s important enough.

Chris Schwab- as a young man raised here. There has been very limited changes in how our justice system operates. Officers show up and arrest everyone- and I personally heard them say- let the judge figure it out. You can do citations etc. We like the idea. I landed in the middle of this process at age 19. (14 years ago) I made a decision to seek help elsewhere- got help for OCD and depression. 40% of jail population is probation violations due mostly to drug testing positive. Rebuilding requires rehabilitation not reincarceration. We need to spend this money for rehab, recovery, and education for our youth. As law enforcement cracks down on prescription drugs- the users go over to Cincinnati to get heroin. $80 for a presc. Pill, they now spend $20 for heroin of varying purity. An addition is not the answer. Locking up more citizens is not the answer. We need to rebuild lives- not destroy them. We need direction- not diversion.

Aaron Negangard- When I was in Council earlier in this decade- we knew then that our jail in 2000 or 2001… this was an opportunity to save money for debt in the future. You guys are here to determine what is best for the community. This 7 vote thing- they question legally is whether supermajority is allowed. Legislation says simple majority approves expenditures. Recommends they get legal advice before they vote on this. [ NOTE: State laws are the minimum standard and local laws cannot be made less stringent than the state- but it can be made more stringent. Negangard seems to imply that unanimous or supermajority votes are illegal. ] He said he spoke to Mr. Schwab one night late at night and was worried at first about how that would go as they were on opposite sides at that time. He has dialogued with him since. Our judges and sheriffs have worked hard to control this opiate situation. When they run out of funds to get drugs they will steal form family even. It takes 40 years for an opiate addict’s brain chemistry to return to normal! Jail chemical addiction program started by Judge Cleary and Blankenship is starting to work. Can’t put any more than 16 in these programs- no room. Also work release is running out of room. If it isn’t going to help with this, then don’t support it. Our probation dept says you shall not do drugs. And 15-20 a week test positive. [NOTE: Do the math- only 16 are in the program- and they stay much longer than a week- and 15-20 test positive every week on probation. If ever there was a mandate to get to the ROOT of the problem- this is it.] If they don’t take the help we’re providing, they are sent off to prison. These people are capable of being dangerous. Negangard said even non- violent offenders can become dangerous. Cited Franklin and Decatur County cases. Cincinnati violence is not here because of the diligence of our officers, judges etc. I don’t even know if this project will do the job. We don’t need to close the doors to any avenue for funding. You guys have put public safety first. That is what we need – your help to keep Dearborn County safe.

Stephanie Libbert- taxpayer and RN. (also former candidate for Greendale mayor) I push morphine daily for patients. Codeine, morphine, heroin is the hierarchy of the drug. Heroin was given to the military in WWI. Bayer co made it. 80 % of people in jails are there for possession. Victimless crimes- example- a kid with 2 joints isn’t hurting anyone but himself. Programs where pharmacists and nurses come to school to teach kids about these things are needed. If they kill someone- be in jail- but some of these others should be treated as patients. Prohibition didn’t work. 2.5 million people use illicit drugs in this country. We can’t jail them all. She had an addict bilateral arm amputee from gangrene from shooting up drugs. CATO institute has studies showing that criminalizing drugs doesn’t work. Alcohol kills more people than drugs combined. And it’s legal. Why are we blowing all this money on a jail, when the boats are coming to Ohio. We have to be smart about how we spend taxpayer money. Just as the saying goes, if you build it, they will come, well- If you build it- they will fill it. Please vote no on this.

Tom Orschell-
County Commissioner- I headed up jail task force. I learned a lot about the jail. I have a list of 236 people incarcerated there. 88% felonies etc. There is space in this project for some of these programs.

Council voted to get a professional opinion from county attorney on the unanimous voting process. [NOTE: Let’s see if he invokes Home Rule on this one.]

Jim Hughes said he’d like to see more rehab than incarceration. He wants to see the people vote on it. One election would cost $40-50,000. If you put it on a regular election- cost is not there.

Lansing said- town meetings where Aaron Negangard, Mike Kreinhop and the judge could talk. I was asked during a Fed-ex delivery and a guy asked why he didn’t have any info on this.

Chris Schwab talked more about how education is the key to keeping kids away from this.

Ullrich said he’s seen this from both sides. He said if we can expand the case, we can expand the programs. Families and parenting are the way to fight drug issues. Getting people off methadone in the jail. Would rather take care of them here than ship them off to another county. [NOTE: Ullrich works for the sheriff dept.]

Kraus said this has been going on for years. We keep putting this jail off. Fund or not fund.

Liz Morris said on the task force she has come to understand the need for expansion. Standard is that 85% capacity is best to be able to put inmates in appropriate areas. $2million of this price tag is for rehabbing the current jail spaces. Twelve men in work release now- with expansion that can go to 48. (but that is in a later phase of this plan) People in the J-cap programs are grateful to be there. The current jail was built as a result of a lawsuit-ordered by a judge. We need to take care of it on our terms, said Morris.

Messmore- the good thing is that we are talking about the same solutions. How we get it funded – I guess we’ll work it out. We have tried to consider how to get additional counseling etc. We need to not polarize this and use this for other issues. It’s full, the people belong there. If you let 50 people out you’d have people who would cause problems in the community. Not trying to scare you. Maybe we should allocate funds to hire a general contractor to get some bid specs and get bids. Maybe we can bid out a couple more options. [NOTE: Why are we depending on the people involved in design and build to tell us what we need? That’s an inherent conflict of interest. Why have our elected officials and staff not produced the numbers and argument for this jail expansion? How do we relate to other counties with methadone clinics and casinos in relation to percentage jailed on felonies? The numbers are available- and it is clear that of the counties with one or both of these factors present only Wayne County and Ohio County have a higher per capita incarceration rate on D felonies than we do. (Richmond’s meth clinic and I-70 drug corridor are in Wayne County.) We need to look at improving our efficiencies and measuring our effectiveness.]

Kraus said we can vote if we are going to fund it or not and then later vote how we will fund it.

Jim Hughes-motioned to go for referendum with RQAW’s proposal. Lansing 2nd. Two ayes.( Hughes and Lansing) Motion fails.

Liz motions to approve the Commissioners’ actions for funding the jail somehow with RQAW plans. Ullrich 2nd- Messmore asked about who would select the architect? Liz said she wanted them to use RQAW’s with Messmore’s amendment to put it out to bid to improve pricing. 4 ayes 2 nays.(nay- Lansing and Hughes; Kraus did not vote) Passed. [NOTE: Motion 2nded and voted on by Ullrich- an employee of the sheriff’s dept.]

Actual method of funding discussion goes to Dec 20th meeting.

Auditor- Gayle Pennington- had two ordinances with fee schedules that commissioners passed and council needed to sign off. Approved.

Liz Morris talked about 911 fees on cell phones and how these are going to be set up in the future. AIC has asked counties to sign on in support of their position on this. It’s a resolution they can look at for their Dec meeting.

Gayle Pennington also had $500 for two advanced EMT classes and Margaret Mary Hospital to have Kraus sign off. Passed.

Minutes approved for Oct 25th.

Tom Cheek – gave them info on sewer board regarding the Huseman Road sewer project. Contractor is owner of Gabbard estates also. He wants to get a 6 “ line and he will have to flush the line periodically.

Meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said... should write for the local paper. Your efforts to keep us informed are worth a paycheck. Maybe the Bright Beacon? There is more information in that paper than a months worth of Registers and Journal Presses. Those papers are a complete joke.