Wednesday, June 20, 2012

19 June 2012 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

19 June 2012 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

Jail Fundng was decided at this meeting.

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

Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Teresa Randall, County Administrator

Probation dept- Judge Humphrey/Steve Bradley-not here to ask for additional appropriation. They are here to find some creative ways to take care of some things. They are in need of a new metal detector for the probation office. The letter from Kreinhop outlines this. It’s over 20 years old. The legislature passed a law that takes away county liability for juvenile placements where there were errors in the orders. They no longer need that liability money in the budget and that number is 36-105 and has $25,100. Humphrey proposes to use that money for the metal detector. They need $3800 for the detector. Steve Bradley spoke about the security being good at Hoosier Square and they are having several arrests over there.  The metal detector is important there. There is only one PUBLIC entrance there. Ullrich motioned and Morris 2nded to transfer that money to the maintenance and repair line item for the metal detector.

Steve Bradley said they had put $5,000 of a probation users account aside for furniture. They have used as much as possible from the old courthouse. They are using 3 desks from 1993. They need some more money. They have given over $150,000 to county general in the past from probation users. Drug testing has been more expensive this year. 105 -118 drug tests per month. The difference in cost is due to the kind of tests they are ordering now to pick up synthetic marijuana and bath salts. Dirty urine tests have gone from 11% to 25%. They also want to go to the juvenile services fund for this. They can do that without Council but they wanted Council to know what they were doing. Ullrich noted that we have been fortunate that they haven’t had any fatalities with these synthetic drugs and bath salts yet in this county. There was one in Ohio County.

Jail funding- Not on agenda but tabled from last month- Kraus and Ullrich said that if we have the money we can use that. Money will be coming in to replace that money in the account. They don’t want to spend the interest money also.
Morris noted the huge interest payments that was more than a 1/3 of the bond amount.
 Kraus said they are not stating an amount tonight – just deciding where the source of money is.
Barrett said they spent 2 days last week interviewing the architects and they are working with $8.3-9.3 million budget. They expect it to be less maybe. They are putting the almost $300,000 for the doors they already replaced as part of this total.
 Jim Hughes does not like bypassing the remonstrance process.  Hew doesn't like taking all of the money out of Riverboat Saving because now the People of Dearborn County lose all voice on saying whether they want the jail or not.  With not using any new tax monies they now cannot start the process of remonstrance for referendum which would have given them a  choice on saying yes or no on the jail issue by putting it on the November ballott.  I think the remonstrance process is a good thing that protects the taxpayer and gives them the right to get the signatures to put such spending on the ballot! I, at this time, cannot justify to the people of Dearborn County nor think that we should spend that amount of money on a new jail facility when we have other pressing issues such as bridges and roads that need repair and bringing jobs to our County!
Ullrich said that will cost the taxpayers even more to put this on a ballot.
Kraus asked if you’d rather put this in the hands of a federal judge.
Hughes doesn’t think a federal judge would do that to us now.
Lansing says we have to pay the operational costs out of riverboat funds too.
Kraus said it’s supposed to be neutral in that regard. If they come back for more employees I’ll look at you two ( Lansing and Hughes)and we’ll say no.

Ullrich motioned and  Barrett seconded to pay it all out of riverboat savings.  No vote until after the public was heard.

Judie Howard said that she agrees with them at using the saving and not paying so much in interest. She said they have to remember it’s OUR money. She said they need to realize the extra expense of meals and inmates too. Those funds will be coming out of the money we get from the boat as we try to replenish the account. Ullrich thinks with the new facility it can be managed much more efficiently. If we don’t do anything those costs go up. Or we transport we have to pay for housing off site. Morris said we are spending $130 a day on housing ours. We are spending $130,000 housing some of ours elsewhere.  Howard said she just wants it to be realized that there is additional costs here. Messmore said we’ll have  a closer estimate on operational costs in 60 days or so. Howard said she noted that Jeff Lyness from Maxwell had a goal to come in under budget.  She said that was commendable. Ullrich said that he’d like to give Terri Randall praise as she went way beyond her duty to get all these costs nailed down to compare apples to apples. Judie Howard said that a rotary exchange criminal justice student toured the facilities here and was impressed compared to hers in Australia.

Council voted to pay the jail expansion ALL (no bonds) out of Riverboat savings- with 2 nays from Hughes and Lansing. Passed.

Clerk of Courts- Phil Weaver: Weaver was not present. He had sent his paperwork over. Pennington did not know specifically what this was about, so she couldn’t answer council if they had questions. Morris said these seem straightforward. It was advertised properly. Virtual Server to replace 3 failing servers and the Initial phase of scanning the clerk’s record books.  $5500 and $25,000 were approved for these two items respectively. 

Redevelopment Commission- Mike Rozow- administrator and manager for the redevelopment Commission. Paul Kunkel associate director of DCEDI explained their needs. In 2009 they got $1.5 million for land purchases. They have used some for the West Harrison TIF. They would like to use $500,000 to use as incentive for a company or companies to get them to the West Harrison TIF. Barrett asked what would be an incentive. Kunkel said it will be something we can touch and feel- Like building, roads,  or construction costs. They will NOT use it to pay for their taxes. They have allocated $1.3 million plus for sewers. That site is ready now. They do have a company in mind. We can buy all the land we want- unless we get a company there it will not be a good thing for our funds. Ullrich said as long as it’s for tangible costs so we can see what it’s for. Rozow said the DC Redevelopment Commission would make the decision as to what the money is used for. Money does not go to the company directly- it goes to the vendor upon receipt of the bills. Morris said we have come so close to getting this done. If this is what it takes to get this done I’m in favor of this. Kunkel said we’ve had some hits- we are ready for a home run. Hughes said this sets a precedence for other companies coming in- hoping we can keep this up. Council approved transferring this money to a different account. Redevelopment Commission is adding some of their money to this also. Morris motioned and Lansing seconded. Approved.

Park Board- James Red Elk:

Signs for rural parks/bronze plague for donated bench- from non-reverting capital improvement fund $5625 to complete a 2 year old project to finish up what the county insurance company audit thought they needed.  Also $185 for an approximately $800 bench donated to the park at Guildford for Veronica Renfro where the father used to drive their Model- A to that park. This is to control the look and appearance of the sign. Ullrich and Messmore motioned and motion passed for both amounts.

He also asked about the process for spending money out of their non-reverting capital fund. He is hoping to have a conversation ongoing with Council on what they expect from Parks as they plan. Council agreed to discuss a $10,000 contingency fund for the Parks to get money for small projects without having to go to council repeatedly.

Land purchase- from land acquisition fund- the Lattire road property. They have been approached by another landowner that would attach the Lattire property to County Farm. They are also doing their 5 year plan in house this time. $75,000 could put in a slab type bridge per Listerman last year when Red Elk had brainstormed with him. They knew there was an access problem. They based purchase on the long term plan to extend along that creek that DNR says is one of the few they know about. The second reason is that there is a growing demand for scout troops for camping. They don’t see Gladys Russell as ideal for camping. The third reason is a potential shooting range. If the shooting range doesn’t happen then they would pursue the primitive camping. If they get the adjacent property this will add more creek to their inventory. Access could be thru a low water crossing (a ford) or a one lane bridge. Discussion over the two properties went on concerning doing the next one and not the original. Red Elk stressed the long range goal of expanding along the creek and the great options from the meadow along the creek to the hillside protection for campers and the protection for shooting into a hillside. He also said the park board sees that the shooting range should be open to the public, as the public is paying for the parks. Ullrich motioned to table to pursue a dollar figure on the 2nd property. Lansing seconded. Tabled.  [NOTE: A shooting range on flat land is problematic, when surrounded by other park activities. A hillside to shoot into would appear to be safer. Looking at the larger picture of parks and the public, it seems the Park Board is trying to accommodate both the tradition of the shooting range and the safety and enjoyment of parks for the public at large. The Park Board is a group that volunteers a lot of personal time to keeping the parks up. The County has enjoyed this freebie labor for a very long time. Perhaps everyone should take a step back and look at the wisdom of each stance in the LONG term of the park system. The 4H and scouts are not the only Park users. These lands are to be shared with the public who pays for them. And the public payment needs to be addressed if this system is to grow in the future. Adding land along the creek area and expanding the park system out in Manchester may ultimately lead to a much larger more versatile park for the county. Buying pieces as they become available seems to be the plan as discussed from meetings and 5 year plans that I read nearly 15 years ago. This is not a new idea. Perhaps a Commissioner or Council member needs to sit on the board.]

Solid Waste District- BJ Ault-withdrawn from agenda as she didn’t advertise in time. She is at the fairgrounds tonight. She will try to get on the next agenda.

Gary Steinmetz- Wessler and Bittner Roads- Jeff Hughes apologized that the highway dept hadn’t met the advertising deadline to accompany this discussion. Highway was coming for chip seal funds for many roads. He said they were having trouble finding millings for these projects. Steinmetz lives on Bittner and Mrs. Wessler is here for her road also. He passed out the road list. This info was given so they could have it before the next meeting. Messmore said that they already gave them money for resurfacing- and if these are so important then rework that list. Morris said that she wants to see the priority list and where these are on that list.

Stenmetz said that they have been waiting over ten years now. They made an attempt and rain ruined it. He said the labor time and repairs could have all been saved to fix it properly. The ground is pumping up thru the road at the end of the road. He said we’ve been patient and we are basically begging you guys to fix these roads. Hughes said they can still do it if they get to it while weather is warm. Orschell told them this was part of the program and they just ran out of millings. Steinmetz said that Mrs Carol Wessler can’t hang sheets out or cook out as the dust is so bad at her house sitting so close to  the road. He said that they should just stand in her yard on a dry day to see it. Kraus got testy and said that he lives on a road like that too. This will have to come out of riverboat savings per Kraus- and they cannot appropriate that tonight. Council may not meet in July- they will make an exception and deal with this at budget hearings in August. Council wants more details and the priority list and program. Tabled. [NOTE: This was part of the priority list and program- and if Listerman were presenting that would have been obvious. As it turned out they weren’t advertised in time and so had to wait. If only Council had saved their original and amended road lists.]

Terri Randall- Administrator-  Nepotism Resolution 2012-003 that was passed at the Council’s last meeting needed to be clarified to keep it like the state law. Jail matrons and Coroner are the 2 exceptions to the nepotism law. They can exclude them or include them in the local law. This would allow them to be excluded same as state law. This has to be done by July 1st. You could amend it later. The jail matron is grandfathered.  Some of the council wants to only do the matron as an exception and not the coroner.  Council signed the revised ordinance. Lansing voted nay.

Jim Hughes said he’d like to see the depts. try for a 2.5% reduction in their budget this year. Messmore said they are already preparing budgets based on last year’s numbers. They are due next week.

Terri Randall suggested they tell officeholders and depts. to bring three ideas to cut expenses and to raise revenue in their department. It worked for her at a previous company.

She said she did not come in as an advocate for the jail. She wanted to update Council on the progress same as she did for Commissioners. She thinks everyone is hungry right now and the architects will be at rock bottom costs and they have really good designs. They will be getting another design. They want Council members on that committee to look at the architect etc. and there will be drawings done preliminarily that need to be paid for before they approve the total funding number for the jail. She will get it advertised as needed. The architect will be on by July 3rd. Morris asked if they need a meeting in July for Randall’s deadline.

 Lansing asked if Maxwell was doing any of the work. Randall said that they can’t work on the project they are overseeing it. She wasn’t sure if that was in their contract that way, but that state laws didn’t allow for that.

Lansing asked if they had been audited by the SBOA on their donations. Kraus said they get slapped on the wrist every year on that (referring to the donations to charitable organizations and youth groups)and we continue to do it because we believe in HOME RULE.

 [NOTE: Why does a Council member not get that report annually- and does every new Council person agree with this stance? Council needs to look at that total number paid to charities and see what public good is being measurably accomplished. That was not the only thing that the County got “slapped on the wrist” for. Invoking Home Rule for the prosecutor’s payment of $25,000 for his own defense on a disciplinary grievance was questioned and had to be remedied by RETROACTIVELY enacting a home rule ordinance for just that specific instance. WHEN HAS COUNCIL ENACTED A HOME RULE ORDINANCE TO COVER PAYING RIVERBOAT FUNDS TO CHARITABLE CAUSES?]

Gayle Pennington- Minutes approved.  

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding Ullrich's comment (jail funding): One can only assume that given a choice the taxpayer would rather have a voice in the matter than NO VOICE at all!