Friday, November 30, 2012

Video Part One of the Jail Expansion Meeting

Part One - 2 minute introduction to the increased expansion of the Jail Expansion meeting with Commissioners November 26th. Register Publications is providing this coverage.
The remaining sections will be posted on the Register website next week. The video is unedited, so you can see the meeting just as it occurred. You do not have to be a subscriber to view this.

There is a meeting December 11th with County Council at 6:30 PM to discuss funding the additional $1.1million that Commissioners have recommended to Council in addition to the $9.3million they already agreed upon.

Agenda for December 4th Commissioners Meeting



 December 4, 2012

6:00 p.m., Commissioners Room
County Administration Building
215 B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana

I.              CALL TO ORDER 


III.            OLD BUSINESS 

IV.           NEW BUSINESS

OKI – Citizen Appointment by Commissioners 


A.  Highway Superintendent – Tim Greive

            1.  Updates 

B.  Highway Engineer – Todd Listerman

            1.  Updates  

VI.           ADMINISTRATOR –  Teresa Randall           

VII.          AUDITOR – Gayle Pennington

1.  Claims/Minutes 

VIII.         ATTORNEY – Andy Baudendistel 


X.            LATE ARRIVAL INFORMATION            


XII.           ADJOURN

Monday, November 26, 2012


26 November 2012 SPECIAL Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Jeff Hughes, President, Tom Orschell, and Shane McHenry

Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor, Teresa Randall, County Administrator, and Andy Baudendistel, Attorney.

This meeting was preceded by an executive session to discuss pending litigation. Commissioners gave the administrator and attorney authority to respond and see what can be worked out.

The audience had about 20 people in addition to the jail committee members in attendance.

Terri Randall administrator presented. She went over parts of the Powerpoint presentation that Rosser presented earlier in November. The history of the project was outlined showing the original RQAW estimate of 12.8- 14.9 Million for 224 beds. The final 120 bed version was approved at $9.3 million.

Rosser was the approved architect in June 2012. Commissioners approved the schematic in November 2012.

Terri Randall chaired the jail committee of 13 members. The committee went out to see other jails to see how they did things. She said they debated and discussed and it was a very DIVERSE group. [NOTE: This jail committee did not include any outsiders – all were part of the system- not sure what she means by diverse.] This was one of the best workgroups she’d been involved with. Many of them decided things they could do without to keep the cost down. Commissioners’ responsibility is to have the type of jail we need to protect the public. Council has to decide how to fund this. Inmate population projections- she decided to get Scott Moore- from Integrus- that works with Maxwell. She said we hired him independently to go over the numbers. [NOTE: Integrus is part of the project team so they may have been hired to do numbers in addition to their contract, but they are not independent of the project.]

Scott Moore – they have been around 50 plus years and have done 300 plus projects. He was to look over the inmate population projections.  He looked at County population, Community Correction offenders, Admissions, and average daily population from the jail. He used IU Kelley school of business for population projections which shows a 12.63% increase in county population over next 30 years. He looked at home detention and work release numbers. He looked at the DOC 9 Dept of Corrections) admissions (state prisons) and these are increasing. He looked at average daily population and extrapolated at 8% to see that over 400 inmates would be here by 2035. He thinks 12% and it would be 440 inmates. And he also added the industry 15% standard to show it would be even higher. He said the 144 bed addition would be full by 2020 in the best case scenario. He went at 8, 12, and 15% growth rates to show all the scenarios. They recommend the 208 additional bed option. He said that in many cases you open a jail and in 6 months you are full.

Hughes said they haven’t looked at the entire justice system. What is the root cause of our high jail population? No answer.

Rosser’s Mark Van Allen then presented. He noted a couple words in the mission statement- FLEXIBILITY and the CHANGING Corrections landscape. The brainstorming that went on resulted in selecting a base option of 120 beds. They left ¼ of the square in the design out for future expansion. Filling that square in takes it to 144 beds TOTAL. This would not be filled out but roughed in for now. They could also add enough in that space to take it to 208 beds TOTAL. Everything is dormitory style around a central control station. He said they worked thru the sheriff’s staff to get appropriate spaces for them.

Orschell asked Mark to go over the staffing in this versus the current staffing needs. Mark Van Allen talked about video conferencing for visitation to minimize prisoner movement and need less staff. He thinks this helps not add additional staff along with the central control. They also can use video arraignment. This also cuts the circulation of prisoners and thus increases safety for the public. This also cuts transport staff. They have varying levels of commitment from the judiciary on who will use it and who won’t. [NOTE: So some of the judges don’t plan to use an item that reduces staffing? Then what happens- we pay for the technology and also for the staffing?] JCAP offices are right by the classrooms and their dorm units. They also have an 8- bed step down unit for those who have completed the program but haven’t served their time yet. The central observation has 360 degree view of all prisoners. Only JCAP is remotely monitored by camera. More options for segregating the men and women now.

Van Allen said the type of beds security-wise cut costs from the RQAW version. This version keeps 48 beds for work release also by using the old women’s section.

Budget Summary- Brad- the construction manager from Maxwell presented the budget scenarios. 120 beds for $9.3 million. 144 beds for $10.4 million. 208 beds for $11.2 million. This builds all the beds out at today’s prices. [NOTE: There was no mention of contingencies (percentages allowed for extras and items they might need to change as they go along) allowed for these scenarios.]

Budget spent so far from 693,940 allocated. 435,665 spent so far, so 258,275 remains.

These costs include what has already been spent above: Additional appropriation needed: $8,574,577- for 120 beds. This is the $9.3 million total project cost option.

$9,740,232 for 144 beds with shell for expansion and this also includes cost of bidding an alternate for the full 208 build out to be presented for future consideration. This is the $10.4 million total cost option. [NOTE: This option includes a SHELL not the cost of the extra beds, furnishings etc for that shell. That will be MORE.]

Randall said it would be prudent to look at this 144 bed option and this bidding will happen in the spring.


Richard Johnston- 76 years old- How many square feet does each prisoner have to have? It’s about 80 square ft- ACA standards for jails per Mark Van Allen.  What is the cost per year to operate this thing? Orschell said that the reports suggest that we could be staff neutral. Not sure how long this will stand. But what does it cost now? Terri said there will be additional operating costs for heat lighting etc. She did not ask the architect etc to project that as she didn’t feel they could trust those numbers yet. There will be costs for the prisoner’s food etc too. What about using empty space at Seagram’s etc? Mark Van Allen said the staffing for a separate facility would be costly and duplicate services and transport. It would be lower capital costs but increased staff costs.

Judie Howard- went over the funding and how much had been spent so far for each option. They said the public doesn’t have to vote if they took it out of gambling revenue. The $12 million was the cap for that.

Jill Rhoades – What about the commissioners who will be here after Jan 1. Hughes said they could do whatever they want after they take office.

Tom Orschell- gave his history of the jail expansion and his research on this. He talked to the judges and the drug abuse issues and the crimes associated with these addictions. Jail overcrowding is very stressful and leads to a more violent environment. He talked about the laundry etc. He looked over the tri-state area. Court diversion. Community corrections and alternative sentencing was used to reduce the jail population. 76 are probation violators and 36 of them had committed an additional crimes while on probation right now. He has sat thru JCAP and listened to their stories. They have CASA also. He found a study on the negative effect on the community from the gambling boat. He could not find a study of the methadone clinic effect. He found out about the last jail being built over inmates suing the county. He thinks he has asked every question he could on this. He said he could not vote on this Nov 7th. He has had many sessions with Lynch and he said he would support this. He asked Kevin Lynch- future commissioner D-1 to speak.

Kevin Lynch- thanked Tom Orschell. He said there is so much better info now on this. He realizes there is a need for the jail expansion. He praised the committee etc. It’s a lot of money. To make sure you do it right the first time. I like the committee’s recommendation of 144 beds with option to increase. He does not want us to outgrow this jail before its economic life. He thinks they are on the right track. [NOTE: Lynch received $2000 for his campaign from American Structurepointe PAC which is joined with Rosser, Inc on this project.]

Orschell said that Kevin weighing in on this makes his decision harder. ????

Andy Baudendistel- as a defense attorney. One of only 15 counties with JCAP and about half have a drug court program. It is only available to people who live in Dearborn or Ohio Counties. They are targeting young opiate addicts. This plan allows us to double our jail chemical addiction program. Community corrections is stretched to its limits- no bracelets are available some times. [NOTE: Why are the inmates not paying for the ankle bracelets?] He thinks we are doing everything we can. He has been on drug court for 3 years. This will only help 48 people on JCAP.

Chris Mueller-brought up the jail statistics which show that the number of bookings have decreased since 2005 while the average daily population of the jail has increased and asked why that would be happening? Baudendistel offered the possibility that bookings were high from Witte being a judge back then and requiring people summoned to court to go over and be booked first. Mueller asked when Witte had left office and they said 2008. That would not explain the pattern completely. Bonding and defense lawyer timing plus discovery all take time too. The 90-95% of inmates who plea deal was also discussed- and why would that take so long? Mueller also asked about the statistics and data collection for the JCAP program which Baudendistel said had been around for 4 years. Raxpayers are paying to house JCAP inmates and now they are building more space into the jail for more JCAP inmates.McHenry was surprised JCAP had been around that long. Mueller said that in interviews and debates the only data offered was letters- and that was not a measure of the program. She went on to say that if the taxpayers were expected to keep funding this program there should be data. In a business the board answers to the stockholders (taxpayers in this case) and they have a right to know how their money is being spent and what the success rate is on the programs offered. There should be scientific data on JCAP and alcohol/drug court. And it should have been there from the start. It takes several years to measure this- but the data should be there for the first 4 years. We need to have all the parties involved in this from the judges, prosecutor, jail commander, sheriff, and defense attorneys look at what they can do to keep that jail from being filled up too fast. We owe it to the taxpayers who are paying for all of this.

Close Public Comment:

Shane McHenry- 120 beds won’t get the job done. Bandaid. Agrees with the committee on the 144 bed option. He thinks they can solve the problem and have the space IF they need it in the future. We have been talking about this for almost 2 years. He agrees with Chris . He praised Tom Orschell and Terri also. McHenry moved to send a recommendation for the 144 beds. Orschell said with Lynch’s backing he feels he can vote for this so he seconded it. Two ayes.

Chair votes Nay- Hughes said he can’t in good conscious vote for this.

Passed to go on to Council for funding.

Meeting adjourned at 8:05 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township


Tuesday, November 20, 2012



Dearborn County Register has schematics for the old jail plan and the most recent proposal online at
You can also purchase a paper Wednesday or later if you are not a subscriber. The online story is viewable by non-subscribers if they fill out a VERY short questionnare/survey.

The lead story also has links to these plan sets and to two editorial pieces. One is a well balanced synopsis of the choices that will be up for discussion at the Nov 26th SPECIAL COMMISSIONER'S meeting at 6 PM written by Denise Freitag-Burdette.  The other is by Commissioner Jeff Hughes praising outgoing Commissioner Tom Orschell's voting decision from their last meeting.

Please read them before Monday- Nov 26th. This meeting is an important turning point in the project. Commissioners are being asked to decide on the original price tag of $9.3 million or some alternates that will raise the cost previously agreed upon.

20 November 2012 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

20 November 2012 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
ABSENT: Teresa Randall, County Administrator(vacation)

Newly elected council members, Charles Keyes and Randy Lyness, were present in the audience.

HIGHWAY DEPT- Tim Grieve- Mower Purchase- had 5000 hours on it. This is the second mower to go down that is that old. These are machete boom mowers. Zimmer tractor did not bid – they were $20,000 higher on the first mower. Smith Implement $114,410 and is a little over $4000 more than they bid on the first mower. These are tractors from 1999. There are new rules on emissions also from the EPA. Barrett wanted it tabled until Dec 11th meeting and they want him to get some more bids. Messmore said he had no trouble with this now as it was comparable and compared to three other bids from the first mower. Council approved the mower.

Todd Listerman-presented by Grieve- Encumbering funds for Bridge #102 on North Dearborn Road by creekside Subdivision for $442,210.11. They plan to do it in May and finish in August so less hassle for school busses. Approved.

COMMUNICATIONS 911- Charles Ashley- Replace 2 VHF antennas that are water damaged on Pribble Road water tank. Mobilcom found the problem when they did diagnostics on them. $2615 to diagnose it. Repair was $10,518. Turned it into county’s insurance and in October they denied it because they were not on the declarations page for our insurance. There are also antennas on the Dillsboro tank- they are checking to see if those are listed. The ones on Henderson Rd were covered for lightning strike. Randall is auditing the insurance files for renewal per Gayle Pennington. Approved. They will also see that they get all equipment listed for coverage.

VETERANS SERVICES- Mike Burgess- transfer funds to DC veteran’s transportation fund- vehicles that were previously donated and sold at auction netted $4653. He wants to have those funds returned to their fund. Approved.

Asked for supplemental for burial funds. He said he will be returning about 2/3 of the $30,000 funds requested as deaths have decreased.

JUVENILE CENTER- Traci Agner- part-time wages $14,300 and overtime holiday pay $3,000. They are operating in the red now. Pennington said the report wasn’t run last month and so it got by them. This was all due to someone getting hurt and two people leaving employment and had to be paid out. Messmore noted they had  a lot of part-timers. Council approved both requests.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT- Dr Scudder- wage issue- Over the years, food inspection has fallen to just two food inspectors. The male’s pay is ahead of the female’s pay. They have equal jobs. The male pay has gone up about $6,000. He wants to have equal pay for equal work. He intends to even this up with grants etc. This started back in 1998 or 1999. The male has 5 year’s seniority. Kraus wants to send this to the personnel committee to look through this. Council agreed. Tabled for the committee to look into this.  

PARK BOARD- Steve Walker- fencing at Gladys Russell Park- tabled as no one from Park Board was present.

Meeting adjourned at 7:03 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


20 November 2012 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

20 November 2012 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Jeff Hughes, President, Tom Orschell, and Shane McHenry
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor.
ABSENT: Teresa Randall, County Administrator (on vacation) and Andy Baudendistel, Attorney ( on vacation)

Food bid awards- Sheriff Mike Kreinhop- Ellenbee Leggett,  Gordon Food (GFC), and US Food Service bids were all accepted. All the items are individually listed with prices. A copy of these listed prices will be placed with the minutes.  There was no overall contract list price on these. They can then select the cheapest price for each item from any of the three companies.

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Todd Listerman, Highway Engineer- North Dearborn realignment – will be paving next week and open by early December hopefully. They will stay open all winter and finish in the spring when they reclose it again.
Striping will done on North Dearborn and Weisburg still this year.
On North Dearborn project: Two change orders- $4741.00 80/20 split is due to additional traffic maintenance on Hiltz Rd for detour for the North Dearborn project was approved.  Second change order was for chemical stabilization of sub- base and they found high sulfate contact there. So they couldn’t do that. Instead they used stone so change order was $196,971.95 80/20 split for the stone. It is still under budget costs. Stone is actually better for strength for the base. Commissioners approved the change order.
Asking Council tonight to encumber the funds for Bridge 102 on North Dearborn for Creekside. They will do this after the first of the year and start it in May and reopen in August. This minimizes the school bus impacts.
Listerman to get a timeline for Stateline project for Hughes.

Tim Grieve, Highway Superintendent-Highway worker – Aaron Watson new employee of about a year and a half- was seriously injured by falling 30 ft out of a tree stand while deer hunting. Grieve wanted everyone to keep the family in their thoughts thru the holidays. Commissioners will send  a Get Well card.
Asking for money for the tractor they approved. Paving is finishing up. Some of the highway workers are driving trucks home in anticipation of bad weather. They have been training the new guys. They will have the 2nd tandem snow truck ready in December also.

ADMINISTRATOR: Teresa Randall on vacation- presented by Todd Listerman:
Votaw and Shumway updates needs an additional $135,000 to take down both buildings and bring them up thru paving the lots. Commissioners approved them going to Council to seek this on December 11th. Commissioners wanted to keep with original goals to expand the campus as the county was land –locked. McHenry said he understood this was the original thinking and thought it would be counter productive to keep looking at other uses when we needed the space.

AUDITOR: Gayle Pennington- Commissioners ratified Hughes signatures for additional borings by Alt and Witzig Engineering from Carmel, IN to see what the soil is like under the proposed jail expansion.
Commissioners ratified Hughes signature for $4700 for American Structurepoint for work on the jail so far. [NOTE: No reason was given for these needing signatures or payment prior to the regularly scheduled meeting approvals.]
Claims approved.
ATTORNEY: Andy Baudendistel- was absent.


Meeting adjourned at 9:35 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, November 19, 2012

Agenda November 20th 6:30 PM County Council Meeting



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

6:30 p.m., Commissioners Room
County Administration Building
215 B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana


II.            CALL TO ORDER 

III.           HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT – Tim Greive

Mower Purchase

                  Highway Dept. – Todd Listerman

                        Encumbering Bridge Funds for Bridge # 102

IV.          COMMUNICATIONS/911 – Charles Ashley

      Replace 2 VHF antennas that received water damage.

V.            VETERANS SERVICES – Mike Burgess

      Transfer funds to DC Veterans Transportation Fund

VI.          JUVENILE CENTER – Traci Agner

      Part-Time Wages

      Overtime/Holiday pay

VII.         HEALTH DEPARTMENT – Dr. Scudder

      Wage issue

VIII.        PARK BOARD – Steve Walker

Fencing at Gladys Russell Park 

IX.          ADJOURN




Thursday, November 15, 2012

Agenda November 20th 9 AM County Commissioners Meeting



 November 20, 2012

9:00 a.m., Commissioners Room
County Administration Building
215 B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana

I.              CALL TO ORDER


III.            OLD BUSINESS 

IV.           NEW BUSINESS

1.  Food Bid Awards – Sheriff Mike Kreinhop 


A.  Highway Superintendent – Tim Greive

            1.  Updates 

B.  Highway Engineer – Todd Listerman

            1.  Updates  

VI.           ADMINISTRATOR –  Teresa Randall

            1,   Votaw/ Shumway Updates (Todd Listerman will present)

VII.          AUDITOR – Gayle Pennington

1.  Claims/Minutes 

VIII.         ATTORNEY – Andy Baudendistel 


X.            LATE ARRIVAL INFORMATION            


XII.           ADJOURN



Due to a schedule issue, The Dearborn County Plan Commission will hold it's regularly scheduled meeting on Moday November 26th at 7 PM AT THE LAWRENCEBURG CITY BUILDING ON WALNUT STREET.
Hirlinger Chevrolet is requesting a zone change from M-2 with restrictions to H-1 ( Highway ineterchange) in the area of the West Harrison TIF district.
Details are available at Planning and Zoning or on their website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Some Background Information on the jail expansion from July 2012 with explanatory notations added.
July 16, 2012
Jail Expansion – Architect Selected for Next Phase of Project
At their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 17, 2012, the Dearborn County Board of Commissioners voted to accept the Jail Architect recommendation as put forward by a team of professionals who made up the County’s Jail Architect Interview Committee. This vote authorizes County Administrator, Terri Randall, to negotiate an agreement with Atlanta-based Architectural firm, Rosser International and their local Engineering Services partner, American StructurePoint for the final design and construction of the $9.3 million County jail renovation and expansion. [NOTE: The jail budget was capped at $9.3 million by Council. The contingencies or cost over- runs might put it very close to requiring the public to vote. The committee is proposing some options that will cost over $1 million more.]
Similar to the process used when Maxwell Construction was hired as Construction Manager, the Board of Commissioners wanted a rigorous selection procedure to ensure the County would get a quality Architect who could provide the best design for the money and be aggressive with their fees to save cost on the project. The Interview Committee included: Maynard Barrett, County Council, Brian Monahan, Asst. Jail Commander, Bryan Messmore, Prosecutor’s office, Maxwell Construction and their internal Jail Architect (consultant), and Terri Randall, County Administrator. Eight firms with strong Jail design experience were solicited with seven submitting responses. Of those seven, two partnered in their presentation and one elected not to interview. This resulted in five quality architectural firms moving through the screening process. Each firm went through a 2-hour interview and finalists were moved to the next phase. The second phase included a detailed discussion of fees aimed at reducing variable expenses (like mileage) for the County, a review of their financial stability, and reference checks on past jail projects.
The preliminary jail design architect, RQAW, has a long history on the jail expansion and renovation project. However, County Council requested the project be put out to a competitive bid in November 2011, when they approved funding the project. The motion to bid out the Architect was made by Councilman Messmore in an effort to ensure the best design and improve the County’s competitive position for the final phases of the project. Mrs. Randall notes that “RQAW did a great job in their interview process and the County is appreciative of their services over the years. However, in the end, the Committee felt that Rosser International had a more robust portfolio, better quality and quantity of staff and resources, and better satisfied the County’s other stringent review requirements.” [NOTE: Mark Van Allen of Rosser was formerly presenting for RQAW on this jail project. Seems like this might not be a big change. He is already very familiar with the county jail project.]
Rosser International will be performing much of their work through their Lexington, Kentucky office with travel distances no further than what the County would have seen with the Indianapolis-based architectural firms. Also, the County believes the knowledge of the local engineers at StructurePoint relative to soil conditions, permitting, and structural design matters in this County will be valuable to the project as a whole. [NOTE: American Structurepointe through their own PAC called DPBG PAC has contributed heavily to Kevin Lynch's campaign- $500 in teh primary and $1500 in the main election. They have also contributed $250 to Art Little's campaign. Now that these two are elected commissioners, will they have to fill out conflict of interest forms prior to dealing with the jail?]
During the presentation, Mrs. Randall told Commissioners “only two of the three firms based in Indiana expressed interest in the project. By expanding the competitive field to include larger firms as well as specialty firms in nearby States, the dynamics of the selection process changed. We raised the bar and the result was a very creative and interactive interview process where everyone felt comfortable asking the tough questions.”
The next step in the project will involve forming a multi-disciplinary internal Jail Committee to include representatives from the jail, justice system, maintenance, commissioner’s office, and County Council. The team will meet yet this month to begin working closely with the Architect and Construction Manager to finalize the design and budget prior to the end of 2012. The County anticipates construction will start during the second quarter of 2013.
Following the meeting, Commissioner Tom Orschell shared that he had sat in as an observer through the interviews. “I am proud of the process and commitment of the committee. This was a very thorough screening and everyone took their job very seriously. Selecting the right architect will result in more for our money, a quality project, and a good handle on future operations cost of the larger facility” said Orschell.
For further information concerning this release, contact Terri Randall, County Administrator, at 812/532-2085 or
This release was obtained from the County website. Notations in bold were added as were the red highlights.
Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawsrenceburg Township

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Dearborn County Commissioners will hold a special meeting Monday, Nov. 26th at 6 p.m in the commissioners room of the county administration building, 215B W. High St., Lawrenceburg. This meeting is open to the public.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss, and possibly approve, a plan for the proposed county jail expansion and renovation, to pass along to county council for possible increased funding consideration beyond the $9.3 million cap they previously approved.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Democracy Is Just a Drive Down theCenter of the Road

Democracy Is Just a Drive
Down the Center of the Road

by Cecil Bohanon, Ph.D.

reprinted with permission of IPR

The 2012 election is history. At both a national and state level neither party had a clean-sweep. In Washington, the Democrats retained the White House and expanded their Senate majority but failed to take the House from Republican control. In Indianapolis, the GOP got the governor’s mansion and a veto-proof House and Senate but lost the Superintendent of Public Instruction office and a U.S. Senate seat.

What can we observe about the campaign preceding the election? What does tell us about the political process? First, it was apparent that candidates of both parties “ran to the middle” trying to forestall the charge of “extremism.” There was no Barry Goldwater proclaiming, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” or a George McGovern proposing to give everyone $1,000 (about $5,500 in today’s dollars). Indeed, most ads were about trying to label the other guy as being at the far end of the political spectrum. The ads were more about scaring the voting public about the other guy’s “radical” agenda rather than offering a positive agenda. Second, as usual, candidates on both sides were long on rhetoric and short on details. Stump speeches had catchy phrases, but even a superficial analysis usually revealed the rhetoric to be misleading, inconsistent and illogical.

Although partisans will disagree, it seems to me both sides were guilty of the abovementioned deviations from high standards of “civil discourse.” So is our democracy failing? I think not. It is doing what it has always done; it is providing incentives for politicians to appeal to the passions, shallow sensibilities and narrow interests of the average vote. The problem is — and always will be — that these passions, sensibilities and interests are not well formed.

A simple principle of modern political economy (aka public choice analysis) is the median voter theorem that states: To win an election the politician must appeal to middle-of-the road preferences. It is no accident most elections are relatively close: both Goldwater and McGovern showed what occurs when a candidate strays very far from the middle. Although the middle is the best place to be politically it is not at all obvious it is the best place to be from a policy perspective; indeed, as Ambrose Bierce said, the middle-of-the road is where you get run over.

But it gets worse. I know of no race in Indiana in 2012 where the outcome actually hinged on one vote. So despite endless civic admonishments telling us our vote is powerful and that it really, really matters, the simple fact is had you not voted on November 6 nothing would be different. If one’s vote doesn’t really matter, there is little cost in exercising one’s vote without much attention to messy details like facts or logic. It’s not that the public is stupid. It is, however, “rationally ignorant” in economic language. We should all be well-informed, thoughtful voters but there is no real payoff to that. When voting, it is much easier and entertaining to fall back on platitudes, personalities and knee-jerk self-interest. That is exactly why slick slogans, glib phrases and stretching the truth will always be part of electoral politics.

As pessimistic as this seems the alternatives to periodic voting for our leaders are all worse. The nation of Syria is making a political decision in a different and much more costly way than we just have. The billion dollars spent in the United States on insipid political ads are small potatoes by comparison. We can at least be grateful that we resolve our differences through ballots and not bullets.

Cecil Bohanon, Ph.D., an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, is a professor of economics at Ball State University.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

7 November 2012 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

7 November 2012 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes
Present: Jeff Hughes, President, Tom Orschell, and Shane McHenry

Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor, Teresa Randall, County Administrator, and Andy Baudendistel, Attorney.

Orschell congratulated Kevin Lynch and Art Little who wasn’t here. And Phil Darling who ran a heck of a campaign and it was a clean campaign. Kevin and Phil thanked him.


OKI Funding Contract/Agreement (originally tabled until November)- Terri wants to table that until January when  the new commissioners come in. Tabled until January.


Ratify signature on vehicle title transferring ownership to the city of Lawrenceburg of a seized vehicle from the SCU (Special Crimes Unit). It was officially transferred from the Prosecutor’s office to Lawrenceburg. There was no explanation of why Lawrenceburg gets the vehicle.

Property in Villages of Sugar Ridge LLC that no one owns/not sold at tax sale- Gayle said it may have been on tax sale twice. It is a catch basin and no one owns it- the county highway will be willing to maintain it along with their culverts per Tim Grieve. The commissioners could offer the other property surrounding it for sale at a commissioner’s sale per Pennington. If commissioners direct them to have a sale along then they advertise and it would happen around February. Baudendistel was directed to check into the Macke property and see who owned it. IC code- 36-1-11 applies to this per Pennington. No other action.

Knights of Columbus 1231 requesting to use Court House Square- Friday January 18th at 11 AM. Commissioners approved their use as they have always been civil when they used it in the past.

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT: Todd Listerman, Highway Engineer- supplemental for Stateline Slip project. $149,400 supplemental received for fed aid on Stateline slips which brings the total there to $230,054.40. Commissioners signed the contract for the aid.

Notice of award for Bridge 34 Short Ridge to  Holman Excavating Versailles$482,193.20. Other bids were higher : Mcallister 497,179.00, O Mara $ 550,770, and  Senesis ( sp ?) from West Chester $ 580,863.95

A  change order for $2854.56 deducted from Bridge on Lower Dillsboro #224 for total  292,317.66 was approved and signed.

$3139.75 change order for another catch basin for project on North Dearborn Road and will be recovered 80/20 was approved and signed.

Annual fuel, aggregate, and asphalt bids are out and will be presented at first meeting in December.

Documents had to all be redone for Tucker ROW around the wishing well area. Baudendistel said there were issues over land ownership changes and they need to get the full recorded documents. He said they’d met with Tucker over 2 months ago. Orschell thought Bright Lions were going to move it and raise funds for that. That was over 2 years ago. Terri Randall found out it wasn’t finalized under the last administrator. Hughes wants a timeline to explain why this hasn’t happened yet. They will get the documents.

Tim Grieve, Highway Superintendent- New tractor machete mower delivered tomorrow. There is a lot of work ready for it.

Paving contract pretty close to finished. Paint contractor fro lines had to come back to paint Weisberg. Chip seal on old SR 1 turned out well. All FEMA projects packaged for $290,000 and hope to get that refunded back in the spring to move forward on more slips.


Bill Black, who couldn’t be here wants the approval of a grant and proclamation and Baudendistel had reviewed the grant and said it was approved by the State Attorney General’s office. This grant allowed Black to replace a printer/copier. $4,054.00. Grant was signed.

The Proclamation was for the Winter Weather Preparedness Week beginning November 11th that is done annually. The entire list of aid received for winter weather issues and the years they received it were read into the record by Randall. This was to make citizens aware so they could prepare for winter weather conditions.

Office Moves- business to business department relocation. RQAW had done a number of space needs studies. The original cost was over $283,000 from RQAW. They scaled this back to be no cost in the Adm. Building. [NOTE: Actually there is cost but it’s supposedly cost they have to do for maintenance anyway. There may be additional cost as they get used to their new spaces and see what they need.] They wanted to put like departments together. She presented her recommendation for this after meeting with all the departments. This was to improve customer service with one stop shopping. They want to combine Planning, Environmental, Highway, and Building Inspector. They need to replace ceiling tiles and carpet and tile. Move Coroner to jail. And install a hand sink for the nurses for shot clinic. They get a bigger waiting area for health dept clients. Planning and Zoning does not move. Building dept moves to Health dept area on 3rd floor.  Surveyors office will be vacated and left open.  Surveyor moves. Environmental goes behind the old surveyor office. Sewer board moves to the area with environmental dept. Human resources will move to 3rd floor also.

First floor that had building dept there has handicapped access and so it’s great for Health Dept. and Dr.Scudder will have an office in there. Food Inspector will be there also. The surveyor will have space there also. Randall said the departments are on board with these changes and understand why they need to move.  

Shane McHenry passed a copy of the floor plan sketch to the media in the audience so we could see the proposal. Commissioners gave her authority to move forward with the move to be completed thru Dec and January with Maintenance.

Votaw and Shumway Building Updates- Last Tuesday there was a meeting with Council and Commissioners to discuss what to do with these as there is not enough money to demolish both and do parking lots. Hrezo  rep was here with these numbers also. $110,000 soft costs.

Demo Votaw only $129,861 and reduce to parking lot adds additional $19,000 for gravel finish. $161,000 total if paved as she thought they wanted. If they add Shumway they add 87,000 to gravel but 134,000 total is the most the county would be out if both were demolished, paved and landscaped. Lawrenceburg’s money does the rest. Indiana Landmarks said they could get grant money to get it into a holding position if they wanted to hold Shumway Building. There would be drainage issues if they only demolished Votaw and then Shumway is a low spot for water to go to and they’d have to redrain area. That’s a cost too. They kept going around and around about these numbers and came up with needing about $4,000 to get both down that they didn’t have.

I asked if they could go to Council for the rainy day fund money and not re-advertise. Pennington said they have to advertise for the taxpayers for all funds. I told her they used to do this a lot- under her predecessor.Commissioners decided to table this until the next November meeting.

Jail project Update from Mark Van Allen from Rosser International. The jail committee has been meeting and sticking to their mission. He went over the plans and has met with sheriff’s staff. Remodeling 12 rooms on second floor into 2. Making flexible space for the county for the future needs. Always working with Maxwell- the construction manager. He showed a slide with this info:
Base bid -144 beds
Alt 1 -176 beds
Altr2-  208 beds
Eventual build out with new recreation – 240 beds

It’s been a collaborative effort with lots of discussion per Mark.  [NOTE: This looks like an expansion of the project. How did we get from a base of 144 bed addition to these other alternates? Are we trying gto go back to original plans and if so how does THAT fit in to the $9.1-9.3 million budget?]

Terri said the fees for Rosser have already been contracted. She is asking for approval for the fees for what they have done so far. She said that Maxwell has also been working.  She wants to come back with a full budget and recommended final design to get their approval. She used the term working in good faith several times. If they approve then they can go to council with a final money request. She will be on vacation at next meeting. She wants a special meeting on November 26th in the morning.

*****At this point Orshell speaks : Due to outcome of election Orschell wants to have the new commissioners weigh in. He is not comfortable with voting on these things that would bind the new commissioners going forward. He thinks that they might have some different ideas. McHenry said he respectfully disagrees. Shane said Orschell worked hard on the jail- it’s really HIS project!!! Orschell reiterated his feelings on this and stuck to his premise that it wouldn’t be right to vote on changes to t his project.****

[NOTE: Orschell is correct. The jail project is growing at meetings outside the normal public viewing times. There are two new commissioners coming in and ethically it wouldn’t be right to saddle them with something they might not have agreed to. Art Little has not been to any of these meetings, nor was he present tonight. Both he and Lynch- who is up to speed- need to be consulted on this. As it is a huge expense it wouldn’t be right to make a decision on this until both are up to speed and better yet, legally sworn in as commissioners.]

Chairman Hughes abstained but other two commissioners approved the schematic so that Rosser could get paid. Orschell was OK with that as it was for work already completed.

Hughes said he disagreed with Shane McHenry and he respects Orschell for his decision. From experience he understands where Tom is coming from. He cited White’s Hill project that he inherited when he was first elected.

Commissioners decided to have meeting Nov 26th with understanding that Orschell will not vote on extra funding beyond the budgeted amount of $9.1-9.3 million for the jail.

[NOTE: How can they meet to do anything extra? Hughes always abstains on jail expenditures. And if Orschell isn’t voting either, there will be no decision.]

AUDITOR: Gayle Pennington- certified Purdue Ext and their educators. Grant award from Criminal Justice Institute that they get every year for their victims of crime- she signed off on also.

Claims signed. And Oct minutes approved.

ATTORNEY: Andy Baudendistel- none

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS- Hughes congratulated all commissioner candidates on a clean campaign. Orschell joked that the outcome wasn’t right though. And Lynch said it looked right from where he was sitting!



Meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township