Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Sampling of County Council Budget Hearing Notes from 25 August 2015

 25 August 2015 Dearborn County Council Budget Hearing Notes
Present: Randy Lyness, President, Dennis Kraus. Sr., Dan Lansing, Liz Morris, Charlie Keyes, Ryan Brandt, and Bill Ullrich. 
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Leah Bailey, Comptroller

These notes are for the morning hearing and start with the 9:30 AM Agenda item. I did not attend the afternoon session.

Planning and Zoning- Mark McCormack- copier doing well- and Council asked if any other depts. had one like theirs. McCormack agreed that they have  good one and that maybe they can have one or two per floor in the building and share. They lease theirs and the maintenance is included. They have the economic impact model with OKI on the Economic Development and an impact model. They don’t take schools into account in this model. This model is $2600/year to use. They input our yearly tax info and we are on a maintenance cost only with the economic impact model. The model tells what the tax impact would be as part of the property tax. This assumes no tax abatement in the process. The per diem for the board members was not sufficiently funded by Council even though Council members themselves set it as $75 for PC and $55 for BZA members. Legal services are all up from enforcement violations. There is an increase in subscriptions, training, and education or conferences due to GIS moving to them. He thought GIS salary was under PC now. $36,000 is the salary.   

Kraus asked about some of the projects and services they provide. McCormack said they are being asked by Commissioners, one of whom sits on the PC, to do some projects and studies for Redevelopment or Economic Development etc. They want things done in house and they appoint 5 of our members of the PC. 

McCormack did not put in an increase for salaries and wages. The assistant planner and zoning administrator spot were discussed at Personnel Advisory Committee. Blight elimination project has used a lot of work time.They want hours for adm. assistant like she had several years ago. He thought removing minute taker could combine with that perhaps. Hours spent have gone up 25% from last year to date this year.

Keyes said to move all GIS to commissioners so that PZ budget could be the same and it can be tracked better. Council agreed as did McCormack. There is also a $12,000 GPS item to locate hydrants etc. 
Andrea Schuter - GIS tech- said they use it for corner markers etc. They want to be able to locate utilities accurately, building corners, sign inventory etc for several different departments. Its a 2005 piece of equipment and is off by a foot. They are looking to be more accurate. 
Kraus said he is not sure they need to buy it at all. Council left it at that for now. 

Recorder- Glenn Wright- same budget as last year. Perpetuation Fund is for restoring and preserving county records. Most is paid for by user fees. 19 books restored for $47,000. His copier is 3-4 years old. It’s a black and white one. Council asked a lot of questions about their copier trying to ascertain cost differences within the departments. He buys paper by the pallet instead of by the case. They use letter, legal and ledger size papers. Glenn said he tries to run it efficiently just like they do on the farm- you make do with what you have. He also expressed condolences to Dan Lansing on his Mom’s passing. 

Prosecutor- Bryan Messmore- Keyes asked about if he was ok’d to present for this. Messmore said the trial was still on the prosecution today and tomorrow for Ohio County murder trial. Witnesses had come into town. 

Brandt asked about the budget witness fees. They reduced to previous years fees. They will have to come back for additional expenses on witnesses. Prosecutor pays for depositions on prosecution witnesses.Deputy prosecutors are all lumped into one salary item. Messmore asked if there were any exceptions- none - so he didn’t have to go back to Aaron with that. There were essentially no questions on this budget.

Commissioners- Shane McHenry and Terri Randall-  Randall said they have few changes to their budget. Thought GIS moved to their budget. Council added the GIS contract $38,810 to their budget too. Lawsuits amount increased- because they have been coming back each year on those for additional funds. They run $35-40,000 each year. Randall said for a lawyer, $10,000 doesn't get you very far. Sue Hayden is moved from 2nd deputy to first deputy. She is listed as executive assistant. $28,000 for commissioners and $4,000 for Redevelopment work. 

McHenry said she has been 2nd deputy for 6 years- good employee- he feels it is time to move to first deputy. 

Ullrich agreed. Workers Comp has improved. Life insurance- is part of Med Ben bill- but that is in this budget. All Medical benefits come out of COIT fund. All other county benefits get paid out of general fund. 

Gas line items were questioned by Keyes. Is there a way to put remaining gas fund in Commissioners budget and get it out of sheriff budget. Randall said that would let them know we are looking at them for their gas use. 

Randall said she is already getting the reports form each dept. on the gas use. (So they are already seeing these numbers??) Council just wants to increase accountability. The sheriff uses about $120,000 out of the $300,000 gas bill Keyes said. 

Liz Morris asked about non-county employees in county vehicles. Liability. 

Randall said we discourage it- but it might happen and then we are covered per the insurance company. 

McHenry said that the talk to sheriff about the business of having family in the car as they pick up kids and head to Walmart. Then they cannot respond to a call after hours as family in car. Sheriff said they drop the Mrs and kids on the curb and run off to take care of business. Morris said - it creates ill will for public to see them using taxpayer funded gas for personal use. 

Kraus- agrees with raise for Hayden - goes above and beyond call of duty. Why do we have to spend almost $200,000 for lobbyists? One for Commissioners and one for Council. Lewis and Kappes and also Barnes and Thornburgh? 

Randall said that if she had to have just one- that Barnes and Thornburgh has gotten her a seat at the table with legislators. More useful to her. When they come out of legislature sessions, everyone wants to take to Barnes and Thornburgh, Randall said.  Lewis and Kappes has lost Aurora in the fee schedule. Even though he does well for us and we think the world of John Bond (sp?) per McHenry and Randall. Lewis and Kappes is a county wide effort. That contract comes up soon again. Randall said we need to put the other cities and towns on notice if we are going out of that ($35-40,000 our share of the nearly $80,000) Lewis and Kappes contract. 
Ullrich agreed that Barnes and Thornburgh is the way to go. Barnes and Thornburgh get about $120,000 for both contracts with the county. They also work with the judicial system to get grants.

Pennington- In 2016 every employee that touches money will have to be bonded. She likes to keep business local with Seitz but they may have to get bids on this as it will be a bigger expense now. 

Randall - ADA money is being needed to get us all ADA compliant. They have not done the Braille on signage yet as they wait till the new building comes in. Also adding stops on wheel chair ramps for Joe Johns and others etc. Morris said - these are unfunded federal mandates. There’s no money to help us do this. 

Morris suggested and they put that $38,000 into cum cap development to continue this. Decided to move to cum cap.

Randall pointed out the $5,000 with Harrison EMS increase.  PAWS stayed the same. 

Brandt asked about the computers and copiers- trying to get them under one contract. Randall said she could try to get on that in 2016. She has not had time. Not as straight forward as it seems. Advantage to having different ones so as not to be held hostage. She has not been able to tackle that one. 

McHenry thanked the Council for all their efforts.

Redevelopment Commission- Terri Randall- just the same as last year. nothing to discuss.

I left hearing at lunch break. 
I asked about the Umbaugh Budget Analysis from Monday morning and received a copy of their presentation materials as did the newspaper. 

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township

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