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BE IT REMEMBERED that a regular meeting of the White County Council was held at the White County Building in Monticello at 9:30 A.M. on August 5, 2019 for the purpose of discussing the 2020 budget and any other business to come before the Council.

 

Council President Kramer called the Council meeting to order, opening with the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. The following members were absent: None

The following members were present:

 

Dennis E Carter Kevin L Crabb Arthur A Anderson

James B Davis Raymond L Kramer Jr James G Annis

Janet J Faker

Also in attendance was Auditor Rogers.

 

SCHOOL CORPORATION REQUESTS

Frontier School Superintendent Sichting had two requests for Council to consider; one on behalf of Frontier School Corporation, the other on behalf of all four White County School Corporations.

1. Frontier School Corporation requested reimbursement to the school for the purchase of lighted bus stop arms for two buses. Cost for these two buses, approximately $5,000. Councilor Carter motioned to deny the request. Councilor Davis seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous

2. Superintendent Sichting, on behalf of all four White County School Corporations, asked that the county fund the PRIDE program at the schools due to a grant no longer being a funding option. Cost is approximately $18,000 per year. Councilor Davis motioned to deny the request. Councilor Anderson seconded. Due to his position as White County Career Counselor, Councilor Annis abstained. Vote: 6 – 0 - 1

BUDGET HEARINGS

Council spent the remainder of the morning looking over and discussing budget proposals.

 

COMMISSIONERS

 

Council met with Commissioners at noon for a working lunch. The first topic of discussion was the proposed funding for the new highway department project. Council asked to see plans of the work to be completed. The Commissioners and Highway Superintendent Kyburz produced and explained the drawings. The main building will have five overhead garage doors. Commissioner Heimlich said the salt barn and the area around it is a major expense of the project. $1.7 million of the earthwork is to provide infrastructure that will aid the town of Reynolds. The remaining $1.5 million of earthwork is to ready the site, including an entrance onto US Hwy 24. All Council members are in favor of a new highway garage, they are not in favor of depleting the Solid Waste Reserve Fund to accomplish the task. There was discussion as to cutting cost out of the project. Councilor Anderson takes the stance that a different location would be more fiscally responsible. He does not agree with trucks entering and exiting from US Hwy 24. He said that has proven to be very dangerous in that location and should not be done. The Commissioners relayed that they have considered all these questions over the past five years and believe this to be the best location and the best price. If we don’t move now, prices will only go up from here. Discussion led to other avenues of funding. It was mentioned that the Verasun Fund is a possibility for the infrastructure work. Councilor Crabb made a motion to fund the new highway project at the proposed total price not to exceed $13,690,628 including six buildings and groundwork. Councilor Annis seconded. Vote: 6-1; Councilor Anderson opposed

 

Next, Commissioner President Heimlich informed the Council of an impending change in the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Department. The current director, Roberta Yerk, has proposed stepping down into the Deputy position and moving the current deputy, Chris Springer, into the Director position as of January 1, 2020. Director Yerk believes this move to be in the best interests of the county. EMA is evolving with a push from the federal level, to the state level and on to the county level. She believes Mr. Springer is the best person to move the department forward. They will become more management oriented rather than boots on the ground, contracting with fire departments, etc. It will become more homeland security and less directing volunteers. The Commissioners are considering an office in the basement of the courthouse for EMA to eventually empty the old jail so it can be torn down. They anticipate leaving the Coroner in the old jail until they can move him to the Sheriff’s Department. Currently the only occupant in the McClintic-Downey building is North West Solid Waste Management Director, Melinda Gleason. She moved from the building the county owns in the concourse on South Main Street in Monticello. The Commissioners intend to sell that building.

 

The improvements on county road 1100W (MACP) will be going to bid soon. Sweetener Supply will dig the retention pond and keep the dirt for fill on their parcel. Carroll White REMC has applied for a USDA REDLG grant for $2,000,000 which they will loan to White County for ten years at 0% interest. We do not have word at this time as to whether the funds will be granted. The Remington water project will be through a $1.7 million grant and the Wolcott Wastewater Treatment Plant project county share will be a 50% match of a $5.3 million grant.

 

The Greater Monticello Chamber of Commerce has expressed a desire to become a county-wide Chamber rather than just serving the Monticello area.

 

Meadow Lake Wind Farm Phase VII will be called Rosewater I. It will be 25 turbines owned initially by EDP Renewables then taken over by NIPSCO within two years. It will consist of 20, 3.6 Megawatts turbines and 5, 4.2 Megawatts turbines located northwest of Reynolds in Princeton and Honey Creek townships. A portion will be in the Honey Creek North White area of the township. Solar farms are interested in White County but they need 1500 acres per farm. They pay $8,000 - $9,000 per acre rent for the land.

 

The Commissioners are requesting a 5% increase for Secretary Donya Tirpak. Justification: She is knowledgeable and responsive. She does the paperwork for IT and the Maintenance Department. She should be paid like a department head.

 

IVY Tech will be approaching the county regarding a new scholarship program in which they will be looking for county subsidy. It is similar to the Next Level Jobs Program.

Council President Kramer informed the Commissioners that Council is considering splitting the IT Department budget out of the Commissioners’ budget. The Commissioners agreed that would be a good move.

 

The rest of the afternoon was spent reviewing budget proposals with the Innkeepers Tax Commission, WC Tourism Authority, Treasurer, Surveyor, Human Resources and Auditor. The Treasurer will be looking for a new company to mail tax bills because Worrell will no longer be doing that; the Surveyor is asking for statutory stipends for himself based on miles of drains and number of certified corner stones; HR Director Hull said our health insurance deductible is going to increase due to a federal mandate. Our premiums most likely will increases in 2020, she is hoping less than 10%. She provided Council with a spreadsheet and chart showing the effect an insurance increase will have on income levels; the Auditor shared with Council that her first deputy, Libby Billue, will be running for Auditor when her current term as Auditor is up so 2020 will see some changes in duties in the Auditor’s office so she can provide cross training to her first deputy. Also, the first deputy will take over as Council Secretary as of January 1, 2020.

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2019

 

Council met with the remainder of the departments from 8:00 am until after 5:00 pm.

 

Area Plan has a line item in their budget for an Assistant Director. This may or may not be needed in 2020 depending on when the APC wants to bring in someone to train for the Director’s position.; the Clerk will need new e-poll books and voting machines, but will use the current equipment until it wears out; EMA would like to switch positions and they prefer to be located in the center of the county. They need room to have a staging area when a disaster, such as flooding, exists. The courthouse is not an ideal location.; Soil & Water Director Heidrich is taking the department in a different direction by using social media to educate and inform people; the Health Department has moved to their new office. The Board has added a new full time nurse position to help with nursing and admin duties at the office. Linda Pagels, part time nurse/admin, will be retiring July 1, 2020; Community Corrections is moving to the courthouse for the convenience of being near the Probation Department and to give the Sheriff some much needed space; the Prosecutor uses his new investigator mainly to serve papers to child support offenders; the Judges do not want Community Corrections in the old Superior Clerk’s office on the third floor. They prefer to setup video conferencing for attorneys and their clients in that office. They also want to reorganize the law library and recycle the old, obsolete books and periodicals; the Highway Department would like to move their employee benefits line items out of their MVH (fund 1176) budget to help with cash flow since half of their MVH funding must be put into MVH Restricted (Fund 1173). The wages can be paid from either fund in any given payroll, but the benefits cannot so it puts a strain on the MVH fund; Recycle needs to replace a 20-year old baler; the Assessor would like to increase her per diem for doing her own residential assessing and not hiring a consultant; the Coroner needs a morgue and would like to be at the Sheriff’s Department because corpses are often evidence in an investigation. He said he can get a drawing done free. Council asked him to submit his drawing along with a cost estimate; the Sheriff wants to add funding to offer four deputies a promotion to Sergeant. He wants to increase his office staff by 5% and increase his Jail Commander 8%. He is also proposing a new scale for the Jail Corrections Officers. He is requesting funding for two additional Corrections Officers to help with the load on different shifts. He is bringing in funding that did not exist prior to his administration. He has also discovered the county will receive more funding than it has been from the state for inmate housing. It appears not all totals were turned into the state for reimbursement in the past. New radios will be needed for deputies. Some current radios are being held together by rubber bands. Council suggested turning in a quote for new radios so they can decide how to handle the situation; E-911 Director Brooks is proposing a new wage scale for dispatchers; VSO Hildebrand is asking for signage on Main Street in Monticello to direct veterans to his location.

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019

 

Council met from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm to discuss budget proposals and determine amounts to be approved with budget adoption on September 16, 2019. It was agreed to split IT out into its own budget. Consideration will continue to be given to create a Council budget. Following discussion of each budget, President Kramer asked each Councilor to give a general increase recommendation. The budget was proposed with a 3% general increase with the exception of a few departmental requests. Councilor Davis 3%; Councilor Annis 2.5%; Councilor Carter $800; Councilor Anderson 3%; Councilor Crabb 3%; Councilor Faker $800; President Kramer 3%.

 

Councilor Crabb motioned for a 3% general increase. Councilor Anderson seconded. Vote: Unanimous

 

Councilor Anderson moved to accept the Wage Matrix as presented with new scales for corrections officers and dispatchers and new hourly rates. Councilor Carter seconded. Vote: Unanimous

Auditor Rogers asked Council to approve a $5,000 transfer from the Riverboat fund to the K-9 fund to cover expenditures through the end of the 2019 calendar year. Councilor Anderson motioned to approve the transfer with a second by Councilor Davis.

Vote: Unanimous

ADJOURNMENT

The budget hearings remain open until adoption on September 16, 2019. Next meeting August 19, 2019 at 9:00 am.

 

___________________________ ___________________________ ___________________________

DENNIS E CARTER JAMES G ANNIS ARTHUR A ANDERSON

___________________________ ___________________________ ___________________________

JAMES B DAVIS KEVIN L CRABB RAYMOND L KRAMER JR

President

___________________________ Attest: ___________________________

JANET J FAKER GAYLE E ROGERS, AUDITOR