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BE IT REMEMBERED, that the White County Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, February 16, 2010, on the 2nd floor of the White County Building, commissioners conference room, beginning at 8:00 a.m.

Commissioners present were:  President John C. Heimlich, Vice President Steve Burton, and Commissioner Ron Schmierer.  Also present was the White County Auditor Jill Guingrich, County Attorney George Loy and the Commissioners Secretary Donya Tirpak.

MINUTES

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve the minutes from the regular meeting on February 1, 2010, as presented, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote:  Unanimous

PAYROLL

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve the payroll as presented, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote:  Unanimous

CLAIMS

  • Commissioner Burton made a motion to approve and pay the claims as presented, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote:  Unanimous

SURVEYOR’S OFFICE

Eric Storm, County IT, presented a quote to the Commissioners for purchasing a new plotter for the Surveyor’s dept.  The one that they currently have was purchased in 2004 for $21,000 and the scanner no longer works.  The cost to repair it would be $6,500.

Eric said that the Hewlett Packard product came with a two-year warranty and the computer in the system has already been completely rebuilt.  They plan on keeping the machine because the plotter still works and the machine is still worth about $8,000.

Eric said that he did request quotes from Contex out of Indy and Copiers Plus from Monticello.  Contex did not respond with a price and Copiers Plus did.  Copiers Plus quoted a Xerox Wide Format 6604/6605 Solution for $14,500.  Eric said that he has the money in his budget to purchase the equipment.  This is something that can also be used by the Area Plan department for all of their blueprints.

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to purchase the Xerox Wide Format 6604/6605 for $14,500 from Copier Plus, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote:  Unanimous

CR 900 EAST

White County Highway Superintendent Steve Brooke told the Commissioners that Liberty Landfill is ready to have CR 900 East closed off and asked permission to go ahead and advertise this in the newspapers.

Commissioner Heimlich said that the road has already been officially closed but it does need to be put in the paper this week and then it can be permanently closed starting on Monday, January 25th.

Terry Beasy, Landfill Manager, asked the Commissioners if they were going to provide gates for the North end of the road, which will still allow access to the local farmers.  Mr. Brooke said that he would provide gates, signage, and advertising.

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

White County Highway Superintendent Steve Brooke asked the Commissioners if they would like him to apply for federal stimulus money on road repairs.  He said that if White County spends up to $30,000 on engineering studies, then we could receive $3 million.  The roads on which repairs would be done would be the Chalmers blacktop, Idaville blacktop, and 300 W.

Commissioner Burton asked if he could use the engineering information that was done by Horizon Wind when they tested the roads.  Mr. Brooke didn’t think that this would be possible.  Commissioner Burton suggested looking at their borings to see if the roads would at least meet the specifications.  If they do, then we could move forward.

The Commissioners agreed to review findings from Horizon Wind Energy before continuing.

At this time, White County Council President Richard “Buzz” Horton called the Council members to order in joint session with the Commissioners.  Council members present were:

President Richard “Buzz” Horton    Raymond “Butch” Kramer               Bruce Clear

Gary Hendryx                                                      Denny Carter                                        Denny Cain

Kevin “Casey” Crabb

BUILDING INSPECTOR

White County Building Inspector Dave Anderson said that they issued twenty permits last month and one of them was for a conventional house.

ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER

White County Environmental Officer John Raines presented the Violation & Complaint Report for January 2010.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

White County Economic Development Director, Connie Neininger, presented the Director’s Report for January’s activities.

Connie reported that the leads coming in from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. are beginning to pick up but they are still looking for existing buildings.

Connie’s board has started to schedule meetings with the towns and city council members to keep everyone more informed of what’s going on in the county.  So far, they have met with Brookston, Monticello and Reynolds.

Connie presented a Building Indiana magazine showing an article on the Regional Economic Development group.

Connie said that K-IRPC is in the process of updating their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy plan.  She said that the message coming from Washington, and our own state, is that they want to know what the regional impact is going to be on any project.  Connie presented a copy of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy plan for 2010.  She asked Commissioners and Council to look over the information because K-IRPC would like to have some feedback.

Connie has also been working with the Wired grant on a reemployment and diversification strategy called “Seed It! Make It! Reinvent It!”

HOSPITAL

White County Memorial Hospital CEO, Paul Cardwell, presented the Financial Analysis for January 31, 2010.

Once again, Mr. Cardwell stressed that 2009 was a really good year for the hospital.  Their 2009 annual audit will start today.

Mr. Cardwell pointed out that the bond that they have with Regions Bank is set with a fixed interest rate of 4.4%.  Anytime that rate would rise, the hospital will make money.  In 2009, they profited $1.2 million.

For January 2010, Mr. Cardwell reported that the gross revenue billing is routinely at $4 million a month.

They have received word that they most likely will receive a $5 million federal grant for an information systems upgrade at the hospital, which will be paid out over three years.

Mr. Cardwell said that his last day with the hospital is Friday, February 26, 2010.  The hospital board has requested to retain him as a consultant for a while.  He said that he is staying in the community and he would be more then welcome to assist as a consultant for as long as needed.

CELL PHONE POLICY

At the last Commissioners meeting on February 1, 2010, the commissioners and council tabled the discussion of the county’s cell phone policy to gather more information about the issue.

Commissioner Heimlich said that the federal government had put down an administrative decree that any cell phones that government employees were using for personal use either had to pay the whole thing, or deduct it as income.  When the county adopted the new policy stating that cell phones were to be used only for government use only; employees started carrying two cell phones.

Commissioner Heimlich said that he has been told by White County Prosecutor Bob Guy that the IRS has reversed that ruling and it is possible for government employees to have one cell phone and use it for incidental personal phone calls.

White County Attorney George Loy presented a proposed amended ordinance to put in place that will protect the county but also allow incidental personal phone calls.

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve Ordinance # 10-02-16-01 amending ordinance No. 07-05-21-01 establishing the policy and procedure regarding use of county-owned property by county employees, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote:  Unanimous

Ordinance # 10-02-16-01

ORDINANCE AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 07-05-21-01

ESTABLISHING THE POLICY AND PROCEDURE

REGARDING USE OF COUNTY-OWNED PROPERTY

BY COUNTY EMPLOYEES

WHEREAS, the United States Internal Revenue Code governs the taxability of employer provided fringe benefits to employees; and

WHEREAS, White County, Indiana provides certain items of county-owned property which are considered taxable fringe benefits by the Internal Revenue Code; and

WHEREAS, the White County Board of Commissioners, on May 21, 2007, passed and adopted Ordinance No. 07-05-21-01 amending the policy and procedure regarding use of county owned property by county employees; and

WHEREAS, in order to confirm its compliance with the regulations of the Internal Revenue Code, amended since the adoption of said Ordinance, regarding taxation of fringe benefits, the White County Commissioners wish to amend its policies pertaining to the use of county-owned property by its employees and an accountable plan for reporting the taxable value thereof.

THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY ORDAINED by the Board of Commissioners of White County, Indiana as follows:

SECTION 1. COUNTY-OWNED VEHICLES:

(A) The following employees are provided a county-owned vehicle who are required to commute and use the vehicle for official county business purposes only:

Sheriff Community Corrections

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy County Health Dept. Inspector

Sheriff’s Merit Deputies Building Inspector

County Surveyor

County Environmental Officer

(B) Except for a county employee’s use of a qualified non-personal use vehicle, all employees of White County shall not use or permit the use of any county-owned vehicle for any purpose other than official county business or de minimis personal use. For purposes of this Ordinance, a “qualified non-personal use vehicle” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, shall include any clearly marked police and fire vehicle, unmarked vehicles used by law enforcement officers who are authorized to carry a firearm, execute search warrants and make arrests, ambulance, and any vehicles designed to carry cargo with a loaded gross vehicle weight of over 14,000 pounds.

(C) For county employees provided a county-owned vehicle, other than those provided a qualified non-personal use vehicle, personal use (other than commuting and de minimis personal use) of county-owned vehicles is prohibited.

(D) Other than commuting, personal use of a clearly marked police or fire county-owned qualified non-personal use vehicle is prohibited outside the jurisdiction of the White County Sheriff’s Department, which jurisdiction is White County, Indiana, and all adjacent counties.

(E) Except for qualified non-personal use vehicles, $1.50 per one-way commute (home-to-work or work-to-home) shall be includable in the gross income of any county employee commuting to/from work in a county-owned vehicle.

(F) All county-owned vehicles, other that unmarked law-enforcement vehicles, shall be clearly marked and identified as an official White County vehicle.

SECTION 2. UNIFORMS:

(A) Personal use of county-owned uniforms for other than official county related business and while commuting to and from work is prohibited.

(B) If any required clothing or equipment is adaptable to general usage as ordinary clothing and equipment, then such county-provided clothing or equipment is considered a taxable benefit to the employee and are subject to all employment taxes.

(C) Work clothing provided by the county is not taxable to the employee if the employee must wear the clothing as a condition of employment and the clothes are not suitable for everyday wear. Such clothing includes work clothes for law enforcement officers.

(D) Clothing allowances, if permitted and used, are a taxable fringe benefit and are subject to all employment taxes.

SECTION 3. TOOLS, SUPPLIES, CELL PHONES AND ALL OTHER EQUIPMENT:

(A) County employees personal use of county-owned tools, supplies, and all other equipment or property of any kind is prohibited. However, county employees may use cell phones provided to or paid for by the county for incidental de minimis personal use, so long as such personal use does not in any way interfere with or compromise the duties of the employee for the county, nor violate any federal, state, or county laws, rules, ordinances, or policies.

Further, such personal use shall not result in an increase in the cost to the county to its cell phone service provider, and, in such event the employee shall be responsible for payment of any additional cost incurred as a result of any personal use.

(B) Personal use of county-owned facilities (e.g. offices, garages, grounds, etc.) during work or non-work hours by county employees is prohibited.

(C) To ensure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code and this Ordinance, the White County Auditor shall establish and county department heads shall implement and monitor internal controls, including requiring acknowledgments signed by all employees confirming their knowledge and compliance with the requirements of this Ordinance as a condition of their employment.

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE: This Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage and adoption, retroactively to January 1, 2010, and repeals or amends all other ordinances, policies and procedures of White County, Indiana in conflict herewith, including Ordinance No. 07-05-21-01.

PASSED AND ADOPTED by the Board of Commissioners of White County, Indiana on this 16th day of February 2010.

PROPOSED NEW COUNTY ROAD

Also discussed at the last Commissioners meeting on February 1, 2010, was the possibility of a new county road in Reynolds.

Commissioner Heimlich said that when the VeraSun plant was approved discussions were made on a new county road, which is now CR 50 East.  At that time, discussions were also made on connecting the new CR 50 E to CR 25 E., but this was not acted on because they wanted to see what funds were remaining after CR 50 E was completed.

Commissioner Heimlich pointed out that there is over $2 million left in the account and he has heard positive feedback from the Highway Dept. and fair board.  The Highway Dept. feels that this would be a good way for their equipment to get out north and east of town without getting on the highway, and the fair board has spoke in favor of it as well.

Commissioner Heimlich opened the floor for discussion from the Council and commented that there is no time frame for this decision to be made.

Councilman Bruce Clear asked how this new road would benefit the fairgrounds.  Purdue Extension Educator Greg Bossaer said, “That they looked at that as another opportunity for traffic flow, especially when livestock comes in.”

Councilman Denny Cain said, “I find it kind of hard to spend that much money on a road that’s basically going to be used once a year except for county highway.  Especially when you just shut down a county home, no raises this year, and probably no raises next year.”  He expressed that 2011 was going to be worse then 2010 and the money needs to be spent on the roads that really need attention.

Commissioner Heimlich explained that the $2 million was originated from the original bond that VeraSun did and the money was going to be used for infrastructure in that area.

Commissioner Schmierer said that the money had been earmarked for the VeraSun project but it does not have to be spent in that district, it can be spent on something else like other roads.  He said that he wasn’t against the new road, but it does need to be discussed.

Councilman Butch Kramer said that he wasn’t against the new road, but more concerned with the timing.  He stressed that 2011 is said to be worse than it is right now and this money doesn’t need to be spent.  He said, “Our employees deserve to be taken care of; is the benefit going to be worth not giving our employees raises?”

Commissioner Burton felt that now might be the best time to build the road because ten years from now the cost will be so much higher.

Councilman Horton said that he could say yes to this project but he also felt that the rest of the money needs to be protected until they know the ultimate use of the property.  Having the railroad right there makes this property very valuable.

It was decided to discuss this further after the fair board held their meeting to see what their recommendation will be.

There being no further business to come before the Council joint with the Commissioners, the Council adjourned to their own meeting room.

BIO-TERRORISM COORDINATOR

Gwynn Rusinek, Office Manager of the Health Dept., appeared before the Commissioners requesting permission for the Bio-Terrorism Coordinator, Ed Gutwein, to work out of his home rather then having to come into the office to work on the next two projects.  She said that this was approved through the Health Board but they wanted to check with the Commissioners first. PERMISSION GRANTED

There being no further business to come before the Commissioners, their meeting was adjourned.

__________________________          _____________________________      _______________________

John C. Heimlich, President                 Steve Burton, Vice President                   Ronald Schmierer, Member

ATTEST:  _________________________

Jill Guingrich, Auditor