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BE IT REMEMBERED that a regular meeting of the White County Council was held at the White County Building at Monticello at 9:00 A.M. on July 17, 2006 for the purpose of discussing the additional appropriations and other business that might come before the membership.

Council President, James Mann, called the Council meeting to order in joint session with the Commissioners. The following members were present:

James H. Mann Richard G. Horton Kevin L. Crabb

Ronald Schmierer Dennis D. Cain Faye L. Lowring

Dennis E. Carter

For content of joint session, see Commissioners’ minutes.


Councilman Schmierer made a motion to accept the June 19, 2006 minutes. Councilman Horton seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous


Mr. Phil Guitwein, member of the White County Board of Aviation Commissioners (BOAC), expressed the need to upgrade the White County Airport. Need for increased airport capabilities will be driven by Reynolds Bio Town taking off, the Wolcott Corridor, Monticello Sixth Street renovation and Toyota coming to Lafayette. Pilots only land planes at airports meeting the requirements of their insurance companies, and many corporate planes are not allowed to land on White Countys’ short, narrow runway. He also said as far as the corporate world is concerned, the airport is the front door to the county. He thinks that puts White County at a disadvantage with companies that might otherwise like to locate here, because they can’t get here easily. Mr. Gutwein explained that based on his 45 years of experience with airports, the ones that move forward have an Airport Authority, instead of a Board of Aviation Commissioners (BOAC) as White County has. Mr. Edward Volk, an attorney who has helped set up several airports around Indiana, and has served on both BOAC Statute and Airport Authority Statute bodies, explained an Airport Authority is a governmental entity created by the county where that airport is located. The governmental entity must be created by a fiscal body. The White County Council would be the fiscal body to pass an ordinance or resolution. After a period of thirty days, if no one has opposed it and presented petitions with a statutory number, then the ordinance can go into effect, which is what usually takes place. Otherwise, it would be put on a ballot and voted on. An Airport Authority provides flexibility in dealing with problems on a daily basis the way businesses would, which most government entities are unable to do.

Councilman Horton asked if becoming an Authority would inhibit grants or funds for the airport. Mr. Volk said no; that the State of Indiana wrote in the law creating the statute for the new Authority that it be able to continue receiving money. They would simply be doing business as the Authority. The Federal level also recognizes that transition. In fact, at this time he also said the Federal government will finance 95% of airport expansion projects, and the State of Indiana will finance 2 1/2 %.

If the Airport Authority would be established, the line item on our budget for the airport would drop out and become the Airport’s own budget. The levee could stay the same if the Council would apply the line item amount elsewhere.

Having an Airport Authority allows the opportunity to accumulate or save funds for expansion, which the existing line item budget does not. The State wants to see a zero balance at the end of the year. And yet, the government is quicker to help airport expansion projects if the airport is financially positioned to carry its portion of the bill.

Auditor Pool said White County is at the maximum levee. Mr. Volk said the Airport Authority could raise the levee ceiling. As an Airport Authority, the Airport would act separately from the Council based on the Councils’ approval of their budget. The Commissioners and Council would still appoint people to the Airport Authority.

BJ Mursener, another BOAC member, says five thousand feet of runway is a magic number in respect to corporate aircraft and what insurance companies will allow. A community that intends to have any further economic development will have 5,000 feet in runway to attract industry. Mr. Mursener said we should take advantage of the money the Federal Government is willing to put into the project while the money is available.

Councilman Cain made a motion to postpone making any decisions on a resolution until a later time, so Council members could look further into the possibilities. Councilman Crabb seconded the motion.

Vote: Unanimous


Since Judge Mrzlack will not be around during the budget hearings, he wanted to bring some budget requests for next year to the Councils’ attention. There is a need for new carpet, chairs, and more leg room in the Jury box for the Superior Courtroom. The existing carpet and furniture have been here since the courthouse was built over 30 years ago. Councilman Carter has visited the Courtroom and sat in the tight jury box. He agreed that the need is great. Council members gave Judge Mrzlack their support in upgrading the carpet and chairs.

The Judge also mentioned he would be starting a new employee search soon due to the upcoming retirement of Sue Clear. He wants to move Ricki Westerhouse into that position and change Mrs. Westerhouse’s existing position from a court administrator to a second court reporter. He’d like to start both court reporters with a base salary of 31,936.00 and add Ricky’s longevity to that amount. A new employee will have to have paralegal training and/or experience and Judge Mrzlack would like to be able to offer this person a reasonable salary.

Auditor Pool asked how the new employee policy that was passed last month would apply. Councilmen Schmierer & Cain said both would be considered new employees and enter the positions at 90% of the former employee’s wages. They must work a full calendar year (beginning January & going through December) regardless of when they start before they can receive the regular raises the Council gives.


There being no more business to come before the Council, Councilman Horton made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Crabb seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous

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