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BE IT REMEMBERED, that the White County Commissioners held a regular meeting on March 5, 2007, at 8:00 a.m. in the Commissioners Conference room in the White County Courthouse.

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

MINUTES

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve the minutes from the regular meeting on February 20, 2007, as presented, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

PAYROLL

  • Commissioner Burton made a motion to approve the payroll for March 12, 2007, as presented, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

CLAIMS

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve and pay the claims as advertised for March 5, 2007, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

TRAILS COMMITTEE IDEAS AND DISCUSSIONS

Mitch Billue, City of Monticello Parks Superintendent, appeared before the Commissioners to introduce the Trails Committee: Abby Leitz, Phil Prescott, and Kevin Luse.

Phil Prescott gave a brief video presentation describing how greenways, trails and byways create connections, improve quality of life and create awareness about the natural, cultural and historical facets of the area.

Mitch Billue provided a map showing the Commissioners the designation of a five-mile route that runs along Bluff Street, across Tioga Bridge, into Carroll County and back around Riverview Cemetery, which is in White County.

Commissioner Heimlich said that the Commissioners are very interested in having the trails because there is a walking path already included in the 6th Street Expansion project (trail from 421 up Gordon Road and down 6th Street to Hwy 24).

Mitch asked the Commissioners for the county’s endorsement which will allow them to establish the 5-mile trail from the Riverview Cemetery to across the Tioga Bridge. This endorsement does not commit any monetary money from the county but asked if the County Highway would put up signage for the trails.

Commissioner Ron Schmierer said he has concerns regarding liability if someone were to be injured while on 5-mile trail that is in the county. He doesn’t want to leave the county open to a lawsuit before signs are put up.

County Attorney George Loy said that he will investigate any right-of-way requirements and design criteria that are required for the trail.

Before a decision was made, the Commissioners said that they will look into this further and get back with Mr. Billue at a later date.

BROOKSTON PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP PUBLIC LIBRARY

Marilyn Blessing, Director of the Brookston Prairie Township Public Library, submitted a letter to the Commissioners asking them to reappoint Lelan D. McReynolds to the Board of Trustees of the Brookston Prairie Township Public Library. Mr. McReynolds has served on the board for 8 years and is currently serving as president. He has agreed to be reappointed.

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to reappoint Lelan D. McReynolds to the Board of Trustees of the Brookston Prairie Township Public Library; his term will expire February 19, 2011, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

APEX BENEFITS GROUP

Amy Carpenter, Apex Benefits Consultant, appeared before the Commissioners introducing Terry Auker, Apex Business Development Consultant, and also touched base on how the dental and vision insurance is doing with the employees since they went into effect 1/1/07.

Lea Hall, Human Resources/1st Deputy in Auditor’s office, detailed issues that she is still having with the dental and vision benefits for the employees.

Linda Roy, Director of Community Corrections, also appeared and complained about the vision insurance and the problems that she has been having for over a month now.

Amy Carpenter took all of the information down and said that she will have someone from her office addressing these issues. She apologized for the problems and she will research all of this and get back with us.

CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS -CERTIFIED IT – TREASURER CATHY GROSS

White County Treasurer Cathy Gross appeared before the Commissioners once again explaining the current cost involved to the tax payer if they wish to make a payment with a credit card via the internet or over the telephone. Currently, we are using a company called Official Payments, not GUTS, for the credit card payments which they are located out of California. At the time, they were the only company available to offer this over the internet.

Cathy would like to cancel the contract with Official Payments, by issuing a 30-day notice letter, and sign a new Service Agreement with Certified I.T. LLC, which is based in Bloomington, Indiana. The benefit of switching to Certified I.T. would be a lesser Convenience Fee charged to the taxpayer. Official Payments were charging a fee of 3% to 5% (based on the size of the bill) compared to Certified I.T. only charging a flat 2.75%. In addition to the lower convenience fee, any difference between other fees that other credit card companies may charge Certified I.T. they will give White County 40% back. Cathy would like to see the money given back to the county and put into an IT fund.

Commissioner Schmierer asked if the taxpayer is notified of this convenience fee before the credit card payments are made. Cathy said that it is printed on the bill and also on the web site.

Cathy said that Allen County has been using Certified I.T. for several years now and they are getting several thousands of dollars back.

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve the Services Agreement with Certified I.T. LLC, for the property tax credit card service, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

LAKEVIEW HOME

Commissioner Burton said that he was asked by Kae Fuller, Lakeview Home Director, if she could auction off one picture of the Lakeview Home. Apparently, she has found three pictures which are identical and she thought it would be a great auction item for the 100th Anniversary celebration this summer.

Commissioner Schmierer said that if the money from the auction was going to go into an appropriate county fund he might approve it but if the money was going to go into a “party” fund then he said no.

Commissioner Burton said that even though there will be two pictures left over he has concerns of the historical value if the home is ever sold. He will go out and look at the pictures and find out more information and bring it back to them later.

LEASE COUNTY FARM GROUND 78.6 ACRES

Commissioner Heimlich said that he will have the County Surveyor go out and measurer off 18.6 acres from the east side (along West Shafer Drive) of the 78.6 acres of the county farm. The Commissioners have decided to lease 60 acres of the farm ground for one year. Commissioner Heimlich said that the legal advertisement will be put out today to be advertised and the proposals will be accepted at the next Commissioners meeting on March 19, 2007.

VERA SUN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT

Connie Neininger, Economic Development Director, said that they have been making negotiations with VeraSun regarding the proposed Ethanol plant in Reynolds. With the assistance of Barnes & Thornburg, White County Commissioners, White County Attorney George Loy, and Attorneys from VeraSun an Economic Development Agreement has been put together.

The agreement proposes that White County will issue bonds in the amount of $9,880,000 and VeraSun would then purchase those bonds from the county and assume all the risk. Out of the $9,880,000 the county agrees to put in place infrastructure which will total $4,363,000. The improvements will include upgrades to CR 100 N, CR 100 W, the intersection at U.S. 421 and 100 N, and also a proposed new county road CR 50E, as well as running water and sewer lines from Reynolds to the VeraSun plant.

After VeraSun purchases the bond, they will give the county the funds back to do the improvements. Anything left over above the cap of $4,580,000 will go back to Vera Sun.

White County Attorney George Loy explained that the basis premise of this agreement is creation of the VeraSun property as a TIF District. Seventy-five percent of the funds from the TIF would be used towards payments of this project. There is not a tax abatement involved in this project but the Economic Development Agreement has been generated. He explained that if VeraSun purchases the bonds, it will release the risk from the county; the liability will no longer be ours.

Commissioner Heimlich said that the difference between this TIF District and the one in Wolcott is that this TIF is for the VeraSun ground only, nobody else will be involved. Also different, is that VeraSun will purchase the bonds so the whole thing is self contained. The other main thing is that 75% will be used for the TIF District but 25% of their investment ($143 million) that increases the tax value is available to come back to all of the taxing units: township and school district.

Commissioner Schmierer said that he has asked several times over and over if the county will be responsible for anything after this company comes in. He said that he was told no; if they own the bonds and this company goes broke they are the ones who will be “stuck” with the $4.5 million debt.

  • Commissioner Burton made a motion to approve the Economic Development Agreement with VeraSun as presented, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

EMPLOYEES PAYROLL

Council President Richard “Buzz” Horton and other Councilman appeared before the Commissioners saying that they would like to get a committee together (Councilmen, Treasurer, Auditor, Assessor, and Former Auditor Mary Jo Pool) to try to come up with a standardized job description form. This form will then be passed out to all Department Heads/Office Holders to be completed for all of the employees. By updating the job description forms this will allow the committee to assess all of the positions and get more of a consistency in the salary ordinance. They would like to get this completed by budget time this year.

Their second goal is to look at the longevity again. This is something that the Council has talked about for a long time and they really haven’t had time to sit and evaluate this. Their third idea was to look at giving incentitives to the employees that choose not to have the county health insurance. This is something that is decided on by the Commissioners but they would like permission to evaluate with them.

To move them along with this task the Councilman will hire Mary Jo Pool, Former Auditor, rather than hiring a company to come in and charge a lot of money.

White County Attorney George Loy recommended that the committee also get a handle on the comp-time and overtime for all of the employees.

Commissioner Schmierer said that he would sit on the committee.

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

________________________________ _____________________________ ____________________________

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

ATTEST: ______________________________

Jill Guingrich, White County Auditor