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BE IT REMEMBERED, that the White County Commissioners held a regular meeting on May 7, 2007, at 8:00 a.m. in the White County Courthouse, 2nd floor, Commissioners conference room.

Commissioners present were: President John C. Heimlich, Vice President Steve Burton, and Member Ron 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 as presented for the April 16, 2007, meeting, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

PAYROLL

Commissioner Burton made a motion to approve the payroll for April 23, 2007, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

CLAIMS

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

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

White County Highway Superintendent Steve Brooke submitted a change order for the Honey Creek Bay bridge project. The change order was for the removal of the old bridge footings in the amount of $31,799.45.

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve the Change Order No. 10 for removal of old bridge footings in the amount of $31,799.45 presented by the Highway Superintendent for the Honey Creek Bay bridge project, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

TIOGA BRIDGE

Darryll Johns, SFLECC, appeared before the Commissioners saying that they have been waiting on the White County Commissioners to hold a joint meeting with the Carroll County Commissioners to discuss the raising of the Tioga Bridge. He said that they do have a group meeting with the Carroll County Commissioners today to see if they will also take a vote to do the study. Mr. Johns asked the Commissioners if they would take a vote to let the engineer prepare a study estimating the calculations on what it would cost to raise the bridge. He said that the SFLECC has set aside and approved to pay $17,000 for this study to be done so it shouldn’t cost the county any money at all.

Commissioner Schmierer said that we still need to figure out where the money is going to come from to raise the bridge.

Commissioner Heimlich said that he did talk with Don Ward and he said that the cost of raising the bridge could be included in with the grant. This would raise our share of the match.

Mr. Johns asked the Commissioners if they could take a vote today pending that the study would only cost $17,000 and SFLECC would pay this cost. If the study would come back over this amount Mr. Johns said that they could address it at another meeting.

Commissioner Heimlich said that he didn’t have a problem with the study being done and he had actually thought that the study was already being done. Mr. Johns said that according to Mr. Barker, the Commissioners need to authorize the study to be done.

Commissioner Schmierer said that he doesn’t want to make a vote on it until they meet with the Carroll County Commissioners because he wants to know if they’re going to be able to come up with the match.

Mr. Johns said that they (SFLECC) have submitted a letter to the Commissioners saying that they will pledge the $17,000 for the study and if the cost of raising the bridge is too much, then that’s all the further that they will go and they will not proceed with the project.

Commissioner Heimlich said that he would hate to see the money spent ($17,000) if the grant money wasn’t going to be available.

Commissioner Schmierer agreed by saying that we are putting the “cart before the horse” when we don’t even know if there is going to be grant money available for the project.

Mr. Johns said that he has a letter being prepared by the Department of Natural Resources saying that the bridge now sits as a “navigational hazard”. He will get this letter to the Commissioners in another week or two.

Commissioner Heimlich said that within the next two weeks he might be able to get with Don Ward to see if this will be eligible for the grant and also to give us an opportunity to talk this over with the Carroll County Commissioners.

TWIN LAKES REGIONAL SEWER DISTRICT COMPLAINT

Pat Robertson, Carroll County Resident, appeared before the Commissioners asking them if they hold the charter to the Twin Lakes Regional Sewer District.

Commissioner Heimlich said that the Commissioners authorized the creation of the sewer district some thirty years ago and then they reauthorized again in the early 90’s.

Ms. Robertson asked if the Commissioners are the one’s who nominate the people who sit on the board. Commissioner Heimlich explained that there is a committee made up of three Commissioners and three Township Trustees that appoint 6 of the 7 board members. The other appointment is done with the Carroll County Commissioners.

Ms. Robertson asked if the Commissioners agreed with everything that the TLRSD board members are doing. The Commissioners commented, “No”.

She has been advised to talk to the White County Commissioners about the complete disregard and disrespect that they, White County’s TLRSD board members, have put forth to our Carroll County Commissioners. She said that the Carroll County Commissioners took a resolution to the TLRSD board members requesting them to resend their boundaries. The TLRSD board members from White County were very disrespectful and showed no respect for the Carroll County Commissioners whatsoever.

Ms. Robertson asked the Commissioners that since they are the ones who appointed these people if they could talk to them about the way they are treating the other officials. She said that it is bad enough the way they treat the public but it’s another thing to be disrespectful to other elected officials.

Commissioner Heimlich asked when this took place. Ms. Robertson said that this was done in September 2005 when the Carroll County Commissioners presented the resolution requesting them to resend the boundaries to within a quarter of a mile to the lake. At that time, the TLRSD board members refused to act on the resolution and they also refused to respond back to the Commissioners.

Commissioner Heimlich said that they can speak to the board members about this but as an appointing committee member they are not involved in the day-to-day operation.

White County Attorney George Loy explained that as an appointing committee, having the power to appoint does not give them the power to tell them how to run the board. They do have the authority, as anyone else, to speak to them and offer them their opinion.

Sherri Long, Carroll County Resident, said that she is not connected to the sewer because she is outside the boundary lines but she is having a problem with a creek that runs through her property where her family has lived for over 70 years now.

She was told that the TLRSD is going to run the wastewater from Lake Freeman down through her creek. She said that she does not own the creek but her family has lived there for so long and taken care of the creek for many years. She was very upset that she was not contacted about this from the TLRSD and saying that they only contacted the people whose land abuts the wastewater treatment plant.

Ms. Long said that they have raised their family by this creek, the church is by the creek and it is still being used to baptize people in the creek. She said that they have done numerous things to try and get this stopped but no one will listen to them. She is asking the Commissioners for their help because they are in a bind at this point.

SANDY SLUSSER – LAKEVIEW HOME

Sandy Slusser appeared before the Commissioners on behalf of the Lighthouse Recovery Home for the Tri-County area.

After reading several things in the paper on Lakeview Home, Mrs. Slusser said that they would like to be on the agenda for the home. The board of directors for the Lighthouse Recovery Home in Tri-County feels that Lakeview Home would be an ideal location for a recovery home close to Monticello. She said that they are starting this as a not-for-profit organization and the papers have already been filed.

Mrs. Slusser explained that the Lighthouse Recovery Home is a recovering home, not a half-way house, for someone to stay at for about a year or more. This is something that is needed in our area because our jails are full of people that need a place to go after incarceration to be able to get their lives back on track. She said that Lakeview Home is adequate to house the amount of people that they have. She understands that the property is very valuable but there are needs from people in our community that need to be met.

Commissioner Heimlich asked where their funding is coming from for the Lighthouse Recovery Home. Mrs. Slusser said that they have hired an attorney, John Million, to process the paperwork with the state to be a not-for-profit organization and they are in the process of having fundraisers. She said that the people that would be living there at the home will be paying members.

Commissioner Burton asked if they would also be using the facility to house and staff the employees. Mrs. Slusser said that they would have an administrator and the facility would also be used to hold their 12-Step meetings.

Commissioner Burton also asked if there will be funds coming to the county for using the Lakeview Home. Mrs. Slusser said that they wouldn’t want to be there for free but they could work out the details at a later date. They are hoping that it will be self supporting.

Commissioner Heimlich asked if they wanted people to go out there right now while Lakeview Home residents are currently still there or are they wanting to wait until the home is vacant. She said that she didn’t see any reason why people couldn’t go out there now because the people are in recovery.

Commissioner Schmierer explained that the cost of running the facility is phenomenal. The cost of the utililty bill runs the county over $3,000 per month and every time you turn around out there something is needing repaired which usually cost another $5,000 per month. He said that right now it needs about $100,000 worth of work just to keep it open and that is why they have talked about moving it.

Mrs. Slusser said that this could be an alternative to the commissioners if they decide not to sell the home.

Commissioner Heimlich ended the conversation by saying that this is something that they cannot make a decision on today, but there will be a lot of discussion in the near future about the Lakeview Home and the hospital becoming vacant next fall.

FMLA & DENTAL RATES – WHITE COUNTY AUDITOR

White County Auditor Jill Guingrich stated that she wants to make sure that the county is complying with the Family Medical Leave Act. She explained that when an employee is off of work for more than three days, she said that they are suppose to go on the FMLA.

Commissioner Heimlich said that he disagrees with her statement. He said that if an employee is off from work for a period of time, than the county has to offer, making them aware, of the FMLA. The employee doesn’t have to accept it but they must be made aware that it is available. Commissioner Heimlich asked the White County Attorney George Loy if this was correct and Attorney Loy confirmed that he was correct.

Commissioner Burton also stated that it is the employee’s choice to accept the FMLA and the county is only responsible for offering it to them. He said that the county cannot force them to go on it if they choose not to.

White County Attorney George Loy said that there is a certification given by the employee as a follow up to accepting the FMLA (doctor’s note or a statement saying that they are suffering from an illness).

Attorney Loy asked if our personnel policy states that an employee has to use the FMLA first or are they allowed to use the sick bank first.

Auditor Guingrich said that if an employee is gone for a medical reason she has been told, from attending meetings that they do need to go on FMLA. If the county is not going to require an employee to go on FMLA she wants to make sure that it does not come back on her personally. She said that she does not want people to think that she is not complying with the FMLA act because it is not her choice on whether an employee is to be put on it or not.

Dental

On another note, Auditor Guingrich proposed to the Commissioners that the County go back with United Dental. Before all of the confusion with the dental rates, just recently adopted, there were 71 county employees on the dental plan this year. Since the rate has changed there have been 22 employees drop out of the dental plan. She said that the cost difference to the 71 employees from the old rate to the new rate is a cost of $1,700 per month. Auditor Guingrich said that this is at no fault to the employee and she feels that it is very unfair to charge the employees the difference.

Auditor Guingrich would like to see the Commissioners ask Apex, because they are the ones who sold us the product, to pay the difference for the remaining of the year which would be a little over $12,000. She said that it should be Apex or United Dental paying for this mistake and not passed on to the employees.

Commissioner Schmierer agreed that it should be taken back to Apex because they are the ones who made the mess.

Jill said that most of the 22 people that dropped out of the plan have not even had a chance this year to even use the dental insurance that they already paid for. She said that it’s not a bad plan, it’s just the fact that it’s not what we were sold. To change it midfield is very unfair to the employees and also making them to pay for the difference. Jill said that we should make them figure out how they are going to pay for it rather than make us.

Commissioner Heimlich said that United Dental and Apex have both shared the cost for the difference for the first five months and he has no idea of knowing how much that total came up to. He felt that maybe some type of refund should go back to the employ that has been paying into the plan but never used anything.

Commissioner Burton felt that the employee that paid into the plan, but has not used any of it yet, is their fault. They had the opportunity to use the plan and chose not to.

Commissioner Heimlich said that he will give Amy at Apex a call and discuss the 22 employees that have dropped out already.

FEDERAL REGULATIONS FOR TAKE HOME VEHICLES AND CELL PHONES

White County Attorney George Loy said that he attended a committee meeting about company take home vehicles and company owned cell phones and he has drafted a proposed ordinance which is advisable if not required to confirm any municipal agencies policy regarding fringe benefits.

Attorney Loy said that everything in the ordinance is a statement of what the IRS requires and it is also a confirmation that the county will abide by the IRS regulations with regards specifically county owned vehicles and county owned cell phones, uniforms, equipment, and tools.

He said that the IRS is enforcing reporting of income, fringe benefits, for municipal employees.

After a short discussion of the ordinance the Commissioners decided to get copies of the ordinance distributed to everyone and schedule this for the next meeting on May 21, 2007.

SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT – JAIL SECURITY SOFTWARE AND CAMERA RECORDER ISSUES

White County Sheriff John Roberts appeared before the Commissioners saying that at the last meeting the Commissioners were informed by Ray Frank that they are having a problem with the doors at the jail. Currently, they can’t get the inmates out unless they use a key and before if there was an emergency all they had to do was push a button. He said that there are 160 cells that would have to be unlocked with a key.

Sheriff Roberts said that ADT sold us the camera system four years ago and they can’t service any of the equipment.

He said that right now it is a security risk and a risk for the inmates in the jail.

Sheriff Roberts said that Integrator.com has prepared a quote of $62,000 to fix the problem. This price includes all new hardware and software. He said that he does not feel that they need the Optional Upgrade of $37,120.

Sheriff Roberts said that as far as ADT, he asked White County Attorney George Loy if he would get together with Ray Franko at the Sheriffs Department to get it all straighten out that they weren’t able to service the equipment that they sold to us. He said that Ray has on file on the contracts that are signed on file.

Sheriff Roberts said that the jail inspector is going to be there on Thursday and he knows that they are going to “ding us big time” on this.

White County Attorney George Loy verified with the Sheriff that they are done with ADT. Stanley was the company that he had before ADT and they did say that they can straighten it out in no time at all. Attorney Loy asked if there is any other company out there that does this service. The Sheriff said that Stanley and ADT are the only ones.

White County Attorney George will contact Stanley Integrator.com to get a copy of the proposed contract.

Commissioner Schmierer said that we will schedule this on the next agenda, distribute copies of the agreement to the Council and Commissioners, and make a vote at the next meeting.

Councilman Kramer said that he will also need to be on the Council agenda to work something out on how it will be paid.

LAKEVIEW HOME

Lakeview Home Director Kae Fuller presented an application for admittance into Lakeview Home. The application was from Terry Maxfield.

  • Commissioner Burton made a motion to approve the application of Terry Maxfield into Lakeview Home, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

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

______________________________ _____________________________ ______________________________

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

ATTEST: _______________________________

Jill Guingrich, White County Auditor