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BE IT REMEMBERED, that a regular meeting of the White County Commissioners was held at the White County Courthouse at 8:00 a.m. on April 19, 2004, on the 2nd floor of the Commissioners’ Chambers.

Commissioners present were: President John C. Heimlich, Vice President Ronald Schmierer, and Commissioner O.D. “Bud” Ferguson. Also present was White County Attorney George Loy, White County Auditor Mary Jo Pool and Commissioners’ Secretary Donya Tirpak.

Commissioner President John C. Heimlich called the Commissioners’ meeting to order.

MINUTES

Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve the minutes from the regular meeting on April 5, 2004, as presented, seconded by Commissioner Ferguson. Vote: Unanimous

PAYROLL

Commissioner Ferguson made a motion to approve the payroll as presented for April 19, 2004, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Gordy Cochran, Director of Emergency Management, informed the Commissioners that a grant that he applied for earlier has been approved for the amount of $266,000.00. This money will be used for communication equipment (radios) that will update the E-911 center to work with 800 mh radios.

Another grant that should be approved shortly is for $100,000.00. Of that, $15,572 will be given to law enforcement (Sheriff & Monticello Police) and $84,726 will be for Emergency Mgt.

PARKING SPACES

Monticello City Councilman, James Mann, Jr., appeared before the Commissioners discussing the parking situation that have been discussed between the city and county in the past several months. The City would like to proceed with the plan of establishing fees and assigning parking spaces in the city parking lots to employees working in the downtown area. The city does have several lots that do need to be maintained and there is currently no funding available. This will establish a funding account and the city will continue to maintain them in the future on a regular basis.

 

Commissioner Heimlich said that this is something he was going to discuss with the Council at today’s meeting. This is an issue for the county because we only have 27 parking spaces available in the county parking lot and we have about 60 employees working in the Courthouse.

 

James Mann Jr. did verify that parking fines will increase from $5.00 to $10.00 and the city parking spaces will be available for $5.00/month or $60.00/year. The city’s goal is to assign each employee a specific spot close to their place of employment, which will be monitored by the City Police.

James Mann, Jr., thanked the County for their cooperation and discussed how important this is needed for city parking lots and the downtown business.

 

POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR THE RECYCLING DEPARTMENT

Dawn Gerrard, Director of the White County Recycling Dept., proposed to the Commissioners a revised “White County Recycling Department Rules, Regulations & Policies Manual”. In the past the Recycling Department rules and regulations were always done according to the Highway Department with the exception of the vacation days. The vacation days for the Recycling Dept. have always been done according to the Courthouse.

 

The only areas where there is a discrepancy between the two (Courthouse & Highway) are as follows:

Vacation Days: Highway Department is only allowed a maximum of 20 vacation days. Courthouse employees are allowed a maximum of 25 vacation days. If the Recycling Dept. continues to follow the Highway Dept., the employees will lose 5 vacation days.

Overtime Pay: According to the Highway Dept., a normal workday is 8 hours plus 1 hour of overtime, or in a 5-day typical workweek 40 hours regular pay and 5 hours overtime. The Recycling Dept. does not follow this work schedule.

Holiday Schedule: In the past, the Recycling Dept. has always followed the Courthouse Holiday Schedule and this year they will follow the Highway Holiday Schedule. The new policy for the Recycling will continue to follow the holiday schedule as the Highway Dept.

The new proposed “White County Recycling Rules and Regulations” is formatted for the facility and this will eliminate deviating from the Rules and Regulations booklet for the White County Highway Department.

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to adopt the Policy and Procedures Handbook for the Recycling

Dept. as presented, seconded by Commissioner Ferguson. Vote: Unanimous

COUNTY ROAD 350 S.

Chuck Altman, Chalmers resident and former County Commissioner, appeared before the Commissioners presenting a letter and a signed petition from residents requesting to have CR 350 S, between 300 W and 450 W, improved by adding a good stone base and blacktopped. The improvement would make a continuous blacktopped road from State Highway 43 to 231.

Commissioner President Heimlich said that the County Highway Dept. continues to get several requests a year from residents wanting their roads repaved. The question always continues to be where are we going to get the funds. The county is still short on funds from the state.

Commissioner Heimlich asked Highway Superintendent Steve Brooke if he would put a traffic counter on this road to give the Commissioners an idea of how much traffic is in the area.

Councilman Denny Carter did verify that even though there are only two homes on the county road, there is a fair amount of traffic during the busy farming season.

APPOINTMENT TO THE WHITE COUNTY AVIATION BOARD

Commissioner Heimlich explained that when an opening came available in November for the Aviation Board there were several people interested to be appointed to serve. In December 2003, the Commissioners also had the rest of the board members term expiring, giving them four appointments to be made for 2004. On January 5, 2004, the Commissioners made the motion to extend the appointments of Mursener, Gutwein & Shultz until May 1, 2004. This gave the Commissioners the opportunity to interview all candidates interested to serve on the board.

The Commissioners did conduct interviews with everyone who expressed interest to serve on the board.

Commissioner Heimlich said that the state statue for the Aviation Board states that no more than two (2) members of the board may be of the same political party. The three extended appointments made in January were all Republicans. The Commissioners have just received a written resignation letter from Virgil Schultz effective April 30, 2004.

 

Commissioner Heimlich also explained that the appointments that are going to be made today would be staggered. One appointment will be good until the end of 2004, 2005, 2006 and than one till the end of 2007.

 

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to appoint B.J. Mursener to the Aviation Board effective May 1,

2004 and expiring December 31, 2004, seconded by Commissioner Ferguson. Vote: Unanimous

 

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to appoint Phil Gutwein to the Aviation Board effective May 1,

2004 and expiring December 31, 2005, seconded by Commissioner Ferguson. Vote: Unanimous

 

Commissioner Heimlich said that these two appointments (Mursener & Gutwein) are Republicans and two Democrats are needed.

 

 

 

 

  • Commissioner Ferguson made a motion to appoint Jim Allen, Democrat, to the Aviation Board effective May 1, 2004 and expiring December 31, 2006, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

Commissioner Heimlich said that another Democrat candidate, Mr. Bob Leader, was interested to serve on the board but because of him working part-time as a pilot, the Attorneys agreed that it would be a conflict of interest. The Commissioners will have to find another Democrat to fill that seat.

 

Councilman Art Anderson brought to the Commissioners attention that Phil Goodwin could also possibly fall under the “conflict of interest” as Mr. Leader. Council Anderson explained that Mr. Goodwin also commercially flies his own people, covered under workman’s comp. to pick up vehicles for his business. Council Anderson does not see any difference between Leader and Gutwein.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said that this decision for Mr. Leader was done by the Attorney’s and not the Commissioners.

 

White County Attorney George Loy said that when the discussion came up on Mr. Leader with the Aviation Attorney there was no discussion with respect to Mr. Gutwein.

 

BID OPENING – BRIDGE #228

White County Attorney George Loy announced that the County has requested bids for the Bridge Project #228. Bids were received up until 9:00 a.m. Two bids were received from the following:

 

Jack Isom Construction Co., Inc., Reynolds, IN $714,637.50

Wirtz & Yates Construction, Inc., Kentland, IN $682,325.86

 

Donald Ward, County Engineer, said that the estimate was $704,149.75.

 

Commissioner Heimlich asked if anyone submitted a bid that was not read. No response. Commissioner Heimlich also asked if anyone would like to examine the bids. No response.

 

The Commissioners took the bids under advisement.

 

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

James Mann Richard Horton Art Anderson

Harry Voorhis Dennis Carter Faye Lowring

 

E-911

Terri Conwell, Director, reported that she has found old telephone recording tapes from the old 911 telephone system, going back as far as ten years. She has contacted the State Treasurer’s Office to find out exactly how long they have to be retained and said that this was up to the county. Terry asked the Commissioners how long they would like to keep them.

 

Attorney George Loy said that he has looked for state rights and even called other counties to see how long they were keeping their tapes. Attorney Loy recommended keeping them two years.

 

Terri also reported that CISCO would like to meet with the Commissioners about the past due balance for the CAD software system. Commissioner Schmierer confirmed that he would meet with them.

 

Plexus Group does have their mapping system in and it is working wonderfully. Plexus Group will be back in May to train all employees.

 

Emergency Management has received a grant for 800-mega hertz system and the radio frequency at the 911 centers will not hold anymore radio frequency. The 911 Center will have to purchase a new recording system if they want to record the traffic on the 800-mega hertz system. This is something that will be going statewide. Terri is gathering quotes.

 

WHITE COUNTY INDUSTRIAL FOUNDATION

Valerie Hunter, Director, appeared presenting her report for the month of March.

 

She has been going around to the industries providing surveys to the industries looking for ways on how the Foundation can help their business.

 

Valerie provided a survey to Council and Commissioners to complete. This will give her guidelines on what exactly they are looking for.

 

WHITE COUNTY BUILDING INSPECTOR

Dave Anderson, Building Inspector, reported that building permits are down 100% compared to last year. There were 62 permits issued last month, five for new houses.

 

WHITE COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER

John Raines, Env. Officer, reported that he continues to send out violation letters. He has been trying to catch up on a lot of things because of five weeks off work due to surgery.

 

LAKEVIEW HOME

Lakeview Home Director Kae Fuller presented her monthly report. She said some of the roofing on the barn has blown away.

 

The deceased’s family has donated a van that belonged to Marion Schock to Lakeview. Kae would like to know what to do with the van. The Commissioners will take a look at it before they decide what to do with it.

 

WHITE COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Paul Cardwell, CEO of Hospital, presented the Financial Analysis Report for the month of March 2004.

 

Mr. Cardwell said the hospital had a record month for revenue. The total gross patient revenue for the month of March was around 2,500,000.00.

 

The hospital has not received the State Medicare and Medicaid settlement but hope to receive it in June.

 

The Hospital Board has made a determination to hire an OBGYN. They will partner with Monticello Medical for this.

 

WHITE COUNTY VISITORS BUREAU

Dow Dellinger, Representative of the Chamber of Commerce, appeared presenting a packet providing information to the proposed budget, which is provided by the Commissioners. The packet gave a detailed description of what the money is being spent on, impact study and also a copy of the contract between the County and the Visitor’s Bureau.

 

Dean Fleck, Former County Commissioner and White County Resident, asked Mr. Dellinger, “how much money does the City of Monticello contribute to the Greater Monticello Visitor’s Bureau”? Mr. Dellinger said that when the Chamber first came to the County for funding, the Chamber was told that they were not to receive funding from the City of Monticello. Having funding come from the County and the City would be taxing the Union Township taxpayer twice.

 

Faye Lowring, White County Councilwoman, asked Mr. Dellinger, “Who benefits the most from the Greater Monticello Visitor’s Bureau?” Mr. Dellinger explained that by looking over the impact study the County does benefit from it, but Mr. Dellinger felt that the greater share could be from Union Township because there are more people living in that area.

 

Mr. Dellinger said that he looks at the tax dollars. From the $60.4M in tax dollars you have a per capita of just breaking out by the tax savings divided by the number of residents. You have $160.00, per resident, tax savings from the amount of money brought in by tourism. Last year’s full budget for the bureau was asking for $6.48 per capita when you receive a benefit of tourism of a $160 per capita just on property tax savings. Mr. Dellinger feels that the whole county is benefiting from it.

 

 

 

Commissioner Ferguson discussed an article in the newspaper that gave the impression of Commissioner Ferguson representing Union Township only. Commissioner Ferguson said that he represents Union, Liberty, Lincoln, Cass and Jackson. Taxpayers from Liberty, Cass and Jackson contacted him saying that they are against the County funding the Visitor’s Bureau because it does nothing for their township.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said that he owns two businesses in Monticello where he pays for his own advertising. He said that he would be stupid not to think that tourism does the county any good.

 

Commissioner Schmierer confronted Casey Crabb about the article in the Herald Journal that was written from Casey Crabb’s Campaign Manager. Commissioner Schmierer expressed that the newspaper articles that have been going around about him are very upsetting. Commissioner Schmierer said, “in good faith, I have worked with Mr. Crabb every bit this year to come up with a solution for funding the bureau”. Commissioner Schmierer expressed his disappointment to Casey Crabb about his Campaign Manager making the negative comments about him not supporting tourism.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said that the only thing that he questioned this year was the $7,200 that was not accounted for.

 

Commissioner Schmierer discussed a conversation that he had with Mayor Bob Fox about the article. The Mayor verified that the Chamber was not broke. Commissioner Schmierer said that a year ago Casey Crabb had told him that if the Chamber did not get the funding that they would not have enough money to pay the director.

 

Commissioner Schmierer asked, “Where is this all coming from because I gave the Chamber good faith this year and I gave them what they asked for.” Commissioner Schmierer said, On Thursday, I was ready to approve the money that the Visitor’s Bureau asked for.”

 

Commissioner Schmierer commented to Casey Crabb, “I thought you were a bigger man than that”. Mr. Crabb replied, “I had nothing to do with the article”. Mr. Crabb said, “I did know that Mike Rice had wrote the letter because he was “jumping mad”.

 

Casey Crabb said, “I would not do anything purposely to destroy the process of receiving money for the Chamber”.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said, “It is very hard for me to sit here and vote to give the Chamber any money when this has all happened.”

 

Councilman Anderson said that he does not blame Commissioner Schmierer for being upset, but recommended that we need to get past it and get it resolved. This is something that does well for the whole county.

 

Councilman Richard Horton said that he would like to hear what Dow Dellinger thinks we should do to move forward.

 

Dow Dellinger explained that the amount of money that we are spending on tourism is not enough. If you want a fully funded tourism bureau, you need to have more than just a secretary answering the telephone and not pay someone a reasonable amount of money to head your marketing. Dow does not recommend hiring a marketing firm but does recommend hiring someone who is paid a salary, smart enough to work with the State, and someone who is smart enough to work on marketing your community.

 

Dow Dellinger said that if we are going to continue to “shoe string” the funding, we are wasting a huge portion of the Director’s time figuring out what she can do with the least amount of money. If the bureau can definitely count on getting the $60,000.00/year from the County, then they can put more time focusing on other ways of getting additional funding.

 

Dean Fleck asked Dow Dellinger if all of the Chamber of Commerce Board members are from the Monticello area or are some of them from the rural area. Mr. Dellinger mentioned Pat Duffy, from Burnettsville, as being on the Board and having a business in the rural area but the majority of the board members are from Monticello.

 

 

 

 

Mr. Fleck pointed out that the greatest benefit for all of this, funded by the County, would be Monticello. Mr. Fleck stressed that this is not right.

 

Dow Dellinger said that the Visitor’s Bureau is promoting all of the County events like the Brookston’s Popcorn Festival, Wolcott, Monon. A smarter idea would even be to promote the events from Cass and Carroll County, which will draw people to our county. Dow pointed out how the visitors that come to Monticello could stop at Brookston to get gas or Monon to get groceries. Mr. Dellinger said that the benefit is substantial throughout the County.

 

Commissioner Heimlich felt that the most important question that we need to answer is “how best to spend money to compliment what Indiana Beach does.” When you talk about other counties that have fully funding Visitor’s Bureau, they don’t have an “Indiana Beach” which is already spending over a million dollars. Money is being spent to promote our county and we need to focus on how do we target the money that were going to put towards the Visitor’s Bureau to do the most good to compliment what Indiana Beach does.

 

Commissioner Heimlich said that if anyone ever had the idea that Commissioner Schmierer was against promoting tourism or against advertising to promote tourism that was entirely false. Commissioner Heimlich explained that Commissioner Schmierer asked several times, also in favor, if there was a way we could target the advertising to where we were going to get a return from the dollar.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said that he worked on the funding in good faith this year and he was completely flabbergasted from the article in last Friday’s paper. Commissioner Schmierer felt that the best thing for the Commissioners would be to table this discussion until the next joint meeting. Commissioner Schmierer admitted that he is short fused and that it did “trip my trigger”. Commissioner Schmierer did apologize but did agree that this is something that does need funded. He said if the funding is going to come from the County tax dollars than it should be under control of the county elected officials. Commissioner Schmierer said that if he doesn’t like the way the county elected officials are funding the bureau, than he can vote them out.

 

Commissioner Heimlich agreed that it would be a good idea to table the meeting until the next joint meeting with the Council.

 

JAIL REFINANCING

Commissioner Heimlich reported a fax just received from Randy Ruhle, City Securities Corporation, saying refinancing the jail right now would result in a savings of $275,000.00 to $300,000.00. net all costs.

 

The Council agreed that we should start the process immediately.

 

PARKING FEES FOR COURTHOUSE EMPLOYEES

Commissioner Heimlich discussed how the city was in the process of charging courthouse employees for parking in the city parking lots close to the courthouse. The charges will be $5.00 per month or $60.00 per year and there would be a designated parking place for each employee.

 

Commissioner Heimlich discussed the several options.

  1. Free for all, who ever got to the twenty-seven spots would be free and then the rest would have to pay.

  2. Lump all the parking spots (County and City) together and have every employee pay.

  3. Negotiate a deal with the city and the county would lease the additional lots and provide them to the employees.

  4. Have a lottery for the free spots; this would be done every year.

 

The cost to the county to lease additional lots would be around $1,500 to $2,000.

 

Jim Mann, Jr., has wanted a decision from Commissioner Heimlich since the beginning of the year and now the city wants to put this into effect immediately. Commissioner Heimlich asked the Council what their feelings are on it.

 

Councilman Anderson and Voorhis both agreed that other people working in town pay for their own parking and $5.00/month is not an unreasonable amount.

 

 

 

Commissioner Schmierer also agreed that it is not unreasonable to have employees pay for parking but the question for him is what to do with the employees that park in the county parking lot (free of charge).

 

The Council all agreed to have the employees parking in the county parking lot to pay as well as the other employees parking in the city parking lots.

 

TREASUERER – REAL ESTATE TAXES

White County Treasurer Kathy Gross shared with the Commissioners that they are hoping to have the 2003 pay 2004 tax bills due on November 10, 2004. This would include both installments. She said the Treasurer’s Office is only taking advance payments when it concerns real estate closings. She hopes to be able to take advance payments from the public maybe in July, but will only accept what they paid last year or less. This is to avoid having to issue refund checks if the property owner overpays.

 

AT THIS TIME THE COUNCIL ADJOURNED TO THEIR OWN MEETING ROOM.

AWARD BIDS FOR BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION #228

Commissioner Heimlich said that the bids submitted for Bridge Construction #228 have been reviewed.

 

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to accept the low bid from Wertz & Yates Construction, Inc. in

the amount of $682,325.86 for Bridge Construction #228, seconded by Commissioner Ferguson. Vote: Unanimous

 

VANGUARD GRANT AGREEMENT

White County Attorney George Loy presented the Indiana Department of Commerce Grant Agreement for the Vanguard Facility Training Program for $500,000.00. The grant will be to train approximately 225 employees at Vanguard.

 

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to enter an agreement with the Indiana Department of Commerce

for the Vanguard Facility Training Program, seconded by Commissioner Ferguson. Vote: Unanimous

 

 

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

 

 

 

_____________________________ ____________________________ _________________________________

John C. Heimlich, President Ronald Schmierer, Vice President O.D. “Bud” Ferguson, Member

 

 

 

 

 

Attest: _________________________

Mary Jo Pool, Auditor