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BE IT REMEMBERED, that a regular meeting of the White County Commissioners was held at the White County Building at 8:00 a.m. on January 20, 2003, on the second floor of the Commissioners Chambers.

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

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

AMEND THE AGENDA

Commissioner Heimlich asked permission to amend the agenda. Michael Kuhn from Boston Mutual Life Insurance has cancelled until the next meeting on February 3rd . Commissioner Heimlich said that he would like to table Dan Banes discussing the pool ordinance until the February 3rd meeting. Commissioner Heimlich asked to move the White/Carroll County Drug Task Force Grant Application up from 9:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. He would also like to insert the Auditor, Treasurer and Assessor discussing tax collections for 2003. No objections from the other Commissioners.

MINUTES

Commissioner Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes as presented for the January 6th regular meeting with the changes made under the Convention and Visitors Bureau funding, second paragraph on the appointed authority should read “president of the Commissioners, President of the Council, Agent of Indiana Beach, the Mayor of Monticello and the President of the Chamber of Commerce, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer.

Vote: Unanimous

PAYROLL

Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve the payroll as presented for January 27, 2003, seconded by Commissioner Ferguson. Vote: Unanimous

TAX COLLECTIONS

White County Treasurer Kathy Gross appeared before the Commissioners saying that the Auditor Mary Jo Pool, Assessor Karen Hatter and herself held a meeting discussing when they will be able to estimate when tax bills will be sent out. If White County is going to extend the due date of the tax statements they must first send out a letter of request into the Department of Local Finance board. The Assessor’s office estimates July, August early September before the reassessment will be completed. Once the Assessor’s office steps are completed it needs to go to the Auditor’s office where they will need at least 60 days to complete their end of the tax collections and then by law the Treasurer’s office must print and mail out the tax statements fifteen days prior to the due date. Treasurer Kathy Gross has sent a certified letter to the Department of Local Finance Board asking for an extension and saying that taxes will be collected on November 10, 2003.

The Treasurer’s office would like to advertise very heavy with the community that the public will be able to come and make payments towards their taxes, paying what they paid last year, paying as much or little as they want to credit their tax bill.

Commissioner Heimlich asked if most counties are facing similar problems. Treasurer Kathy Gross said that when she talked with Mr. Bruce Hartman, State Board of Accounts, and to his knowledge about half of the counties are shooting for the November 10th collection date, another portion are trying for the May collection date and another portion are not even considering a collection for 2003.

Commissioner Heimlich also asked if the school corporations are aware of this situation. Treasurer Cathy Gross said that she has not done anything to notify them officially but she does know that they are aware. Once the Treasurer’s office receives notification from the Department of Local Finance, they will write and submit a letter.

WHITE/CARROLL COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE GRANT APPLICATION

White County Prosecutor Robert Guy presented a grant application to be signed and submitted to the State for the White/Carroll County Drug Task Force. This is an annual grant submitted by the Prosecutor’s office.

Commissioner Ferguson made a motion for the County to reapply for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute grant, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

INDIANA ASSESSMENT – ED BISCH

White County Assessor Karen Hatter introduced Mr. Ed Bisch as the consultant for White County from Indiana Assessment Services. She explained a new process called “equalization” required by the State that must be done with reassessment. Mr. Ed Bisch submitted information and briefly discussed equalization to the Commissioners.

White County Council (acting) President Linda Maudlin called the Council in joint session with the Commissioners. Members present were James H. Mann, Linda K. Maudlin, Richard G. Horton, Dennis Carter, Arthur A. Anderson and Harry W. Voorhis.

WHITE COUNTY BUILDING INSPECTOR

Building Inspector Dave Anderson appeared to give his monthly report. Mr. Anderson reported that 35 building permits were issued last month. Mr. Anderson also reported that the Lakeview Home roof has been repaired.

WHITE COUNTY LAKEVIEW HOME

Kae Fuller, Director, appeared to give her monthly report. She reported that Jerry Cook is now going to manage the computer-give-away program. Insight Communications will be doing an update on Lakeview Home for “Locally Speaking” and will make video copies for her to send to Legislators showing them of all the ways that Lakeview gives back to the community and residents.

An application and a physician’s admission record were submitted to the Commissioners on Mary Ellen Fain as a private pay resident. PERMISSION APPROVED

WHITE COUNTY RECYCLING

White County Recycling Director Bill Smith discussed heating the shop where the sorting and bailing is done at the Recycling Center. Mr. Smith received a cost estimate for two heaters to be installed at the cost of $3,400.00 or one heater for $1,700.00. Mr. Smith said that he does have the grant money available to use on the cost if approved. A short discussion was made about the sorting and bailing area being so open and the cost to keep the heaters running. The Commissioners will take this under advisement.

WHITE COUNTY COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS

White County Community Corrections Director Linda Roy appeared to give her annual report.

Community Service Report: 103 Clients

Total hours of community service worked 2,420

If someone had to be paid for these hours it would have cost 2,420 hours at a minimum wage of $5.15 per hour, for a total of $12,463.00.

Home Detention Report: 85 Adult Clients

5 Adults - Unmonitored

14 Juveniles

Savings to taxpayers: Adult days: 8,202 @ $35.00 per day = $287,070

Juvenile days: 1,275 @ $100.00 per day = $127,500

Work release report: 78 Clients

Savings to taxpayers 7,484 days @ $35.00 per day = $261,940

Community Transition program 6 Clients

Savings to taxpayers: 450 days @ $35.00 per day = $ 15,750

Total savings to taxpayers: $692,260

New programs started in 2002: LSI-R

Thinking for a Change

Bridging the Gap

Grant supported: $177,170

Beginning Balance for 2002 $206,733.71

Project Income Received: $178,663.95

Expenditures: $135,837.92

Balance at end of 2002: $249,559.74

E-911

E-911 Director Erin Huber said the 911-maintenance agreement for radios is coming up for renewal on February 20, 2003. The company they use now is ERS and they would like to change to RA-COMM, Inc. because they are very unhappy with the service from ERS.

Commissioner Schmierer said they would discuss this at the E-911 Board meeting being held later today.

WHITE COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER

Environmental Officer John Raines presented his report of complaints and violations during the month of December, 2002. He said complaints have slowed down and this has given him some time to get caught up at the landfill.

John Raines and the White County Attorney George Loy are working together to file complaints on offenders who are not complying and try to get them to court.

WHITE COUNTY INDUSTRIAL FOUNDATION

Industrial Foundation Director Cinda Kelley presented her report for the month of December, 2002. She thanked the Commissioners and the Council for their help with the Rockland Project.

She has submitted the Community Action Grant and said she should hear something on it by late spring or early summer.

WHITE COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Paul Cardwell, White County Hospital CEO, presented the Financial Analysis Report for the month of December, 2002. He said that Chris Carne, Chief Financial Officer, and himself were very pleased how the year went. It was a year that was very beneficial to the hospital and the community. He said the turnover return is down significantly and they have been able to retain their employees.

The financial aspect of the hospital has changed substantially through the year. At the beginning of the year their cash position was at $1.4 million and now finishing out the year they are at $2.26 million, $800,000 gains for the year. Mr. Cardwell said that the future looks very bright for the hospital and they hope to increase the number of employees and the services.

HOSPITAL AND JAIL REFINANCING

Commissioner Heimlich discussed a meeting that was held with the financial analyst Randy Rule from City Securities about refinancing the bonds for the jail and the hospital since interest rates have dropped substantially.

Commissioner Heimlich said the bonds are not callable yet, so the money would have to be put in escrow. If they refinance right now, they could save about $480,000.00 between the hospital and the jail. If they wait one year, and the interest rates remain the same, the savings would almost double. Interest rates would have to go up about 1/3 of 1% to wipe out these savings. They think it might be better to wait.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE TAX

Gary Cosgray, The Riverside Restaurant owner, presented to the Commissioners surveys he took asking restaurant owners in White County, responsible for collecting the proposed food and beverage tax, whether they were for or against the tax. There were fifty-eight business owners against the tax and zero signatures on the survey for the tax. Mr. Cosgray went to the state house and talked to our representatives about the tax. State representatives were very surprised to see the outcome of the survey because they were told that business owners in White County were in favor of the tax. Mr. Cosgray said that a public meeting should have been held with businesses that are affected by this tax before this was ever taken to the state level. Mr. Cosgray did ask Commissioner Schmierer why he voted no on the contract funding for the Chamber and Visitors Bureau.

Commissioner Schmierer explained that the reason he voted against the tax was because he feels that the funding does not belong on the tax rolls money should come from the businesses that belong to the Chamber of Commerce. With the economy the way it is today, factories closing in White County and giving county employees only $400 in raises for 2003, Commissioner Schmierer said that he “blowed up” when the Chamber asked for $165,000.00 which was double from 2002. Commissioner Schmierer said that he went to the Chamber and requested a copy of their budget to investigate where the money was spent. Over $70,000 of the 82,000 that was given to them was spent on payroll. Commissioner Schmierer said that this kind of money should not be spent on payroll. He said that this money should not be spent on promoting Chamber members. Chamber members such as his own business (R&M Foods) should be promoted by his own money, not by taxpayer’s money. Commissioner Schmierer said that this is why he did not vote for the funding and if the request comes up again next year he will not vote for the funding.

Jason Anderson, owner of Peppercorns & Cinnamon Sticks, spoke in favor of the tax. He said that he does not like another tax but the county does need a visitors bureau. Jason Anderson is a board member on the Chamber of Commerce.

Resort owner Mary Walker said that the Chamber or the CVB does not pay for the fun pack that is sent out to tourist. She explained that the resort owners put in all of the time putting the fun packs together. They are the ones who have the packets printed up, stuff the packets, place the mailing labels on the packets and also pay for the postage.

Colette Sterling, Resort owner, explained that several years ago the Chamber use to pay for the fun packs that were mailed out but now for the past seven or eight years the Chamber refuses to provide the packets because they are too expensive. She did verify that they (resort owners) provide the envelopes, brochures and postage. The only thing that the Chamber will do for them is giving them the name and address of people that call asking for information about Monticello.

Sherry Arias, Restaurant owner in Monon, spoke against the tax. She argued that she does not have people from out of town eating at her restaurant to pay the tax; the local people are the ones that keep her business going. Sherry also pointed out that she has been coming to Monticello for 30 years and until Mr. Cosgray came around with the survey, she did not even know that the Chamber or the CVB even existed.

Julie Gutwein, Photography business in Monon, also involved with the Greater Monticello Chamber of Commerce and also the Monon Chamber said that she is aware of what is going on in the community. She said that her business has benefited from the Chamber and the Industrial Foundation. Having her business on the Chamber site has landed her one of her biggest jobs ever from tourism. Mrs. Gutwein said that she is in favor of the tax because she believes that eating out is not a necessity but leisure.

Commissioner Ferguson said that he would like to know what has been accomplished in the past three years the County has funded the CVB. He stated that the county has lost Miller’s Tree Farm, which was a big attraction after Indiana Beach closed for the summer. Commissioner Ferguson pointed out that enough taxes (fuel, excise and property) are going up right now. Explaining that he was in favor and voted for the new contract that was written up for the Chamber, he is definitely not in favor of any new tax for the people until things get better.

Commissioner Heimlich ended the discussion by saying that passing the tax is not in the Commissioners hands. This bill has to be passed by the legislation. Commissioner Heimlich said that he personally felt that the bill would not be passed with this kind of opposition. Even if there was 100% agreement from the community and government officials the tax is not an easy one to be passed. Commissioner Heimlich said that regardless of the outcome of the tax the community cannot turn their back or ignore the tourism industry here in White County.

Commissioner Schmierer did personally thank our state representative Don Lehe for coming to the meeting and hearing both sides of the story. Commissioner Ferguson also thanked Gary Cosgray for taking the time and putting a lot of work into this and Commissioner Heimlich thanked everyone for coming and taking time out of their schedule.

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

_____________________________ _______________________________ _____________________________

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

ATTEST: __________________________________

White County Auditor Mary Jo Pool