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BE IT REMEMBERED, that the White County Commissioners held a regular meeting on Monday, June 16, 2008, at 8:00 a.m. at the White County Building, 2nd floor, Commissioners’ Conference room.

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

Commissioner Heimlich called the meeting to order.

MINUTES

  • Commissioner Burton made a motion to approve the minutes for the regular meeting on June 2, 2008, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

PAYROLL

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve the payroll for June 16, 2008, as presented, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

IVY TECH REPORT

Connie Neininger, Economic Dev. Director, reported that the contractors just completed power washing the exterior building and they realized that there is a lot of tuck pointing that needs to be done. She said that there are some serious cracks on the South side of the building.

Commissioner Heimlich said that this was not included in the original bid because you really couldn’t tell if the building needed any repairs or not. He asked if there were any estimates for this.

Connie said that she was trying to get local contractors to give a price because Michiana does not have anyone and they would have to subcontract this out. She asked permission to receive quotes for the tuck pointing. Permission was granted to receive quotes.

Connie reported that the final building inspections should be done around the third week in July. The total amount spent to date on change orders are $16,211.50.

AMERICAN STRUCTUREPOINT

Commissioner Heimlich said that American Structurepoint has called and postponed this topic until the next Commissioners meeting on July 7, 2008.

4-WHEELERS ON COUNTY ROADS

Commissioner Heimlich discussed two ordinances that he received from Debois and Washington County regarding 4-wheelers on county roads.

Commissioner Heimlich asked Assistant Donya Tirpak to check with surrounding counties to see if they have or discussed an ordinance on this issue.

LAKEVIEW HOME

  • Commissioner Burton made a motion to accept the application from Carl Sommers for admission into Lakeview Home as a private pay resident, seconded by Commissioner Schmierer. Vote: Unanimous

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

White County Highway Superintendent Steve Brooke reported that he is still working with FEMA. He said that he might receive more money for the Norway Bridge. This money will be for the wash out underneath the bridge.

AREA PLAN

White County Area Plan Director Diann Weaver presented the following rezoning request to the Commissioners:

Rezoning Petition #956

Robert & Ellen Densborn are requesting to rezone 1.001 acres from an A-1 (Agricultural) to a R-1 (One-Family Residence). The property is located West of Brookston between I-65 and CR 500 W, at 4693 W. 1250 S.

This request was heard in a public hearing on June 9, 2008. The Area Plan Commission voted to recommend this petition to the Commissioners by a vote of 7 yes and 0 no.

Commissioner Heimlich asked if there was anyone wishing to speak about this request. No response.

Commissioner Heimlich asked why they want to rezone the property. Diann said that the property is small and they want to do some work on the home and they had to either go thru a variance or rezone the property. The setbacks on an R-1 are more suitable for the size of the property.

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to rezone petition #956 (Ordinance No. 532-08) rezoning 1.001 acres from an A-1 to an R-1 for property located at 4693 W. 1250 S., Brookston, owned by Robert & Ellen Densborn, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

Rezoning Petition #957

Vernon N. & Janet A. Furrer is requesting to rezone 49.99 acres from an A-1 (Agricultural) to an I-2 (Heavy Industrial). The property is located northwest of Reynolds, being on the East side of CR 100 W between the railroad and CR 100 N.

This request was heard in a public hearing on June 9, 2008. The Area Plan Commission voted to recommend this petition to the Commissioner by a vote of 7 yes and 0 no.

Commissioner Heimlich said that this is the area west of the wastewater treatment plan that will be used for the Biotown project.

Jim Gressell, Energy Systems Group, said that they are a partner in this project with Biotown Ag. They have created an entity called Biotown Energy. They are requesting to rezone this property to utilize it for an anaerobic digester and an energy center. He said that they will be using manure (cow and swine) from the Biotown Ag site to create methane gas to generate electrical power.

Allen Messer, ESG, said that the digester will sit on 10 of the acres but in the future they would like to utilize the rest of the property for other technologies to generate power.

Commissioner Heimlich said that as other technology systems are added to the site the Biotown Authority has entered into an agreement with Biotown Energy stating that they must receive approval first before anything is added. Most things like the digester will require a special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Commissioner Heimlich asked if anyone else wanted to be heard. No response.

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to approve Rezoning Petition #957 (Ordinance No. 533-08) rezoning 49.99 acres from an A-1 to an I-2 for property located on the East side of CR 100 W between the railroad and CR 100 N., owned by Vernon & Janet Furrer, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

RECEIVE & OPEN BIDS FOR THE ELEVATOR PROJECT

White County Attorney George Loy said that the Commissioners have requested bids for rehabilitation of the courthouse elevators pursuant to the specifications on file at the Auditor’s office. He said that the bids were to be received by 8:45 a.m. and the time for receipt of the bids has now closed. Attorney Loy announced that one bid has been received from Amco Elevator of Indianapolis.

Attorney Loy asked if anyone else submitted a bid that was not received. No response.

Attorney Loy announced that the bid received from Amco Elevators is for $178,750.00

  • Commissioner Schmierer made a motion to accept the bid from Amco Elevators as presented for $178,750.00 for the elevator project, seconded by Commissioner Burton. Vote: Unanimous

At this time, White County Council President Richard “Buzz” Horton called the White County Council members to order in joint session with the White County Commissioners. County Council members present were:

President Richard “Buzz” Horton Raymond “Butch” Kramer Dennis Carter

Kevin “Casey” Crabb Bruce Clear Gary Hendryx

Denny Cain – Absent

REPORTS

HOSPITAL

White County Memorial Hospital CEO Paul Cardwell presented the Financial Analysis report for May 2008.

Mr. Cardwell reported that they had a really good month and a good revenue year so far for the first five months. Currently, they are up to $16,203,000 for revenue. Net income for the month was at $400,398 which puts them up for the year over $569,000 for a gain.

The funds for the bond reserve are still pulled out each month at $75,000 and set aside for the first hospital payment. They are still right on tract with that amount.

The hospital has been very busy and they have had all time records for revenues and also cash flow position. Bad debt still continues to be a challenge for them month to month.

The new hospital project is still running on time and on budget. He said that they do keep jumping over significant hurdles to get in some time late October. He said that they are in the mercy of the State Fire Marshall, Indiana State Department of Health, the Planning Department and the Federal Regulators.

They are deciding now which departments will be going first.

BUILDING DEPARTMENT

White County Building Inspector Dave Anderson reported that there were 75 permits issued last month. He said that this is the best year that he has ever had on stick built homes. Year to date, Mr. Anderson said that they have had 26 stick built homes compared to last year’s 18.

LAKEVIEW HOME

Lakeview Home Director Kae Fuller thanked the Highway Dept. for coming out and cleaning up a mess from a tree falling over from a storm.

Kae reported that she is having trouble at the State level since the turnover with the Arch program. She was not receiving any payment for three of her residents and she had to contact Hershman and Buyer to get it straighten out. She was promised last Friday that it shouldn’t be a problem any more.

Kae said that she currently has ten people on the arch program.

ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER

Environmental Officer John Raines presented the Complaints & Violations report for May 2008.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

White County Economic Development Director Connie Neininger presented the Director’s Report for May 2008’s activities.

Internet leads continue to come across looking for acreage and she has submitted proposals for those. Connie reported that she is meeting with a business tomorrow related to the wind project. Also receiving calls from businesses interested in bio energy and renewable energy resources.

Connie said that she has attended several of the school boards and town council meetings across the county discussing the Home Town Competitiveness program.

Connie said that the construction of the Ivy Tech project is going very well and they anticipate a final inspection on the building in the third week of July. Their target date is the first week of August. The cost of the change orders to date is now $16,000.

The White County Attorney George Loy has been working with Ivy Tech on finalizing the lease.

Connie said that she did meet with the accountant and attorney for the Wind Farms, Horizon Wind Energy. They are anticipating a construction start date of April 2009. She said that their project has now greatly expanded and they are now talking about a 1,000 mega watt wind farm. They are waiting to finalize the zoning ordinance, taxing situation, and road issues.

Connie said that they are still working on the roads on the Vera Sun project and they are still waiting on some land closings to proceed with the road work.

Attorney George Loy is still working with a land owner on the Wolcott Corridor project.

Connie announced that there is a breakfast being held for the Indiana Hometown Competitiveness program on Friday, June 27, 2008, at 7:30 a.m. at Pine View. A report will be given on the information that they have gathered to date.

DISCUSSION OF EXPANSION OF LIBRARY SERVICES

Bill Caddell, Interim Director of the Monticello-Union Public Library, appeared before the Commissioners and Council discussing the possibility of expanding their library services to all of White County residents.

Mr. Caddell discussed how he was first approached by the Cass Township Trustee, Mike Smolek, about the issue with students in his township not having access to the Monticello Library because they do not have a contract. Mr. Caddell explained that the only library accessible to these students in Cass Township is located in Royal Center which is about 10 miles away and the hours are very limited.

Mr. Caddell said that he was also contacted by a family that home schools their children. This family lives in the Twin Lakes School District and Twin Lakes students are given free library services, but the law states that a library cannot provide free library service to homeschooled children or to private schools. Homeschooled children can come in and use the library, but they are not allowed to check out any of the materials.

Mr. Caddell said that he did some research about the library services in White County and found that some townships have absolutely no library service and some townships have service through contracts.

Big Creek Township pays $25 and the patron pays $25

West Point Township pays $25 and the patron pays $25

Honey Creek Township pays $40 and the patron pays $10

Family Card Township pays $80 and the patron pays $20

Liberty Township pays $45 and the patron pays $5

Family Card Township pays $90 and the patron pays $10

Mr. Caddell said that the library board is willing to expand the service to merge with the seven townships (Cass, Honey Creek, West Point, Liberty, Lincoln, Big Creek and Round Grove) to form a Monticello-White County Public Library District. He said that the Commissioners under Code IC 36-12-5-5 have the power to establish this library district. When the first two terms of the Monticello-Union Library Board members expire they will be replaced by someone who resides in one of the seven townships.

Mr. Caddell said that the State is now giving out grants for mergers. The State will pay $3.00 per capita toward helping the library grow until tax money starts coming in. He said that if the Commissioners votes this in before July 1, 2008, the State will pay $1.50 per capita for the last six months of this year and $3.00 per capita for 2009. The library would not receive any tax money until 2010.

Mr. Caddell said that he is not proposing that they merge with Brookston, Wolcott or Monon because they are already receiving some income from township trustee contracts and they are not wanting them to lose that money. The Monticello board is willing to negotiate with them to reimburse them cash for loss revenue or provide services. He said that they could act as if they are grantors even though they did not merge. He said that they could provide cooperative services in exchange for reciprocal borrowing. If they let people from the seven townships use their library then the Monticello library could provide them services such as: sharing of collections, county wide newsletter, or adult and children program services.

Mr. Caddell said that the DGLF controls what the tax rate would be. Currently, the Monticello library tax rate is $.0448 and all of the other libraries in the county have tax rates that are higher. To determine a budget, Mr. Caddell said that he would assume that public hearings would be held around the county to determine what services people in those townships would want to receive. If they just want reciprocal borrowing of the existing libraries and didn’t want to have delivery service going to Reynolds or Chalmers, etc., then the tax rate could be lower then the Monticello’s rate because your adding a lot of assessed valuation.

Monticello Board President Don Hanni said that the doors are open to all residents of White County at no cost or no fee other than the tax implication on the residents of Union and Jackson Township. Since the demand of their services is increasing, they are very limited on where the cost of these services is going to be generated. The decision by the board a couple of years ago to provide free service to students in the Twin Lakes school district, regardless of what township they live in, is still a financial burden on the residents of the two townships that do support the library. The board also made the decision to make things such as, the multi-board room and the reading programs available at no cost to all county residents. He said that the board feels that they need to reevaluate the free services and also the low rates that have been charged in the past in order to keep providing these services.

Councilman Bruce Clear thought that this was a great idea but asked what type of fiscal impact would that have for the tax rate for the whole county.

Mr. Caddell said that according to the DGLF in 2010 the property tax for Monticello would see a decrease about $.70 per $100 per resident. The rate will be less then it is now.

Commissioner Heimlich said that a meeting with representatives of each library and township trustees need to be held sometime this summer to gather as much information as possible.

Commissioner Heimlich also asked how it would be possible to include the other libraries in a county library system to where their tax rate could be lowered.

Mr. Caddell said that the other libraries are currently on a bond payment. Including them in a county library system would provide better services to them but their tax rates wouldn’t be lowered.

Deanna Dreblow, Director of the Wolcott Library, said that they are not in a bond issue and their tax rate is $.05. Mrs. Dreblow feels that they do provide good services. She discussed their library services Round Grove and West Point residents. She was concerned about residents living in Round Grove but having farm ground in Tippecanoe County and being double taxed.

Council President Horton agreed that another meeting needs to be held to gather more information.

Commissioner Heimlich said that he will try to set up a night meeting to get as many people as possible to attend discussing this matter.

DISCUSSION OF WHEEL TAX

John Habermann, Program Manager with a Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) from Purdue University, appeared before the Commissioners and Council discussing more options for the county to raise money to fund road improvements.

Mr. Habermann said that the local option highway user tax (LOHUT) is a local optional tax that which funds can only be used for highway use only. In 1980 the State Legislators gave County Council the authority to implement the tax to raise money to use in their local road funds.

Mr. Habermann explained how LOHUT is two different taxes that must be adopted concurrently.

The first tax is the county motor vehicle excise surtax. This is a surtax on the vehicle excise tax paid at the time of registration. This applies towards automobiles, motorcycles, and trucks less than 11,000 pounds. The county could do a percentage of the vehicles excise tax or they could do a flat amount per vehicle. He said that more of the counties that have this tax do have the flat fee per vehicle.

The second tax is the county wheel tax that applies to all vehicles not subject to the excise surtax. It would cover all vehicles over 11,000 pounds: buses, recreational vehicles, semi-trailers, tractors, and trucks. He said that the rate could be between $5.00 and $40.00 per vehicle and you may have different rates for each class of vehicles. Again, a lot of the counties have the fee set with the weight of the vehicle.

Mr. Habermann said that the vehicles that would be exempt from the tax would be vehicles owned by the state, vehicles owned by a political subdivision, buses owned by religious or nonprofit youth organization.

Mr. Habermann said that this is something that the County Council would have to pass. If the county passes the tax after December 31 and before July 1, then the tax will be collected the next year. The funds will be collected from the BMV and they will remit a check to the County Auditor.

Mr. Habermann said that not all of the funds will be allocated to the county. The money will be distributed by a formula called the Local Road & Street formula. Money will be distributed to the county, cities and towns.

Councilman Horton asked how the council would go about do this. Mr. Habermann said that they do have examples of ordinances that the county could look at and set the rates. From there the ordinance will need to be advertised and public hearings will need to be held. After that is all completed, the council can adopt the ordinance.

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

__________________________ _____________________________ ______________________________

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

ATTEST: _________________________

Auditor Jill Guingrich