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BE IT REMEMBERED that a regular meeting of the White County Council was held at the White County Building at Monticello at 9:00 A.M. on February 21, 2012 for the purpose of discussing the additional appropriations and other business that might come before the membership.

Council President Dennis Carter called the Council meeting to order in joint session with the Commissioners. The following members were present:

 

Dennis E Carter Kevin L Crabb Gary W Hendryx

Bruce D Clear Raymond L Kramer Jr James G Annis

Dennis D Cain

For content of joint session, see Commissioners’ minutes.

 

MINUTES

Councilor Kramer said the apostrophe before the “s” on page three, second to last line, should be after the “s”. The same goes for the apostrophe on page four, second to last sentence, in the first paragraph.

Councilor Kramer made a motion to accept the January 17, 2012 minutes with the corrections. Councilor Annis seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous

ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATIONS

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE County Council of White County, Indiana that for the expenses of said Municipal Corporation the following additional sums of money are hereby appropriated and set apart out of the fund. Herein specified and subject to the laws governing the same.

REQUESTED

WHITE COUNTY HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT

 

Operation of Highway $ 400,000.00

Repair and Maintenance of Roads $ 500,000.00

TOTAL $ 900,000.00

 

Mr. BJ Propes, who is filling in for the retired Highway Department Supervisor, said the $400,000 being requested is needed to keep the doors open. That, along with the rest, is a result of the lack of funds from the State. He said the amount the Department receives now is about the same as they received in 2004. Council President Carter said he’s not used to seeing a need for operating costs requested this early in the year. Councilor Clear said the Department should be money ahead on salt and sand this year. Mr. Propes said if the tonnage order is cut back, then the company will not have enough available the next year and will also charge the premium amount. Councilor Kramer asked if Cum Bridge could be used for this purpose.

Auditor Guingrich said the County Budget has not been approved by the State to be able to act on any additional appropriations. Once the State sends form 1782, the Council has ten days to respond. Auditor Guingrich said the Council could table the request until the State approves the County Budget. She said we do not know until form 1782 comes in how much will be cut from their budget. She said the former supervisor was probably anticipating how much would be cut. She said he has been good about requesting less than the department actually gets cut. Council President Carter said the Council will table the vote until the March Council meeting.

REQUESTED APPROVED

WHITE COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT

Environmental Management System $ 70,000.00 $ 70,000.00

TOTAL $ 70,000.00 $ 70,000.00

 

Auditor Guingrich said this appropriation can be acted on because it’s not budgeted funds and the money is already there. The environmental management system was requested at a prior meeting and the Commissioners had given approval to make the purchase.

Councilor Kramer made a motion to appropriate the above request from the Cum Property Maintenance & Repair Fund #130. Councilor Cain seconded the motion.

Vote: Unanimous

 

TAX ABATEMENT BOARD

White County Economic Development Organization (WCEDO) Executive Director Connie Neininger passed out a list of the existing Tax Abatement Board members for 2012 and the areas which each one represents. She said Jim Saylor represented Burnettsville, but he is no longer on the board, so there is a vacancy. She asked that the Council approve the slate of names who have agreed to serve. Councilor Crabb asked how it was decided as to how many should serve. Councilor Cain questioned why the terms are not staggered. Councilor Annis said Dave Stimmel does not live in Chalmers, and Councilor Kramer said Art Anderson does not live in Wolcott. Secretary Nydegger asked if it mattered where members lived in relationship to the area they represented. Director Neininger said it’s been this way since she’s been here, and she does not know the history of how the board was started or answers to these questions. She has been researching and asking questions to no avail. She said these men have a good knowledge of the areas they represent and simply make recommendations to the Council. She said the Commissioners thought it made sense the Council would appoint them because the Council deals with the tax abatements. Council President Carter said he would research the history of this board and report next month.

Councilor Annis made a motion to accept the slate of board members presented: Connie Neininger, Economic Development; Bill Heiny, White County; Max Eldridge, Brookston; Dave Stimmel, Chalmers; Larry L. Brown, Monon; Andy Harmon, Monticello; Art Anderson, Wolcott; vacant, Burnettsville. Councilor Cain seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous

PULASKI-WHITE RURAL TELEPHONE COMPANY CONFIRMATORY RESOLUTION

Director Neininger said the Pulaski-White Rural Telephone Company (PWRTC) will relocate its corporate office to the former Buffalo Elementary School. They will be remodeling, and there will be new technical equipment installed. They plan to transfer the current 18 employees from the Pulaski office to the Buffalo office and add four more employees. The investment plan for the project is $2,500,000 on the real estate, and $1,500,000 on the equipment. The Tax Abatement Board is recommending a tax abatement for an unlimited dollar amount on the real estate for ten years, and an unlimited dollar amount on the equipment for seven years. Ms. Neininger said PWRTC owns several other properties in White County, but this is the first time they have requested a tax abatement. PWRTC President Chris Bonner said the reason for the seven-year request on the equipment is because of its quick depreciation and constant changes in technology. Councilor Kramer said this property hasn’t even been on the tax rolls in the past, so gradually bringing it on is a plus.

Councilor Kramer made a motion to adopt the Confirmatory Resolution for the Designating of Economic Revitalization Area on application of Pulaski-White Rural Telephone Company, being ten years for real estate with an unlimited dollar amount, and seven years for information technology equipment with an unlimited dollar amount (#2012-02-21-01). Councilor Annis seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous

GIRTZ INDUSTRIES CONFIRMATORY RESOLUTION

Director Neininger said there will be a $2,000,000 expansion to the building and $631,000 of new equipment added. They are planning to hire 13 full-time employees, some of

whom are currently temporary employees. They currently employee 136 full-time employees. The nature of the business does require hiring temporary employees as well. The tax abatement board is recommending unlimited dollar amounts for ten years on both the real estate and the equipment. Mr. Girtz said the major drive for this project is the need for capacity and efficiency to make more units. The industry has become more technical. Girtz Industries is one of the only North American companies making every major component of their product and can be completely made and assembled in house.

Councilor Cain made a motion to adopt the Confirmatory Resolution for the Designating of Economic Revitalization Area on application of Girtz Industries, being ten years for real estate with an unlimited dollar amount, and ten years for equipment with an unlimited dollar amount (#2012-02-21-02). Councilor Clear seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous

 

WHITE COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION REQUEST

WCEDO Director Neininger said they have spent over $50,000 the last couple of years on the Monticello project and the Wolcott Corridor. They anticipate another $20,000 needed this year. They have not asked the County for funds since 2009. The Commissioners will reimburse $16,854.73 to cover the wetlands appraisals, surveys, and title work that was done in preparation for the grant. Director Neininger said the board is requesting $40,000 from the CEDIT fund. Auditor Guingrich said Ms. Neininger can give the formal request to Secretary Nydegger to be advertised and the Council can vote on it next month.

 

WHITE COUNTY CLERK EQUIPMENT & ELECTION BOARD PAY

White County Clerk Paula Lantz said the Clerk’s office is run by a server that needs to be replaced. Information Technology Director Eric Storm explained servers last about four years and need to be compatible with the newer software. Clerk Lantz said the $10,370.00 cost will come from the Clerk’s Perpetuation fund.

Clerk Lantz said the White County Election Board (WCEB) pay has not been increased for over twenty years. She asked to increase the pay from $1,000 to $3,000 a year per member (which would increase from $500 per election to $1,500 per election). The Clerk receives a stipend of $1,500 a year ($750 per election). She would like to see the stipend raised to $3,000 ($1,500 per election). Other Counties hire one Republican, one Democrat, and their assistants. In White County the Clerk runs the elections. Attorney John Million said the duties and responsibilities have increased, including training sessions, which once took an hour, but now take two or two and a half hours. He feels the WCEB has saved the County money over the years by doing away with Election Sheriffs, consolidating the number of voting precincts from 23 to 19, and compressing down to 12 voting places. Even though the election workers’ pay increased, it’s less money because there aren’t as many workers. Attorney Million said the provisional ballots take more time to process. WCEB members are Attorney Million, Steve Birch, and Clerk Lantz. Mary Reed from the Clerk’s office is the secretary, but she is not paid extra because it falls under her regular office duties.

Councilor Cain said the Council cannot act on her request until the State returns the County Budget, and he said pay raises should be requested at budget time. Clerk Lantz said this request could be granted this year because of the money being saved from reducing the number of precincts. The budget was based on 23 precincts. Councilor Clear said the Council needs time to consider this request. Councilor Kramer said it has nothing to do with whether you saved money or not, because you’re supposed to be trying to save money. He said it has nothing to do with whether you’re doing the job or not, because you’re supposed to be doing the job.

 

WHITE COUNTY AREA PLAN DIRECTOR SALARY

Councilor Kramer said he wants to hear the outcome of County Attorney Loy’s research before making a decision on raising the Area Plan Director’s pay. Area Plan Commission (APC) Attorney Ben Diener wanted to elaborate on the memo sent last month. APC has the statutory authority to set the Director’s pay, as long as it falls within the level one employee rate that was determined by the Council. The Council would have to defer to the salary the APC sets within those parameters. Attorney Diener said State Statute differentiates this Department from the others in the Courthouse, and he would be able to help the Council with an appropriate response to the other Departments. Councilor Kramer said there are other Departments that have similar authority. Attorney Diener said the APC’s position is to support the Director and not put the Council in a bind. Perhaps there could be something put in place short-term that would work up to a long-term solution. Mr. Diener said Mr. Rogers has not only missed out on the longevity but also the overtime supplement to his salary the previous Director had.

Auditor Guingrich asked why this wasn’t brought out at budget time rather than now when it causes animosity. Attorney Diener said at budget time Mr. Rogers didn’t get the nominal increase he asked for. Councilor Clear said the Council and APC need to be careful about considering the salary for the person rather than the position. Attorney Diener said the money can be supported through the Area Plan Budget without asking for more money. Councilor Clear said every Department could find some money to support a raise. Auditor Guingrich said her budget has almost no wiggle room. Councilor Kramer said although Mr. Rogers asked for a 4% raise, others asked for as much as 10%. Every Department Head’s request that was more than 3% was cut back to a 3% raise. He said there had not been any raises for three years because of the uncertainty of tax revenues. He said the Council has tried to make pay adjustments the last few years to get each position’s pay in line. President Carter is disappointed Mr. Rogers felt slighted that he received a 3.6% raise instead of the 4% requested. He said the Council must consider all the employees and can’t give different pay raises. Attorney Diener said it just sends a weird message when you aren’t willing to give the extra $68.00 it would take to make the 4% raise Mr. Rogers requested. Mr. Deiner said the problem really stems from Mr. Rogers being told he would make the same salary as the previous Director, and then he found out after the fact he would make $8,000 less than what he thought she made.

APC Board Member Mr. Jim Mann said he has been glad to hear throughout this discussion the positive tone the Councilors have toward the APC and the great job the Commission is doing for the citizens. It is important for people to walk away from Area Plan and each court house office getting what they need to make critical decisions. There was an era when that wasn’t happening in Area Plan, and people were frustrated. Councilor Kramer said he thinks it’s a timing issue. He thinks the Council will be accommodating, and able to come up with a solution that both the APC Board will be happy with, the Council will be comfortable with, and by extension Mr. Rogers is comfortable with.

 

WHITE COUNTY SHERIFF

Auditor Guingrich said Sheriff Shafer was on the agenda to speak with the Council, but had been detained. He would like to seek Council’s approval to replace Bob White who will be retiring at the end of February. There were no objections.

 

CITIZENS OVERVIEW OF MEETING

White County citizen Kathleen Gross asked if there was a way for those in attendance at Council meetings to also get copies of papers passed out to the Council. Could the papers be displayed on an overhead projector? She said the Council is dealing with tax dollars, and having a more informed public would do away with a lot of the garbage.

Ms. Gross also commented that as a newcomer to the community and having to deal with Area Plan, it was a pleasant experience. She asked how the elected officials and other county employees’ flex-time works. Councilor Clear said it’s up to the Department Heads, but employees can’t build up a lot of compensation time. He said the elected officials have no requirements other than getting the job done.

Mr. Bob Callahan said he enjoys the Council meetings and seeing how local government works. He said the job they are doing is important, and it’s important for citizens to pay attention.

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to bring before the Council, Councilor Cain made a motion to adjourn. Councilor Kramer seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous

 

 

 

 

___________________________ ___________________________ ___________________________

DENNIS E CARTER, PRESIDENT JAMES ANNIS GARY W HENDRYX

___________________________ ___________________________ ___________________________

DENNIS D CAIN KEVIN L CRABB RAYMOND L KRAMER JR

___________________________ Attest: ___________________________

BRUCE D CLEAR JILL GUINGRICH, AUDITOR