2008-10-08 / Front Page

Brown blasts council for loss of highway head

By Debbie Lowe Staff writer

Carroll County Commissioner Bill Brown expressed strong emotions about why the leader of the county highway department decided to leave his post at Monday morning's commissioners meeting. Brown compiled and verbalized a list of financial accomplishments, roughly $1,340,000 he said highway superintendent Ron Francis saved the county in one year. He disagreed with resistance by the council to go outside of the county personnel wage scale to augment Francis's annual salary by several thousand dollars.

Francis stated he was leaving because the council would not guarantee $8,000 to $9,000 additional compensation as a result of removing payment for compensatory time for salaried employees in 2009.

"We have a council who would quibble over $7,000 in his pay," Brown emphatically stated. "I think it's disgusting the way we run our financials and it's to the detriment to this county."

George Mears concurred with his fellow commissioner and said, "I totally agree with what Bill says."

Commissioners president Loren Hylton said he thought Francis "had been driven out of his position" with the county.

Francis said he appreciated the support commissioners have given to him in the department head position.

After permission from council is granted, commissioners will advertise to hire a highway superintendent/ engineer. Brown warned against the possibility of finding a certified engineer for the position.

"Engineers won't work for minimum wage," he said. "That's not hardly a possibility for us."

Hylton said he did not see a need to hire a certified engineer.

Wilson Bridge

Francis announced, due to change orders, costs for the Wilson Bridge project were $99,086.85 over contractor Village Blacksmith's estimate. He said the county match amount for the cost overruns would be $19,817.20.

Francis said he would request an additional appropriation or transfer from the council to pay the difference. He said the total project cost to the county was less than $80,000.

Commissioners approved the change orders although the state has not.

"The changes have already been done," noted Hylton.

Brown made the motion to approve the additional money for the contractor and Mears provided the second.

Culvert 1071

Francis said the Culvert 1071 project was completed for $85,212, well under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimate. Work was needed due to storm and flood damage. He said the contractor outperformed expectations.

"That pipe will outlast anyone here," he said.

Proposals to provide county-wide bridge inspections were opened. Francis said he would tabulate the results to develop a recommendation for commissioners at a later meeting.

Other business

Commissioners approved a moratorium on billboard erection near the proposed Hoosier Heartland Highway. The moratorium restricts billboards along the route and for 2,000 feet past the proposed right-of-way on each side. The moratorium will expire April 1, 2009, or when the Carroll County Area Plan Commission adopts a county zoning overlay for a further permanent additional layer of regulation for the area.

An updated county flood hazard ordinance was also adopted.

Courthouse roof

Commissioners will contract with an architect to determine specifications for repairs for the courthouse roof. Custodian Sheryl Shockley said one individual was contacted and provided a price quote for services to determine what will be advertised for the project to proceed.

Yeoman Community Center-EMS Garage

Grant coordinator Amy Miller announced the second round of bids for the project would be opened at the Oct. 20 commissioners' meeting. She said the Yeoman Town Council rejected the first set of bids because they were all higher than funding allowed. Miller said she has since learned that the project could receive additional funding from the state, which she was encouraged to pursue if the next round of bids were also higher than expected. She said the additional state funding would require more local match.

Miller said she is closely watching the timetable for the project.

"We are not behind yet," she said. "We are on some very strict guidelines for the grant."

Hylton read a letter from the county council which requested no bids above available funding be accepted. It further requested adherence to all Indiana State Board of Accounts accounting practices.

Other business

A check for $6,191.50 was presented to Carroll Manor administrator Martha Lewis from Indiana Packers Corporation representative Janet Smith. The donation was the proceeds from an IPC-sponsored benefit dinner attended by 600 community residents and supporters.

Lewis reported the Manor donation fund contains more than $20,000.

An application to the Manor by Michael K. Robison was approved unanimously.

A park board donations ordinance was approved.

An ordinance to approve an employee-generated deferred compensation retirement fund was approved.

The Tecumseh Bend Homeowners Association requested commissioners take steps to prevent the Twin Lakes Regional Sewer District from infiltrating further into Carroll County from Jefferson Township. Representative Marvin Holmgren said the homeowners associations in Horseshoe Bend and Tippecanoe Ranch Estates were also organizing to prevent inclusion in the sewer district.

Jefferson Township resident Gregory Smith suggested commissioners request another member from Carroll County be added on the sewer district board. He said one White County member's term will end at the end of this year, making the proposed request timely.

Hylton said commissioners would research the matter.

Mileage reimbursement was increased to match that of the state.

The formal agreement to extend the current E-911 service for one year was approved.

Signage on the courthouse lawn approved: Grace Missionary Baptist Church and Delphi VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

Brown requested Emergency Medical Services Director Mike Durr be present at the Oct. 20 evening meeting to answer community questions about the state of the current ambulance service. He said he received several calls from residents with questions.

The next meeting will be Oct. 20 at 6 p.m.

Drainage Board

Carroll County Surveyor Wayne Chapman reported 11 work orders in Madison, Carrollton, Monroe, Liberty, Jefferson, Deer Creek and Democrat townships.

He said the Howard County Drainage Board met and approved ditch work in Carroll County for which property owners will be taxed. He said although Carroll County Commissioners attended one meeting, they were not invited or present at a second meeting at which the decision was made.

Chapman said the Howard County Drainage Board reported no objections to the proposed work by Carroll County residents.

Chapman also reported that work on the Boerman-Carroll Dairy south of Cutler, seemed to have halted. He said work already completed benefited county drainage in the area.

The next drainage board meeting will be Nov. 3 at 8:30 a.m.

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