2017-05-17 / Front Page

Commissioners unclear about courthouse space study

Community Corrections needs more space - NOW
By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

Carroll County Commissioners were asked at their Monday morning meeting when more space will be available in the courthouse for the Community Corrections Program. Program director Keyna Everett reported the room currently used by the program, which used to be a broom closet on the first floor of the building, is very stuffy with two staff and sometimes a client in it. She said the lounge is sometimes not available for the program to use, which creates confidentiality issues.

Everett asked Commissioners about the progress of the courthouse master plan to determine what county offices should be relocated to the area formerly occupied by the Historical Museum. The space has been vacant since Dec. 31, 2016. Commissioners Bill Brown, John Brown and Steve Pearson indicated they did not know what was happening with the project, although Pearson said he has recently seen representatives of the group hired to do the study on the premises.

Commissioners approved a contract with SRKM Architecture at their March 6, 2017, meeting to develop a comprehensive master plan for courthouse usage for $8,250. The plan was expected to be completed in two to three months at the time the contract was signed.

It was decided Monday to move the recently installed vending machines into the broom closet and move Community Corrections into the lounge. Everett received approval to move the program into the lounge. Everett told the Comet Tuesday, she plans to make the move around the first of June.

Nuisance property enforcement

County Environmental Sanitarian Angie Brown requested Commissioners find $7,000 for contractors to remediate some nuisance properties of uncooperative owners. Brown suggested county leaders ask the County Council to appropriate the additional funds into their 2017 budget for possible upcoming expenses. She said she currently has more than 70 unresolved nuisance complaints.

Pearson said he and his fellow commissioners should review their current budget status and find the requested amount from surplus funds and request transfers into the line item designated in their budget for the expenditures. Commissioners’ attorney Ted Johnson said the county leaders could meet in an administrative meeting to discuss the budget transfer requests. Bill Brown said he would rather hold a noticed public meeting.

Council member Ann Brown explained what line item in the Commissioners budget most likely contains the amount needed for remediation. She agreed to review the group’s current budget status and make funding recommendations to the others on the County Council at their June 12 meeting.

Surplus highway equipment liquidation

Highway Engineer Paul Couts was given approval to advertise 10 pieces of surplus equipment and trucks for a silent bid auction, which will conclude at noon June 2. Items include a Knox Paver, a New Holland Alamo, a Rogers low-boy trailer, three International dump trucks, a Ford truck, a bush hog, a pick-up truck plow and a generator from the county jail.

Couts said each item will have a minimum bid. The formal advertisements for the auction will appear in the May 24 and May 31 issues of the Carroll County Comet.

2017 road plan

Couts also shared a list of county roads planned for grinding and then chip and seal, based on a recent road audit. The work will be completed in two phases.

Phase I includes work on nine roads totaling 15.4 miles for one grinding. The 14 Phase IA roads, totaling 18.8 miles, will receive additional grinding.

Phase I roads needing work include county roads 700S., 200E., 625E., 350N., 800S., 600E., 500E., 500S. and 800W. Phase IA work will be done on county roads 550N., Meridian, 225E., 300E., 550N., 450N., 300S., 775S., 800S., 100S., 575W./375W./450W., 1050N., 1200N. and a second section of Meridian Rd.

Couts reported 50 “Yield” signs will be replaced with “Stop” signs this year. He said all “Yield” signs will be replaced within five years. The replacement work will be done starting in the southeast part of the county this fall.

Other business

Commissioners voted to adopt an ordinance on two readings by suspending the rules of adoption to change the county’s personnel policy. The personnel advisory committee will consist of five voting members instead of three. The two county employees on the committee will now have a vote each, as does the county auditor, one commissioner and one county council member.

County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Dana Jeffries advised the county leaders missed the deadline to approve and sign the state contract which provides for half of his salary for 2016 to be reimbursed to the county. Jeffries said the signature can now be done electronically and the document was sent to both the auditor and Commissioner Bill Brown for action. Human Resources worker Sesaly Reifert, who was monitoring the recording of the meeting for an absent Auditor Tom Gray, said Gray texted her during the meeting to say he has already signed the document.

Delphi City Council member Dale Seward presented Commissioners with a packet of information from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) which indicates the former county landfill cannot be formally closed until an amendment is made to the deed for the land. Attorney Johnson said he is aware of the situation, which has been noticed to the county for the past 18 months. He said he has not yet located the deed for the land.

Pearson said he is aware Carroll Manor Superintendent Martha Lewis is advertising the facility as “an assisted living community.” He said the Manor is only licensed as a “County Home” as defined by the state and suggested advertising it as something else may pose a liability issue for the county.

The next meeting will be June 5 at 9 a.m.

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