2017-11-08 / Front Page

Community Corrections plans to stay in courthouse

By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

Carroll County Commissioners Bill Brown and John Brown heard from Carroll Superior Court Judge Kurtis Fouts, representing the Community Corrections Program, about their recent decision to ask the program to leave the courthouse. Commissioner Steve Pearson was not present for the meeting.

Fouts, who is the president of the Community Corrections Board of Directors, stated there is no money in the program’s budget to rent a space outside of the courthouse.

“Please don’t kick us out of the courthouse because there is no money,” Judge Fouts told the county leaders.

Both commissioners agreed they received “bad information” about the willingness of the program to exit the taxpayer supported facility. Commissioner Bill Brown said after the plans developed by the architectural firm hired to help determine the best space usage for each department were released, Community Corrections Program staff were the first to object to the space planned for the program.

Program Director Keyna Everett stated the hired architects were not correct in the amount of space needed for Community Corrections. She said each of the two staff must have their own office as must the secretary.

Commissioners and County Clerk Andrea Miller agreed last month the 2018 courthouse polling location would be in the lounge once the Community Corrections Program vacates the space. Fouts suggested Commissioners renovate the space formerly occupied by the Historical Museum to accommodate his program.

Miller said as long as there is adequate Internet access in the space between the first floor and the basement, polling could be located there. She indicated since the Vote Center Plan was approved for the lounge, another plan would have to be approved by the State for a location change. She also advised there will have to be an ADA accessibility evaluation conducted for the former museum space.

No final decision was made Monday morning.

Carroll Manor Elevator

Commissioners approved a $84,250 expenditure for the elevator and new chair lifts at the Manor. Superintendent Martha Lewis was given permission to request an additional appropriation from the General Fund for the cost. She said she considers this a capital improvement project.

APC

Commissioners’ attorney Ted Johnson distributed a memo to commissioners outlining how the group could disband the Carroll County Area Plan Commission. The memo states that to repeal the comprehensive land use plan and the zoning and subdivision control ordinances of Carroll County, commissioners would have to submit a proposal to that effect to the Carroll County Area Plan Commission (APC). The APC would be required to conduct a public hearing on the proposal and make a recommendation to the commissioners within a certain timeframe. Commissioners would then make a final determination on the proposal after consideration of the APC’s recommendations.

Johnson wrote that in the absence of zoning and sub-division control ordinances, owners would be free to conduct any type of activity or use without restriction to build new structures and alter existing ones without the restrictions of land use districts or set-backs.

Community member Shirley Inman reminded Commissioners they could develop ordinances to offset ramifications of the lack of an APC and the zoning ordinance. Johnson said, although the subject is not “black or white,” it is true commissioners can adopt land use ordinances as they relate to public health and safety issues.

No decision was made about the matter.

Zoning Administrator Doug Wagner organized a joint meeting between the Commissioners and APC to discuss zoning for Tuesday evening, Nov. 7. However, the meeting was canceled and noted the public would not have been adequately notified due to the timing of the meeting.

2018 EDIT fund requests

Four groups appeared at the meeting to present funding requests from the 2018 Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) expected revenue. It was not known by County Auditor Beth Myers how much income tax revenue will be available for next year and how much could be remaining from the 2017 portion distributed by the state.

The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce requested $45,000 for next year. The Carroll County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) requested the contracted amount of $146,727. The Greater Delphi Chamber of Commerce requested $2,800 for advertising and another $5,000 to repair the gazebo, located on the northeast corner of the courthouse lawn. The County Highway Department requested $250,000 for road maintenance.

Property liability insurance

Two insurance companies vied for consideration to provide property liability insurance for the county. It was noted the current policy, held by RME Insurance in Flora, expires later this week. Bob Reef of RME and County Council member Josh Plue, who lives in Burlington, represented Shepherd Insurance Co. Both presented proposals, although there was no advertisement sent to providers to participate in the award. According to Auditor Beth Myers, another insurance company heard about the upcoming award but did not have time to prepare a presentation for Monday.

Plue’s quote was $261,789 while RME’s quote was $293,853. Jefferson Township Rex Millhouse asked about the possibility of a conflict of interest with Plue, who serves on the County Council. According to Plue, he asked advice from Council attorney Eric Burns, who advised him to file a conflict of interest form with the Clerk’s office. Clerk Andrea Miller advised the form has not been signed by Plue as of press time.

The commissioners awarded the contract to Shepherd Insurance Co. Other business

Commissioners voted to upgrade the courthouse Internet service with Frontier Communications.

APC Zoning Administrator Doug Wagner received approval to help the census bureau update census addresses. Wagner said the only cost to the county would be paying staff to do the work.

Delphi Business Women will use the lounge Nov. 27.

Delphi Lions Club will use the courthouse grounds for a sign and the lounge for the annual Christmas Parade.

Deer Creek Township resident Lauren Criswell, first deputy in the County Assessor’s Office, was named to the Delphi Library Board of Directors.

Payroll claims for $199,162.76 and $194,036.55 were approved after payment. County General claims for $136,278.87 were approved as were Highway claims for $292,434.56 and $29,065. Early claims for $97,315.54 and claims against accounts with separate tax rates for $255,074.95 were approved.

The next meeting will be Nov. 18 at 9 a.m. This is a Saturday morning meeting.

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