County Council provides late YSB funding
February 20, 2008
Meeting despite the wintry weather that canceled school and slowed others, the Crawford County Council last Tuesday evening provided funding for several entities and projects, including the Crawford County Youth Service Bureau and a match for a major emergency services grant.
"We never intended not to fund it … We just didn't want to take it out of the tax dollars," Council President Jerry Brewer said in explaining the council's decision to leave the YSB out of the county's 2008 budget.
The council, facing an extremely tight financial situation, made cuts where it could — and then some — late last summer when preparing the county's 2008 budget. Despite being funded in past years, the YSB was one of the agencies left out, with the intent of finding dollars later.
The council voted 6-0 (Councilwoman Sharon Wilson was absent) to provide the YSB $30,000 from the Harrison County Riverboat Wagering Tax Fund.
In another matter, the council approved $2,700 out of the county's Riverboat Contingency Fund to be used to pay the county's portion of a five-percent match for a grant that provided several emergency service agencies with 800 megahertz radios.
Kent Barrow, director of the Crawford County Emergency Management Agency, said a Department of Homeland Security grant for some $263,000 will provide radios to the four volunteer fire departments in the county, as well as the Crawford County Emergency Medical Services and Crawford County Sheriff's Department.
Barrow said the grant requires a five-percent match, with each fire department and the county asked to pay an equal share of that.
The grant provided the county alone $40,230 worth of equipment, he said.
Barrow said he wasn't asking the county for the money that day and instead was only informing the council that the grant was awarded, but the council chose to go ahead and pay the county's share.
Barrow said the radios should be delivered by May.
The council also voted 6-0 to authorize $3,600 out of the Riverboat Contingency Fund to be used to purchase a used cruiser from the Floyd County Sheriff's Department.
Crawford County Sheriff Tim Wilkerson told the council that the Crawford County Board of Commissioners in January approved allowing Wilkerson to purchase two used cruisers — both fully loaded except for radios and with approximately 90,000 miles — from Floyd County, subject to the council providing the funding.
"For $3,600, you can't buy the equipment," Wilkerson said.
The sheriff's department currently has one vehicle that needs to be taken out of service and another that is getting close, he said.
Although the commissioners authorized Wilkerson to purchase two cars, the council instead provided funding for just one vehicle, choosing only to replace the car that needs to taken out of service.
In other business, the council:
•Voted 6-0 to allow Rebekah Green of Milltown to serve as an unpaid intern in the Crawford County Surveyor's Office.
Green, who is working toward a degree in geoscience with a specialization in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at Indiana University Southeast, has done mapping work in the county before, including mapping the Crawford County 4-H Fair.
"Most of my experience, of course, is not in GIS, and that's why I need the internship," she said.
Crawford County Surveyor Reggie Timberlake said Green serving as an intern in his office will not cost the county anything.
"I'm not asking for any dollars tonight," he said. "I just want to put her on board for a while."
Timberlake added that the work Green does will benefit the county later, as he hopes to have his office begin doing such mapping, perhaps within the next year.
Green's internship will be for 16 hours per week for 14 weeks.
•Voted 6-0 to approve Timberlake's request to have a $600 insurance payment the county received for one of his office's antennas being stolen put into the Surveyor's Perpetuation Fund. The payment had been placed into the General Fund.
•Did not act on county custodian Dale Roll's request to have his pay increased by $4,600 per year since the commissioners voted last month to reinstate his title to building maintenance supervisor.
Roll previously performed those duties, with the extra pay, but the county council took it out of the 2008 because of budget concerns. He has continued doing those duties despite not receiving as much pay.
Roll, who was questioned about what his job entails, said that, in addition to the courthouse, he is responsible for the jail, Emergency Medical Services building, Probation Department and Health Department.
"I'm on-call 24/7 every week," he said.
Brewer told Roll the council couldn't act that evening because the extra pay request wasn't advertised, but the council members understand his concern.
"You've got our ear," he said.
Councilman Jim Elliott added that he would like to see Roll's job description listed in the upcoming county personnel handbook.
•Voted 6-0 to pay dispatcher Beth Marshall the additional $92.50 due to the Central Dispatch supervisor.
Wilkerson, whose department recently overtook Central Dispatch from the Crawford County Emergency Management Agency, said Marshall is "doing that job" and deserves the extra pay.
•Were told by Wilkerson that the county makes a net profit of $8,867 for each out-of-county prisoner it holds in its jail.
He said the facility currently is housing about 50 out-of-county inmates, at a cost of $35 per day each, and 16 county prisoners.
Auditor Peggy Bullington said the county is still awaiting payment from the state for several Indiana Department of Correction inmates held at the facility.
Brewer said he would like the council to be given updated figures each month so it can see how far behind the state is on payments. He added that the state should consider increasing the amount it pays to reflect inflation. The $35 daily fee hasn't been raised in years, he said.
"If the state had kept up with payments," Council Vice President Daniel Crecelius suggested, "we'd be in better shape financially as a county."
•Voted 6-0 to pass an ordinance requiring the county auditor to pay the county treasurer the Homestead Refund Credit issued by the state up to the amount a property taxpayer is delinquent prior to those funds being distributed to the taxpayer.
•Discussed the status of Crawford County Economic Development Director Don DuBois, whom the commissioners have made a county employee.
DuBois had been working as a contract employee, but the IRS indicated that since he has an office furnished by the county, he is a county employee.
The move doesn't increase DuBois' salary, but it does require the county to pay additional benefits.
"Instead of lowering his salary to compensate for the taxes, the county is going to pay (him the same)" Bullington said.
The council did not give any county employees a raise for 2008, and some view the additional benefits as a raise.
The council approved DuBois' 2008 budget last year during its annual budget session.
"We didn't intend to give him a raise," Brewer said.
The council will discuss the issue with the commissioners during a special joint session Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Crawford County Judicial Complex.
•Indicated that it is not comfortable with the Crawford County Community School Corp.'s request to have its share of riverboat gaming dollars the county gives it to be funneled through a non-profit agency so those funds can be leveraged for grant dollars for a renovation project at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School.
The funds were originally given to the school to reduce the debt service on the elementary schools project in the late 1990s. The council later allowed a portion of the funds to be used for full-time kindergarten.
However, the council, which earlier seemed interested in the school corporation's request, decided against it, after realizing that the project may create more debt.
Council attorney Marcus Burgher IV is to prepare an ordinance stating the dollars shared by the county can only be used to reduce the school corporation's debt service.
The council will meet with the commissioners Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Crawford County Judicial Complex in English to discuss the findings of a special committee established to review personnel and other costs within county offices.