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Council funds emergency residential phone system

March 18, 2009
The Crawford County Council, meeting in regular session at the Crawford County Judicial Complex in English last Tuesday evening, approved $1,000 to fund an emergency phone system for residents.

The council approved the request made by Emergency Management Agency Director Kent Barrow that will enable households to be given emergency information using the Crawford County Community School Corp.'s SchoolMessenger phone system.

The money, to be transferred from the county's rainy day fund, will pay set-up costs and a fee of $1 per household that signs up. The council will revisit the issue if more households sign up than the funding will cover.

"Right now, we've got 38 households signed up for the SchoolMessenger and some of those are even paying their own fee," Barrow said.

Sign-up cards will be available at businesses in the county and can be mailed to the EMA office at P.O. Box 316, English, IN 47118.

Councilman Joey Robinson's motion to approve the $1,000 transfer, which was seconded by Doug McLain and approved 6-0 (Councilwoman Sharon Wilson was absent), included establishing a fund for money to be placed.

The council also voted 6-0 to support Crawford Circuit Court Judge K. Lynn Lopp's efforts to get approval from the state to hire a juvenile referee to work one day a week in the county court.

Lopp said the salary for the referee, which must be an attorney, would be a percentage of that of a judge and would be $22,000 per year. While the county would pay the salary up front, the state, he said, would provide about a 75-percent reimbursement.

The referee, Lopp said, is needed to assist with juvenile cases.

In a related matter, the council tabled Lopp's request to increase the salaries of the court bailiff and reporter by $2,500 per year each.

Lopp noted the salaries are below those of each of the neighboring counties. He said the two employees, both of whom have been with the office for 20 years or more, "handle more cases per person" than any other court office in Crawford County's district.

"I never really came in here and asked that of the council in my 16 years on the bench," Lopp said of the salary increases.

Council President Jerry Brewer said the council, including its two new members who weren't on the board when it adopted the salaries, needs time to review the request.

Last Tuesday, the council also voted 6-0 to pay $720 to provide mortality insurance on Kaden, a K-9 Sheriff Tim Wilkerson wants to add to his department, pending approval from the county commissioners.

"Crawford County has never had one, and we desperately need one," Wilkerson told the council.

The police dog would be leased for $1 per year from its owner, Deputy Sheriff Eddie Weber, who recently joined the department and is a certified K-9 trainer.

Kaden is trained to find narcotics (methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine and marijuana), patrol and track both suspected criminals and missing persons. He located a missing autistic child in Hanover while Weber was an officer at nearby Madison.

"This is the greatest opportunity we've had in a long time," Wilkerson said.

In other business, the council:

•Voted 6-0 to commit $4,600 from the County Economic Development Income Tax fund to be used as a local match for a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to pay for a feasibility study regarding a health care facility north of Leavenworth near Interstate 64.

•Voted 6-0 to allow the Crawford County Com-munity School Corp. to use $30,000 of the gaming revenue the county annually provides it for debt reduction to install fire hydrants around Crawford County Junior-Senior High School. Besides providing better fire protection, having the hydrants on the campus will lower the school corporation's insurance premium.

•Transferred, via a 6-0 vote, $22,000 within the dispatch and jail budget from utilities to payroll to pay accumulated employee comp time.

•Approved, 6-0, the advertised additional and transfer requests.

•Voted 6-0 to amend the 2009 salary ordinance.

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