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Crawford Co. offices get OK to take plastic

March 16, 2011
Persons doing business at the Crawford County Judicial Complex in English will now be asked, "Will that be cash or credit?"

Following a presentation by Recorder Dawn Wright, the county board of commissioners, at its Feb. 24 meeting, voted 3-0 to contract with PayGOV LLC to process payments via debit or credit cards.

While the final decision to accept debit or credit cards will be left up to each office, the commissioners' vote potentially paves the way for everything from deeds to taxes to child support to be paid with plastic.

Verification will be immediate, with the company, not the county, taking full responsibility for the transaction, Wright said. She gave an example of a child support payment of several thousands of dollars elsewhere that somehow was canceled after verification. The company took the loss as the county clerk's office still received the payment, she said.

The county will not have to pay for the service, which will be administered on a monthly contract, but persons making the payments will be charged a fee of at least 3 percent of their transaction. Payments will be able to be made via telephone or online at the company's website — PayGOV.us — but at a higher fee.

Even with the transaction fee, the service could be financially helpful for persons low on cash at property tax time, Wright said. By paying with a credit card, even with a fee, they would avoid the greater 10-percent late penalty, she explained.

Wright said the payment service would only be an option.

"If you don't like it, you don't have to use it," she said.

District 1 Commissioner Daniel Crecelius, who made the motion to contract with PayGOV LLC, agreed that the county should provide another payment option.

"I was at the presentation, and I think it would be a good benefit to the" people of the county, he said.

Other counties in the area that utilize PayGOV LLC include Floyd and Dubois.

In another matter, the commissioners accepted the recommendation of a committee studying the county's ambulance service to hire a full-time supervisor. For years, one of the emergency medical technicians also has served as the supervisor.

District 2 Commissioner Randy Gilmore said it is too time consuming for one of the EMTs to also perform the supervisor's duties, which include billing and scheduling among other things.

"Quite frankly," James Schultz, president of the board, added, "I'm surprised that anyone would be willing to do it for the amount of pay involved."

The commissioners voted unanimously to create the position and to ask the county council at its March 8 meeting for funding for the salary.

The commissioners also voted 3-0 to accept applications for a highway department superintendent. Like with the ambulance service supervisor, the commissioners were to ask the county council for funding.

The highway department has been without a superintendent since last summer, when the superintendent at the time resigned.

The commissioners voted to meet in special session on March 8 to interview applicants for both positions.

(The council approved the funding, and the commissioners voted that night to hire John Gott as EMS supervisor and Perry Leonard as highway department superintendent.)

The commissioners also heard from Mike Benham, president of the English Town Council, regarding problems the town's wastewater system has incurred likely because of inmates at the Crawford County Jail flushing foreign objects down their toilets.

"You can plainly see everything from spoons to little shampoo bottles to ramen noodles," he said.

Those objects can clog the systems and cause pumps to burn out, which has happened a couple of times, Benham said. Each pump costs about $3,200, not including shipping and labor, he said.

"The existing hook system in there (which is to catch the foreign objects) apparently doesn't work," he said.

Benhman suggested installing an exterior concrete box with grates that would act as a trap. The town would need financial help from the county, since the unit would cost approximately $10,000, and it would need to be cleaned out daily, but it would correct the problem, he said.

Benham, who is the assistant chief of the English Volunteer Fire Department, also told the commissioners about the emergency medical technician training class that EVFD requested $6,000 from the county council to administer.

The Basic Life Support-level class first be will offered to county residents already serving on emergency agencies, such as fire departments, and then to other county residents and, if there is enough space, out-of-county residents.

County residents, Benham said, will be required to make a $100 deposit that will be reimbursed if they successfully complete the class. Out-of-county residents will be responsible for the full cost and will not be reimbursed.

The county council, in February, agreed to provide up to $6,000 from the riverboat wagering fund. The commissioners also voted 3-0 to do so.

In other business, the commissioners:

•Unanimously approved two bridge-related items brought forth by Beam, Longest and Neff. The first was for the engineering firm to perform preliminary design work on repair of Bridge No. 80. The second is a request for $52,990 from the county council for bridge inspections done by BLN. Eighty percent of those dollars are reimbursable by the federal government.

•Approved, 3-0, pending a review of the deed by County Attorney John E. Colin, advertising for bids for demolition of the old county jail in English.

•Voted 3-0 to approve Boy Scout Jonathan Lanning's request for the county to donate use of a bulldozer and grader for his Eagle Scout service project. Lanning, a member of the Crawford County Junior-Senior High School Marching Wolfpack, is wanting to make a practice field for the band on school property north of the high school. Lanning said the equipment and operator would be needed for one day.

•Voted 3-0 to ask the county council to create specific lines in the highway department's share of the riverboat fund so the commissioners can better track how much has been spent for various items.

•Were informed by Auditor Ricki Hawkins that Maximus Financial Services, which the county hired to assist it in recovering lost revenue, has found $23,344 of IV-D child support funds that the Clerk's Office should be reimbursed by the state.

•Voted, 2-0-1 (Crecelius abstained), to appoint Crecelius as its community representative to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development Region 10 Workforce Investment Board.

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