County moves forward with building purchase
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
Crawford County officials decided last week to move forward with the purchase of a building in English to house the probation department.
Currently located in the front portion of the county highway department building, the probation department lacks space and, perhaps more importantly, privacy for confidential meetings.
Last month, the county council asked Chief Probation Officer Jim Grizzel to explore the option of a lease due to the county’s financial situation. That option, however, proved much more expensive as the lease payments would not go toward a future purchase of the property.
Attorney Marcus Burgher IV told both the board of commissioners and council members that there is specific and somewhat complicated procedures that must be followed for the county to enter a lease agreement as well.
Grizzel explained that his department is in good financial shape. He said he has a total of $26,000 that would cover a downpayment of 20% for a bank loan. The county’s expense for the required appraisals does go toward the purchase price, he noted.
Grizzel said the department recently switched companies for home monitoring which has resulted in increased collections.
“We’re getting more and less is going out,” he said. “We have enough money monthly to make a loan payment and pay utilities. I don’t want to cost the county any money.”
He said the brick building, located in English, does not need any upgrades and is handicap accessible. The county needs $69,500 for the purchase.
Council members discussed several options for moving forward, including taking the money from the Rainy Day Fund, which has a balance of $835,000.
“That would be better to me than getting a loan,” said council president Chad Riddle.
Burgher said there is $92,463 in the Riverboat Capital Projects Fund, noting this purchase would qualify as a capital project.
Councilman Bill Breeding was not in favor of the purchase.
“I’m against buying it; I don’t care where you get the funds from,” he said, ticking off a list of pressing needs, including a new ambulance and upgraded security system at the jail. “I’m afraid there’ll be something else we’ll need the money for.”
Breeding said he opposes using Rainy Day funds because that is intended for emergencies.
Burgher said another possible funding option is the Indiana Bond Bank, which provides extremely low-interest loans to units of government.
The council asked Grizzel to look into the bond bank option and indicated plans to move forward with the purchase, deciding in December how to fund it.