A tentative budget to get the new county 911 Emergency Operations Center started has received the approval of the Putnam County Council.
The next step will be acceptance of bids for sitework at the EOC's new location, adjacent to the county highway garage west of Greencastle.
That bid opening was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, and the quick progress of the project had some council members concerned about the pace.
"What we're hoping to achieve is to keep this project on track," 911 Directgor David Costin told council members Darrel Thomas, Jay Fogle, Larry Parker, Keith Berry and Don Walton.
Costin said it is a goal to get the current 911 dispatch tower removed from the courthouse roof as soon as possible, hopefully before it undergoes another winter of icy build-up that could lead to a tower collapse.
The council agreed to the $443,000 start-up budget presented by Costin, agreeding that the funds can come from the county's Hazardous Waste Fund, due to new legislation passed this spring and signed by the governor.
However, that new law does not go into effect until July 1, Attorney Scott Hoff noted, so no funds can be taken for the project until after that time.
A financial adviser and bond counsel for the project were also to be chosen Wednesday afternoon. Council members stressed that those people should be aware that the $443,000 taken from the Hazardous Waste Fund must be reimbursed once financing for the entire project is secured.
A motion by Walton and a second by Berry to tentatively approve the funds received unanimous approval from the council.
Meanwhile, the council learned that property tax bills have been printed and are being mailed out. The collection deadline is July 13.
Auditor Stephanie Campbell noted the 2007 county budget was approved by the state with no changes.
In other business, the council heard:
* Nancy Dennis in the Real Estate Department asked for $10,000 in reassessment funds for part-time help for data collection. The council granted tentative approval for the request.
* A request for a transfer of $59,106 from the Board of Aviation Commissioners to the aviation grant account to pay for a contractor. It was approved.
* A petition to move $36,920 to the Department of Correction fund at the Putnam County Jail to continue to pay part-time employees at PCJ. The request was approved.
* Conducted a public hearing on a tax abatement for Buzzi Unicem, and declared an economic revitalization area and recommended a tax deduction for 10 years. A new facility will be constructed at a cost of $600,000 with an additional $1.7 million in new equipment. The estimated start date on the project is in September, with completion by the end of the year. Two new jobs will be created. The company already employs 164 people with total salaries estimated at $8.5 million. The abatement will result in a savings of $46,000.
* A request for $6,400 in the Probation Department budget to employ a case manager as a probation officer to fill in during a maternity leave. The request was approved.
* The Highway Department needs extra funds for repairs on large pieces of equipment. The council agreed to allow a $30,000 transfer from the road equipment account to the repairs and parts service account.
* A request to increase the mileage reimbursement to the same as the federal rate, which is around 43 cents. In October, the council approved an increase in the rate for county employees to 40 cents per mile. Council member Thomas noted that while the reimbursement amount was increased, the funds in that account were not. So some departments may run out of mileage funds by December. The council took no action on changing the reimbursement.
The county council regularly meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the courthouse annex, 209 W. Liberty St., Greencastle. The meetings are open to the public.