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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Commissioners receive good news

Friday, September 8, 2006

It's not really found money, but an investment account kept by the Putnam County Clerk's Office for several years could provide some needed staff and equipment if cashed in.

For the Putnam County Commissioners, finding out Tuesday the investment CD of $56,000 could be turned into the county's General Fund was a bit of welcome news.

Clerk Opal Sutherlin told Dennis O'Hair and Gene Beck that state auditors have said she can't keep the funds if the CD is cashed. It will have to be put into the General Fund.

But she said she would like to see some of the funds used to hire a part-time worker now for the Microfilm Department, which has a large backlog of files from several offices, and old equipment.

Sutherlin said she did not know the source of the CD's money.

It was likely from several small accounts that were combined. And she said it is unknown how long the account has existed, but probably at least 16 years. It grows by about $420 every three months, she said.

To support her call for microfilm assistance, Sutherlin noted that the case load in Superior Court has grown by more than 700 cases in the last year, and that work also flows through her office, as well as the Microfilm Department. She said there are also faster cameras that would help the one-person department catch up on its work.

O'Hair noted the state has said the office, helmed by Kathy VanArsdale, needs an upgrade in its equipment.

"If she got new equipment, she could take more pictures more quickly and get her caught up. I'd like to see a lot more money being put into upgrading that office. I would like to see that office get back into the 21st century," O'Hair said.

Beck agreed, but said he worried that once the money was put into the General Fund, it would be used up quickly.

The commissioners agreed to approve the part-time position for the Microfilm Department, pending County Council approval to fund it via the investment CD.

They suggested the Council, as the county's fiscal body, may also consider the equipment upgrades if some estimates could be presented soon.

"They may turn you down flat," O'Hair warned Sutherlin of the Council's decision.

In other business, the Commissioners:

-- Approved two job share positions for the probation department to turn a full-time position into two part-time jobs with no insurance benefits. The move will go to the Council for financial approval.

-- Approved an additional cost of $5,000 on Bridge 146 for an acknowledgement of an elevation change in the 100-year storm level.

-- Learned that on Bridge 105, the small structure northwest of Dunbar Covered Bridge, engineering firm Beam Longest and Neff will be submitting the hydraulic study to the state transportation department in the next couple of weeks. Improvements to that structure are part of the overall project to bypass the covered bridge. The county has applied to the state for additional funds for the Dunbar and Houck iron bridge projects.

The next meeting of the Commissioners is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18 in the courthouse annex, 209 W. Liberty St., Greencastle. The meeting is open to the public.

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