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County Council approves 2009 county budget

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Putnam County Council made final adjustments to and approved the 2009 county budget Tuesday night.

The adjustments to the budget mainly had to do with salary issues in various departments.

The longest discussion pertained to salaries of deputies in the assessor's office. Because all county assessment will now be centrally handled in the county office rather than by individual township assessors, the extra appropriations are now required to that portion of the budget.

However, the new system will significantly cut what the county was paying for assessment.

The salary of one assessor's deputy will go from $25,479 to $27,379, while the second deputy will go from a part-time salary of $12,000 to a full-time salary of $25,000.

One position in adult probation will receive a $2,000 raise for a new position with additional responsibilities.

Additionally, $19,074 to be used for election equipment had to be moved from the election general fund to a specific fund devoted to new equipment.

The council approved the budget 6-1 with Don Walton dissenting.

Sheriff Steve Fenwick appeared before the council for several issues, one of which was a possible plan to change the jail's medical care plan.

The current plan is with ACH and costs $98,000 per year plus about $3,000 per month in addendums. This covers a doctor coming in once a month to examine all inmates and recommending any additional treatments that may be required.

The new plan would cost $55,000 per year, cover all the same areas and would not have the extra monthly fees. The council was pleased to hear of savings well in excess of $43,000.

Because the issue involves a contract, the county commissioners, not the council, will have to approve. However, if the plan will work out, the sheriff's department hopes to contact the old provider by Dec. 1, so they have the required 30 days to get out of the old contract by the beginning of 2009.

The Sheriff also presented a plan to pay $12,500 that covers five deductibles, one of which has to be paid each time an inmate sues the Sheriff's Department. The fees will be paid from the commissary fund.

This action also did not require council approval because it was a commissary fund issue. But it was brought to the public meeting simply for the sake of transparency, given the previous sheriff's legal troubles relating to the fund.

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Good job Sheriff Finwick. Now maybe those bashers will shut up a little. Sounds to me like you are doing a great job! Keep up the good work.

-- Posted by interested party on Wed, Nov 19, 2008, at 10:22 AM

It appears that he is doing what he promised, and more. He and his team are doing everything they can to bring respect back into the Sheriff's Department. I was not an original fan, but he is winning me over.

-- Posted by hoosierpete on Wed, Nov 19, 2008, at 12:21 PM

It appears Sheriff Finwick has a good head on his shoulders. Keep up the good work and Thank you!!

-- Posted by Afghan Contractor on Wed, Nov 19, 2008, at 6:35 PM

sounds like changed are coming in abundance and thats what needs to be happening. Good luck in months to come and hopefully all continues to go well. I do wonder who is going to be overseeing the ex-sheriff's home detention. That in itself will be very intersting.

-- Posted by cmg071580 on Thu, Nov 20, 2008, at 11:12 AM

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