Commissioners deal with high salt prices

Monday, January 5, 2009

Putnam County Commissioners Gene Beck, Jim Baird and Kristina Warren organized their board, made a motion to request funds from the rainy day fund and discussed County Bridge 159 at their Monday meeting.

As far as organization of the commissioners' board, Beck will remain as the board president with Warren as Vice President.

Beck made a motion to request $50,000 from the county's rainy day fund to purchase salt for the county's roads.

"We've already spent all of our salt money and are paying for it out of our stone fund," said Beck.

Salt costs have risen from $50 a ton to over $130 and are still rising.

"We use to be able to get salt from any of these companies out there but now it's a problem," said Beck.

The budget contained $30,000 for 2009 salt, but that amount plus another $20,000 has already been spent.

The Rainy Day Fund has over $250,000 and the county council has full authority over it. The request for funds will be made to the council at its next meeting Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.

A discussion ensued regarding some change orders for work done on County Bridge 159 in Reelsville.

The old concrete arch bridge, built in 1929, was replaced by a two-lane structure in a million dollar project that was many years in the making. The old bridge was left standing to be restored as a pedestrian walkway.

The commissioners have asked representatives of the engineering company who had oversight of the project to come before the board to answer questions.

One of their first questions will be why work was done before commissioners approved any change orders.

"One of the change orders is for four things not in the plan. My concern is an overrun that we weren't consulted about," said Baird.

"If the state wants to pay them their 80 percent, that's fine. But, I think we've spent plenty of money down there already. If they have other work that needed done, they could have come to us first," added Beck.

"They need to do some explaining to us before they do anymore," he continued.

Putnam County Planner Kim Hyten reported to the commissioners that he is waiting for an agreement with the Town of Cloverdale to perform building inspections to be signed and returned to his office.

Under the agreement, Putnam County's Planning and Building Department will be responsible for conducting all building inspections services within Cloverdale. They will issue all building permits and inspection fees.

"They need to discuss it, sign it and send it back to us," said Hyten, who explained it is a similar arrangement to ones he has with Russellville and Bainbridge to do their inspections.

Hyten also reported that Heritage Environmental Services has notified him that the Unit 1 landfill at their facility near Roachdale has been closed because it is full. This is in accordance with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the Environmental Protection Agency (IPA).

Heritage has landfills in Indianapolis; Roachdale; East Liverpool, Ohio, Kansas City, Mo.; Coolidge, Ariz.; and Charlotte, NC.

This area concerns 51 acres where hazardous waste has been disposed in the landfill near C.R. 425 W and S.R. 236 in northern Putnam County.

Heritage will begin post-closure care including water quality monitoring and maintenance of the area and will continue to operate the Unit 2 landfill into the foreseeable future. All these activities are conducted under the direction of the IDEM.

Commissioners also approved a request from Superior Court Judge-elect Denny Bridges and Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley for a personnel change.

They two judges want to make a trade. Bridges wants to hand over the full-time employee position to Headley. Headley will in return give the part-time positions to Bridges. The part-time position -- 31 hours per week -- will be shared by two women.

The county council gave approval of the reassignment at its last meeting, pending approval by county commissioners.

The commissioners unanimously approved the request.

The next meeting of the Putnam County Commissioners is January 20 at 4:30 p.m. in the Courthouse Annex.

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  • Forget about the salt and start using sand full time. Then when the it turns to slush drop the blade and push it from the roadway.

    -- Posted by Reader2 on Mon, Jan 5, 2009, at 9:21 PM
  • Reader2, thanks for the suggestion, I agree with you 100%, but isn't that too easy. They'd find some excuse as to why this isn't a good idea. (Maybe because it wasn't their idea to begin with). Like he said, use sand.

    -- Posted by whodouthinkur on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 7:03 AM
  • That may sound good for some but the problem then arises in the spring and summer. The salt dissolves, the sand does not and speaking from experience, when you are riding a motorcycle and hit that sand on a curve or turning onto a road it is not fun. IF it was cleaned up afterward I would agree but it wouldn't be.

    -- Posted by pepperdog on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 7:12 AM
  • Why would you have already spent the salt money. Did we have such a bad winter that we've had to utilize all funds and salt? Was I gone when all this bad weather hit?

    -- Posted by whodouthinkur on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 7:44 AM
  • As someone not that familiar with county government operations, can someone educate us on why our county - the size that it is - is run by only 3 commissioners? It seems like a very small number of people to represent the people of the various towns/townships. Just curious. Thanks for any info you can provide.

    -- Posted by hoosierbychoice on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 7:57 AM
  • The number of Commissioners is dictated by IN Law.

    -- Posted by hoosierpete on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 12:12 PM
  • i agree with whodo- where and when has 50k worth of salt been used? not on the county roads i travel.

    -- Posted by Rome on Tue, Jan 6, 2009, at 3:02 PM
  • Where does the money go that comes out of our paychecks for county tax? Every two weeks I average paying 22.00 for Putnam County tax. This is the first time in my life I have lived where I pay a county tax and no one seems to know where it goes.I would think to help with our roads.

    -- Posted by bam on Wed, Jan 7, 2009, at 6:02 PM
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