Salt shortage causing a stir
A request by the highway department made county council members lean back in their chairs for a moment Tuesday during their regular meeting.
The year has barely begun and already a substantial amount of the $250,000 in the Rainy Day Fund is needed.
It seems the highway department is out of road salt and money to purchase any more of it. This has led the department to request $50,000 from the Rainy Day Fund, which council has full control over.
Council members were not hesitant in agreeing to the amount or the need, but the question was could the money be taken from another fund.
Taking the $50,000 out of the highway department's equipment fund was one consideration. It was quickly rejected due to the department needing to replace a truck soon.
At a cost of $165 per ton, the highway department has reportedly spent $100,000 on salt since December. This does not include a recent order totaling $21,000.
"People want the roads taken care of," said Commissioner Gene Beck on behalf of the highway department.
Council members agreed with Beck.
After further deliberation, the $50,000 request was given tentative approval and will most likely receive full approval at the council's meeting in February.
In other business:
* The sheriff's office advised the council its health care would continue with the same company. The current licensed practical nurse at the Putnam County Jail will be removed from payroll and added by contract. It will give the nurse a chance to have malpractice insurance.
* Council gave final approval on an $8,000 transfer from the public defender fund to cover the cost of moving employee positions from one court to the other, as requested by Judges Bridges and Headley in December.
* Council President Mitch Proctor began the first meeting of 2009 with a welcome extended to new members, Opal Sutherland and Nancy Fogel.
Proctor told all council members, "When we come here, it is to do what is best for the citizens of Putnam County."
He reminded everyone of the goal to spend tax money properly and frugally, where it is needed. He asked as the council progresses, to keep in mind taxpayers pay their salaries.