GREENCASTLE -- Putnam County Council approved an ordinance amending the subscriber fee for 911 in the county -- something that hasn't been done since its inception in 1990. The fee was raised from $2.30 to $2.75, which is the maximum increase allowed by law.
"It is still not the highest (subscriber fee) in the state," noted EOC Director Dave Costin.
The subscriber fee can be found on a landline and cell phone bills and supports the entire operation of the 911 system, from salaries to training to equipment. However, landlines are becoming obsolete in today's wireless society.
In October, AT&T Inc. reported a national loss of 1.54 million landlines in its third quarter -- 500 per day in Indiana. Its net income dipped as revenue from traditional landlines fell faster than the company could cut costs, the Associated Press reported.
But without the increase on landlines in Putnam County, Emergency Operation Center director Dave Costin fears the EOC will be in the red again next year.
The department has suffered a more than $100,000 deficit for 2009. During the regular meeting Tuesday, council members approved an additional of $130,000 to the department to cover its remaining cost for the year. The monies will be transferred from the rainy day fund.
Council member Larry Parker stated he was totally against raising taxes, but understood (the increase in the subscriber fee) was a matter of public safety.
Costin was also given approval from the council to fill a part-time position. The money for the position is already in the budget, Costin assured. This would give EOC six part-time employees.
In addition, several people with the highway department went before the council to discuss hiring a full-time employee at the first of the year. He would replace an employee who is retiring, but not until July 2010.
The crewmember has already been working with the department for the last year through Manpower Inc. However, his contract is up Dec. 31 and the highway department wants desperately to put him on its payroll.
They were given approval based on approval from county commissioners at its meeting Dec. 21. The potential new employee thanked each council member with a handshake and smile following the vote.
In other business:
* Council gave approval to the Putnam County Health Department on a $625.26 appropriation for supplies in the coroner's office.
* The Putnam County Sheriff's Department was approved to purchase replacement software for the jail. PCSD was also given approval to transfer $33,000 from its fuel account to cover insurance costs next year.
Ashley O'Hair, chief matron at PCSD, explained the funds for insurance always begins with a nearly $45,000 deficit. With the transfer, the fund will begin with about an $8,000 deficit in 2010.
* Putnam County treasurer-elect Sharon Owens was given approval to transfer $804 for comp and vacation time in 2009.