GREENCASTLE -- Putnam County will soon be utilizing a new tool in the fight to collect child support payments.
Title IV D Child Support Director Beth Ross and Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter told the Putnam County Commissioners about the new program at Tuesday morning's meeting.
Many of the people currently owing child support in the county are not trying to avoid paying, they simply cannot find jobs. The problems include lack of education and lack of knowledge about searching for jobs.
"Many of these people don't know how to apply for jobs; they don't know how to get a GED," Bookwalter said.
The new program will be a nine-week class in which the participants will learn about how to pursue further education as well as where and how to apply for jobs.
Bookwalter pointed out that many of the offenders have a background in construction, an industry hit especially hard in recent years.
"There are jobs out there. They aren't necessarily the ones they want; they don't have freedom. But when you have kids, you have to pay your support," Bookwalter said.
Bookwalter and Ross see the classes as a more productive way of fighting the deadbeat parent problem than simply putting people in jail, where they remain unable to pay. Bookwalter hopes the judges will incorporate the classes into the court orders for people struggling to pay support.
"We don't just want to lock people up; we want to get them to pay their support," Bookwalter said.
The commissioners voted to allow the class to be held in the commissioners courtroom. Two nine-week sessions will be offered each year.
Maintenance work on some of the stones of the Putnam County Courthouse will soon be done at minimal cost to the county.
Following an Aug. 9 inspection, County Planner Kim Hyten received a letter from Karr Tuckpointing that work done on the stones in 2005 was not completed. Three stones slated to be replaced were not replaced.
Hyten informed the commissioners that the company intends to replace the stones as well as patching all defective stone on the building at no cost to the county.
The only cost to the county will be the rental of a cherry picker for lifting the stones in place.
While the commissioners wanted to know how much a cherry picker will cost, they were impressed at the company's commitment to its customer.
"I think this is fantastic that they want to come back and correct these when it wasn't in the original contract," Commissioner Jim Baird said.