Commissioners reorganize with two new members
Reorganization is the order of business in the new year for any public board, but for one featuring two new members out of three, it is essential.
Putnam County commissioner Nancy Fogle opened the first meeting of the year Monday morning by introducing the new cast surrounding her.
On her right was District 1 commissioner David Berry, beginning his first term as a commissioner.
To her left was District 3 commissioner Don Walton, a 32-year veteran of Putnam County government making his return to the county commissioners after an eight-year absence.
Even the table to the other side of the room was inhabited by newbies in auditor Lorie Hallett and county attorney Jim Ensley, both serving at their first meetings.
As might have been expected, Berry made a motion to elect Fogle the president of the board, a move seconded by Walton.
Walton's fellow commissioners then named him vice president of the board.
In other organizational matters, the commissioners decided on which boards each of the three of them will serve in the coming year.
Berry will represent the commissioners on the emergency management board, redevelopment commission and E-911 board.
Fogle will serve on the solid waste, health department and Greencastle-Putnam County Development boards.
Walton will serve on the planning commission, Operation Life board and West Central Economic Development board.
In other business:
* County highway representatives discussed the county's cost of dealing with recent snow. Workers have accumulated $15,000 in overtime, while the department has used $45,000 worth of salt and sand on the roads.
No fuel costs were available for the snow removal efforts.
* A plowing issue was discussed regarding two roads in the Cloverdale area.
Town of Cloverdale officials have questioned whether the responsibility of plowing Stardust Road and Beagle Club Road on the town's north end falls to the county or the town.
County officials have reached a consensus that the road was turned over to the town in approximately 1993 or 1994.
Walton, who represents the southern district, asked if county trucks might clear unplowed town streets on their way to county roads.
He asked if this could be done in all towns, not simply Cloverdale.
Ensley said the county has been advised by risk management firm Bliss-McKnight not to do so. Legally, starting a pattern of performing work for another government entity creates a liability issue.
If at some point the county did not get the plowing done and someone was injured on the road, both the town and county could be held liable.
* Juvenile probation officer Renee Marsteller received approval for the county's annual contract with the juvenile detention facility in Muncie.
The per-bed cost has gone up from $89 per day to $99 per day. Marsteller said this still falls well below the per-bed cost without a contract and is also lower than the contract given to some other counties.
* The commissioners' second January meeting will not be on its regular date and time due to the Martin Luther King holiday. Their next meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the courthouse.