Planner candidates to be interviewed

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Operating for more than a month without a director of planning and zoning, the Putnam County Commissioners are preparing for interviews on Friday.

The commissioners will interview candidates for county planner in a 2-3:30 p.m. executive session. The commissioners gave notice of the closed meeting during their Monday morning meeting.

The commissioners reported having four candidate to replace Doug Ehmen, who was terminated from his position on Jan. 29.

Following the executive session, the commissioners will have a 3:30 p.m. special public meeting for the purpose of claims approval.

The commissioners also heard from Lisa Zeiner of the Putnam County Health Department on a pair of ordinances -- one of which was approved, while the other remains in the planning stages.

In a 3-0 vote, the commissioners approved an ordinance that changes the frequency of health inspections for county establishments.

Previously, all establishments serving food were inspected twice a year. The old policy treated every eatery the same, from gas stations serving only coffee and donuts to full-service restaurants.

The new ordinance establishes risk-based inspection schedules, meaning the least complicated operations will likely be inspected less often.

On the other hand, some establishments will be inspected more often based on factors such as methods and extent of food storage, preparation and service; the number of people served; and past performance.

The proposed ordinance would establish new guidelines for buildings with residual contamination, specifically those that have been the site of methamphetamine labs.

While any action by the Board of Health is yet to come, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has adopted a similar policy and any county action would likely fall in line.

In other business:

* County Highway Supervisor Mike Ricketts discussed recent vandalism at Houck Covered Bridge. Ricketts said his crews will begin cleanup when the weather gets warmer.

The idea of painting the interior of the bridges black was broached. While all interested parties said they would prefer to keep the natural wood interiors of the bridges, such a move would make cleanup easier following graffiti incidents.

* Ricketts also reported that the idea previously discussed about the county leasing the former Crop Production Services building in Roachdale is a non-starter.

With an estimated annual lease of $15,000, using the building for rail salt delivery and salt storage would not be cost effective.

Ricketts will continue to inquire about other locations for a similar purpose.

* Recent problems of semis on Lonestar Road were also discussed. Ricketts said the county's insurance provider said it would be acceptable to place "no semi through" signs at the end of the road. Additionally, the weight limit signs will be amended to also say "bridge ahead."

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