Commissioners repeal vehicle inspection fees
According to the sheriff’s wishes, a vehicle inspection by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department will again be conducted for free.
Sheriff Scott Stockton appeared before the Putnam County Commissioners Monday morning to request that a $5 fee for such inspections be waived.
“The goal here is to cease collecting the fee for VIN (vehicle identification number) checks,” Stockton said. “It’s going to stop the inconvenience for people in the county when other agencies like the Indiana State Police do it for free.”
State law allows agencies to charge a small fee for such inspections.
County Attorney Jim Ensley explained that the county enacted the $5 fee in 2013 as a way of counteracting high fuel prices. At that time, it was recommended by the previous administration at PCSD.
“The way I see it, it’s like the public being charged for police service,” Stockton said. “We’re not going to be charging for a service the public should expect.”
Commissioners David Berry, Rick Woodall and Don Walton voted unanimously to repeal the fee.
In other business:
• The commissioners approved a recommendation by the County Plan Commission to allow grain elevators as a special use in Agriculture 2 zones.
The issue came before the Plan Commission when Gavilon Grain in Roachdale built a grain storage building that was out of compliance with the county zoning ordinance.
When zoning was enacted in the county, the Roachdale elevator was grandfathered in, even though it is not in an industrial zone, previously the only place in which grain elevators were allowed.
However, the new building was not grandfathered, so Gavilon had requested a rezone to industrial for the parcel.
Neighboring landowners were concerned about industrial land next to theirs, so they voiced their opposition.
Instead, the Plan Commission decided to change the special use exceptions within Agriculture 2.
A2 is described as being a buffer between city and country, and is often used for pursuits that support agriculture, if not directly for growing crops or raising animals.
In this way, the use seems a perfect fit.
“I don’t know why it’s not there (as an allowed use) anyway,” Ensley said. “It makes sense.”
Commissioners Berry and Walton voted 2-0 in favor of the change. Commissioner Woodall, as the owner of S&W Feed Center in Greencastle, abstained from the vote.
• County Highway Supervisor Mike Ricketts reported on the progress of a number of bridges in the county.
Bridge 248 on Count Road 650 East in Jackson Township is now complete. Additionally, Bridge 150 on County Road 200 South in Greencastle Township will be completed this week.
Work remains to be done on Bridge 65 in Floyd Township, Bridge 135 in Marion Township and Bridge 215 in Cloverdale Township.
• The commissioners also opened 2018 material bids for the Putnam County Highway Department.
Highway officials will review the bids and present their findings at the Dec. 18 meeting of the commissioners.
• The commissioners also made their annual employee appointments.
Cheryl York was appointed the microfilm director, replacing Nicole Watson, who recently resigned.
Additionally, David Wilborn will be the new weights and measures inspector, replacing the retiring Royal Secor.
Re-appointments to their current positions included County Planner Don Hatfield, maintenance supervisor Tom Gilson, courthouse head custodian Brian Smith, courthouse custodian Mike Phillips, veterans officer Jerry Williamson, Highway Supervisor Mike Ricketts, GIS Director Robbie Cudnick, EMA Director Tom Helmer, 911 Director Dave Costin, County Attorney Jim Ensley, highway administrative assistant Robyn Hughes and highway secretary Brenda Turner.
Following the votes, Woodall raised the question of why the highway secretary and administrative assistant are even appointed by the commissioners, rather than hired by the highway supervisor.
“I want to move that to where they work for Mike,” Woodall said. “There is no reason they should be appointed by us. They work at the highway department.”
Woodall asked similar questions last year, but no action was every taken. Ensley said he will examine the issue.
• The commissioners also made a number of board appointments including Joe Ferguson, Alcoholic Beverage Commission; Cathy Tipton and Bill Newgent, Airport Authority Board; Carolyn Shotwell and Chuck McElwee, Animal Care and Control Board; Sheila Morrison and Richard Lyons, Cemetery Board; Steve Greeson and Kit Newkirk, Convention and Visitor Bureau Board; Michael Lambert, Floyd Township Fire Protection; Ruth Ralph and Dr. John Scamahorn, Board of Health; Dr. Robert Heavin and David Bray, Hospital Board; Kevin Scobee, Board of Zoning Appeals; Wendall Underwood, Plan Commission and Roachdale Fire Protection District; Kara McGill, Roachdale Public Library Board; and Jerry Ensor, Roy Haddon, Tom Helmer, Todd and David Nelson to the E-911 Advisory Board.
The commissioners kept their own board appointments the same in 2018, including Don Walton to West Central Economic Development and West Central Solid Waste District; Rick Woodall to Operation Life, Board of Health and Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center; and David Berry to County Planning Commission, Redevelopment Commission, E-911 and Emergency Management Agency.