Commissioners consider future of annex building
With abundant rainfall likely to cause an increase in leaking ceilings, a committee will be formed to plan for the future of the aging Putnam County Courthouse annex.
As the former Jones Elementary School, the building now houses some county offices, hosts county meetings, and is used for storage.
But as county planner Kim Hyten told commissioners Gene Beck, Kristina Warren and Jim Baird this week, a decision needs to be made on what to do with the structure, which has high energy costs and a leaky roof.
A small metal roof will be built onto two parts of the building, Hyten said, near the entries on the north and west sides of the building, to get standing water off the roof. That is part of the reason for the leaks.
But a long-term decision is needed on the building, he said, especially since some tax funds will be freed up at the end of the year when the highway department building is paid off.
The commissioners agreed to have committee formed to look at what is needed in a courthouse annex, and what to do with the current building.
The commissioners also learned that the first floor of the courthouse on the east side had another leak. But that is caused by water infiltrating from the roof. That repair will be made when weather allows.
Meanwhile, the commissioners presented the Most Outstanding Dispatcher of the Year Award for 2007 to Dave Costin, director of the county's 911 system.
Dispatcher Shawn Little said the dispatcher group met in November and decided to select Costin due to his leadership. The county 911 board and user's group also approved the decision.
The dispatchers also named Erin Millspaugh as Most Improved Dispatcher, and Tyler Binion as Part-Timer of the Year.
As for the property tax rebates now being figured for county property-owners, the commissioners voted to have an ordinance drawn up to exclude research of delinquencies in the county clerk's office.
Auditor Stephanie Campbell noted that the rebates have been figured and are ready to be checked by the county treasurer, who will look for any property tax delinquencies before approving the refunds.
However, the state had recommended that counties look for other delinquencies owed the county that could be deducted from the refunds.
The commissioners agreed that process could turn into a nightmare, however, since the records from other county departments will likely not mesh as far as names and other identifying information. That could lead to inaccurate deductions.
In other business, the commissioners.
* Tabled some new software that will handle information for property assessment through the county assessor's office. The cost of the software is $125,000, along with an annual maintenance fee of $25,000 from vendor Government Utilities Technology Service of Thorntown. Assessor Wanda O'Neal said she would also provide new computers for the Plat Office and Greencastle Township Assessor so they can access the system. Some more research will be done on the software by visiting other counties that already use it.
* Granted tentative approval on contracts for health department clerk Sandy Clark and environmental specialist Holly Wood.
* Learned that progress continues on construction of the new 911/Emergency Operations Center. The project is on track to be completed in May, rather than September. The original bond issue budget for the project was $2.9 million, and so far the unspent amount on the project is $2.2 million. The commissioners will do a walk-through of the building at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 22 prior to their 6 p.m. meeting.
* Approved a letter of intent for purchase of $48,900 in furniture for the new EOC facility. The commissioners approved the purchase from XYBIX in December.
* Approved the annual bicycle race by the DePauw Bicycle Club at Heritage Lake on Saturday, March 1. The road would be used from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The street would not be closed.
* Learned of a second DePauw bicycle race at the Big Walnut Sports Park on Sunday, March 2, sponsored by the Big Walnut Sports Park. The course runs around and through the sports park using the newly paved access road through the park, as well as CR 275 East, CR 150 South and Capital Drive. Roads will be open for the one-way traffic locally. This race will also require approval of the Greencastle Park Board, Big Walnut Park Board and the City of Greencastle. Cyclists from other university teams will be traveling here for the two days of racing.
* Hired Robbie Cudnick as an independent contractor to do in-depth 2010 census updates for the county. She will be paid her current pay rate, with an estimate of 100 hours to be spent on the project.
* Heard from the contractor on the Bridge 199 project on the Putnam-Owen County Line that a cost-savings is possible because the foundation piers are over-engineered. However, it could result in a delay of the project. The commissioners decided to go ahead with the project as it is now designed because the savings could be small, but a delay could cause the project cost to increase.
* Reviewed a memorandum of agreement on Houck Bridge on CR 25 East over Big Walnut Creek. The agreement calls for carrying the bridge on the INDOT Historic Bridge Marketing Program to remain available for relocation or reuse until Jan. 1, 2009. The county will research and develop a written history of the bridge, design plans and include a photographic survey of the structure to be kept on file by the county and state agencies. A permanent plaque would also be placed at the site to be viewed by the public. The bridge will be left in place at the site unless a group decides to relocate it.
The commissioners regularly meet at 9 a.m. on the first Monday of the month, and a 6 p.m. on the third Monday. However, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, the next commissioner meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the courthouse annex, 209 W. Liberty St., Greencastle. The meetings are open to the public.