Commissioners give OK for grant application
GREENCASTLE -- In a public hearing held prior to their regular meeting Monday night, Putnam County Commissioners Gene Beck, Jim Baird and Kristina Warren gave the OK to grant administrator Terry Jones to apply for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Assistance Disaster Recovery money for damages from the June 2008 flood.
The county is applying for $126,298.08 toward the cost to repair damages and remove debris.
"During the Flood Disaster of June 2008, Putnam County sustained a tremendous amount of damage to the road and bridges systems county-wide and county-wide debris removal. The damage was due to flooding and high winds. The debris removal was county-wide throughout Putnam County and tons of debris were disposed," says the project description and justification.
Commissioners approved the application with a 3-0 vote.
During their regular meeting Monday night, Commissioners heard from Judge Matthew Headley about the availability of Family and Children's CPRTS Funds to the tune of $1,286,000.
These funds were used by child welfare to pay for the cost to remove a child from a bad home situation. In July, Child Welfare ceased to be covered under this funding source.
"I felt it was my obligation to inform you about this fund," said Headley. "I suggest it be transferred into the Rainy Day Fund."
Headley along with Judge Denny Bridges told commissioners they plan to ask for at least $300,000 of the funds back to hire a court official for two years.
"Hopefully, in two years the economy will be such that we can apply to have a court magistrate," explained Headley.
The new court official would preside over initial hearings and small claims.
"It will help with our high volume in getting people in and getting them out quicker," said Bridges.
The judges were not asking for any monies at this time and planned to inform the Putnam County Council about the availability of the extra money.
Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter also appeared in front of the commissioners to ask to fill a vacated position on his staff.
He explained that criminal history checks have to be run for every person arrested and appearing in his court. They have to be done within a very short period of time.
He has had two people to help with this, but one of them moved into another vacated position in his office. He has been short this position for over a month and asked permission to hire someone for it. Commissioners agreed to his request. The county council also approved the move at their Tuesday meeting.
Making a decision on choosing a vendor for the new telephone system for the courthouse was tabled until Aug. 24. Commissioners will hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. in the first floor conference room at the courthouse on Aug. 24 to discuss the two current bids.
Ken Heeke with First National Bank asked commissioners to consider putting out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for banks to handle county employee direct deposit.
County Auditor Stephanie Campbell would like to be able to pay county employees through direct deposit.
County Attorney Scott Hoff objected to some of the language in the contract from Old National Bank, who has many of the county's bank accounts.
Heeke appeared before commissioners to ask them to consider putting out an RFP so other banks could apply for the direct deposit and other fund business from the county.
Heeke explained that his bank required a relationship with the entity wanting to do direct deposit.
"I know we could do what you are asking for but I don't want to tip my competitive advantage by giving out all my information before knowing if you are going to open it up to others," said Heeke.
After some discussion commissioners took Heeke's recommendation under advisement.
Commissioner Gene Beck informed the group that he attended a meeting with Rural Transit.
"They reported they have had 12,000 riders in the first six months and spent only 40 percent of their yearly budget," said Beck.
"It's been a real good thing. People are really using the bus system. I guess it was slow in January but really jumped in the last several months," he added.
The Putnam County commissioners meet on the first and third Monday of the month at the county annex.