Judges request move of community corrections office

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- Both county judges went before the Putnam County Commissioners Monday to reaffirm their request to move community corrections to the courthouse.

"The courthouse would be a temporary place until the county builds a new annex," said Superior Court Judge Denny Bridges.

He explained the current building, located at 22 W. Washington St., costs $18,000 per year for rent and the landlord has refused offers to lower the price.

"(The building) is falling down around them," said Bridges.

The community corrections program saves the county $625,835 by diverting certain criminals to home detention instead of sending them to jail or prison. It also frees up space in the jail for inmates waiting to be transferred to the department of corrections, which is currently experiencing crowded facilities.

In addition to the community corrections program, the GRASP program would need to move into the courthouse. GRASP is for students who have been expelled from school and helps them stay on course to an education.

Bridges and Circuit Court Judge Matt Headley suggested using the former public defender's offices, which are on the first and third floors of the courthouse, for community corrections. The two also recommended the possibility of using the old 911 office as a classroom for GRASP students during the school year.

"I think the layout would work well," said Bridges.

Board of Commissioners president Gene Beck and member Kristina Warren saw no problem with utilizing the public defender's offices. Their concern and that of member Jim Baird is where to house GRASP. Warren also raised the concern of what would happen should the county not build a new annex.

The board agreed to table the request until its next meeting at 9 a.m. July 6.

Director of Putnam County Emergency Management Kim Hyten approached the board regarding a community facility grant program through Rural Development U.S. Department of Agriculture for weather sirens throughout Putnam County.

Hyten said there are some areas without a working siren or a siren at all. Each location with a siren is responsible for its maintenance and electrical expenses, but places like Reelsville, where the fire department is responsible, simply don't have the funds to maintain them.

"Get weather radios for your homes," Hyten recommended.

Rural Development gave Greencastle 35 percent eligibility and Cloverdale 15 percent, which means Rural Development would provide that percentage amount of total eligible project costs in grant funds.

But places like Warren, Floyd and Franklin townships were not eligible for the grant. Eligibility can also be based on census tract information, and South Putnam is located in an area with 35 percent eligibility, according to Rural Development.

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  • The county has budget issues now, to build a new annex would not be a very financially intelligent decision right now. The Courthouse has a lot of empty rooms right now that could be utilized by offices at the annex. Lets be more responsible about how we spend taxpayers money and not be motivated by political gain! People need to go the Council Meeting June 29 to voice opinions on building a new annex.

    -- Posted by beachbum on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 8:59 AM
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