County planning department to add part-time employee

Friday, August 24, 2012

The director of the county planning department may have something different to plan in the near future -- a vacation.

Sandy Amers has been the only employee of the planning and zoning department for more than a year, leaving the office shorthanded and even closed when she needs time off.

On Tuesday the Putnam County Council approved an additional appropriation of $10,000 for the hiring and training of a part-time planning department employee.

"Logic would tell you you're going to need more than one body," Councilman Phil Gick said.

Councilman Larry Parker made the motion to approve, which passed unanimously.

"My thought is we have a hiring freeze on, but this is an emergency," Parker said. "We need to take care of the people of the county."

Amers said in the future there will be a $10,000 line item in her yearly budget to pay part-time help.

She requested the normal yearly figure for only about four months of 2012 because the new employee will need extra time for training.

Additionally, the new hire will help with the remainder of the unpacking process following last November's move from the former Putnam County Courthouse Annex to the Putnam County Hospital.

As a department of one, Amers has not had a chance to complete the process in addition to her normal duties.

The council also approved a $300,000 appropriation from the hazardous waste fund to the county highway for roads in Russell Township.

The appropriation has already been tentatively approved, but could not officially be made until a change in state law on July 1.

The law now allows 10 percent of the money in the county's hazardous waste fund to be spent on for the building and repair of roads.

County officials are trying to keep the bulk of these expenditures in Russell Township, the location of the Heritage Environmental Services hazardous waste landfill. The funds come to the county because of the landfill's presence.

Highway officials also reported that $150,000 the department was to receive in County Adjusted Gross Income Tax money has not been appropriated.

Auditor Stephanie Campbell said the problem would be fixed once a claim has been submitted.

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