Coroner looks to increase local storage

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Having spent more than a year working on upgrades to a room at Putnam County Hospital, the Putnam Coroner’s Office will soon be upgrading the county’s storage ability.

Coroner Dave Brown approached the Putnam County Council on Tuesday about the possibility of purchasing a three-body cooler to be installed at PCH.

The purchase will require a $7,000 additional appropriation to the coroner’s budget. The appropriation has not yet been advertised and will actually be decided upon after the first of the year.

“Anything we don’t use, we’ll give back to the county,” Brown said.

Brown emphasized that the department currently has no cooler, only cooling blankets, which can preserve stored bodies for only so long.

While Putnam County has the ability to use cooler space provided by other entities, Brown said this purchase will allow the department to meet its own needs in many cases.

Brown spoke to county officials in the fall of 2015 about bringing many of the county’s autopsies to the facility at PCH instead of having to take them to Terre Haute Regional Hospital.

The cooler purchase would further decrease the transportation costs to the department.

In other business:

• County Planner Brett Wagner requested an additional $8,000 for contract labor.

Wagner reported that with 285 issued, building permits are up in 2016.

While this is good news, it also means extra inspections for contracted building inspector Art Kenworthy.

The additional money to pay Kenworthy will not be drawn from the county general fund, but from elsewhere in the planning and zoning budget.

The council approved the request.

• The council also granted a $2,500 additional appropriation to 911 Dispatch.

Director Dave Costin reported that extra weeks and months of warm weather required the department to leave its air conditioning on to keep the computer equipment cool.

The council approved the additional money for utility costs.

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