Decatur County Commissioners Meeting

At 6 pm the meeting was called to order. All three commissioners were present. The commissioner’s meeting room was full during the meeting. The pledge and prayer began the meeting. Followed by approval of the January 16, 2024  meeting minutes. Approval of claims and Payroll claims were approved as well. 

Amy Hoppert, Current Broker for the Retirement Accounts for County Employees. She came to the meeting to discuss changes that are upcoming due to the current provider One America not addressing issues that have come up in the past year or so. Amy stated that they had gone back and searched for another provider. They came across Lincoln Life which is located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. She stated that she is very happy with what Lincoln Life offers and feels this is a good opportunity for staff. She states that the plans are cheaper and all previous funds will be transferred to the new provider. 

Mayor Josh Marsh came before the commissioners representing the Redevelopment Commission (RDC). The RDC is interested in purchasing the old jail property in town. They would like to market the property to developers to create multi-family housing opportunities. It is estimated that the property could have 50-80 market-rate units. The Mayor spoke about what the property could be and to bring it back as a housing opportunity and stated that they do not have a developer committed but that they would be looking quickly. He stated that the RDC did secure an appraisal and the property is estimated at $119,000. The RDC sent Mayor Marsh to present an offer for $120,000. Mark Koors stated that he felt that the estimate was too low and that they spent a substantial amount of money to get the property to a sellable condition. Tony Blodgett and Jeremy Pasel both agreed to sell the property and agreed that the communications tower on the property would have a permanent easement for use. This will relieve the county from any upkeep of any of the property. A vote was taken with Yeas: Tony Blodgett and Jeremy Pasel, Neas: Mark Koors. 

Todd Houk, Highway Department stated that he submitted all files needed to have bridge inspections approved for 2025-2028. He received notice that he could begin those inspections. Todd stated that they have been patching roads, grading roads, and adding stone when needed. He then spoke about the line of sight discussion from the last commissioner’s meeting and provided the commissioners with a handout with additional information. He then said that he and Tim are working on recommendations for pavement drop-off decisions. He states that his current recommendation is that for 2024-2025 they work with a contractor to perform the work that is needed to perform the work that will help with road drop-offs. He estimated the cost to be $450,000-$500,000. Todd stated that the concern is where that money will come from as it is not currently budgeted. Then the next decision would be what to do starting in 2027 they would need to either contract out the services or they will have to purchase the equipment needed to do this in-house. The last topic that Todd stated was that he has reached out to INDOT to try and get a contact for the railroad. He stated that 350 West is a mess and wants to get this resolved as soon as possible. 

Kenny Beuning, Building Inspector said since the last commissioners meeting he has completed 33 building inspections, 16 new permits/plan reviews, 2 renewals, and 3 red tags. All red tags were corrected. Kenny also followed up with the unsafe Lett’s property and he spoke with the new owner. He states the new owner has put caution tape up on the property and they will have the unsafe home demolished in the next few weeks. Kenny stated that he will be visiting Lake McCoy sometime this week and will work on getting clean-up letters sent out this month to those properties that are found out of compliance with ordinances. Kenny and the commissioners discussed the “Smith Property” and the abatement process. commissioners requested a scope of work be created and photos of vehicles to be removed from the property. The current plan is the commissioners will hire a wrecker service to remove those vehicles with assistance from the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department. 

Krista Duvall, Area Plan Commission introduced Kerry Daily who is the representative for Christopher Burke Engineering, and they created the Stormwater Ordinance and Technical Manual that was presented at the last commissioners meeting. He then provided additional information about those documents. All commissioners approved the updates on both documents. 

Laura Hildebrand, Hickory Mental Health Provider was not present, the commissioners requested that Chad Smith, Commissioners Attorney stated that originally the funding to be used to fund the agreement with Hickory Mental Health Provider was a special levy on property tax. However, upon inspection of how that funding stream can be used, the agency must be accredited by a specific association. Currently, Hickory Mental Health Provider does not have the accreditation that is required to use that funding stream. The commissioners will have to go back into discussions with Hickory Mental Health Provider and determine another funding stream or work with another provider. 

Mark Koors, Commissioner stated that soon Franklin Street will be closed from Main Street to Washington Street and will remain closed with a projected finish date of October 1, 2024. It was stated that this would not affect the Tree City Fall Festival. Attending the meeting was Allie Beck, Mainstreet Greensburg Representative with a discussion on still having the Farmers Market in the same space as previous years. Discussion was held about where staff will park since the Franklin Street side will be blocked. Mark asked that Allie come back next meeting with some ideas on how they can do it at the courthouse. 

Patty Hensley, Decatur County Human Resource Director provided information on bids that were received for the replacement of 13 coil fan units for the 1st floor of the courthouse. She states that 6 companies were contacted, 2 local companies stated that this type of project is not something they do, and they received 3 bids. Air One $92,610, Koors Heating & Cooling $73,440, and Piney Engineering $103,639. These bids do not include hiring a contractor to do any woodwork to fix around the coils. The commissioners approved Koors Heating & Cooling. 

Rob McIntyre stood up to ask questions about the use of the old reservoir. He asks why the county closed the property and why they allow permitted access. Commissioners stated that the property was closed due to liability issues. They do allow permits to allow hunting and trapping on the property. To obtain a permit you must come to the Courthouse and sign a waiver and be given permission. The commissioners explained it was shut down due to liability, and due to misuse of the property. The gentleman requested to clean up some of the brush to allow for the trapping and hunting. Commissioners suggested that he create a scope of work and return it to the commissioners for approval. 

Tony Blodgett, Commissioner stated that he would like to receive approval to pay the Petting Zoo company $3,732.50 for the Solar Eclipse Event at the Fairgrounds. The Petting Zoo will be open to the public for free Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 9a-dark. This was unanimously approved. 

Chad Smith, County Attorney stated that he was here to present a letter that he received from RWE, a company that is considering a solar project in Decatur County. They submitted an offer to give reimbursement for the costs associated with the research they are doing in the area utilizing the county attorney, and the county’s financial advisor. Chad pointed out that the acceptance of this money does not in any way mean that they are approving the project or stating that they want the project. This is just to make sure the county is not out of any money by working with them to complete the research. The amount was up to $95,000. The commissioners all approved this under the guidelines that they are not agreeing to the project yet and this will be used to cover costs. 

Christopher Fogle, Purdue Extension came before the commissioners to get approval for the memorandum of understanding with the County. This has already been budgeted in the amount of $123.785. The agreement lays out what the Purdue Extension team will provide and what the County will provide the Purdue Extension team. This was unanimously approved. 

The commissioners meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is on February 19, 2024 at 8 am.

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