Decatur County Commissioners Meeting

The Decatur County Commissioners meeting was called to order at 8:00 am on Monday, February 19, 2024. The meeting began with the pledge and prayer. The commissioners approved the February 5th meeting minutes (with a few minor edits), claims, and payroll claims for February 2nd and February 16th.

Mark Koors, Commissioners President stated that he has been working with John Deere on the lease of a road grader. He and Todd have been trying to reach the company to change the financing terms to bi-annual payments. However, at this time they are being billed monthly. Mark asked the commissioners to approve the Auditor’s office to pay 6 months of payments so they can move forward with bi-annual payments. This would allow time for Mark to get John Deere to agree to bi-annual payments. This was approved.

Todd Houk, Highway Department stated that his crew has been busy all weekend with the snow event that occurred on Friday. All staff at the Highway Garage went through and completed Excavator Pipeline Training. The health department provided all staff at the Highway Garage with CPR and stop-the-bleeding training. The team continues to grade roads and put stones in areas that need them. They have also been conducting interviews for four open positions. A fifth position will be available after the retirement of a staff member in early March. Tony Blodgett, Commissioner asked Todd if he had heard anything about a water choking point at a few bridges in Westport. This was noted in a water study that was completed. Todd stated that he was not aware of this and Tony agreed to get that study over to Todd to review.

Kenny Buening, Building Inspector stated that he has had 27 inspections, 10 new building permits, and 3 complaints since the last Commissioners meeting. The complaints included 1 for a property on 1000S which is a repeat offender. Kenny stated that he visited them and was told by the owner that within 2 weeks he would get this cleaned up. Kenny said he will go back towards the end of the month. The other two complaints were about a Lake McCoy property that has someone living in their storage shed. Kenny stated that he is going to follow up with the Health Department to see if they have sewage going to the shed. Kenny has let them know that they cannot live in the shed. He plans to follow up. Kenny stated that Tony Blodgett went into his office and helped create a storage system for complaints. Kenny stated that he attended the Excavator Pipeline Training. The last discussion was about the property across from the old Highway Department Property. They are bringing metal storage containers into the property and trash is being kept and is lying around. Kenny said he would follow up.

Patricia Louagie, Deputy Clerk came to the meeting to request changes to the stipend given to Election Poll Workers. She began by stating that they have the funding in their budget and is not requesting additional money to make this change. However, since the Commissioners oversee the departments she needed their approval. Election Poll Workers are required to attend a training on a Saturday and they have been paid $10. Patricia requested approval to increase to $25. Also, the meal stipend is to be increased from $25 to $35. Also, those Poll Workers who come to set up on Monday evening before the election are not being compensated and the request was to pay $20 to those who help. This change is in hopes of getting additional workers. The commissioners approved all changes.

Teresa Kovacich, Decatur County Parks & Recreation Executive Director spoke about the Pool Survey that had been available online. The following statistics were mentioned-

1,048 responses

512 responses live in the city limits

416 responses were from those outside of the city limits

The survey was completed by primarily the females in the household

Individuals who were 31-49 years of age were the majority of individuals to respond

Most responses have children who live in the home

The top three features wanted were a slide, zero entry, and a lazy river.

Teresa stated that looking at the responses it goes along with what she has been stating throughout the process. We need to make sure that we have the features that are going to draw individuals to attend. Teresa states that she wants the Parks and Rec Department to continue to be inclusive. These features such as the zero entry. Teresa did go to the Aurora, IN pool and toured and spoke with the Director. She states that their pool is smaller than what we have. They built the pool in 2021 for a cost of 3.5 million dollars. With that 3.5 million dollars estimated with inflation that comes to approximately 4.8-5.2 million dollars today. The Aurora pool was funded by almost a 1 million dollar community fundraising, and the rest was financing. Jeremy Pasel, Commissioner asked Danny Peters, Council President if they knew where the additional 3 million dollars would come from if the 5-6 million dollar design is approved. Danny stated that they have not dove that deep into it so far and that he and some of the other council members have been talking about that. Jeremy said he doesn’t want the Parks & Rec Board to vote to fund the design costs of $15,000 to have a plan created and then not be able to fund that. The commissioners discussed this and decided that they would wait and see what happens at the Council meeting on 2/20/24 and then may need to schedule an Executive Session to discuss where the money is going to come from and how to fund the project while including upcoming costs of the Annex, and Cumcap deficits. A member of the audience asked if the county has a Financial Advisor. The Commissioners stated that yes they do but he has only attended 1 Executive Session and otherwise communicated via email.

Chad Smith, Commissioners Attorney stated that he was asked to provide the Commissioners with a Capital Assets Policy, and the Commissioners would approve this as an Ordinance Resolution. The Commissioners agreed to postpone the vote until the Auditor’s office had an opportunity to review and this would be voted at the next Commissioners Meeting.

Discussion about Franklin Street closure occurring on approximately April 1, 2024, and how this affects parking for the courthouse staff and patrons. Mark Koors stated following up on the discussion from the last meeting he doesn’t feel the Farmers Market can have the space needed and provide parking available for staff and patrons. The Commissioners agreed and stated that they would ask the Farmers Market to move to the Decatur County Fairgrounds for the 2024 season. It was also mentioned that they could utilize the parking lot in front of City Hall.

Mark Koors stated that they will be looking at adding additional handicapped parking spaces on the North Side of the building. At this time there are four parking spaces and those spaces are filled with four staff that utilize the spaces. The commissioners agreed that they needed to add a minimum of two spaces.

Mark Koors presented the service agreement with Peine Engineering for HVAC services. Mark stated that the cost has substantially increased. When speaking with Peine they told Mark that they were encountering higher costs and this caused the increase. The Commissioner stated that there are no other contractors in the area that provide this service and agreed to enter into this agreement.

Sheriff Bill Meyerrose stated that the last time the Courthouse Security Plan was updated was in 2015. He has made needed changes to bring the plan up to date. The Commissioners approved the Courthouse Security Plan updates.

Sean Durbin, Decatur County Health Department Director brought images of mold and stucco damage that is at the entrance at the Annex. He asked that this be reviewed and try to come up with a plan to fix it. The Commissioners approved Sean to seek three quotes to fix the damage. Sean also stated that he has restructured the office and has added additional staffing with grants and other funds that he has received. Sean states that he is very proud of his team for their hard work. He states that they have been able to provide the schools with albuterol. They also provided the County Schools with Epi-Pens. Sean states a few weeks ago he did testing on the water at Lake McCoy and the results came back at the highest possible rating on the system meaning the water is “bad”. However, he has received approval to go upstream and do some testing there to try and find out what it could be. He states that he did go to the runoff stream areas and they tested bad. Sean states that at this time he cannot identify the source of the high levels. He will continue to follow up on this.

Chad Smith, Attorney drafted the Resolution 2024-1 of the Railroad Property Sale. This was approved by the Commissioners.

The United Fund requested approval for the use of Facilities for the Strawberry Festival on June 7th. This was approved by the Commissioners.

Mark Koors stated that he had received information that the Decatur County Pride Alliance non-profit organization is renting spaces for the day that they have been approved for use of the Courthouse property. Mark states that he does not remember providing approval for them to rent spaces and would like to know if their insurance coverage is going to cover other vendors to set up. Mark will follow up on this.

The meeting was adjourned.

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