Decatur County Commissioners Meeting

On March 4, 2024, at 6 pm the commissioner’s meeting was called to order. All 3 Commissioners were present. The pledge of allegiance and prayer began the meeting. Followed by the last meeting minutes. Approval of claims and Payroll claims were approved as well. 

Todd Hauk, Highway Department stated that they have been doing mowing in the county, patching holes, grading, and spreading stone. Todd states that they are also finalizing things at the Highway Department. The Highway Department staff are working on cross-training in different positions. Todd said that they have completed the second payroll utilizing the new system and he said although they are having growing pains he sees that the new system is going to be beneficial to both his department and the Auditor’s Department. He said that he is continuing to hire and is implementing a new hiring procedure by getting everything done in one day. He did speak to the others at the Highway Department and stated that they have not been contacted by anyone concerning Westport’s drainage concerns from the last meeting. Tony Blodgett, Commissioner said that he had not had a chance to reach out to the team that had the study done and that he would reach out and speak to him. 

Kenny Beuning, Building Inspector said that he has completed 48 inspections, 13 new permits/plan reviews, and 1 permit renewal. He provided updates on the property located on 1000 South stating that the property owner called him and let him know that he has had some family medical concerns arise and that he will get the property cleaned up in the next few weeks. He told Kenny that when he was complete he would reach out for Kenny to come take a look. Kenny said that the Smith property has had improvements with items removed, and states that there is a trailer on the property loaded with what looks to be scrap metal and is strapped down. The assumption is that they are taking this into the scrap yard. He states the only items that remain to be abated are the three pick-up trucks. The Commissioners asked Kenny to reach out to the property owner’s parents to discuss getting those removed. The consensus of the Commissioners was that if the property owners could take care of this issue they could avoid utilizing taxpayer funds for the clean up. Kenny finished by saying today he went to the Westport property and the home is currently under demolition and less than fifty percent of the home remains. He said that the property owner is doing everything correctly and does have caution tape around the property to reduce any safety risks. 

Tony stated that he is working with Kenny Beuning on reviewing the current ordinance that pertains to blighted properties. He would like to see a fee schedule be drafted and contained within the ordinance so that there is a process, and they wouldn’t be going straight to court and spending taxpayer funds on the process. Chad Smith, Attorney said he will be reviewing to see if a current fee schedule pertains to this specific ordinance. 

Bill Meyerrose, Sheriff came to the Commissioners ‘s meeting to request closure of County Road 250 West between Base Road and County Road 240 North West for Emergency Vehicle Operation training. Bill stated that the training could be conducted at the training academy, however, this would mean a travel time of 2.5 hours. By conducting the training locally it is a cost savings of approximately $6,000 and allows for town marshals and other entities in the county to participate in the training. Bill added that they also conduct scenario-based training as well. The closure will be from May 30, 2024 – June 10, 2024. Commissioners were in favor of this request and approved the closure. Mark Koors, Commissioner stated that Sheriff Meyerrose needs to publicize the closure with WTRE and the Greensburg Daily News. Sheriff Meyerrose also presented the Commissioners with the 2023 Annual Report for the Department. 

Teresa Kovacich, Decatur County Parks & Rec Executive Director came to the Commissioners to discuss Kohler Park. Teresa began by stating that she has had several community members and Kohler Park visitors contact her asking what the future of the park is. She said that she had told them that she was not sure. Today she wanted to formally come before the Commissioners to request that they do not relocate the horse barn or arena where the park currently is located. Teresa said that the community may not be aware of the current uses of the park. She said that adult co-ed teams utilize the properties seasonally, much like other parks. She said that during the summertime approximately 14 teams play Mondays and Fridays from May through August. Then 10 teams utilize the diamonds on Mondays, and Fridays during the months of August-October. Those 24 teams make up approximately 385 adults. That does not include family or others that come to watch the sports. 

Teresa then stated that Special Olympics uses the diamonds from June through September on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This provides accessibility for all to play and get exercise utilizing what the Parks & Rec Department has. Teresa said yearly she does have requests and allows leagues and travel teams to practice on the diamonds. Companies sometimes may utilize the area for company games. 

Teresa had 3 representatives at the meeting and they spoke about Kohler Park and urged the Commissioners to continue to allow the use of the area. Of those who stood and spoke, they all utilized the area and said that they wanted to see the area continue to be used and enjoyed. Jeremy Pasel, Commissioner stated that there has been talk about moving the horse barn and arena to the Kohler Park area and also there has been discussion about moving it near the airport. At this time no plans are set in stone and he said he felt that at this time he cannot make a sure yes or no on the future use of the park. Teresa said she did not come before them this evening to get a yes or no but to ensure that they are hearing how important and busy the area is. Mark Koors, Commissioner President said that they have applied for a READI 2.0 Grant for 2 million dollars and that decision will be announced on April 11, 2024. There will be a discussion on what those improvements will be for the Fairgrounds once that is released. Mark Koors said that he didn’t see any decisions or changes to be made this year to Kohler Park. 

Allie Beck, Mainstreet Greensburg Executive Director approached the Commissioners to request the use of the courthouse south parking lot for the Farmers Market. Discussion at the last Commissioner’s meeting discussed moving the Mainstreet Market to the fairgrounds due to the Franklin Street road closures. Allie said, “The Farmers Market is the livelihood of 29 families. Including a single mother teaching her children entrepreneurial skills to a senior citizen who enjoys growing and selling her items.” Allie stressed that moving the market could hurt who will be attending the market. Her other concern is moving it out of the downtown area she may not be able to oversee it as the Executive Director as it would no longer be within the downtown area. Allie also told the Commissioners that local restaurants shop at the farmer’s market for their businesses. The Farmers Market helps grow and rehabilitate downtown. After discussion, the Commissioners agreed to allow the Farmers Market to occur on the Southside parking lot. 

The Commissioners stated that Ben Beuning stepped down as a Park board member. They voted that Scott Richards would replace Ben as a board member. 

The Commissioners are currently accepting mowing bids for The Decatur County Courthouse, Highway Department, and the Annex. These are due by noon on March 15, 2024. These sealed bids will be opened on March 18, 2024, during the Commissioner’s meeting. 

Chad Smith, Attorney stated that they need to discuss the county’s requirements for the YMCA OCRA Grant. He cited the Indiana code that allows for a recess instead of an adjournment from the meeting and asked that the Commissioners reconvene on March 6, 2024, at 1 pm to discuss and move forward with the county requirements as financially overseeing the OCRA grant of $500,000 that has been applied for and awarded for the YMCA roof project.

The Commissioners officially recessed the meeting to reconvene on March 6, 2024, at 1 pm. The meeting is open to the public.

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