Decatur County Commissioners Meeting- 6/17/24 County Pool Hopes Go Down the Drain

The Decatur County Commissioners meeting was held on June 17, 2024, at 8 am. 

The meeting began with the approval of the June 3, 2024 meeting minutes, claims, and payroll. 

Kenny Beuning, Building Inspector, came to the meeting to state that he had performed 30 building inspections, 20 new building permits, and 3 permit renewals. Kenny said he received 3 responses to the letters that were sent to Lake McCoy. They have said that clean-up is underway and he plans to follow up later this week. Kenny also spoke with the Clay Township Trustee and said that cleanup is beginning in that area as well. 

Chad Smith, County Attorney, presented the Alcohol Ordinance with revisions that were requested after the 1st reading. With these changes, the commissioners approved the Ordinance on the 2nd reading. Chad also stated that with the OCRA grant, the state requires the YMCA to put a lien on itself as the grant requires that the YMCA continue to operate as the YMCA. The commissioners approved this and approved Mark Koors to sign the document with the Grant writer. 

Chad Smith, County Attorney, spoke about the Road Use Agreement and Decommissioning Agreement for Fletcher Power. Chad said he had received information stating that they were approving the revisions made by him and the county and that they were satisfied on their end. However, upon inspection, Chad found that they had left important wording that he had put into the agreement during a prior revision. These changes were in paragraphs 10 and 12. Chad asked the commissioners if they wanted him to go back to Fletcher Power and have these sections revisited so they could reflect what they wanted. The commissioners did ask Chad to go back and negotiate these points and get these changes implemented.  

Jeremy Pasel, Commissioner, brought up the Fair Committee By-Laws. These would go into effect for the 2025 Decatur County 4-H Fair. This would create a new entity of members to lead and oversee the fair. The fairgrounds and all property would remain the property of the commissioners. All improvements would be up to the commissioners. The finances of the Fair Committee would continue to be run through the Auditor and Treasurer of the county. The commissioners would appoint the first board members with staggering terms. It is Jeremy’s hope that a selection committee be formed by the commissioners, County Council, and Decatur County Extension Board and they would help find individuals to sit the committee. The commissioners elected to make this viewable to the public before deciding on this. 

The commissioners discussed financing the Decatur County Highway Department that was recently built. The amount left to be paid is $832,594.91. Currently, the county has a $111,645 Build Decatur County Fund that the state is suggesting that they no longer need to have that line item. Mark Koors, Commissioner, stated that the company that completed construction is offering to carry a loan for the remainder of the cost minus the $111,645 Build Decatur County Fund. The loan would be for 5 years with a 5% interest rate. The county would make a December and June payment of $82,245.04. The commissioners approved to finance the remainder of the cost of the build. 

The Pool was brought up in the discussion. The discussion lasted nearly an hour. The concerns were how would a pool be paid for with all of the other items that are needed in the county. Mark Koors mentioned the shingled part of the roof of the courthouse will need to be replaced soon. Jeremy Pasel mentioned the Park Road project, Annex updates, and the Animal Shelter needs. The discussion went to utilizing EDIT funds that are to be used for economic development. Tony Blodgett asked what the funds were being used for and what the money was being saved for. Currently, we are using approximately $200,000 per year and we are receiving $960,000 per year from taxes. Decatur County Auditor and County Council President Danny Peters said that this is being used as a backup to the County General. Blodgett replied, “But, should we be using Economic Development money as a backup or should we be spending this for economic purposes?” 

Jeremy Pasel asked County Council President Danny Peters when the county council said they could contribute a million dollars where was the funds going to come from. Danny said that they were going to have to borrow it. 

Jeremy said that RL Turner held a meeting last week and laid out 2 options that were 6.5-6.9 million dollars. They did have another option which was a 4 million dollar pool that is used at a camp that would have the surface area as our current pool, step entry, and 1 slide. Jeremy added that this is not worth the money or worth even building. 

Jeremy Pasel went on to say that he feels that the projects that are on the table are stretching the county too thin financially. He mentioned the Park Rd project, the Highway Dept, the Animal Shelter, and the Hwy dept projected shortfall over the next several years. 

Tony Blodgett asked how the council voted publicly to allow 5-6 million for a pool and then it went down to 4 million at the last commissioners meeting. He then asked Bill Metz and Danny Peters in the crowd and they said they had not said anything about 4 million. 

Jeremy Pasel said that F&B Tax was the way to pay for the pool. He said he is not advocating for the F&B but that it was the only way he could see it happening. 

The commissioners discussed swapping the READI 1.0 for READI 2.0 project but it would create the same problem, where would the money come from.

In closing of the pool conversation Jeremy said the pool is not financially a right move for the county. As much as he would love to see it built and his daughter would love it. Tony said that he doesn’t think we have a clear and accurate understanding of the county financials. He said that the commissioners and council should work together. As a county we cannot keep going day by day, month by month, we must start planning for the future. Mark Koors agreed with their statements. 

The commissioners took a vote to not move forward with a pool. This was first by Jeremy Pasel, second by Tony Blodgett, and Mark Koors concurred. 

A county financial review has received an appropriation of $30,000 from ARPA funds. The commissioners agreed that they would like to hear from the three companies who are interested in doing this so they can have a question and answer segment. 

Todd Houk, Highway Department, received a fuel bid from Premier Energy and 3 chip n’ seal bids from Globe Asphalt, Pavement Solutions, and Evergreen Roadworks. Pavement Solutions was the lowest bidder on the Chip n’ seal. The commissioners voted to take these under advisement and will allow the attorney to review them. 

Todd said that they are continuing to grade roads, mowing roadsides, and doing some patchwork. He said that all 3 entry level drivers all have their permits and are working on getting their CDL. Todd said that he did meet with INDOT about some work that will be done on 3 and 46 in the future.  

At the end of the meeting, Bryan Robbins asked to clarify that he is going to notify the READI group to release the funds of 1.5 million that were allocated to Decatur County for this project. The commissioners said yes this is correct. 

Teresa Kovacich, Decatur County Parks & Recreation Director, asked if she receives calls at her office is she supposed to tell them the commissioners have voted not to build a pool. The commissioners answered yes to this. 

The meeting was adjourned.

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