Decatur County Commissioners Meeting

The Decatur County Commissioners met on April 1, 2024, at 6 pm. The Commissioners approved the March 18th meeting minutes, March 20th Executive Session meeting minutes, Claims, and Payroll Claims.

Todd Hauk, Highway Department Superintendent stated that they continue to perform road grading, patchwork, and weed-eating along roadsides. During the meeting, Todd spoke to Attorney Chad Smith to see the progress on the Line of Sight Ordinance. Chad stated that he has it on his list of to-do’s.

Jeremy Pasel, Commissioner stated that he received a call and pictures from a farmer today that was traveling on 500 N. The caller stated that he was driving his semi and went to pass a school bus. He pulled to the right of the road as far as he could and even turned in his right rearview mirror. The school bus hit a utility pole with its right mirror. Jeremy did state that he has not confirmed this with the school. However, something needs to be done about the drop-offs. Jeremy stated, “We cannot have these issues. This is an example of something we did not want to happen when we started this conversation.” The Commissioners and Todd discussed drop-offs and what they needed to do to make them less of a drop-off. Tony Blodgett, Commissioner stated that we as a county must be proactive on future projects and care for the problems that have already occurred. Mark Koors, Commissioner did provide information as his professional background is working in asphalt. Todd said that O’Mara has the contract for this year and that he had spoken with them about using an additional piece of equipment that would create a gradual drop-off instead of a large drop-off. This may assist in aiding drivers to correct before going into the ditch line. The Commissioners did ask Todd to include ways to avoid drop-offs in the future in his submissions for the Community Crossing Grant. Tony Blodgett, Commissioner asked for a document or inspection sheet to be created so that they would know what is projected as costs and revenue to come in over the next 5-10 years.

Chad Smith, Attorney commented about the fuel bids that were presented at the March meeting. He stated that the fuel bids were non-conforming and that they needed updates. He suggested the Commissioners vote to reject all bids that were accepted. Then he would create a new Request for Bids with the needed updates. At that time the bids would be opened back up for bidders. The Commissioners agreed and approved the rejection of all bids received for fuel.

Discussion occurred about Bridge 70 which is located on 50 N. Todd provided cost estimates of $350,000-$400,000. Commissioners questioned Todd on when and if he could absorb this into his budget. Todd said that he would have to sit down and look at his budget, however, he felt comfortable saying that in the next 3-4 years they could get the bridge completed. Questions were raised by both Jeremy Pasel and Tony Blodgett about the bridge’s future. Rather they will close it permanently or put it in line to be completed. Mark Koors, Commissioner said, that he will speak with Mark Mohr, past Highway Department Superintendent.

Kenny Beuning, Building Inspector stated that since the last Commissioner’s meeting, he has completed 49 inspections, 16 new building permits and plan reviews, and 2 permit renewals. He had one red tag which was for a boat dock being constructed. Once he spoke to the property owner and explained a permit was needed, they came and purchased a permit. Kenny provided an update on the Smith property on 850S. He said that he went to the property and all vehicles without license plates have been removed. Kenny stated that he is marking this property as abated. He also stated that he was provided a map of Burney with 14 properties marked for inspections, and he said that these have been added to his Burney inspection files. He stated he is going to get with the Washington Township Trustee and go to Lake McCoy and look at properties that are out of compliance.

Chad Smith, Attorney stated that he has drafted the ordinance for the Tip Fee for Highway from Bex Farms. He asked that the Commissioners approve this and then submit the ordinance to Bex Farms so they can agree or request edits before signing. The Commissioners approved.

Matt Hoeing, Court Services came to the board to request the Commissioners provide a letter of support for the Community Corrections Grant that is due in April. This was an identical request to last year. The Commissioners agreed to provide the letter of support.

Matt also stated that the Court Services department currently has a 2016 Ford Explorer with 127,000 miles on it, a Ford Escape, and a Van. At this time, the 2016 Ford Explorer is requiring updates and was just in the shop recently. When they are going out to do home visits this is the vehicle that they use. He stated that the vehicle was used for the following visits December 168 visits, January 130 visits, and February 112 visits. The department has, and plans to, continue to use its yearly budget to pay for all expenses and upkeep of its department vehicles. Mark Koors, Commissioner asked if they had any money in their budget for this request. Matt stated that at this time they do not. Tony Blodgett made a motion to provide the approximate $40,000 (The current Ford Explorer will be traded in and that will be deducted from the total price) cost for Community Corrections to purchase a 2024 Dodge Durango. Jeremy Pasel seconded that motion. Mark Koors stated, “You got her.”

Commissioners approved the following board appointments-

Court Services- Brittany Stewart replaces Billy Austin

Lake Santee RWWD- Scott Gibbs replaces Claude Livesay

Bryan Robbins, Economic Development Corporation Executive Director stated that on April 11, 2024, they will know what funding is being awarded under the READI 2.0 grant request. He stated that Decatur County is working with Shelby County on the Lilly 8 Grant with a focus on childcare needs in the region. Bryan stated that as of January 2024, Decatur County has a 3.4% unemployment rate and currently is 65th in the state. The positions most needed in the county are nursing jobs.

Bryan also spoke for Dawn Lowe, Decatur County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. He stated that on April 2, 2024, the Chamber will have a shareable link of businesses that are open or closed during the April 6th-8th weekend.

Tony Blodgett brought up the discussion about Kohler Park and the five-year lease that was discussed before. He asked the other commissioners for an update. Jeremy Pasel said that he would like this on the agenda to provide the opportunity for the public to know that it is being spoken about. Tony asked that Kohler Park be added to the next Commissioners meeting. At that meeting, they will be discussing if they will sign a five-year lease. 

Dr. James Howell reminded everyone to go to the Decatur County Health Department to receive a free pair of solar eclipse glasses.

The meeting was adjourned.

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