Decatur County Commissioners Meeting

The Decatur County Commissioners met on April 15, 2024. The room was filled with extra chairs being added to seat everyone. The meeting began with approval of the April 1, 2024 meeting minutes, claims, and payroll claims.

Todd Hauk, Highway Department, said that they continue to patch roads and mow road sides. Todd is working on drafting a new fuel bid. Todd was happy to report that Decatur County was awarded the Community Crossing grant that they applied for. Todd is working with the County IT department to look at getting equipment and all vehicles’ GPS and in some already GPS units getting upgraded. This will help them know where equipment is located and to deter theft. The discussion of Bridge 70 came up and Blodgett said that looking back to August 2023 this bridge was closed temporarily. Tony said that at the last meeting, he had asked about revenue vs. expenses for the Highway Department and with the information that he received the Highway Department is looking at a 1.5-1.8 million dollar shortfall per year for the next 10 years. Tony said that at this time his thoughts are to continue to leave this closed temporarily until a committee can be formed to analyze all revenue and costs, and then create a list of what can be done within the budgeted dollars. Jeremy Pasel, Commissioner, updated Todd about the school bus that was discussed at the last meeting that it did indeed go off the side of the road on 500, and the top of the bus did come into contact with the utility pole. Discussion was had over the drop-offs. Jeremy would like to see this problem corrected before they start on any more projects as this is a safety concern. Tony Blodgett brought up the idea of stripping the road on the edge to offer drivers a visual to avoid going off of the road. Todd stated that he is currently looking into ways to fix this problem and will keep the commissioners updated. Jeremy also updated Todd that the patching that was done at Love’s Truck Stop in St. Paul is gone.

Kenny Beuning, Building Inspector, said that he has had 34 building inspections, 14 new permits/plan reviews, 1 renewal, and 2 red tags since the last meeting. He stated that he added 29 names and properties into his Burney complaint file and that he would begin to go inspect and take pictures. He is planning a trip to Lake McCoy with Trustee Beverly Rivera to look at the condition of some properties.

Krista Duvall, Area Plan Commission, came to the commissioners to get approval for 3 ordinances for rezoning. 2024-6 2.99 acres rezoning from A1-A2, 2023-11 1.5 acres from A1-A2, and 2024-4 1.5 A1-A2 were all approved. Ordinance 2024-3 concerning Leising Mulch raised questions from Commissioner Mark Koors when he asked what is being done with drainage. Krista said that he knows that a drainage study must be done for the property. The commissioners approved the request with the understanding that he will complete the items that need completing. Commissioner Pasel asked Krista about when the Solar Project will be brought up at the BZA meeting. Krista said this will occur at the June meeting and that it will be located at the Greensburg High School to allow for the space needed.

Teresa Kovacich, Parks Department, & Zach Wirrig, Director of Public Projects, came to the commissioners to discuss Rebekah Park parking lot concerns and designs. They said that there is a need to upgrade the parking lot at Rebekah Park. Teresa stated that the current parking flow is not safe with the increased amount of people parking and utilizing the park. Zach said that they have a current design that is out for the trail. The grant is currently maxed out. He believes we should include this parking lot just in case they can come in under budget on the trail and could use leftover money to do the parking lot project. He provided three designs that are 45 parking spots- approximately $178,000, 85 parking spots-$420,700, and 79 parking spots $299,650. They are not asking for approval to move forward with the project. Instead, they are just asking which design they should include. The commissioners said that it would be the 79 parking spots. The commissioners reminded him that this was not agreeing to anything and that they have so many projects that they are considering, this would have to become part of the conversation.

Steve Ruble, Strand Associates, came to the commissioners to get approval on Change Order #1. He stated that with the project winding down and that they are just waiting on a few items, they are in a spot where they are comfortable with giving final numbers. The original contract that they entered into with the county was not to exceed 11.5 million dollars. They are coming before the commissioners today stating that they need to revise the contract to reflect the total cost to be $10,417,161.10. This means the project has been accomplished over 1 million dollars below the original budget. The commissioners approved this request. Mark Koors said that they have someone currently looking into the funding options to pay the difference on what they owe on the build.

Bryan Robbins, Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, said that they have the opportunity to apply for the Steller Pathways grant. However, the Steller Committee feels that they should not apply, as neither the city or the county meet the requirement of qualifying for low-mid income levels, the project requires a large match, and if awarded this would limit the county from applying for other grants at the state. Bryan gave an update on the READI Program, saying that our region was awarded 30 million dollars and that the award was the largest award per capita in the state.

Chris Ramey, Founder & President of the Friends of the Greensburg & Decatur County Animal Shelter, came before the commissioners to discuss the creation and launch of a capital campaign that will raise funds for a new animal shelter. Chris said that the group plans to raise as much funds as possible and have the ability to go after matching grant opportunities. Mr. Ramey said that if we can explore grant funding and corporate funding, then we should explore that option to reduce the tax burden on our residents in Decatur County. Chris said that the shelter is doing great things and that this is just part of the puzzle for the shelter. The commissioners were all in favor of this and thanked Chris and the Friends of the GDCAS for putting the hard work in.

The commissioners, Mayor Josh Marsh, and County Attorney Chad Smith had a conversation about the DORA. The commissioners are not in favor of having alcoholic drinks within Rebekah Park, however, after clarification from attorney Smith, the legislation that was written for this states that business owners can withdraw from the DORA area, the county is not considered a business. Therefore the county could not withdraw. He said that the County would have to ask the City to redraw the map. The commissioners discussed creating an ordinance to say no alcoholic drinks in the park unless under a special permit for events like the Summer Concert Series. Attorney Chad Smith said that the county cannot create an ordinance that attempts to override the state laws. The state has a hierarchy over what the county writes. It was determined that the commissioners are going to draft an ordinance that states no alcoholic drinks that are not part of DORA or part of a special use permit. County Attorney Chad Smith and City Attorney Chris Stephens will work together to get this completed.

Tony Blodgett, Commissioner, brought up Biosolids by saying that in Bartholomew County they are building a Biosolids facility. After all processes are completed, the Biosolids are then transported and spread. This particular facility would spread in Ripley, Rush, Decatur, and Bartholomew. Tony asked that an ordinance be drafted that would eliminate Biosolids from outside the county from being brought into Decatur County and being spread. Sean Durbin, Director of the Health Department, stated that both Dearborn County and Bartholomew County have created ordinances that address this concern.

The commissioners agreed to enter into a 5-year use agreement with Kohler Park to offer the teams stability and the availability to do some upgrades. This allows the teams that play or practice on the fields to be comfortable knowing that they have future use. This ordinance was 2024-4 and was approved by all commissioners.

The maintenance contract for Mid America Elevator was signed for 5 years. By switching to this company they are saving $10,000 per year. Mid America is the company that will be installing the elevator as early as the end of June.

Patty Hensley presented the Access Medical Agreement. This is an urgent care facility that is operated on Hwy 3 near Chilis. They offer urgent care services, urine drug screens, CDL physicals, and will work with the county to streamline the workers’ compensation process. The county will continue to work with the WorkWell clinic, however, they will have Access Medical as a secondary option for odd-hour needs, and offer employees the choice. By entering into the grant this allowed the County to negotiate prices that reflect what they are already paying at WorkWell. The commissioners agreed to the addition of Access Medical.

The commissioners re-appointed Ashley Hungate to the Greensburg Decatur County Library Board.

Tony Blodgett brought up concerns with the Courthouse Security Plan, Ordinance, and the County Policy Handbook not lining up when it comes to the employee handgun section. It was determined that the County Policy Handbook would need to be updated to reflect the current

Courthouse Security Plan and the Ordinance.

Tony Blodgett also brought up the Human Resources and its role in the county. Tony said that he would like to see an ordinance or policy that directs complaints and issues to go to HR when an office without an elected official is in the office. The commissioners agreed.

Philip Deiwert, Decatur County Visitors Commission Executive Director, thanked all involved with making the solar eclipse happen. He said that they estimate that Decatur County saw an additional 10,000 visitors on April 8, 2024.

Tony Blodgett announced that the events at the fairgrounds for the Solar Eclipse event went on without any cost to the taxpayer. He said that revenue far outweighed the expenses for the event.

Josh Tressler, Decatur County IT, came to the commissioners requesting to purchase a retired 2014 Ford Explorer from the City of Greensburg Police Department for $3100. The city takes 50% of that cost as the IT department is split between the county and the city. The county would need to pay $1500 approximately. Josh said he has the funds in his budget but that with the current 50/50 structure, it would make the city pay half twice. So he asked that this expense come out of cumcap. The commissioners approved this request and also approved for disposal to the scrap yard of the vehicle that they had before.

The meeting was adjourned.

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