Decatur County Council Meeting

The Decatur County Council met at 9:00 am on February 20, 2024. The meeting began with the pledge, and review of the January meetings. Before approval of the meetings, Deanna Burkart requested a small change to the minutes. With the change, the meeting minutes were approved.

Michelle Guidice, Catch-A-Ride/Life Line Director came to the board to provide an update of what they are doing in the county. Michelle stated that in 2023 they provided 7,144 one-way rides to 126 individuals. Catch-A-Ride partners with Decatur Industries Inc. (DSI) to provide transportation. A majority of those rides were for transportation to Decatur Industries, shopping, and doctor appointments. Currently, two routes originate from the YMCA and travel throughout the city. They currently have seven other routes that travel throughout the county. Michelle said that they are currently at 60% of their pre-covid numbers. They are installing backup cameras on the vehicles to help reduce accidents. She stated that they are currently hiring. Michelle thanked the Council for their continued support of Catch-A-Ride.

Tim Day, Decatur County Circuit Court Judge & Jeremiah McAdams Juvenile Probation Officer came to the Council to request to move money from their salary appropriation to programming. Judge Day stated that due to the pay offered vs. education required for a secondary Juvenile Probation Officer, they have not been successful in hiring. He and Jeremiah weighed the current caseload and feel that they can operate efficiently with just Jeremiah. The funds would be moved to fund the Why Try Program. The money would be primarily used for programming and a small amount of the funds to go to a training fund. The funding will be used to bring in additional contractors to help run the program and expand from one class to possibly a second class. Jeremiah states that Why Try began on January 31 with 13 students referred, Currently 12 are active due to one student moving out of the county. The class will last 15-18 weeks. Individuals grades 6th-12th are eligible to participate. The program focuses on creating and learning to move towards goals. Also, it allows the students to focus on the positives even when things may not be positive in their lives. One of the area schools report a 10% increase in attendance due to the class. At this time all 12 students have perfect attendance. Jeremiah said that he wants to continue to build upon this program and provide opportunities to juveniles which prevents future negative choices that end up in court. Jeremiah stated, “I believe in this class and I would like to look at expanding to a second class.” The council asked that they draft a transfer request before the next meeting and they would be glad to approve the request at that time.

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. This design included a new bathhouse, council members pointed out that we do not need to build a new bathhouse. The Aurora pool was funded by almost a 1 million dollar community fundraising, and the rest was financing. Teresa did state that the Parks & Rec Board met on February 19th, 2024, and voted to approve the expense of approximately $15,000 to be paid to RL Turner for the design of the pool. Teresa stated that the information that she provided today was in response to questions that have been raised during past meetings. The council re-stated that they approve the design to be within the 5-6 million dollar cost while staying as close to 5 million as they can. Several Council members stated that they are the ones who decide the funding and that it is the commissioners who are responsible for the building and design of the pool.

The council moved forward with approving additionals, transfers, encumbrances, and the Salary Ordinance.

Danny Peters, Council President stated that after reviewing Robert’s Rule of Order he found that since the Food & Beverage Tax was tabled at the last meeting. It would have to be brought up at this meeting and voted on or un-tabled and then postponed. If this was not the case then the item would be considered “dead” and not able to be brought back. Deanna Burkart, Council Member said she didn’t think this was accurate and asked if legal counsel had been spoken to. Danny Peters stated that they had not and pulled a few papers out and started showing Deanna what he had found. The Council discussed this and the fear that was brought up is that if they didn’t do anything and went to their attorney and the attorney did agree with this they would have already lost the right to un-table this. It was decided a vote would take place to un-table the Food & Beverage Tax discussion with votes being Yeas: Deanna, Kenny, Ashley, and Bill. Neas: Melanie and Ernie. After un-tabling the discussion, it was voted (Yeas: Deanna, Kenny, Ashley, and Bil. Neas: Ernie & Melanie) to postpone the Food & Beverage Tax discussion until the next Council meeting. The Council agreed that the Council attorney would be consulted before the next meeting to get clarification on the proper procedure for tabling an item.

The Council voted to adjourn the meeting.

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