By Valerie Werkmeister
Members of the Posey County Council met September 11, to approve a number of routine matters.
Posey County Prosecutor Travis Clowers appeared before the council to request approval to transfer $1,440 his office had received as a result of plea agreement due to illegal drug charges. The funds were recovered during the execution of a search warrant.
Clowers was also given authorization to spend $2,500 to cover expenses required to pay for experts who testified in court.
Probation officer Rodney Fetcher requested an additional $35,000 appropriation to pay for pauper attorney fees. He stated the fees were incurred during the defense of a person recently convicted of murder. The attorney’s fee was approximately $20,000. He added that he anticipates he will need an additional $10,000-$15,000 and will return next month for this request. The council approved his request.
Council members also approved a request from Larry Thompson for an additional $70,000 for Emergency Medical Services. Thompson admitted this was largely due to overtime pay while some of his employees were on medical leave or maternity leave. He also requested an additional appropriation of $40,000 from county general to part-time pay.
“A large portion of this overtime is due to the fourth ambulance in Posey County. The public needs to know that,” council member Tom Schneider said.
Sheriff Greg Oeth’s $6,652 transfer request from jail maintenance supplies to jail maintenance capital was approved. The funds were used to install new video recording equipment in the holding cells at the Superior Court building. Oeth stated that often one corrections officer is in the court room while the prisoners are left alone in the holding cells. The new equipment allows the corrections officer to monitor the holding cells from their cell phones while they are in court. He added it helps improve the overall building security.
The second reading of the 2013 salary and budget ordinance was held. Council members requested a separate line item under personnel trainee at the probation office, sheriff and jail be added for future use. They approved the salary and budget ordinance with the exception that these line items be added.
The first reading of the budget was given. The state has set the levee at 2.8 percent. Auditor Nick Wildeman explained that many of the taxing units were requesting amounts higher than the 2.8 percent if they had a certain capital project planned. The general practice is to advertise for a higher amount in the hopes that it will be approved by the state. A second reading of the budget ordinance must be read before it is approved.
Wildeman also referred those interested in reviewing the budget to visit the state’s online website at http://gateway.ifionline.org. However, the 2013 won’t be listed for a few months until the process has been finalized.
An amendment to the 2012 salary ordinance was approved for the addition of an employee’s salary in the Superior Court office. The $31,505 salary was inadvertently left off the budget when it was previously approved.
Representatives from Fifth Third Bank gave an update to the council regarding the sheriff’s pension fund. Currently, there is $1,966,734 in the retirement account and $128,000 in the benefit account. There are 12 active participants in the pension fund. Zach Hopkins of Fifth Third stated there was approximately $1.7 million in the pension fund in 2007. Then, in 2008, the stock market fell and the fund dropped to approximately $1.3 million. It has steadily increased each year to the current amount.
Hopkins added they are doing their best to maintain growth each year and continue to be good stewards of the funds.
The next council meeting is scheduled Tuesday, October 9, at 9 a.m. in the Hovey House.
By Valerie Werkmeister
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