HOWARD COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS MEETING NOVEMBER 18, 2002

 

 

The Howard County Board of Commissioners met in Regular Session on Monday, November 18, 2002, at 8:30 a.m. in Hearing Room No. 338 of the Howard County Administration Center.  Those in attendance included President Paul J. Raver, Vice President Bradley J. Bagwell, and Member John B. Harbaugh.  Also present were County Attorney Larry Murrell, Personnel Administrator Wanda McKillip, and Auditor Martha Lake.

 

The meeting was called to order by Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Trott and conducted by President Paul Raver.

 

The minutes from the last regular meeting held on November 4, 2002 were considered.  There being no additions or corrections, Mr. Bagwell made a motion to approve the minutes as submitted.  Mr. Harbaugh seconded the motion, which carried.

 

IN THE MATTER OF HIGHWAY ISSUES:

 

Mr. Ted Cain, Howard County Highway Engineer/Superintendent presented the following issues for Commissioner information and approval:

 

1.             Five bids for the Highway Department’s 2003 operating materials and supplies were received and opened by Mr. Cain at the scheduled time advertised of 8:30 a.m.  Mr. Cain noticed that all those submitting bids are familiar with the procedures and he did not anticipate problems with the bids.  The operating bids were received as follows:

 

Item #l        Precast and Prestressed Beams –

                                None

 

Item #2       Various Grades of Asphalt, Emulsion, and Tar –

                                Asphalt Materials, Inc.

                                Mohr Construction Co., Inc.

 

Item #3       Bituminous Coated Aggregate, Asphaltic Concrete Binder and Top –

                                Mohr Construction Co., Inc.

 

Item #4       Stone –

                                Stone Co., Inc.

                                Martin-Marietta Materials

 

Item #5       Equipment Rental –

                                Baker & Schultz

                                Mohr Construction Co., Inc.

 

Mr. Cain advised there are a lot of items (i.e. bituminous material and gasoline) that are not purchased in large quantities; therefore, contractors can send quotes instead of going through the bidding process. 

 

Mr. Harbaugh made a motion to take the County Highway operating bids for the year-2003 under advisement until the next meeting on December 2nd to allow Mr. Cain and the County Attorney Larry Murrell to review them.  Mr. Bagwell seconded the motion, which carried.

 

2.             Joint Presentation by Mr. Cain and Glen Boise, Executive Director of Kokomo/Howard County Plan Commission regarding items stored in right of way – North Washington Street:  (See November 4, 2002 minutes, page 4, “In the Matter of Items Stored in Right-of-Way – North Washington Street”, for related discussion.)

 

Mr. Boise presented copies of the title search requested by the County Commissioners at the previous meeting.  The documents disclosed that the State of Indiana purchased additional right-of-way, which measured 50 foot east from the centerline of the old U.S. 31 highway (00 East/West), in 1940.  The right-of-way extended to the telephone poles. 

 

It is assumed that the State vacated the highway and gave the 50-foot right-of-way to Howard County.  No records were found showing that Howard County received documents from the State when the right-of-way was vacated.  No records were found regarding the County returning the right-of-way to the property owners.  Proof of ownership falls on the property owners.  A copy of the title search will be provided to Mr. Barko’s legal counsel, Attorney William Menges.  County Highway Superintendent Ted Cain advised that the right-of-way is included in the Highway Department’s record of road mileage but he was uncertain if there was a record of the date that it originally happened. 

 

It was the consensus of the Commissioners to accept the report from Mr. Boise and invite the Barkos to a public hearing at the next meeting scheduled for December 2, 2002.  Mr. Harbaugh requested that a map be made available at the next meeting to help visualize the property. 

 

3.             There was discussion at the previous Drainage Board meeting about the Water Company doing some work in the right-of-way easement along Malfalfa Road.  Mr. Cain said an incorrect statement was made that “he gave unlimited permission to the Water Company to do work in the right-of-way”.  Mr. Cain only granted permission to install lines in the right-of-way and cut across Malfalfa Road, not 400 South.  Mr. Cain stated that he does not have the authority to grant permission for them to rip out any easement, or any utility, or work within a State right-of-way.  Mr. Cain also informed the Water Company that once the work is completed, the county right-of-way must be restored to its original condition or better.

 

IN THE MATTER OF PLAN COMMISSION ISSUES:

 

Plan Commission Director Glen Boise presented the following issues for Commissioner information:

 

                1.     Unsafe Building Issues: 

 

a.        No new information was received on the Martin Myers property located at 3904 South 350 West (See November 4, 2002 minutes, page 2, “In the Matter of Plan Commission Issues”, Item 7 for related discussion) The Kokomo Municipal Airport had earlier made an offer to purchase the house.  The offer was accepted but there was an arson fire before the closing date.  Mr. Boise sent a letter to encourage moving the process forward.

 

b.       A property owner was contacted about cleaning up property with an abandoned house on Lewis Street.

 

c.        The Commissioners requested Mr. Boise to check on an abandoned property at 5465 East 50 South, which has junk cars stored on it.

 

                2.     Flood Hazard Planning Issues:  The response to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) comments on the flood mitigation plan were completed and distributed to certain people for their comments.

 

IN THE MATTER OF MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT ISSUES:

 

Maintenance Superintendent Thomas Harrison presented the following issues for Commissioner information and approval:

 

1.        The annual quotes were received from Certified Chemicals for chemical treatment of the boilers in the Administration Center, Government Building, Kinsey Center and Criminal Justice Center. The quotes will be presented to the Commissioners at the December 2, 2002 meeting.  Quoting for the Courthouse boilers is not necessary until one year after the system is completed which would be one year after the air conditioning is turned on in the spring of 2003.  (An agreement for the Courthouse boilers would be needed in spring 2004.)

 

2.        There is no heating available in the northwest corner on the first floor in the courthouse.  The electrical setup is not sufficient to handle both the office electrical needs and portable electric heaters.  A decision needs to be made on how to provide heat to the Adult Probation Office for at least six (6) weeks.  Mr. Harrison suggested Huston Electric could run a couple of temporary electric lines to provide power for heaters.  (See page 4, “In the Matter of Courthouse Renovations” for additional discussion)

.

IN THE MATTER OF PERSONNEL ISSUES – COUNTY HEALTH INSURANCE RENEWAL:

 

Personnel Director Wanda McKillip reported that the Health Insurance Committee met on Tuesday, November 12, 2002 and discussed the 2003 Healthcare Enrollment Changes.  The committee recommends the following Renewal Alternatives: 

 

Effective January 1, 2003 all full-time employees hired (including part-time employees promoted to full-time), will pay 40% of their healthcare premium.  The County will pay the remaining 60%. 

 

Those full-time employees hired prior to January 1, 2003 will be “grand fathered” at 20% (employee pay) 80% (county pay) for their healthcare premiums.

 

Mr. Doug Heath from Miles & Finch Insurance Agency reported that claim activity has increased approximately 45% from the previous year.  In the previous policy period an extra $32,000.00 per month was going into the reserve account.  Due to the increasing costs of prescription and medical claims the reserve account is running at a loss of approximately $20,000.00 per month.

 

Anthem will continue to monitor the claims and expenses on a monthly basis.  Anthem wishes the County to be prepared to make a mid-term change if it becomes necessary. 

 

The county will be reducing some health care benefits as well.  Due to the economic climate, it was stated that other business are being forced to make similar adjustments.  Mrs. McKillip commented, even with the changes, the plan is still very attractive and a good plan.  County employees will be informed of the changes at the renewal meetings scheduled for Tuesday, December 3rd and Wednesday, December 4th, 2002.  The meetings are not mandatory and employees may attend at any of the locations listed in the packet during the scheduled times.

 

Mrs. McKillip said many meetings were held on a subcommittee level to closely examine health insurance renewal. 

In view of the circumstances involved, County funding and concerns for the employees were carefully considered in making the best recommendation for the renewal. 

 

In conjunction with the decision for renewal, Auditor Martha Lake suggested that Anthem be required to provide a monthly or bi-monthly report on the balance of the reserve fund for closer monitoring.  Mr. Heath conveyed that Anthem felt the formal closing and re-opening of the books each month during the prior policy year was impractical.  Anthem wants to discontinue this practice.  Mr. Heath has asked Anthem’s underwriting department if they will provide a quarterly report.  An alternative solution would be to leave a small amount of the funds on deposit with Anthem to take care of any monthly shortages, and then move the bulk of the balance into a separate account that can be tracked more closely.  The Commissioners were in favor of exploring this suggestion. 

 

The way claims have transpired, Mr. Heath predicted that by the end of the policy period on January 31, 2003, the funds will deplete by at least $300,000.00.  It is imperative that the vested account be monitored very closely.  Mr. Heath explained the county should anticipate receiving a balance report from Anthem in March 2003, once all the current policy period claims are communicated.

 

Mr. Tom Harrison, Maintenance Superintendent and City Councilman, cautioned that having groups with different healthcare benefits could lead to future problems of distension and disgruntlement among employees.

 

Auditor Martha Lake commented when the economy took a turn, the decision to pay 90% of employee premiums in 2001, and then 85% of the employee premiums in 2002, the County found itself in a position of being over-committed.

 

At the conclusion of the discussion, Mr. Bagwell made a motion to increase the current employee contribution to 20%.  In addition, employees hired on or after January 1, 2003 will pay 40%, accepting the renewal alternative as recommended by the County Insurance Committee.  Mr. Harbaugh seconded the motion, which carried.

 

Mrs. McKillip requested that the Commissioners and County Council compose a letter to county employees explaining the healthcare insurance situation.  The letter will notify employees that an additional increase is possible during the 2003 policy period, contingent on what happens with the healthcare issue and the economy. 

 

Mrs. McKillip hopes to distribute the open enrollment packets by Friday, November 22nd in time for the enrollment meetings scheduled during the first week in December 2002.

 

IN THE MATTER OF COURTHOUSE RENOVATIONS:

 

Mr. William Bassett of William Bassett and Associates presented the following issues for Commissioner information:

 

·          Progress is being made on several floors of the courthouse.  On the second floor, carpet has been installed in the clerk’s area and the file saver system was relocated from the third floor. 

 

·          Renovations to the inmate elevator were completed last week.

 

·          Paneling is being installed in the new courtroom. 

 

·          The sprinkler system has been installed on the second floor.  Walnut Street is being cut today for installation of the new water line to service the sprinkler system.

 

·          The stained glass ceiling was cleaned.  A couple of glass panels were broken when the new skylight was installed but the contractor will replace the glass at their expense.

 

Mr. Bassett presented a Request For Proposals Tabulation (changes).   The list contained twenty-one (21) items, many of which are under review and do not need to be considered at this particular time.  Mr. Bassett requested approval of the following items:

 

                Item No.         Description                                                                                           Amount

                    13                Repairs to duct in south chase                                                          $ 1,179.00

                    14                Three circuits to the boilers                                                               $ 1,104.00

                    18                Six light fixtures & 3-way switches to file room, 2nd floor              $ 1,950.00

                                        Total                                                                                                       $ 4,233.00

 

Mr. Harbaugh made a motion to approve Items 13, 14 and 18 on the Request For Proposals listed above in the amount of $4,233.00 for Courthouse renovations.  Mr. Bagwell seconded the motion and it carried.

 

·          Mr. Terry Tribby, Information Systems Manager, reported the phone switch was moved from the second floor communications center down to the first floor.  Now that the phone switches are located on the first floor, the servers on the second floor will soon be moved out of the dusty environment and cleaned.  The network will temporarily be shut down during the move.

 

·          Moving the communications room is an important critical issue.  The communication systems room needs to be moved in order to proceed with tearing out some walls on the second floor.  During the coordination meeting on November 6th, Mr. Bassett and Bob Hollingsworth from Teletec Communications – a division of Huston Electric, walked through the rooms with Terry Tribby and John Templin from the Information Systems Department. 

 

·          Walls are being torn out in the Voter Registration Office on the first floor.  The Drug and Alcohol Office will be temporary moved while their area in the basement is being remodeled. (See November 4, 2002 minutes, page 3, “In the Matter of Courthouse Renovations” for related discussion)  In order to move forward, decisions will need to be made within the next few weeks regarding temporary relocation of offices to accommodate the construction schedule.

 

·          There is no heat available in the northwest corner on the first floor in the courthouse where Adult Probation is located.  There is not enough power to connect temporary electric heaters when the office is operating.  Mr. Bassett said he will check into getting heat to the Adult Probation Office.

 

IN THE MATTER OF KOKOMO HUMANE SOCIETY:

 

Director Beryl Geer said the County Council cut $16,000.00 out of the original budget request for 2003.  Mr. Geer said the $150,000.00 contract will not cover the costs of the animal program in existence.  It would cost $166,214.00 to implement the current program in 2003.  Mr. Geer met with Major Larry Shipman of the Sheriff’s Department to discuss modifying programs to scale back operating costs to stay within the $150,000.00 budget.  The following three options were presented:

 

                                1.     Extended animal control hours of operation would be discontinued.

                                        (4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. per weekday & 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on weekends)

 

                                2.     Discontinue animal control in its entirety for the last 18 days in the first period & the last 17 days in the second period.

 

                                3.     Discontinue animal control in its entirety for 3 days each month.

 

Mr. Geer recommended Option No. 1, eliminating the afternoon shift and weekend coverage.  Mr. Geer said he will still have an employee during those hours but he will not take any calls from the county.  The city will continue to have complete coverage because they funded the full appropriation requested by the humane society.  Emergency animal control will remain covered but a complaint such as a barking dog is not considered an emergency.   

 

The Commissioners were not convinced that eliminating all afternoon and weekend service would be a good plan, especially in the summer.  As an alternative solution, Mr. Bagwell suggested keeping afternoon and weekend service and eliminate one day of each week when the humane society receives the fewest calls.  Mr. Geer was receptive to this suggestion and stated that Wednesdays have the least activity.  However, if the county brings in more revenue than anticipated, the County Council invited the humane society to submit additional request for appropriations in 2003.

 

The Commissioners recommended an evaluation to determine if eliminating Wednesday coverage would be financially feasible.  Mr. Geer and Auditor Martha Lake will review the proposal and a recommendation will be made to the Commissioners next month.

 

IN THE MATTER OF PETITION TO VACATE:

 

David T Baird, Attorney for U.A.W. Legal Services, came forward and explained the request was premature.  One of the property owners that needs notification is out of state.  Attorney Baird postponed the petition until December 16, 2002 meeting and the public hearing would be held on Tuesday, January 21, 2003. 

 

IN THE MATTER OF POOR RELIEF APPEALS FOR TAYLOR TOWNSHIP:

 

A Poor Relief Hearing was conducted on November 15, 2002 for Taylor Township on behalf of Stacey J. Harrington.  Commissioner Bagwell, Poor Relief Hearing Officer, made a recommendation to uphold the written denial for assistance made by the Taylor Township Trustee on October 31, 2002.  Mr. Bagwell made a motion to uphold the denial of the Taylor Township Trustee based upon the finding that the Township Trustee followed the Eligibility Standards and Guidelines for Poor Relief applicable to the case.  Mr. Harbaugh seconded the motion and it carried.

 

IN THE MATTER OF CITY OF FIRSTS AUTOMOTIVE HERITAGE MUSEUM, INC.:

 

Dwight Singer, President of the City of Firsts Automotive Heritage Museum, Inc. Board, presented the following issues for Commissioner information:

 

                1.     To accommodate term dates effective January 1, 2003, the Board of Commissioners shall appoint six (6) members to the City of Firsts Automotive Heritage Museum, Inc. Board.  The County Council will appoint three (3) members.  One (1) recommendation will come from the Pioneer Auto Club and one (1) from the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).  Mr. Bill Kring and Mrs. Pam Harbaugh submitted resignations from the Board effective December 31, 2002.  Mr. Raver will meet with Mr. Singer and Councilman Richard Miller and report back at the next meeting regarding appointment suggestions.  Mr. Bagwell said the Pioneer Auto Club recommended, in the following order:  (1) Tom Trauring, (2) John Holmes, and, (3) Jim Brannon.

 

IN THE MATTER OF CLAIMS AND REPORTS:

 

Howard County Auditor Martha Lake presented the following reports for Commissioner information and approval:

 

1.        Operating claims payable on November 18, 2002 in the amount of $60,424.91 were approved on a motion made by Mr. Bagwell, seconded by Mr. Harbaugh, and carried.

 

2.        Commissioners’ Salary Claims for hourly, salary, and overtime payable for November 22nd and November 29th, payable on November 27th, were approved on a motion made by Mr. Harbaugh.  Mr. Bagwell seconded the motion, which carried.

 

3.        The County Treasurer’s Report for the month of October 2002 was accepted on a motion made by Mr. Bagwell, seconded by Mr. Harbaugh and carried.

 

4.        Resolution 2002-BCC-19, a request to transfer $8,000.00 from line item 4720 Equipment to line item 1125 Overtime in Account 145, Howard County 911 Enhancement Services Fund, was considered.  Mr. Harbaugh made a motion to approve the transfer as requested.  Mr. Bagwell seconded the motion, which carried.

 

5.        The 2003 County Holiday Schedule was presented for Commissioners approval.  Mr. Bagwell made a motion approve the schedule with the addition of Thursday, July 3rd, 2003 as Elwood Haynes Day and Wednesday, December 24th, 2003 for Christmas Eve.  Mr. Raver seconded the motion, which carried.

 

6.        The following statements were presented for Commissioner information only:

 

                                                                William Bassett & Associates, Inc.          $   27,529.23

                                                                Specialty Systems of Indiana, Inc.                 $1,914.94

                                                                (Application No. 4):

                                                                            Terstep Company, Inc.                    $ 488,683.97

                                                                            First National Bank (Escrow)         $   54,298.23

 

7.        Maximus, Inc. came last week to review records in the Auditor’s Office to make sure Title IVD figures are available.   The County will be paying their contract fee of $9,500.00.

 

8.        As a result of performing the clean-up in regard to the SBA Audit for 2001, it was noted that the Howard Haven County Home records showed 5 or 6 accounts with outstanding balances due.  Some of the residents left the county home owing money.  The Auditor’s Office will send out letters requesting payments.  On the other hand, any surplus money paid by former residents must be sent to the State Attorney General’s Office.

 

9.        2003 EDIT Tax Anticipated Receipts and Expenditures:  The County will receive $1,362,442 in County Edit revenue in 2003.  The total amount paid on the Chrysler mortgage will be $1,696,000.  The County will pay $686,880, the City will pay $1,009,120.  The balance remaining to be collected for County economical development projects is $675,562.  $630,000 was appropriated at the 2003 Budget Hearings.   In addition, there will be some unused revenues collected in 2002 to carry forward.

 

10.     Auditor Martha Lake and some staff members attended the Annual County Auditor’s State Conference on November 13 and 14, 2002 in Indianapolis.  Many changes are anticipated for the upcoming year.

 

IN THE MATTER OF COUNTY ATTORNEY ISSUES:

 

Larry Murrell will be away from his County Attorney Office in the afternoon on Tuesday, November 19th and Thursday November 21st.   He will also be away from his law office on Wednesday, November 20th.

 

IN THE MATTER OF COMMISSIONER ISSUES:

 

1.        Communications Tower:  (See November 4, 2002 minutes, page 3, “In the Matter of Information System Manager Issues, Item 3 for related discussion) Mr. Bagwell and Mr. Tribby are researching whether a communications tower can be built on property at the Community Corrections Facility.  Surveyor Dan Minor is working on obtaining copies of plans for other towers built in the community.  A Request for Proposal would involve someone to build the tower.  The County would use the top of the tower leaving space available to be leased.  The County pays nearly $15,000.00 per year to rent space on a tower from Lattice for 9-11 radio communication equipment.  The existing antennas are 265 feet high as opposed to 350 feet on a new tower.  The additional height would increase emergency service coverage in the County.

 

2.        The minutes from the October 17th 2002 GIS Steering Committee were available for review.  The next meeting is scheduled for December 12, 2002 at 9:00 a.m.  Discussion was held regarding which departments should be represented on the committee.  In addition to those who attended the October 17th meeting, the following departments were recommended:

County                                                   City                                        Ad hoc

                                                Clerk                                                 City Engineer                              Property Systems

                                                Voters’ Registration                         City Developer

                                                Department of Health                                         

                        1 or 2 County Council Members

 Other suggestions were to contract the Sheriff’s Department to see if they would like to have a representative attend in addition to someone from the Dispatch Office. (The Dispatch Office will need to have only one officer attend.)  The Highway Department will be contracted again regarding sending a representative. Also, those working in a consulting position with the County such as Schneider’s Corporation may be invited, but would not be considered a member.  The Board, by consensus, approved to formally establish the committee.   Mr. Raver will attend on behalf of the Board and serve as group leader. 
 

3.        An extra Commissioners’ meeting was set for Monday, December 30th 2002 at 8:30 a.m. on a motion made by Mr. Harbaugh.  Mr. Bagwell seconded the motion, which carried.  The meeting is reserved for finalizing Commissioner year end business.

 

4.        Discussion ensued about contacting various Commissioner appointed committee persons who have terms expiring on December 31st, 2002, to find out if they wish to serve another term. 

 

Rob Whitaker was appointed Interim Director of the Howard County Sold Waste District due to the sudden death of Director Keith Fallon.  In regard of choosing a replacement for Keith Fallon on the Board of Health, it was decided that Mr. Whitaker would fill the position, but he would relinquish the position if someone else is chosen to be the permanent director.

 

There being no further business before the Board at this time, Mr. Bagwell made a motion to adjourn.  Mr. Harbaugh seconded the motion and it carried.  The meeting closed at 11:05 a.m.

 

 

                                                                                                     THE HOWARD COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

 

 

                                                                                                                ___________________________________________

                                                                                                                PAUL J. RAVER, PRESIDENT

 

 

                                                                                                                ___________________________________________

                                                                                                                BRADLEY J. BAGWELL, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

 

                                                                                                                ___________________________________________

                                                                                                                JOHN B. HARBAUGH, MEMBER

 

ATTEST:

 

 

__________________________________

MARTHA J. LAKE, AUDITOR

Commissioner Minutes, November 18, 2002