Ertel chosen for county attorney

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

The Ripley County Commissioners welcomed new county attorney John Ertel at the regular meeting on Monday, February 7. “We look forward to working with you,” said commissioner president Rob Reiners.

The commissioners considered proposed site layouts for the annex building presented by the architectural firm Lawrence, Williams, Clinton (LWC). According to project manager Gary Turner, construction could begin as early as August 2011.

The proposed plans were designed with office holders’ space needs in mind as well as those needs for the commissioner meeting room. Input from the commissioners, the county council and the building committee will be considered before a final plan will be approved.

According to Turner, the schemes were developed to protect the historical look of the square and to ensure that the courthouse was the primary focus. None of the plans included a basement. Newer plans will be adjusted to include a partial basement and will be contingent on approval from IDEM due to soil contamination from the old dry cleaning business.

LWC will meet with the building committee for their recommendations and will present adjusted plans at the next commissioners meeting.

In other business, the commissioners approved the formation of the voting advisory council, as part of the Help America Vote Council, which will ensure that polling places are accessible.

The council will be comprised of three members with at least two members over the age of 65 or disabled. County clerk Mary Ann McCoy requested members to include Mark Busching, Everett Thompson and Paul Mathews. The motion to approve the advisory council and the appointments were approved with a vote of 2-0-1 with Busching abstaining.

Scott Huffman, Ripley County EMS director, presented the annual contract from the Batesville Rescue 10. According to Huffman, the Rescue 10 contract was modified from the original contract signed by the other paramedic services.

Huffman noted that Rescue 10 does not want to disclose the billing information to the county nor use the same billing software used by others in the county. Commissioner President Reiners noted that billing information is public record and therefore should be reported. County attorney John Ertel was requested to send a letter stating that Rescue 10 will not receive the first quarter check until the original contract is signed.

All commissioners were in attendance. The next meeting will be held on Friday, February 18 beginning at 7 a.m. at the Ripley County Garage in Osgood and reconvening at 8 a.m. at the courthouse annex. Note this is a different schedule due to Presidents’ Day being on February 21.