At the December 10 meeting of the Ripley County Commissioners, Judge James Morris came before the commissioners expressing his concerns about the proposed Community Corrections Program.
Morris, who is the superior court judge, said he believed for the program to be successful it would require complete cooperation between all of the departments involved. He said at this time he does not believe all parties are of the same mind-set to cooperate. He said without this cooperation, the program will not work and the Indiana Department of Corrections would not even provide the grant.
Judge Morris explained how the program works. He said the prosecutor would present a plea deal to the judge, probation would then assess the person for acceptance into the program and present the judges with their recommendation. He said the judge would have sole discretion in the sentencing.
A bill being introduced into the State legislature may combine the Community Corrections Program into the probation department, according to Judge Morris.
Judge Morris said he felt the commissioners should not commit funds to build offices for Community Corrections with no assurance the program would be viable. He thought it would be best to wait until the judges' and sheriff's terms were up and to revisit the program possibilities for 2015.
Commissioner Gerald (Gary) Stutler suggested that all concerned with the program meet with the commissioners to see if the needed cooperation would be possible. Judge Morris was to contact those involved.
Concerning the Community Corrections Program, Stutler presented the resume of Frank Hillberg as someone who was interested in serving on the community correction's board. Judge Morris noted that he knew Hillberg and had no objections to him serving. The judge also presented two resumes of prospective employees for the commissioners' approval.
In other business, the Town of Osgood was represented by Linda Krinop, town board president, and Gary Norman, Ripley County Economic Development executive director who came before the commissioners.
Krinop explained that there are additional costs to bring Solarzentrum to Osgood and asked the commissioners for $120,000 in EDIT funds to help with these expenses.
Norman gave an update of his activities for economic development. He noted there were additional businesses that could locate to Osgood due to the new solar panel business already committed. He told commissioners that Solarzentrum has a five-year contract with the US Government for the panels, but they must have a "made in the USA" label. The request was made for the Town of Osgood to oversee the funds for the company, if the commissioners approve the request. No action was taken in the meeting to approve the request for $120,000.
Commissioner Stutler questioned if the land originally deeded to Belltech had been transferred back to the Redevelopment Commission and was informed that it had been.
Stutler also asked about a sign needed at the Versailles Industrial Park and that it needed to be kept mowed. Brenda Wetzler, with Ripley County Redevelopment Commission, was in attendance and noted that the sign and mowing issue would be addressed.
In further business:
• Mary Ann McCoy, clerk, requested meal claims for workers for the election be paid. This request had been denied at the previous commissioners' meeting. She stated that the claims had been paid in the past even though they were for workers of the offices rather than poll workers. The commissioners unanimously agreed to pay the claim.
• Ginger Bradford, recorder, requested permission to purchase a Christmas tree for the annex lobby, which was approved. She also noted that the swearing in of office holders would be in the annex on January 1. Bradford requested additional phone lines be installed in her office. Kelly Vollet, technology, noted that all the extensions of the current system were in use and to add lines would require the system be upgraded.
• Resolution 2012-04 concerning the Community Corrections Statute needed revised, according to the county attorney, John Ertel. The commissioners approved the revision of the resolution. Also, commissioners voted on Frank Hillberg being an additional lay person for the Community Corrections Program board with unanimous approval.
• Vollet, technology, advised that Pinnacle would be bringing the new mail machine on Dec. 17 and would provide training as well. She noted that Shawna Bushhorn, assessor, had requested a new copy machine. The current one is too small for the number of copies required and has been requiring more than normal maintenance. A new machine was approved for $4,834.00.
• Scott Huffman with EMS provided the commissioners with a list of employees to be hired with their approval. The commissioners approved the list unanimously. The employees would be part time and would be for the inter-facility transfers with Margaret Mary Community Hospital.
From the Ripley County Highway Garage:
All commissioners, Robert Reiners, Mark Busching, and Gary Stutler, along with auditor, William Wagner, were in attendance at the 7 a.m. meeting.
Bids for services and supplies for 2013 were reviewed and unanimously approved as the following:
Asphalt Materials, Inc. and Terry Asphalt Materials, Inc. RS-2, AE-90, AE-P fixed and escalating/de-escalating pricing for county storage, vendor storage and job site delivery.
CPI Supply and Civil-Con for culvert and bridge supplies.
Hot Mix, Inc., Paul H. Rohe, and Dave O'Mara for asphalt picked up at plant fixed and escalating/de-escalating pricing. All bids to be picked up at the closest plant.
Paul H. Rohe and Dave O'Mara for asphalt laid-fixed and escalating-de-escalating pricing.
New Point Stone and Hanson for various stone sizes. All bid materials to be picked up at the closest location.
Holman Septic Tank Sales and Service, Inc., and Roman Nobbe, Inc. for ready mix of various mixes.
Highway superintendent Junior Heaton advised the commissioners he had received a request from the contractor clearing the right of way for Enterprise Pipeline for the amount of bond Ripley County required for possible damage to the roads. The commissioners decided that $100,000 would be a sufficient bond amount.
Foreman Pat Kissell advised that the pickup truck is built and ready for delivery.
The next meeting of the Ripley County Commissioners will be held December 21 on Friday due to the Christmas holiday. It will begin at 7 a.m. at the county highway and then recess at and reconvene at 8 a.m. at the new annex building in Versailles beside the courthouse.