County Council to pay off YMCA debt over three years

269

The Switzerland County Council at its meeting on August 11th voted to page off the debt on the Switzerland County YMCA over a three year period.

Eric Cole, director of the Switzerland County YMCA, presented the council with a copy of the YMCA’s most recent audit. He noted that the balance to pay off the building was $1.85 million as of the end of 2009. He said that the YMCA has made one payment in 2010, which would reduce the debt by approximately $15,000; and noted that there is another payment due in November of this year.

He told the council that the YMCA saw a loss of approximately $100,000 in 2009.

The county council had previously discussed paying off the debt over a three year period. The council discussed that it would be unable to pay the debt out of the bond issue because those funds were going to pay for blacktop; but the council could use riverboat revenue sharing funds to pay the debt.

Eric Cole said that the by-laws have been changed so that the county would have the right of first refusal on the remaining assets should the YMCA dissolve at some point in the future.

Councilman Terry Hall noted that the county paying off the debt would save the YMCA approximately $1.2 million in interest.

Following more discussion, Terry Hall moved to pay the $1.8 million debt in three yearly payments of $600,000; noting that the final payment may be a different figure. Steve Crabtree seconded the motion, and all were in favor.

*

The county council also discussed the East Enterprise Regional Sewer District, and was informed that Kathy Kelly has been hired to handle the books for the district.

At the meeting Kathy Kelly presented the council with an information sheet to let the councilmen know how the sewer district currently stands financially. She said that the district’s income and expenses are pretty much breaking even, but the loan payment that is owed will put the district behind.

It was noted that attorney Ron Hocker is in the process of putting liens on the property taxes of district members who have past due balances.

The current amount of current and past due balances owed to the district is $36,690.

Councilman Steve Lyons noted that even after the debt is paid, the sewer district is still asking for $172,000 from the county for maintenance and upgrades to the system; and that there is no way that the district would be able to cover that expense at its current rates.

Kathy Kelly said that the district could be in line for money from the Southeastern Indiana Solid Waste District.

Steve Crabtree then made a motion to pay off the debt of the East Enterprise Regional Sewer District and also provide it with an additional $93,000 for repairs. That motion was seconded by Donnie Covington.

Steve Lyons then asked where the money was going to come from, and Mike Jones said that the county would be receiving another casino draw in October. Donnie Covington asked about paying the money out of the bond issue; but Jon Bond said that items had to be on the original list in order to be eligible for bond funds, and this project was not on the original list.

The motion then passed with everyone agreeing.

*

Bert Allen appeared at the council meeting to discuss a possible pay increase for jail employees. He said that last year the employees received a two-percent pay raise; and are currently the lowest-paid jail employees in the state. It was noted that the duties of the employees have increased over what their duties were when the jail first opened.

The jail commander is asking for a five-percent pay increase for 2011, which would have jail employees making $12.41 per hour, or $25,814.88 per years. He noted that the jail employees were asking for a 14-percent pay raise, which would put them at the lower end of the average pay of a jailer in the state.

Bert Allen also noted that jail employees do not have protection, such as tasers; and that this would require more training for them.

No action was taken.

*

In other business discussed by the Switzerland County Council:

– Molly Dodge discussed the Clearinghouse Project with the council. She represents River Valley Resources, and noted that the WorkOne State Employment Agency has agreed to move into the Clearinghouse, which is a positive step for the project.

She noted that they have already received funding from the City of Madison; and are submitting a grant to the Office of Community and Rural Affairs and to the Krezky Foundation. Senator Richard Lugar has also included the project in his list of federal appropriation requests.

The Switzerland County Commissioners have recommended that the county provide $100,000 over a three year period for the project.

Councilman Mike Jones asked that, since the building will be located in Madison, how would Switzerland County residents in rural areas such as Patriot be served. Molly Dodge said that representatives would still go out into the counties being served. Mike Jones said that residents in the east end of the county normally go upriver for their services, so he wondered how this would benefit them.

Steve Crabtree moved to provide $25,000 over a four year period, contingent on casino funds continuing to come into the county. All were in favor except Councilman Tom Conroy, who opposed the motion.

- Vevay Town Council members Kirk Works and Tye Sullivan appeared to discuss the Vevay Streetscape Project, which was first proposed in 2002/2003, but was then suspended until it was revitalized in 2008.

Kirk Works and Tye Sullivan told the council that they would like to make changes to the downtown as well as the outlying areas of the town. This would be a “green” project, and it is hoped to have the project completed in time for the town’s bicentennial in 2013.

The town is applying for a Community Focus Fund grant in October; and requested $68,000 from the county; half being paid in 2011 and the other half in 2012.

No action was taken.

- Keli Hall of the Switzerland County Animal Shelter requested $6,500 for contractual services, which is what the shelter pays its veterinarian bills from. She said that the additional funds would help the shelter get through the rest of the year.

She said that the shelter rescued 75-80 dogs as of May, and have been able to adopt out 22 of them.

Keli Hall said that the shelter also needs $10,713.68 for the shelter spay/neuter fund. She said that in 2011 the shelter is going to start taking the spay/neuter fees from the general fund and make a donation fund for any donations it receives or money that they have made from fundraisers.

Steve Crabtree made a motion to pay both amounts, with the $10,713.68 coming from the council’s casino funds. All were in favor, and councilman Terry Hall abstained from the vote.

– Commissioner Craig Bond asked the council about $1.5 million for blacktop. He said that the council has already approved $1.1 million; but the commissioners were asking for another $400,000.

The council approved the additional funds, noting that the $1.1 million would come from the bond money; and the additional $400,000 would come from the council’s boat revenues.

- The council discussed funding for the last two dispatchers working in the Switzerland County Communications Center.

County Auditor Rachel Schuler said that she thought that the two dispatchers were to be paid by the council, but these salaries are currently running a negative balance.

Communications Director Kevin Hayes and Sheriff Nathan Hughes said that they thought that the positions were going to be paid for through the Switzerland County Fire Chiefs Association; but Glenn Scott of the Fire Chiefs Association said that he did not remember his organization agreeing to this.

Rachel Schuler then read the minutes from the council’s December, 2008, meeting, where the council agreed to pay for the two new dispatchers positions.