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By LOU ANN MILLETT
(TIPTON) – As is the custom, with a new year comes the re-organization of leaders in the Tipton County Board of Commissioners. The current president, Dennis Henderson accepted the nomination and election to the post again. Commissioner Nancy Cline was voted to be the Vice President of the group.
New appointments or re-appointments were made to several boards by the commissioners. They were:
• County Plan Commission – reappointed Grant Dunn, appointed Gary David, and Commissioner Tracey Powell will continue on this.
• County Health Board – reaffirmed the December 2021 appointment of Tami Brown Havens and Brian Shortridge.
• 911 Executive Board – Commissioner Henderson will continue on this.
• Alcoholic. Beverage Commission – reappointed John Colter.
• Big Cicero Creek Drainage Board – reappointed Austin Henderson.
• Solid Waste Board – Reappointed Alice Book; all three commissioners remain on this board.
• PTA-BOA – appointed Phil Heron as the Republican and Kenny Ziegler as the Democrat as recommended by the County Assessor Shannon Cassons.
• Good Will (BOC with City of Tipton officials)Committee – reappointed Commissioner Henderson.
• Redevelopment Committee – reappointed Monty Henderson; Commissioners Henderson, Cline, and Powell continue on this as well as April Overdorf.
• County Drainage Board – Commissioners Henderson, Cline, and Powell.
• Ambulance Oversight Board – Commissioner Cline; it was also suggested there be a representative from Howard Regional Hospital and IU Health Tipton Hospital.
• North Central Regional Economic Development – reappointed Commissioner Powell.
• Americans with Disability Coordinator – Sherry Crawford continues in this position.
• Area 5 Council on Aging – reappointed Lezlie Wood.
• Audit Finance Committee – re-established this committee and appointed Commissioner Cline.
• Tipton County Foundation – Abby Hobbs’ five-year term will end in the middle of 2022, thus a later appointment.
There were no appointments necessary at this time for County Library Board or Community Corrections. Commissioner Henderson there was no animal control appointment because “she resigned a long time ago.”
In other business, the commissioners opened bids for mowing, fertilizing and herbicide treatments for some county properties. With there being only one bid for the Courthouse and old jail lawns, the contract was awarded to William Louthen. His bid, per mow, was the same as 2021: $30 for the Courthouse lawn and $60 for the old jail lawn.
Bids for lawn services for the new jail: One bid from Larry Piel of Pro-Lawn was for three applications at $1,100 each for lawn treatment and weed control. Another bid from Derek Idelwine of Envy Turf was $1,400 for each lawn treatment application and $600 for each mowing. These bids for the new jail’s lawn care were taken under advisement.
Commissioner Powell reported the Indiana Economic Development Commission (IEDC) is expected to make a decision on what entity will make the decisions about how the READI grant money is distributed. Tipton County, as a member of the North Central Regional Economic Development Committee, had some projects in mind, as do each of the other member counties. The NCRED, with multiple county members, received a READI grant of $30 million; however, it had asked for $50 million. Powell has commented on the past that he hoped the IEDC makes the decision about what amount each county within the NCRED will receive. Powell believes if the NCRED, itself, is forced to make the decision, then the decisions could become political ones.
BOC President Henderson announced he and County Attorney Mark Regnier would be on a conference call on Jan. 12 to finalize the financial items Tipton County is obligated for with the (West) Elwood sewer project. For the next several years, county officials must maintain a $50,000 fund to be used in case anyone in Tipton County, that connects to the Elwood sewers, does not pay their bills. If a bill is not paid, then Tipton County will pay it and then put a lien on the Tipton County property’s owner.
Regnier explained an equipment rental situation at the Tipton County Highway Department. From time to time, County Highway Superintendent Bret Morris rents an excavator, on an as-needed basis. The excavator is owned by the County Highway employee. Morris said it was $150 per hour cheaper to rent this excavator than rent one from a rental business. Regnier said as long as both (the county and the excavator owner) have appropriate insurance on the equipment and the owner is receiving his regular highway department pay for operating the machine, the agreement is okay. Regnier stated Morris has a budget line for equipment rental and can rent from anyone. This equipment is rented on a per need basis. Regnier said this agreement was not a contract. He added whoever Morris rents from should agree to indemnify the County if there’s any damage to the machine or to an individual who is not a county employee. If it were an employee who was injured, it would be workmen’s compensation.
Morris presented two examples where this machine was used in working on two small structures in the county. One job, on CR 500 West, utilized the machine for 28.5 hours at a cost of $4,275 plus moving costs of $650. The other job, on CR1000 West, utilized the machine for 21 hours at a cost of $3,150 plus $300 for moving the machine. Morris quoted Ziegler Caterpillar Rental charges $7,600 per month. This amount did not include insurance or moving expenses. Morris stated if it rained and consequently, the machine cannot be used, there is no cost for the employee’s machine.
If a machine was rented from a rental company for a month, the rain days could extend the cost if the project could not be completed within the month because of the weather delays.
Commissioner Henderson stated, “It’s a bargain for the county.”
Commissioner Cline said it was a convenience having the machine there whenever it is needed and only having to pay for the time it is in use. She noted it was used on “small jobs.” She stated, “We can’t go wrong (with this arrangement).”
The next regular meeting of the BOC will be at 9 a.m. Jan. 17 in the first-floor meeting room of the courthouse.