By BRADEN LAMMERS
The Clark County Commissioners took several steps to ensure they are tracking the county’s spending at their meeting Thursday.
The commissioners renewed a contract with Governmental Consulting Services and Dan Eggermann, who has been helping the county with its budgets for the past two years. Despite approving the contract, which cost the county about $30,000 last year, there was some hesitation to enter into a new deal.
“I think it’s going to become necessary to seek an emergency levy appeal due to the storm costs and I think he’s going to be invaluable in helping to get that done,” said Commissioners Attorney Greg Fifer, of Eggermann.
The commissioners added a provision to the contract to ensure those using his services are paying for it. They added a requirement that if another county office would want to consult with Eggermann, the commissioners’ approval would be required first.
“It seems like he gets a lot of calls that we don’t have control over,” said Commissioner Ed Meyer.
While other offices may be consulting with Eggermann, the commissioners said they have been on the hook to pay for it.
“We’re really watching what comes out of our budget,” Meyer said. “They’re cutting our budget so we can’t pay the contract, so we have to do something like that,” he said of adding the provision for approval by commissioners. “If they’re going to call him and use him, then I feel like they ought to fund us for it.”
When asked if he felt that the restriction would create a division between the Clark County Council and the commissioners, Meyer said that he didn’t know if the council has been using Eggermann.
But he added, “by law they can’t have it in their budget. They can fund it; they can give us the money.”
To improve the way in which the commissioners track costs, they revised approving the county’s claims to ask for receipts and invoices to be included to ensure the expenses are legitimate. They also will receive a claims printout.
Clark County Commissioner John Perkins said he is investigating another issue regarding legitimate claims. He said he is looking into the payments made out of Clark County Circuit Court No. 3’s — formerly Superior Court No. 3 — alcohol and drug fund.
“I’m going back five years to investigate those claims that I do not feel were appropriate at the time,” Perkins said. “I will turn those claims over to the proper authorities, whoever that may be.”
EDIT plan outlined
The commissioners also offered a plan for the county’s Economic Development Income Tax funds Thursday.
“The county has now virtually exhausted the money in its health insurance fund,” Fifer said. “In order to continue paying premiums after this month ... we now need to authorize that money to be spent from your EDIT funds.”
He said funds that will be paid out of EDIT include $860,000 for the Clark County Building Authority, of which half has already been paid; $1.2 million to cover the group health insurance for the remainder of the year; and a probate administrator salary for $41,500.
The EDIT plan — resolution 6-2012 — was unanimously approved.
The results are in for septic systems
Jill Saegesser, executive director of River Hills Regional Planning Agency, who helps the county obtain grants, provided an update to a meeting held in Marysville last week regarding the area’s septic tanks.
At the meeting, a survey was handed out to see if the residents in the area would be willing to construct a sewer treatment facility, rather than repair their septic tanks. Grant funds may be available to construct a sewer treatment facility, and there is a concern that older septic tanks that may have been damaged by the March 2 tornadoes may not be up to the Indiana’s environmental and health standards.
“Most of them have not applied for a building permit yet; most of them said they don’t think their system was damaged,” Saegesser said. “There’s a definition of whether they think the tank is working or not, but the health department has different requirements they have to follow.”
She said of about 40 people who were residents of the area that attended the meeting, 15 surveys were returned and 12 said they plan to rebuild their homes that were damaged.
“Eight said they were willing to connect to [a] sewer [system], which is more than I thought,” she said.
She added that most residents have not applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, but that they indicated on the survey that they would need some assistance to pay for repairs to the septic systems.
“Unfortunately, at least the feeling that I got, was that most people felt like their systems are going to work,” Saegesser said.
The Clark County Health Department is inspecting the septic systems of those who need to rebuild, and if no damage is apparent it will re-examine the system 90 days after it is operating.
“By that time, I’m afraid this option of getting grant money to help them might be gone,” Saegesser said. “I really don’t have a recommendation for you; I don’t know that the support was there,” she said, referring to constructing a sewer system in the area.
Commissioners asked Saegesser to see if the Office of Community and Rural Affairs would extend the window to the county up to six months in which to submit a grant, in case assistance is needed.
The deadline for individuals to apply for FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration loans is Tuesday, May 8, which also is Election Day in Indiana.
In other business
• The commissioners approved an interlocal agreement that will allow the county, along with Clarksville and Jeffersonville, to secure a justice assistance grant for the Sheriff’s Department. Ordinance 17-2012 was unanimously approved for a county infrastructure grant for IT totaling $3,227, with no matching funds.
• Commissioners approved a total of eight change orders regarding the installation of a slurry wall at the Clark-Floyd County Landfill, totaling $143,000.
• Resolution 7-2012 was unanimously approved delineating that insurance benefits, if an employee is terminated, would end at the end of the month that they are no longer employed with the county. Perkins said the expected savings from ending benefits is more than $50,000.