WARSAW — Jon Garber was chosen as the Kosciusko County Council president for 2020 at the council meeting Thursday, Jan. 9. Ernie Wiggins, although not in attendance, was voted to serve as the vice president.
County Attorney Chad Miner and Ken Jones, president and chief executive officer with Jones Petrie Rafinski, Elkhart, told council members that the Tippy-Chapman Regional Sewer District order has been adopted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and officials are hoping to fill most of the seven seats on the district board by the end of January.
“We have had kind of an amazing turnout of potential candidates,” Jones said. “That is something I’m sure you’ll take very seriously. It’s something that needs to go forward soon, but we would also encourage you to practice any due diligence you feel is necessary.”
“The basic qualification is that they need to be either a resident or a future ratepayer of the utility and beyond that, there really isn’t any educational or work experience qualification necessary to serve,” said Jones.
Responsibilities would typically include attending a once-a-month meeting and a willingness to be a liaison to the community.
“It’s a significant responsibility,” Jones said.
Garber said the majority of names that have been suggested have been Tippecanoe Lake residents.
“We’d like to see some more interest from Chapman Lake residents for the board,” Garber said.
Garber suggested that any Chapman Lake residents interested in serving on the board contact the auditor’s office at 100 W. Center Street, #203, Warsaw, by Jan. 23.
Numerous grant requests, ordinance amendments, transfers and additional appropriation requests were addressed at the meeting.
Kosciusko County Drug Court Case Manager Maggie Rock-Brauer received permission to apply for a grant to expand treatment services for drug court program participants.
Brauer said there are currently 25 active participants in the program.
Superior Court 1 Judge David Cates received approval for two salary ordinance amendments and two transfers.
Cates said the first is in regards to a secretary.
“We’re in the process of having three very experienced staff members retire. Two of them have. We replaced the first one and have now replaced the second one,” Cates said. “This is to make sure we have enough money moved from our part-time account to cover the differential so that she’s paid while we’re still paying out the last days the prior employee was owed.”
Cates said he anticipates returning in May with a similar request when the third staff member retires.
The second ordinance amendment addressed the hiring of a new bailiff, Mike Speigle, to assist Circuit Court, Superior Court 1 and Superior Court 4 with court security.
A salary ordinance amendment request from County Prosecutor Dan Hampton, to be used for a part-time caseworker, and three grant requests connected to the start-up of a child advocacy center were approved. Hampton informed council members that the ICJA grant was denied.
“That was our big one that we were really hoping to get some money in,” Hampton said. “We’re trying to get the information out to the public about the need for a child advocacy center.”
Courtney Jenkins, Kosciusko County Jail Chemical Addiction Program coordinator, received permission to apply for a grant through the Kosciusko K21 Health Foundation in the amount of $100,000.
The request is for funding that would allow the jail to operate both male and female JCAP programs at the same time. Currently, there is only enough funding to run one program at a time.
The grant money would also help establish a fund that could be used to assist in covering treatment costs for JCAP graduates during times when there is a gap in insurance coverage.
Jenkins also presented two additional appropriation requests. The first was a request to continue to spend $26,020 that remains from the original grant from the attorney general.
“We’ve been incredibly frugal with spending that money and it has lasted us,” said Jenkins. “We’ve received permission from the Indiana Drug Enforcement Agency, who handles that purse for the attorney general’s office. They gave us permission to continue spending that money until we run out.”
The second request was to spend $114,861 received in grant funding from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
Council member Kimberly Cates questioned why the grant was broken down to include both contractors and consultants.
“Aren’t they all services, so they would be a contracted person?” Kimberly Cates asked.
Jenkins explained that some services, such as those through Purdue Extension, involve classes that are taught and paid for but are not actually contracted, whereas other services, such as those through the Bowen Center, actually involve a contract.
Jenkins said $20,000 of the grant was appropriated and approved for KCSO Jail Commander Shane Coney to be director of the JCAP program.
“We talked about having that as a contract position so that it didn’t conflict with his salary through the sheriff’s office,” Jenkins said.
“Is that done at a different time than he would spend at the jail as a paid employee?” Kimberly Cates asked.
Jenkins replied that it would involve additional time but that “there definitely would be overlap.”
Council approved Jenkins’ first additional appropriation request, but tabled the second request to allow for further review and discussion.
- An inter-local agreement with Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission was approved.
- The council approved two additional appropriation requests by County Auditor Michelle Puckett regarding Fire District 2 infrastructure and regional public safety.
- Kosciusko Economic Development Executive Director Alan Tio gave a KEDCo update regarding discussion of potential road access improvements in Syracuse that would involve the town and the county sharing the cost of the improvements.
- Council Member Mike Long suggested changing the time of future county council meetings to either 9 a.m. or 6 p.m. Due to the fact that two council members were not in attendance at the meeting, the matter was tabled and will be discussed at the February meeting.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb.13.