Preview of Monroe County Council Work Session 2015-10-27

2015 Monroe County Council
2015 Monroe County Council

The packet and agenda for tonight’s work session of the Monroe County Council is now available: Council_Work_Session_Packet_20151027_AMENDED

The following topics will be discussed at the work session:

  • The Solid Waste Management District is requesting that the County provide landfill post-closure financial assurance that is required by new state requirements. Essentially the District is requesting that the county guarantee the landfill closure costs, if for some reason the District is unable to cover those costs.
  • The Auditor and the Treasurer will provide some discussion on their respective responses to the Hartman and Williams report on financial reconciliation issues up to December 31, 2014.
  • The Council will discuss a proposed new policy for providing a mechanism by which department heads can start certain new hires at above the current initial starting salary. Currently all new county employees start at the minimum salary for the classification, unless they have 1-3 years of experience with Monroe County Government. The intention of this policy is to allow experience at a substantially similar organization to substitute for Monroe County Government experience. The purpose is to provide department heads with better tools to recruit good employees to Monroe County Government.
  • The Sheriff will provide a proposed amendment to the Monroe County Police Retirement Plan, which increases the vesting schedule for retirement pension from 8 years to 10 years.

In addition to these work session topics, the Council will be voting on a number of requests from departments:

  • The Auditor has two requests:
    • One to increase their maximum hourly rate for part-time employees from $15.00 to $19.25. The Auditor is requesting that this increase be retroactive to April 1, 2015.
    • The second is to reclassify the Payroll Financial Representative from a COMOT V ($32,995/year) to a PAT III ($36,232/year), effective immediately.
  • The Treasurer has several requests as well:
    • To reclassify their Financial/Cash Book position (PAT II at $35,793 per year) to a Financial Cash Manager position (PAT IV, at $40,286).
    • To add a new position to the department, a Deputy Judgments position (COMOT III, at $29,575).
  • Courts is requesting the appropriation of a $100,000 Title IV-D Parenting Time grant.
  • Planning has several requests:
    • Permission to hire a new senior planner at the midpoint, rather than the entry level (see the discussion above).
    • Request to move 3 planner positions from 35 hours/week to 40 hours/week immediately. These positions were funded at 40 hours/week in the upcoming 2016 budget, but this request is to make the change take effect immediately.
    • A transfer of $10,008 from Hourly/Work Study to Consultant Fees/Legal Expenses line.
    • Request for appropriation of two grants: Limestone Heritage Project ($5000) and Indiana Landmarks/Indiana Humanities Educational Outreach Program ($2000)
  • The Prosecutor is requesting that a Case Management/Tech Specialist position be funded out of the County General fund. Typically this position has been funded 2/3 out of Pretrial Diversion; however, the Pretrial Diversion balance it too low to support this position.
  • The Recorder is requesting the appropriation of $10,000 in the County Elected Officials Training Fund (supported from a county recording fee and statutorily earmarked for mandatory training for certain elected officials). Appropriation of this fund was omitted during budget hearings last year for 2015.
  • Probation is requesting a salary ordinance amendment to create two new positions in the Community Alternative Supervision Program (Community Corrections). These positions would be funded by a grant that has not been awarded yet. However, the county has been advised that turnaround for this grant will be quick, so this request would set up the salary lines for immediate funding IF the grant is awarded.
  • County Council is requesting an additional appropriation of $41,500 for PERF, part-time hourly, contractual services, and community services grants. This is the first year that County Council members receive the PERF retirement benefits, and so this line was underfunded for the year. In addition, the Council hired a new administrative assistant and additional assistance during budget hearings, which increased the part-time hourly burden. The council also engaged the services of Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele (WIS) for a classification study.
  • Veterans’ Affairs is requesting a $1000 transfer from the Secretary Part-Time line (which is unused) to the Training/Travel line.

As always, the meeting is open to the public, and will be held tonight at 5:30 in the Nat U Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse, and it will be broadcast on CATS. Hope to see you there!

Preview of Today’s Monroe County Council Work Session (2015-01-27)

2014 Monroe County Council
2014 Monroe County Council

Tonight’s work session of the Monroe County Council will feature several substantive issues for discussion. The packet with narrative descriptions of each of the issues can be found here: 2015-01-27 Work Session Packet

Very briefly, the major issues to be discussed are:

  • The Health Department is asking to offer health insurance its public health nurse position, which is currently split by two people in a job share. Both positions are half-time on their own, and do not currently receive county benefits.
  • Human Resources and the County Commissioners are asking extend county retirement benefits (through the Public Employees Retirement Fund – PERF) to all elected officials. Currently the County Commissioners, County Council, and Coroner are excluded. The overall list of PERF-eligible positions is also out of date and must be updated.
  • The County Highway department is asking whether snow and ice supplementary pay should also be extended to non-union Highway employees who are also required to forgo vacations during the snow and ice season.
  • The County Commissioners will provide an update on possible funding mechanisms for the major energy upgrades being planned
  • Parks and Recreation is presenting their proposal for an additional appropriation (for 2015, and then again annually thereafter) to fund the maintenance of the Monroe County Active Transportation (Greenway) network. I’m very excited about this presentation, and about several of the trails initiatives that are on the horizon.

In addition, there will be several financial issues up for discussion, including the Auditor’s decision not to prorate the final payroll of the year that straddled 2014 and 2015, a financial update on 2014 from me (I’ll post my presentation as a separate blog entry) and the Council President’s discussion of the Council Office and general meeting procedures.

As always, the meeting is open to the public, and will be held tonight at 5:30 in the Nat U Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse, and it will be broadcast on CATS.

Preview of Today’s Monroe County Council Work Session (2014-05-27)


Monroe County Courthouse at Night
Monroe County Courthouse at Night

The agenda and packet for tonight’s work session of the Monroe County Council is available here:

The council does not have any regular business to conduct tonight, so tonight will be for discussion only. The main topic will be preparation for the fall budget hearings. In particular, the council will discuss:

  • Dates for 2015 budget hearings (held in the fall of 2014)
  • State of County finances (the Auditor will present)
  • County employee compensation, including options for for increase (I will give a primer on the structure of the county employee compensation system, which I will post afterwards)

In addition, I will name the 3 Council members to serve on the Sophia Travis Community Service Grants committee. This year, $100,000 has been appropriated for community service grant awards.

As always, the meeting is open to the public, and will be held tonight at 5:30 in the Nat U Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse. Unfortunately due to CATS staffing issues, the meeting will not be broadcast on CATS. Hope to see you at the meeting!

Preview of Today’s Monroe County Council Work Session (2014-03-25)

courthouseThe agenda for this evening’s Monroe County Council work session is available here:

The following are the highlights:

  • Public Defender: The Council will hold a second reading of (and take a vote on) a salary ordinance amendment to provide a salary increase for 7 deputy public defenders who were reclassified from the Executive I (EXE I) classification to Executive II (EXE II), as part of a mandate from the State Public Defender Commission to provide for an equivalency between the Public Defender’s and the Prosecutor’s offices. I have written more about this here. The salary increases did not pass unanimously on first reading two weeks ago (Councilor Langley voted “no”), so they have to be voted on again.
  • Plan Commission: Again, the Council will hold a second reading of and take a vote on a salary ordinance amendment to provide a salary increase for members of the Plan Commission. The proposal is to pay each member $50 per month per meeting attended, up to $150 per month. I have written more about this here. Again, the salary increases did not pass unanimously on first reading two weeks ago (Councilor Langley voted “no”), so they have to be voted on again.
  • Juvenile COIT: The council will hear a presentation from Judge Steven Galvin, the juvenile court judge, and Kim Meyer, the Executive Director of the Youth Shelter, on the need to both reauthorize and increase the rate of the Juvenile County Option Income Tax (Juvenile COIT).
    • The Juvenile COIT is a special income tax rate only applicable to Monroe County (IC §6-3.5-6-33) of up to 0.25% specifically to fund a juvenile detention center and other juvenile services (including the youth shelter and the juvenile court).
    • The current rate is 0.05%. The County Council  has advertised the possibility of raising the rate up to 0.1%, although they can also set a lower rate (advertising sets the maximum rate that can be considered).
    • Tonight’s meeting will be discussion only; the Council will conduct a public hearing during the regular County Council meeting on April 8, 2014 at 5:30 PM in the Nat U Hill Room in the Monroe County Courthouse.
    • The reasons for the proposed increase are to continue to fund existing services and possibly to move some additional juvenile court-related expenses that are currently in the general COIT fund into the juvenile COIT fund.
  • County Council: Several County Council members will provide a brief financial update, with a more detailed update to come after the end of the first quarter (March 31).

The meeting will be tonight, Tuesday, 2014-03-25, at 5:30PM in the Nat U Hill Room of the Monroe County Courthouse. As always, all meetings are open to the public.  Although this is a work session, not a regular meeting, and so there is no general public comment on items not on the agenda, we will take public comment on the items for which votes may be taken: the proposed public defender reclassifications and the proposed increase in compensation for Plan Commission members.

Hope to see you there!


Combined Regular Session – Work Session of the County Council Tonight

Tonight, the Monroe County Council will conduct a brief regular meeting at 5:30PM in the Nat U Hill Room, to hear one item of business (creating budget lines, and possibly appropriating the funding from the $2M infrastructure general obligation (GO) bond passed by the Council in late 2013. The following are the lines that will be created, which shows what the proceeds of the bond will be spent on:

  • 10.0014 Administration Costs
  • 30.0001 Bond Issuing Cost $ 80,000.00
  • 40.0001 Showers Building Repair 200,000.00
  • 40.0002 IT Infrastructure 176,000.00
  • 40.0003 Courthouse Waterproofing 600,000.00
  • 40.0004 Jail Remodel 270,000.00
  • 40.0005 County Vehicles 41,641.00
  • 40.0006 Voter Registration 20,000.00
  • 40.0007 Archive Project 20,000.00
  • 40.0008 Proximity Locks/Fire Suppression 35,000.00
  • 40.0009 Jail Control Panel 222,000.00
  • 40.0010 Siren 25,000.00
  • 40.0011 Ambulance 100,000.00
  • 40.0012 Solar Thermal System 160,359.00
  • 40.0013 Karst Connection Trail 50,000.00
  • Total: $2,000,000.00

Public comment will be taken at the beginning of this regular session.

After the regular session is adjourned, the council will meet in a work session. As always, although public comment isn’t taken at work sessions, they are open to the public (and we welcome members of the public!). The following items are planned to be discussed at this work session:

  1. Resolution for Replacement of Lost Personal Property Tax Revenue 
    The council will consider a resolution requesting that the Indiana General Assembly take no action this year regarding exempting business personal property from taxation, but rather take the time to come up with a more comprehensive property tax reform solution. The resolution also requests that IF the General Assembly does take action this year, that the state simultaneously provides a replacement for the lost revenue.
  2. AIC Debrief
    Council members will provide comments and discussion related to the Association of Indiana Counties Legislative Conference, in which 5 County Council members participated last week.
  3. Brief Discussion of Public Defender PERF Payments
    This is a brief follow-up to ongoing discussions about a mandate from the Public Defender Commission to equalize the compensation between the Chief Public Defender and the Prosecutor (as well as between their chief deputies). The Council has discussed the equivalence of salaries in the past, and at last month’s meeting, raised the salaries of the Chief Public Defender and his chief deputy to match their counterparts in the prosecutor’s office. This discussion will focus on the degree to which their benefits are equivalent. Currently, the County pays the 3% employee contribution to the PERF retirement fund on behalf of all county employees who are in the PERF program (including the Chief Public Defender). The State pays the Prosecutor’s 3% employee contribution. However, the County is not required to at this point, and the issue has been raised that if the Public Defender Commission is going to mandate that benefits, as well as compensation be equal, then the Commission should mandate that ALL counties pay the 3%, not just those that voluntarily pay it today.
  4. Technical Services Update
    Commissioners Administrator Angie Chalfant will provide a brief update to the Council on plans for the Technical Services department, which has seen substantial staff attrition recently and has multiple vacant positions.
  5. Plan Commission Compensation
    The Council will continue previous discussions on increasing the compensation for Plan Commission members, who spend many hours each month in meetings and need to drive all over the county to visit sites.

Attached is the official agenda as of yesterday evening. The Plan Commission Compensation issue did not make it on the agenda before it was distributed.

Monroe County Council 2013-03-26 Work Session Agenda

Here is the agenda for tonight’s work session of the Monroe County Council. The meeting will begin at 5:30 PM in the Nat U. Hill room of the Monroe County Courthouse.  Although public comment isn’t normally taken during work sessions, all meetings of the County Council, including work sessions, are open to the public (and the public is encouraged to attend).  Text in italics is my comment, not part of the official agenda.


II. PERRY CLEAR CREEK FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT- Discussion of Increase in Cum Cap rate

III. COURTS, Bonnie Austin -Discussion of Filling Deputy Court Administrator Position

The Courts Administrator position was vacated when Angie Chalfant left position to become the new Commissioners’ Administrator. Per the county’s Hiring Review policy, the Courts are petitioning to be allowed to refill this position.


As has been reported in the media, funding for the Monroe County Airport (BMG) Airport Traffic Control Tower is in jeopardy by the sequester. If nothing changes, the FAA will terminate funding for the tower by September. At their last meeting, the Board of Aviation Commissioners indicated that they might approach the County Council to fund the operations of the tower locally. The purpose of this agenda item is just to give the Council an update on this possibility, and the fiscal impacts.


I will be presenting the proposed legislative calendar for consideration of the Food and Beverage Tax and the resulting Convention Center Expansion:

• Introduce legislation at April Work Session
–Tuesday, April 23
–Presentation of Legislation and Framework for Proposed Interlocal Agreement
–Presentations from Convention Center, Convention Center Building Corporation, City of Bloomington
–Covered by CATS
–Discussion but no action
• Legislation Read for First Time at May Meeting
–Tuesday, May 14
–Public hearing/public comment
–Covered by CATS
–Council discussion
• Legislation Read for Second Time at June Meeting
–Tuesday, June 11
–Public comment
–Covered by CATS
–Council discussion & vote


I will be presenting a history of the funding of the joint dispatch center in Monroe County, and give the council an update on fiscal issues to be resolved as we move forward to creating a new Unified Dispatch Center.