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There's hope for courthouse clock, maybe

Posted Friday, August 22, 2008, at 3:31 PM

Tick-toc, tick-toc, tick-toc, tick-toc.

That's the sound that soon might be resonating from the long-time out-of-service clock that sits atop the Greene County Courthouse in downtown Bloomfield.

I saw local clockmaster Basil Bennett from the Dancing Bear Shop on West Main Street in Bloomfield entering the courthouse attic this week with flashlight in hand. I was told he was "looking at the clock" to see what was going to be needed to fix it.

I know several of our readers have commented in recent months on our Web site -- www.gcdailyworld.com -- about the clock and wondered when and if it might be fixed.

Well, I can tell you at least someone has asked Bennett to take a look at the historic clock -- and trying to figure out if it's worth fixing. I know many who frequent the downtown area in the county seat would appreciate the old timekeeping relic being restored and working again.

I'm not sure how long it's been out of service, but I've been around this area since about 1990 and I don't recall if I ever saw it working.

I guess the next question is what shallow pool of budget money will county officials be able to drain a few bucks from to get the community timepiece working again?

I can safely tell you that the 2009 budget that the Greene County Council will be trying to piece together during the first week in September is a very, very tight one.

That's not really a big news flash -- it seems like that's a dilemma that's faced every year. This happens in short because we are a very big county, with a small tax base and a lot of miles to cover by our law enforcement/first responders and to maintain by our highway department crew.

But hang on. Next year could be even worse.

At least two members of the current county council have told me that the 2009 budget looks like it might be really tough to chip down.

It's been estimated that the proposed budgets preliminarily submitted by the department heads, officeholders, county commissioners and county council come up between $1.7 million and $2 million over what can be raised by the tax levy.

Normally, the council has had pretty good success chopping a little more than $1 million from the budget proposals every year and still have been able to fork over some small raises to county employees.

The county budget projection for his year is far from optimistic.

We've seen state officials shift away several budget responsibilities -- only to see others imposed through unfunded mandates from our lawmakers in Indianapolis.

The state has also imposed restrictions on the ability of local governments to collect property taxes. For civil (non-school) governments, annual increases in operating levies are restricted to the six-year average of statewide personal income growth. Civil government cumulative funds have maximum rate limits, and most are also included within the operating levy ceiling.

What that means is the budgets will have to be combed through line item by line item with very sharp pencils -- looking for any possible cuts.

That task will probably be compounded this year by volatile fuel costs that nobody can predict as well as rising medical costs for plenty of really sick inmates who are taking up residence in our county jail -- thanks to a methamphetamine and alcohol problem that continues to be a social and economic epidemic.

Also figuring into the uncertain budgetary mix will be the continuing escalating costs for prosecuting and getting folks who break the law through our local judicial system.

Those costs are going through the roof and don't expect that to change much.

These kinds of costs are those that nobody can easily project or even make an educated guess about.

Some tough choices likely will be made.

It looks like the County Council will have be even "leaner and meaner" as they approach this year's budget task.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com or nschneider@gcdailyworld.com


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

This clock is atop the newly renovated courthouse. Now how does a courthouse get an $18,000,000.00 renovation and not have it's clock fixed?

Take your frustrations to the voting booth this fall, folks. Time to elect new names.

-- Posted by hopeanddust on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 5:25 PM

We need to clear the house - vote every last person out of office! We can't keep doing the same things over-and-over again and expect a different result. That's call insanity, and we've lived with it long enough. Vote for new blood and new ideas! !

-- Posted by JimmyJoeJingle on Fri, Aug 22, 2008, at 7:37 PM

maybe those who want to see it in operation can donate some money towards the repair. why clear house and take our frustration out on politicians when all we really need to do is downsize government employees who do nothing but take up space, or have little to no business savvy managing department budgets. it's people in places we don't get to vote on that hurt us the most....just my 2 cents ya'all.

-- Posted by rnbrm7839 on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 8:40 AM

Save the clock tower!! Save the Clock Tower!! Never know when Marty and Doc Brown will need it for their flux capacitor.

-- Posted by Greeneman on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 10:10 AM

hopeanddust,

Maybe you should ask the newly rehired $55 per hour county employee, James Corey. I'm sure he could provide information, depositions, and professional expertise in this matter.

rnbrm,

Im with you on downsizing. There are a few offices that need to be axed, not cut.

-- Posted by hilljak on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 5:45 PM

hilljak,

I'm a registered voter who never misses an election. My vote is for new people. At $55.00 an hour I don't want to waste Mr. Corey's time, as well as more tax dollars.

We have too many wasted tax dollars as it is.

I am with you, and rnbrm on downsizing.

-- Posted by hopeanddust on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 6:21 PM

hopeanddust & JimmyJoeJingle got it right. Why wasn't the clock included in the renovation? PPPPP.

-- Posted by Paul on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 6:51 PM

For me not a priority; should have been resolved during the renovation. Get a Timex!

-- Posted by Peace2All on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 7:45 PM

I heard digital inserts are pretty cheap to install. They are in many County Courthouses now, look around.

Install flat screen digital TVs taped in to a computer clock -- all of 3K maybe??? Little duct tape, bailing wire with a few firring strips nailed in.

I am joking of course....

-- Posted by gary g on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 9:15 PM

Nick,

Great blog ... thanks for bringing up the clock! I believe the county should either fix the clock or take it down. Why wasn't it included in the renovation in the first place"

-- Posted by playnice on Sat, Aug 23, 2008, at 9:31 PM

If the people in charge of our county tax dollars way over-spend on a renovation ($18,000,000.00 was the last I heard) and deliver a courthouse with a broken clock then I say it's time to elect new people!

-- Posted by hopeanddust on Sun, Aug 24, 2008, at 7:45 AM

The county is overlooking a great opportunity. In the spirit of Lucas Oil Stadium, why not sell Naming Rights?

Maybe some Red & Green neon below the Courthouse Clock:

Welcome to the

Budweiser

Greene County Courthouse

Or, out at the Jail:

Greene County Sheriff's Department

Presented By

Dunkin' Donuts

-- Posted by BloomburgBanter on Sun, Aug 24, 2008, at 6:36 PM

Whatever needs to be done with the clock, Dairyman, the fact remains $18,000,000.00 was spent on the courthouse renovation-and we still have a broken clock! Vote 'em out!

-- Posted by hopeanddust on Mon, Aug 25, 2008, at 8:05 AM

I think we should stick to local sponsorship BloomburgBanter.

Great idea though...

-- Posted by outsideobserver on Mon, Aug 25, 2008, at 11:02 AM

How about:

The Pepperoni Grill proudly presents

The Greene County Courthouse Clock

or

a Greene County Sheriffs Department Cruiser

Sponsored by

Joe's Pizza

Of course, the key would be for the county to get the Clock fixed.

-- Posted by BloomburgBanter on Tue, Aug 26, 2008, at 5:48 AM

Offer it to those Ellis Law folks in Terre Haute. They'll pay to have their name & phone # on anything.

-- Posted by JimmyJoeJingle on Tue, Aug 26, 2008, at 7:23 AM

LOL JJJ!!!!!! Too funny.... They'd fix it too.. because "Ellis Law does it all".

-- Posted by TwinsMom on Tue, Aug 26, 2008, at 5:36 PM

install 4 - 48in digital TV's ($800 each) hook them to an Internet time display ($28) --- duct tape, bailing wire and firring strips ($20) - you get it all done under $4,000 --

-- Posted by gary g on Tue, Aug 26, 2008, at 5:48 PM

Is that what they'd do in Hamilton County, gary g?

-- Posted by JimmyJoeJingle on Tue, Aug 26, 2008, at 9:59 PM

The clock has been fixed! The clock has been fixed!

The story I heard was: Butch Brown got with the guy from The Dancing Bear Clock Shop just off the Bloomfield square on Main Street who then took a look at it, ordered about $250.00 woth of parts, installed the new parts and bam! It now works.

I am so happy. Butch, you just got my vote.

-- Posted by hopeanddust on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 7:07 AM


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