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Drug/alcohol testing coming to ambulance service; Projects to be refinanced

Monday, November 19, 2012

Employees at Greene County Ambulance Service will soon be undergoing random drug and alcohol testing following action Monday morning by the County Commissioners.

EMA Director David Doane said he had checked with the county highway department recently and found they were very satisfied with the lab service provided to them by Midwest Toxicology of Indianapolis.

Doane said his department, which includes 26 full-time employees and about 15 part-time workers, will be randomly tested on a periodic basis.

Cost of the tests will be $61 per employee for drug screens and $31 for an alcohol test.

"We've never done it (drug tested) before. But I felt like it was time," Doane commented.

Commissioner Rick Graves agreed and said, "I think it's a good idea."

In other matters, the commissioners approved a resolution that lays the framework for the issuance of bonds to refinance of up to $7.5 million in projects currently under way by the Greene County Redevelopment Commission.

The resolution, which also needs approval from the Greene County Council, authorizes the sale of bonds through financial institutions and provides Bond Anticipation Notes (BANS) that will be used to provide interim financing for a variety of ongoing projects.

Among the projects and the amount needed to complete them are:

* WestGate Water Tower -- $1,650,000

* Scotland Sewer Project -- $250,000

* Scotland Sewer Laterals -- $100,000

* Taylor Township Fire/Ambulance Station -- $1,200,000

* Scotland Place Subdivision -- $100,000

* Allen Farm Lift Station (WestGate) -- $30,000

* 37 Acres Infrastructure (WestGate) -- $1,000,000

* UDWI Electric Work (WestGate) --$360,000

* WestGate Lift Station -- $130,000

* Crane Lift Station -- $300,000

* Koch Land Acquisition -- $120,000

* County Road 800S Project -- $1,700,000

* Land Acquisition -- $500,000

The BANS will be repaid with Tax Incentive Funds (TIF), which the county is receiving from the designated economic development areas.

Commissioner's attorney Marilyn Hartman pointed out that the amount on the County Road 800S improvement project isn't for sure determined yet because the WestGate Authority has not determined its repayment schedule to the county.

"We may not end up borrowing that much ($7.5 million)," Hartman said and added that the BANS needed to be backed up by TIF revenues.

Commissioner Kermit Holtsclaw voted against the resolution.

Holtsclaw voiced concern about the aid being given to the Taylor Township Fire Department project.

He pointed out that most of the other township volunteer fire departments had done their own fundraising and received grants to pay for their fire stations.

Taylor Township had applied for a state grant, but the application was denied, but Redevelopment Commission officials decided to front the money for the bulk of the project. The money will be re-paid through a lease arrangement.

"Most of the other departments have paid for their own," Holtsclaw said. "Are we (the commissioners) going help all of the others, or are we just going to help this one (Taylor Township)?

"It looks like we are sticking out our necks without total commitments."

Graves noted that the decisions really didn't rest in the hands of the commissioners and the county council. Graves noted that the spending of the money was up to the Redevelopment Commission.

"That's really not our (the commissioners) call," he stressed.

In other matters, the commissioners:

* Approved the 2013 salary contract for Sheriff Terry Pierce. Pierce, whose salary is 60 percent of the judges by state statute, will receive $78,048 -- which represents a 2.2 percent pay increase.

* Approved a request from County Recorder Stuart Dowden to spend $7,000 to have two record books reconditioned.

* Approved a request from County Coroner Sherry Wilson to purchase a laptop computer at a cost of $655 with the application programs needed. The request now goes to the County Council for final approval.

* Set the annual courthouse Christmas Party on Dec. 21 from noon until 2 p.m. The courthouse will reopen after the holiday gathering until 4 p.m.

* Conducted a moment of silence for Frank Foley of Bloomfield, who passed away Nov. 14. Foley was the person in charge when the county ambulance service started in 1974. He served as its director until 1994. Foley also served as deputy county coroner. In 1990, he was appointed by then Gov. Evan Bayh to the Indiana State Emergency Medical Service Commission.

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