By MATT KOESTERS
The last Clark County Commissioners’ meeting of the year was also the last in the tenures of Commissioners Ed Meyer and Les Young.
While Young declined to make a speech, Meyer read his farewell from a two-page prepared statement in which he expressed his thanks to county attorneys and highlighted what he felt were important priorities for the incoming commissioners. Commissioners-Elect Rick Stephenson and Jack Coffman were in attendance to hear Meyer’s speech.
“It has been my pleasure to serve the entire county,” Meyer said. “My priority was always to make decisions that would grow Clark County and provide a place that we all felt safe and where we would want to raise families, work and enjoy the benefits of our great county.”
Meyer warned that state and federal funding opportunities “must be explored at all times” to ensure that the county’s roads and bridges are maintained.
Meyer touted the county’s successes during his time in office, including the construction and renovation of county roads, running surpluses with a tight budget and the establishment of an agreement with the city of Jeffersonville to fund the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter.
“I have identified one major source of revenue that the new commissioners and council must review,” Meyer said. “That is the agreement of sharing the revenue of building permits at River Ridge between Clark County, Charlestown, Utica and Jeffersonville. This agreement will help the general fund budget immensely.”
Commissioner John Perkins took the opportunity to thank his colleagues for their service.
“We’ve always been able to come to a consensus of opinion. Even when we did have disagreements, it was gentlemanly,” Perkins said. “I’ve enjoyed it. You both have done a great service to Clark County in the years that you have served, and I certainly have enjoyed being on the board with you.”
Although County Attorney Greg Fifer’s future with the board is uncertain, Perkins thanked him for his service all the same.
“Greg’s always done a good job for whatever board he’s represented,” Perkins said. “His integrity is beyond reproach. His ethics are of the highest standard, and his abilities are the best of all the attorneys I’ve ever dealt with in Clark County.”
“When I started this job in 2009, it was pretty amazing that a Republican who lives in Floyd County could get a job working for three Democratic commissioners in Clark County,” Fifer said. “I appreciate the opportunity, and it certainly became an interesting job about six months into it. I thought it would be a nice, quiet little job, and then I found out we were broke and we had the tornado, so it’s been a busy four years.”
County Council member Kevin Vissing told the departing commissioners they would be missed, and urged the new commissioners to retain Fifer and County Highway Superintendent Jim Ross in their current roles. But just a few minutes later, Ross tendered his resignation, effective Dec. 31.
BONDS REISSUED FOR CLARK MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
The commissioners unanimously approved the reissuance of bonds for Clark Memorial Hospital, changing the classification of the bonds from governmental to non-profit.
The hospital is currently in talks with Norton Healthcare to create a partnership. The extent of the partnership is not yet determined, but attorney Jerimi Ullom said the classification of the bonds might cause problems from a tax standpoint.
“We just want to take this federal tax issue off the table,” Ullom said.
The commissioners also approved the sale of a piece of hospital-owned land to the Indiana Department of Transportation for a project on Interstate 65.
LANDFILL FRANCHISE AGREEMENT AMENDED
The commissioners approved an amendment to the franchise agreement of the Clark-Floyd Landfill to allow the landfill to negotiate lower tipping fees with municipalities.
“I think it will enhance the stability of the landfill,” Fifer said.
RECYCLING FEES ON TAX BILLS
The commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance introduced by Clark County Solid Waste Management District attorney Jake Elder that will change the way recycling customers are billed.
Recycling fees will now be included on the tax bills of recycling customers instead of having a separate bill mailed to them. Meyer estimates that the move will save $70,000 to 80,000.
COOPER GETS CONTRACT EXTENSION
The commissioners renewed the contract of Neace-Lukens insurance agent Edward “Pepper” Cooper to serve as the county’s agent of record for property, casualty and worker’s compensation insurance.
Cooper affirmed that he will continue to work to save the county money on insurance.