News and Tribune

December 7, 2012

Dreyer judgment to be paid into court fund

Commissioners recommend portion of St. John Road renamed in honor of Carl Popp

By MATT KOESTERS
matt.koesters@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — Forfeiture is off the table.

The Dreyer estate has agreed to allow Clark County to pay $910,288.18 into court escrow pending the county’s appeal of the eminent-domain judgment that netted the estate the award, County Attorney Greg Fifer announced at a meeting of the Clark County Commissioners on Thursday.

The Dreyer estate’s concession came in response to a petition filed by Fifer that the court allow for the judgment to be paid into the court. Had the Indiana Appeals Court denied Fifer’s motion, the entire sum would have had to be paid to the estate directly before Dec. 14 or the estate could have forced the forfeiture of the property, which was purchased by the county in an eminent-domain action as part of the Clark County Regional Airport’s runway expansion project.

Fifer said he expects to receive the order from the court in the next few days. It is not known into which court — the Indiana Court of Appeals or Clark County Superior No. 2, which issued the original ruling — the judgment will be paid.

The county has received confirmation that it will be able to borrow the money to pay the judgment, according to County Auditor R. Monty Snelling. New Washington State Bank has agreed in principle to loan the county $925,000 with an interest rate of 2 percent. The county will pay the loan back by the end of 2013. The county will close on the loan by Dec. 13, Fifer said.

The commissioners also took action to replenish the dwindling ranks of the Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners. Three members of the air board were removed by a 2-1 vote of the commissioners Nov. 20, with member Bill Halter resigning at the board’s meeting Nov. 28.

The commissioners had originally planned to appoint Clay “Beanie” Smith to the air board, but Smith declined his appointment.

Replacing Halter and Smith will be Republicans Wayne Carter and Kye Hoehn. Carter will serve through the end of this year, while Hoehn’s term will run through the end of 2013.

Former Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan, who was appointed to the board on a 2-1 vote of the commissioners, was originally appointed to the term ending in 2012. But the commissioners have now decided that Galligan will serve through 2015.

Ed Meyer voted no to the appointments of Carter and Hoehn, just as he did on the vote to remove former air board members Ron Barnes, Alan Conner and Mike Vissing.

“I’ve been consistent on this,” Meyer said.



COMMISSIONERS RENEW SWANK’S CONTRACT

The commissioners voted unanimously to renew the contract of Insuramax insurance agent Diane Swank as the county’s agent of record.

After Swank presented a summary of the changes to the county’s health insurance plans, the commissioners praised Swank for the job she has done to save the county money.

“I’ve heard nothing but good things about the job you’re doing,” said board President Les Young.

The county has saved about $50,000 by halting the practice of having employees pay one month ahead for insurance. That means that when employees are terminated, their insurance does not carry over into the following month, Swank said.

Details of the contract with Swank were not immediately available.



COMMISSIONERS ASK THAT ROAD BE RENAMED

Today, the commissioners will join officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation and local businesspeople to celebrate the opening of St. John Road and the groundbreaking of Star Hill Road. But going forward, the portion of St. John Road between the county line and Starlight Drive likely will bear a new name.

The commissioners passed a resolution asking that the Clark County Plan Commission rename the portion of the road that was closed for construction be renamed Carl Popp Ridge Road, in honor of the founder of the Silver Creek Watershed Conservancy District and long-time director of Clark County REMC.

Young used to work for Popp in his youth, he said.

“Carl was a wonderful person,” Young added.



EMERGENCY DECLARED FOR BACKUP OF COUNTY SERVERS

The county’s servers are an average of 17 years old, 95 percent of county employees are not backing up their files and the county’s electronic data would be lost in case of a catastrophic event at the Clark County Government Building, said Roger Hardy, the county’s information technology director.

“It has a high expectancy for failure,” Hardy said.

The commissioners declared an emergency and agreed to purchase equipment needed to update the IT system to the tune of not to exceed $40,000.

Backup tapes will need to be stored off-site, preferably at least 25 to 30 miles away, Hardy said.

After Hardy’s presentation, Commissioner John Perkins announced his intention to amend the salary ordinance to give Hardy a raise.