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October 17, 2012

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Oct.17

Council member responds to recent column

Matthew Nash wrote a column last week in the News and Tribune concerning the New Albany Floyd County Parks Department and last week’s meeting of the Floyd County Council. I wanted to address Mr. Nash’s comments and clear up any misconceptions.

It appears that Mayor Jeff Gahan, the New Albany City Council and Mr. Nash have made the assumption that the $250,000 in our current budget is all that we intend to allocate for the parks department next year.  While we cannot appropriate any additional money from the general fund in 2013, we have every intention of supplementing that amount with an additional $250,000 from other sources such as EDIT, riverboat or rainy day funds. This is the same action that we took earlier in 2012.

I personally have been in attendance at the parks board meetings and have assured the board that we will be in full compliance with our agreement with the city of New Albany. I should mention that the majority of the Floyd County Council members were not on the council when the funding agreement was initially drawn up, and were only made aware of the details of the agreement earlier this year. Since becoming aware of the requirements, we have paid our fair share for 2012 and will continue to do so in 2013.

We can’t change what happened in the past, but I can help to change our future by supporting the parks and striving to prevent the division of the NA-FC Parks Department, which Gahan is pursuing. In my opinion, splitting the parks department into separate city and county entities would be a monumental mistake and a waste of taxpayer money to fund duplicate administrations, manpower and equipment.

I have gained a great respect for the men and women who serve on the parks board. They are a dedicated group of volunteers that do not receive the credit they deserve. I am seeing the many programs that are offered in this community and the many more that could be accomplished with the funding that will otherwise go to duplication of services, should the parks department be separated.

On another topic, Mr. Nash wondered why the council grilled the judges over a relatively small amount of money that they requested while apparently granting the sheriff a large sum of money without question. The request for funding for the sheriff was to restore an amount that had been temporarily removed from his approved budget earlier in the year.   The judges were asking for additional new funding, and we requested they use other available funds rather than take from our depleted general fund. Regarding raises, Sheriff Darrell Mills will be funding the salary increases in his department from revenue that will be received from the federal government.

If there is any question about the procedures or decisions of the Floyd County Council, I would like to note that we have open meetings and are usually available after to answer questions. Contact information for all of the council members is also available on the Floyd County web site www.floydcounty.in.gov

— Dana Fendley, Floyd County Council

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