News and Tribune

September 12, 2013

Clark County gets current on insurance

Council still exploring options to pay for sheriff’s mandate

By MATT KOESTERS
matt.koesters@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — Better late than never.

The Clark County Council approved a request by Commissioners President Jack Coffman on Monday to appropriate nearly $1 million to get the county current through the end of the year on its insurance bills.

The council approved the appropriations from the rainy day fund, less than two weeks after the commissioners approved the transfer of $200,000 from the cumulative capital fund and $800,000 from the cumulative bridge fund to the rainy day fund to cover the bills.

“It’s what it takes to pay the bills with a limited budget,” said Brian Lenfert, vice president of the county council. “You’ve got to be flexible, cooperate, work with each other and use the funds available and obviously, still fall within State Board of Accounts’ requirements for those funds.”

The problems that caused confusion over which fund will be used to pay for the insurance is no longer an issue, Coffman said.

“We’re the ones who contract for the insurance, so it should come out of our budget,” Coffman said.

The insurance is built into next year’s commissioners budget, Coffman noted.

The council granted everything Coffman requested at the meeting, including $250,000 for Star Hill Road, $111,000 for preliminary engineering on the proposed Airport Road project, $147,500 for work on the Silver Creek bridge at the border of Clark and Floyd counties and $260,000 for work on the Lancassange Creek bridge.

Coffman said because of the discovery of greater problems than initially anticipated when Gohmann Construction began work on the Silver Creek bridge, the project could cost up to $70,000 more, but said the work on the Lancassange Creek bridge is still on target to be completed within 90 days.

However, Coffman was forced to withdraw two appropriations from the cumulative bridge fund totaling $182,000. But Coffman says those appropriations will re-emerge when the cumulative bridge gets its next distribution in November.



SHERIFF’S MANDATE

The council passed a preliminary bond ordinance and introduced another ordinance appropriating the funds needed to pay a $2.8 million judgment order to pay for the sheriff’s department’s jail operations.

The council is still uncertain how the sheriff’s mandate will be paid, but Lenfert said he would prefer to secure a short-term loan and negotiate a bond anticipation note.

“I’m fairly confident we can get a very competitive rate through a local bank,” Lenfert said.

Before any decisions are made, the council will be talking with financial advisors.