By CHRIS MORRIS
FLOYD COUNTY —
The Floyd County Council approved an additional appropriation of $250,000 to go toward the county parks department’s budget beginning Jan. 1.
Along with the $279,000 tax levy already slated for the parks department, the 2013 operating budget of $500,000 is in place. There could be a few extra dollars as well. As of Oct. 31, the parks department has only spent 67 percent of its budget of $1,044,483, according to Parks Director Roger Jeffers. Whatever is left will be split between the city and county parks departments.
The council unanimously approved the measure. The Floyd County Commissioners also unanimously approved the plan last week.
The New Albany City Council approved an ordinance earlier this month by a 5-4 vote to end a joint agreement and split up the parks department. Beginning Jan. 1, there will be two departments — city and county — and two different staffs.
Last week Don Lopp, director of operations for the county, laid out a parks plan and presented it to the commissioners and the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board. Besides operating on a $500,000 budget, the county will hire four full-time employees and two part-time. He also recommended the county maintain the following properties: Sam Peden Community Park, Galena-Lamb Park, Garry Cavan Park, Greenville Park, Letty Walter Park, Woodlands Park, Herman Collier Park and the Southern Indiana Sports Center.
The city also wants control of the sports center, and Lopp said both sides are hoping to work out their difference prior to the New Albany-Floyd Parks Board’s meeting at 6 p.m., Nov. 29, at the Southern Indiana Sports Center. If the two sides can’t agree on who takes control of what, the parks board will make the decision at that meeting. If the board’s decision does not satisfy both parties, the matter could wind up in court.
“A lot needs to be done between now and then,” Lopp said.
Lopp said it’s important for the county to take control of the sports center, the headquarters of the parks department, since it is the only special use facility on the county’s list of parks properties. He said the city has several special use facilities including Anderson Park and the Griffin Street Center.
“There are eight special use facilities in the parks department and we are only asking for one,” Lopp said.
Lopp said a five-member county parks board will have to be in place and salary ordinances amended for parks employees before the first of the year. He said he would like to see some of the current employees hired by the county.
“There are some very good employees on staff. They have some top-notch folks,” he said. “We would like to start hiring people by the first of December.”
Council approves shelter funding
The council approved a $48,000 additional appropriation to the New Albany-Floyd County Animal Shelter. The shelter had not seen an increase in its budget for the past five years. The funds will help get the shelter through the rest of the year.
“If we don’t pay it they [city] will be splitting up the animal shelter,” Councilwoman Dana Fendley joked. “We don’t want them to think we don’t pay our fair share.”
Animal Shelter Director David Hall said some of his employees are concerned the shelter may be next to split.
“It’s scary for my employees,” Hall said.
The council approved $100,000 additional appropriation for attorney fees for the upcoming murder trials of David Camm and William Gibson.
Council President Ted Heavrin said Gibson is being held in suicide watch in another county at a cost of $2,000 a month. The money will come out of riverboat funds.
Heavrin also said it looks like Floyd County will receive $250,000 next year in riverboat funds from Harrison County.