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April 8, 2014

CASA funding approved in Floyd County

Also: Assessor preparing for Home Depot appeal

NEW ALBANY — Circuit Court Judge Terrence Cody came to the Floyd County Council Tuesday night hoping for $18,020 to fund the CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates — program for the remainder of the year. He left with $10,511, which along with $922 he plans on taking out of one of his other funds, will make the Floyd County CASA eligible for state grants.

The council approved the money to come out of the riverboat fund. Had the council not approved the funding, Cody said the CASA program would have been in jeopardy.

It is state law that abused or neglected children up to 18 years old be appointed a CASA, which is made up of volunteers.

“I am very grateful for the funding we received last year but I understand the [financial] situation the county is in,” Cody told the council.

Cody said there was $6,300 left in the CASA budget from 2013. He said CASA’s director and assistant director/recruiter’s salaries are helped with funding from St. Elizabeth’s budget. St. Elizabeth’s is the sponsor of the program.

CAMM BILL

There is only one outstanding bill remaining to be paid in David Camm’s third murder trial — $211,750 for a forensic specialist for the defense.

Attorney Greg Reger, who is representing the county, has been negotiating to try and lower the cost and is making progress.

“He believes he can save the county some good money. Both sides are cooperating,” said Floyd County Council Attorney Chris Lane.

The council has already paid Reger $5,000 for his services and allocated another $5,000 in legal fees. However, Lane said Reger does not expect to use all of the additional appropriation.

HOME DEPOT ASSESSMENT

The council approved Floyd County Assessor Trish Byrd’s $30,000 transfer to help fund the attorney fees in the upcoming Home Depot property tax reassessment appeal.

Should the county lose the Home Depot and Meijer appeals, it could cost $810,000 in tax revenue. New Albany’s Redevelopment Commission paid for the appraisals of the two properties.

The Home Depot appeal is expected to take place May 20.

TWO POSITIONS FILLED

Despite general fund budget woes, the council on a 5-1 vote approved the hiring of a second deputy for the Floyd County Clerk’s office at a salary of $25,865 and a first deputy in the Floyd County Plan Commission’s office at $26,188 a year.

Both positions were already funded in the 2014 budget.

Clerk Christy Eurton said the second deputy position handles all traffic tickets and without that position being filled her employees “have been scrambling” to do the work. She said she has 16 full-time employees and two part-time.

“It’s a very busy position,” she said.

Floyd County Council President Jim Wathen, who voted against the two hires, said every office needs to “make sacrifices” with the county facing a budget crisis in 2014.

“All other [county] positions have been filled,” Eurton told Wathen.

“That doesn’t make it right,” Wathen said.

The plan commission office has also been scrambling according to Director Linda Barksdale since the first deputy position has been open.

“I need the office coverage,” Barksdale said. “People call in sick, go on vacation ... we spread ourselves too thin.”

TAX BILLS

The council approved $7,000 in additional appropriation out of the riverboat fund to help cover costs in mailing property tax statements, which were sent out Tuesday.

PURDUE RENT

The council also approved $14,489 to pay the rent for the Floyd County/Purdue Extension Office rent for the remainder of the year.

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