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November 20, 2012

Floyd County: Talks continue on parks split

Next meeting between city, county is Tuesday

NEW ALBANY — All three Floyd County Commissioners, along with Director of County Operations Don Lopp, met with New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan and his two attorneys, Shane Gibson and Stan Robison, Tuesday night in executive session.

The topic dealt with the ongoing split of property and equipment as the joint New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department will end Dec. 31.

Commissioner Mark Seabrook and Lopp will meet again with Gahan Tuesday to try and settle differences — likely which body will take control of the Southern Indiana Sports Center — and determine if there is a future opportunity for both sides to work together to build a new aquatics center and Little League park.

If the two sides can’t agree on the split, the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board will likely make the decision at its Nov. 29 meeting. If there is still a dispute, it will then likely go to court.

Floyd County Commissioners’ President Steve Bush said it’s important for the existing employees of the parks department to know where they will be working the first of the year and if they will still have a job.

“It’s important to let employees know where they will be at. It’s not fair to them to have it hanging over their heads,” Bush said.

Lopp has began formulating job descriptions for parks workers beginning in January so the county can begin the hiring process. Current employees will be eligible to apply for the county jobs.

Lopp said previously the county is looking to hire four full-time employees and two part-time to operate a county parks department.

The New Albany City Council approved an ordinance earlier this month by a 5-4 vote to end the joint agreement and split up the parks department. Beginning Jan. 1, there will be two departments — city and county — and two different staffs.

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