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August 21, 2013

Bridge fund may help pay Camm expenses

Floyd County officials to discuss trial funding options

NEW ALBANY — The Floyd County Commissioners and Floyd County Council are planning to meet Wednesday to discuss funding options for the David Camm murder trial.

There may be a way to fund the trial expenses without the county having to borrow the $950,000 needed for the trial, which begins Thursday in Lebanon, 25 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

Floyd County Director of Operations Don Lopp told the commissioners Tuesday that the council could borrow $475,000 from the county’s cumulative bridge fund and $148,000 from stormwater and money set aside for the purchase of the former Pine View Elementary School. The $623,000, along with 40 percent repayment from the state for the Camm case, would probably cover trial expenses. The council would have a budget year, plus another six months, to repay the money back to the bridge fund.

Lopp said the loan would keep the county from replacing the Pamela Drive bridge until 2015. The commissioners are in charge of all bridges in the county.

“That bridge does not have serious issues; it is not going to collapse,” Lopp said. “We can [wait to] repair it until 2015.”

Council President John Schellenberger, who was in attendance Tuesday, said whatever balance was left over from the Camm trial — along with reimbursement from the William Clyde Gibson murder trial which is scheduled to begin in October — would be used as repayment to the bridge fund.

“We are committed to paying back the money as soon as we can,” he said.

The commissioners agreed to look at the proposal. They would have to approve the interlocal transfer. All options, including a bank loan, will be discussed at the special meeting tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 28.

One advantage to the interlocal transfer is the council would not have to pay interest on the loan.

“We will have to look at the pluses and minuses [of all options],” Commissioner Chuck Freiberger said.  “If we take money from [the bridge fund] that money has to be paid back. It [repayment] would have to come out of the general fund. It’s a matter of when do we want to face the devil.”

Commissioner Mark Seabrook said he wants to cooperate with the council. But he said “we can’t break the bank.”

Council member Jim Wathen, who was also in attendance, said the county is going to have to cut expenses.

“We are going to have to face it sooner rather than later. We can’t spend money at the rate we are spending it. It’s that simple,” he said. “We can talk about loans and advances but nothing is going to solve our problem until we balance the money we spend with the money we have coming in.”

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