NEW ALBANY —Denise Konkle was elected to the Floyd County Council last November to represent District 4. Tuesday night, she won another election — for council president.

Konkle, who served as vice president last year on the council, edged Danny Short for the top spot by a 4-3 vote.

Her first official act as president was to support transferring $8 million from hospital sale proceeds line item into the county's Legacy Foundation. While the foundation was established last year, no money had been transferred to it yet, that is until Tuesday. All seven council members approved the move.

Supportive of the Legacy Foundation, Commissioner John Schellenberger asked the council to reconsider the $8 million, and maybe just move $5 million over until a financial analysis of county finances is complete.

"Don [Lopp, director of county operations] wants to put a capital plan together so we can apply for a Community Crossroads grant. If we put $5 million in and do a financial analysis we'll know what we have."

Konkle said the commissioners still have $2.6 million for paving and other projects after the $8 million transfer, which hopefully will be matched by the state grant. She also said more hospital funds will be available in November.

Both agreed the council and commissioners need to discuss how to use the spend rate from the investment.

"You can put in $5 million now and move more money over later. I just don't want to cut us short," Schellenberger said. "I just want to make sure we don't put too much in there now."

Lopp is expected to put together a capital improvements plan in April. Once money is put into the Legacy Foundation, it can't be spent for five years. But the county will get interest off the account to use, just like it does from the $70 million invested with the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana.

Councilman Brad Striegel said the county, at minimum, will get its annual $6.1 million payment at the end of the year, and may get the entire remaining balance of around $35 million owed to the county. The council and commissioners have sent a letter to Baptist Health asking for the lump sum to be paid within 12 months.

"I would like to protect some of this money in the foundation. We worked hard on this," Striegel said.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

 While Konkle was elected president, Striegel, who served in that role last year, was elected vice president. Also, Steven Langdon will once again serve as council attorney, for $15,265. If he works outside of the normal role as council attorney, he will be paid $150 an hour.

 The council will hold a work session, with the commissioners, at 5 p.m. prior to its regular meeting on Feb. 12. These workshops will be held throughout the year to help focus and solve certain items on a joint priority list.

Councilman Adam Roberts said he would like to put together four small committees, each consisting of one commissioner and three council members. The four committees would focus on salary and wages, finance and investment, road and infrastructure and special projects.

"It would allow us to meet as a committee without having to worry about the open door issue," he said. "It would increase communication between the council and commissioners."

Konkle said his idea will be discussed and acted upon at the Feb. 12 workshop. One of her priorities discussed last year was to get a cash flow analysis of county finances and expenditures completed this year. She said a request for proposal will be sent out to companies and hopes to get several bids for the job.

She also said she is looking forward to 2019.

"I'm excited about this year. I think we have a great team," she said. "I hope we can all work together well."

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

I am an assistant editor, cover Floyd County news and enjoy writing feature stories on interesting people in Southern Indiana.