The Pulaski County Coroner’s Office is pushing the county council and commissioners to finalize the purchase of the former Winamac Masonic Lodge as close to the original deadline as possible. Last month, the council and commissioners approved a joint ordinance to purchase the building for $50,000 from the Royal Center Masonic Lodge. The plan is to convert it into a dedicated morgue and coroner’s office, which the county has lacked until now.
But after nearly a month, Coroner John Behny says the seller is getting anxious for his check. “He had been promised a closing day of the 15th,” he told council members this week, “so we’re coming to ask that he gets the promise honored. That’s what we’re asking.”
Council President Jay Sullivan explained that the additional appropriation that will let the county spend that money would be finalized later in the meeting. It will now be up to the county commissioners to approve the payment Monday, as part of their claims docket. If approved, Auditor Laura Wheeler says the check could be prepared later that day.
Chief Deputy Coroner Jon Frain added that while both the county council and the board of commissioners approved the joint ordinance last month, it still hadn’t been signed. He asked the officials to sign it during the council meeting, so the purchase agreement could then be finalized. However, there was some question about whether the commissioners could sign a document they had already approved, if they weren’t in session.
Behny is scheduled to discuss the purchase further with the commissioners on Monday.