Pulaski County Building Inspector David Dare approached the county commissioners this week with a request to make a number of amendments to prior meeting minutes.
According to Dare, there were a number of issues in appointments to the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Advisory Commission. Dare noted that Jim Keiper was appointed to the BZA along with Bud Krohn and Cassie Thompson, and although the recording of the meeting reflected that, the written minutes did not. A motion was made and approved to amend the minutes to properly reflect the appointments.
The Pulaski County Commissioners last night passed a motion approving a request to rezone the property located at 4877 W. 200 S. in Winamac. According to County Building Inspector Dave Dare, no public comment was heard opposing the rezoning at the public hearing held on Aug. 27. He says the 11.5-acre property has housed the Anvil & Saw business for the last 27 years.
The request is to rezone the property from an A-1 agricultural zone to an L-1 light industrial zone to allow Tom Bonnell to move his business from its current location on State Road 119 to the facility on that property. A $132,000 loan was previously approved by the commissioners on the condition that the rezoning take place.
Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer told the commissioners this week that the county council has earmarked $15,000 in next year’s budget to go toward the creation of a county website. Origer says he would like to get county organizations together to come up with a website they can all use and agree with.
He also informed the commissioners that an organization is looking to connect Pulaski County to a nationwide bike trail, U.S. Bicycle Route 35. He says their plan is to come from Illinois, through Starke, Pulaski, and other counties, and ultimately link up to U.S. 35. The organization is asking for the commissioners’ approval.
The Pulaski County Commissioners at their meeting this week discussed the use of military surplus equipment for the Recycling Center, Sheriff’s Department, and other departments as well.
According to county attorney Kevin Tankerslee, the equipment must be used by law enforcement agencies only for at least one year after it has been received from the Department of Defense. After that, however, the title is transferred to the Board of Commissioners, who can then allow other departments to make use of the equipment.
A $132,000 loan has been approved by the Pulaski County Commissioners to L&C Recycling, LLC, to allow Tom Bonnell to move his business from its current location on State Road 119 south of Winamac to a facility on County Road 200 South near 500 West.
The loan was approved pending his request to rezone the new location to industrial to accommodate his business. He was recently granted a favorable recommendation by a revolving loan committee, and now with the commissioners’ approval, the matter falls to the shoulders of the Pulaski County Planning Commission. A hearing will be conducted on Aug. 27 to decide whether or not to proceed with Bonnell’s request.
A change of venue may soon be in the works for the Pulaski County Assessor’s office. Assessor Holly VanDerAa approached the county commissioners this week with a request to move her office into the same building as the county building inspector, because she says there is an open room in the building.
VanDerAa told the commissioners that she wants to move her office because the office conditions are extremely tight and they are extremely cramped, and Commissioner Mike Tiede agreed. He said it would be a great idea to have her closer to the building inspector, and Commissioner Ken Boswell said there is merit to looking into the move.
Jeff Larrison of United Consulting presented the Pulaski County Commissioners with an update on the Bridge 291 project this week.
The last two expenses for the Combs property, which was acquired as part of the construction project, were presented to the commissioners. The Combs property was acquired and their moving expenses were paid in accordance with INDOT guidelines, which allow up to $25,000 to be paid to the owners of a property that are required to relocate.
The Pulaski County Commissioners last week received a report from Recycling Center Director Ed Clark, who informed them that his center has brought in a total of $24,472.11 for the month of June. He says they’re currently breaking even for operating costs, and they’ve brought in over $140,000 this year so far.
Clark explained that the center is suffering from a drop in commodity prices. The center used to be able to sell one kind of plastic for $25 per pound, but the price had dropped twice in June down to $19.50 per pound. While this drop is bad for the center when selling plastic, Clark says this is the perfect time to purchase plastic to sell later at a profit.
Clark also told the commissioners that he will be seeking estimates on repair work at the transfer station. He says that the compactor is in need of repair because of a break in one component, and while the compactor can still be used, he says it’s best to get the break repaired before putting it through heavy use.
The Pulaski County Commissioners approved a number of departmental expenses this week.
Ed Fleury of the Veteran Service Office requested the commissioners sign a lease for a Xerox ColorQube 8700 – a multifunction printer that he says his office requires. On average, Fleury says his office needs to make at least 500 copies per month, and because they currently have no copier, he has been going to the Health Department to use their equipment. However, Fleury says sometimes the office is closed and he is out of luck.
The steps around the Pulaski County Courthouse will soon be a bit safer, thanks to a motion by the Pulaski County Commissioners to replace 420 square feet of sidewalk at a cost of $3345.
County Maintenance Director Morry Demarco presented the commissioners this week with three bids to replace the approaches around the courthouse. He had contacted five contractors requesting bids for the work, but only three returned bids. He says the work is necessary because the sidewalk and steps are not level, creating a tripping hazard for visitors. In fact, the steps are so hazardous in the winter, that Demarco says he had to block some entrances last winter to prevent people from tripping.
In an effort to save some money, the Pulaski County Commissioners this week approved a motion allowing County Assessor Holly VanDerAa to hire a company to prepare the county’s Form 11s. Form 11s were previously sent to Pulaski County taxpayers whenever the assessed value of their property went up, but VanDerAa says new guidelines from the state require her office to send the forms whenever any change to the assessed value occurs.
VanDerAa says one company offered to prepare and mail the forms to county taxpayers at a cost of $11,486.69 – a steep figure, but when you factor in the cost of postage alone at $8100 and the costs of paper, ink, and the expense to pay employees to stuff and mail the envelopes, she says it’s worth it to have the company do it instead, and Commissioner Ken Boswell agreed.
A special executive meeting was held Friday for the Pulaski County Commissioners to discuss policy violations with two department heads that have not been following the employee handbook.
Both elected and appointed department heads have not been following the handbook, which outlines rules and procedures for employees to follow, providing across-the-board rules that apply to all employees.
Jim McDaniels of the Arens Field Airport told the commissioners this week that the runway is in need of maintenance. He says that Broken Arrow usually performs the work but when McDaniels asked for an estimate, he says the cost was extremely high. He approached the commissioners in search of a solution.
One recommendation was to have the county highway department rent a piece of equipment called an asphalt tar kettle, which is used to resurface roads and runways. Unfortunately, the question remains: who’s going to pay for it?
The Starke County Commissioners approved a motion repealing the county-wide burn ban on Monday, putting an end to the ban that lasted three weeks, from June 18 to July 2. Storms that had tore through the area last weekend had brought moisture back to the parched summer weather, alleviating some concern of fires caused by the dry conditions.
North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Chief Joe Leszek discouraged the commissioners from lifting the ban so soon, but the commissioners were also pressured by others to lift the ban in light of the recent rains. A motion was approved to lift the ban with the possibility of reinstatement in the future, and Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem says they will carefully monitor the situation in case conditions worsen.
The Pulaski County Commissioners received an update yesterday regarding the status of the Bridge 291 project. Jeff Larrison of United Consulting told the commissioners that the right-of-ways have been cleared through INDOT, and the necessary documents have been submitted, however, INDOT has pushed several projects back to October.
Larrison said that the county has met all the deadlines, but they have to play by INDOT’s rules – which means opening bids for construction of the new bridge will not take place until October, setting them back several months. Larrison explained that after the bid is let, there is a 30 – 45 day period to choose a winning bid, which means construction could be delayed to as late as November.
Because of this delay, Larrison says a minimal amount of construction will take place before winter, but the majority of the work will take place come spring.
The Pulaski County Commissioners have continued the burn ban for another seven days in light of continued drought conditions and a lack of rain in the forecast.
The ban has been in place since noon on Monday, June 18, and it will remain in effect until noon on July 2, when it will once again be reevaluated. The commissioners enacted the ban because of the dry conditions of this summer, and they feel the county is at risk of a widespread fire hazard. Open burning of any kind using conventional fuel such as wood or other combustible materials is prohibited, with the exception of grills. Also prohibited is the burning of debris such as timber of vegetation, and recreational campfires – unless enclosed – are prohibited as well.
Pulaski County residents are also strongly discouraged from discharging fireworks.
Starke County’s burn ban is also still in effect until July 2, when they will also reevaluate the ban and decide whether or not to allow it to expire. Marshall County residents are also under burning restrictions.
The Pulaski County Commissioners will be reevaluating the county’s burn ban today, which has been in effect since noon on Monday, June 18 and remains in effect until noon today.
The commissioners determined that Pulaski County is at risk of a widespread fire hazard because of the ongoing drought conditions. Open burning of any kind using conventional fuel such as wood or other combustible material, with the exception of grills, is prohibited. The burning of debris, such as timber or vegetation and recreational campfires – unless enclosed – is prohibited.
The commissioners also strongly ask that you not discharge any fireworks.
Starke County also remains under a burn ban. The Starke County Commissioners will reevaluate conditions on Saturday, July 2 when the emergency ban is expected to expire. Marshall County residents are also under burn restrictions.
Pulaski County Highway Superintendent Kenny Becker told the county commissioners this week that since the department has received a new trailer, they would like to sell some other items they have gathering dust.
Becker said they would like to sell an old dump truck, the old trailer that they had replaced, a Dodge pickup truck with transmission problems, and a 1975 T500 that they have been unable to find parts for. He said he feels selling the items would be best, since there is no sense in the items just taking up space.
Terri Hansen of the Pulaski County Health Department and Animal Control Officer Debra Tiede approached the county commissioners this week with an urgent message to county residents. Hansen says the number of calls concerning bats that have managed to get inside peoples’ homes has increased this year, with three bats submitted for rabies testing within the last five weeks.
She says it’s not yet time to panic, but it is time for people to become educated about the risk of being bitten by an infected bat. Hansen encourages people to close up their chimneys and fireplaces when they are not in use to prevent bats from entering the home.
Starke County is the latest county to enact a burn ban. The action was taken last night by the County Commissioners and will be in effect through July 2nd.
The ban does not include fireworks, although the commissioners ask that you set off fireworks with extreme caution.
The Pulaski County Commissioners have declared a county-wide burn ban effective until June 25th.
Open burning of any kind using conventional fuel such as wood or other combustible material, with the exception of grills, is prohibited. The burning of debris, such as timber or vegetation and recreational campfires, unless enclosed, is also prohibited.
The Pulaski County Commissioners ask that you NOT discharge any fireworks.
This ban is in effect until Noon ET on Monday, June 25th when conditions will be reevaluated.