Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin asked the county council members to review the pay scale for the sheriff’s department.
Sheriff Dulin said he’s losing officers to other departments and the salary offered is not competitive with other departments. In fact, he told the council that he’s lost four officers. He said it’s hard to attract applicants with what he’s able to offer. Dulin mentioned that his department is the lowest paid department in the county and the eighth lowest in terms of competitive salaries in the state.
Starke County Attorney Marty Lucas presented the Starke County Commissioners this week with a document that clarifies disclosure of properties sold in a tax sale.
Lucas said there’s a fine line of tax sale properties being sold at a “buyer beware” condition, but there should be disclosure of known issues. He’s working with Frank Lynch in the health department on this subject as the commissioners recently refunded money in a tax sale as the property was deemed contaminated. The refund was given as a case the commissioners felt warranted the action. Refunds are not common in tax sales.
A report given by the Starke County Economic Development Foundation updated the Starke County Council members and Starke County Commissioners on a few projects.
The sale of the Stelrema building on U.S. 35 north of Knox that would become a manufacturing home to the Gary Poppins Gourmet Popcorn company is not yet finalized. According to SCEDF officials, the contract is still on the table, but both sides have not agreed to sign to the terms.
Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler presented a plan to the Starke County Commissioners this week on updating some ADA requirements in terms of communication.
Ritzler commented that the American Disabilities Act forms on the website are outdated and he’s been in touch with the IT Director to work on getting those forms changed and add some required elements to the website.
Newly installed Starke County EMS Director Travis Clary will be before the Starke County Council tonight to discuss a transfer request and an amendment to the 2017 salary ordinance. Starke County Coroner Dannie Hoffer will present an update on autopsy fees, the annual Starke County Economic Development Foundation monthly report will be given as well as an appropriation for SCILL and the council members will set a date for the county budget workshop.
The Starke County Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. CT.
The Starke County Park Board is moving ahead with a couple grant applications for a Yellow River access site at Range Road. The project involves the construction of a gravel lane and parking area, as well as an EZ dock kayak launch, for a cost of just over $53,000.
The Bass Lake Beach may be getting some more repairs in the near future. Efforts to stabilize the beach house patio have been started by local residents and the Starke County Park Board, working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Starke County Park Board representative Carolla Heilstedt appeared before the Starke County Commissioners last week requesting support for the proposed Yellow River Access Site project.
The project involves the construction of an access site including a gravel lane and parking area, an EZ dock kayak launch and dock. The site would be constructed on North Range Road, northwest of Knox. According to Heilstedt, the parcel is owned by Starke County and deeded exclusively for river access.
The Starke County Commissioners made a decision concerning the employment status of the Starke County Emergency Management Agency Director.
During their Wednesday night meeting, Commissioner Kathy Norem noted that when former EMA Director Ted Bombagetti was at full-time status, half of his salary and benefits were reimbursed by the state while 25 percent of Mary Lynn Ritchie’s salary and benefits was reimbursed as the director’s secretary. With a part-time position, only 50 percent of the director’s salary would be reimbursed. It would be a cost savings to the county, but Norem was unsure how much, if any, would be reimbursed when it comes to Ritchie’s salary.
The Starke County Commissioners will meet tonight where contracts will be signed for the elevator at the courthouse. Paperwork from K-IRPC and DLZ will be approved in that process.
The search for a Starke County EMA Director is on tonight’s agenda. The commissioners will be discussing making it a full-time or part-time position. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler will have a report from the highway department, Maintenance Director Jim Coad will present a fire contract for the second annex building, and EMS Clerk Mary Lynn Ritchie and Assistant Director Travis Clary will provide a department report.
Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley wants to modernize the election process and make absentee voting at the courthouse more accessible. She spoke to the commissioners Monday about the addition of e-poll books to replace the paper voter lists used at polling sites around the county. Continue reading →
The Starke County Highway Department has finalized applications for Community Crossings three-to-one matching funds for seven projects. Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners Monday three bridge replacements and one repair on the list are already complete. Continue reading →
The Starke County Commissioners are still looking to fill the vacant Veterans Service Officer position. Mark Gourley recently took the information technology director job with the county. The VSO helps veterans and their families obtain benefits from the VA, get copies of records and handle other matters related to their military service. Continue reading →
Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler hopes to start on the county’s first new hot mix asphalt road soon. He told the county commissioners Monday the plan is to improve 300 East through the Knox Industrial Park from State Road 8 to the railroad tracks. Continue reading →
Starke County will soon be looking for a new department head as a result of the state-mandated nepotism policy. It prohibits spouses from working in a supervisory role over one another. Continue reading →
The Starke County Commissioners will consider additional updates to the courthouse when they meet this evening. Their agenda includes discussion of an ADA-compliant elevator, which would be paid for with a grant from the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission. Continue reading →
Starke County Coroner Dannie Hoffer is looking for ways to save the county money and make his office more efficient. He told the county commissioners Monday his colleague in LaPorte County has an agreement with the hospital there to do a quick blood analysis on suspected overdose victims. He says if drugs are found in the bloodstream, a full autopsy is not needed to determine the cause of death. Continue reading →