During Monday's meeting of the Clay County Council, additional appropriations were made to the Cumulative Capital Development Fund for a security camera system ($18,650), electrical work ($6,000) and a new phone system ($35,000).
Clay County Information Services Director Scott Hill asked the council to reduce the initial request for the phone system from $52,000 to the approved amount because the estimate had included both parts and labor.
"This is something I can install myself and save on the cost of labor," Hill said. "In addition, switching to a new phone system will save the county approximately $12,000-$16,000 on its current phone bill."
Both Hill and the council said this is a project the county has wanted to do since the justice center opened in 2006, but the funds had not been available in the budget until now.
Hill added the new phone will include a multi-line screen so messages may be sent out across the entire system should a situation arise in which all courthouse and justice center employees need notification.
Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton informed the council the additional cameras, which would bring the total up to about 36, will allow the Sheriff's Department the ability to see what is going on in an area where a panic button was pushed.
"It gives us the option to see what is happening through dispatch and respond accordingly," Heaton said. "It will be a benefit to know what is going on rather than basically walking into the situation blind."
While the appropriation for the phone system was approved, Hill will have to solicit at least three quotes for the parts, in accordance to Indiana Code due to the potential cost being more than $25,000.
Meanwhile, the council also approved a contract in which Umbaugh and Associates, Indianapolis, will conduct a parcel-by-parcel analysis to determine the financial affect of the property tax caps (Circuit Breaker) on the funding of taxing units throughout the county.
Council President Mike McCullough said the study will cost a total of $30,000, but has received verbal agreements from the City of Brazil and the Clay Community School Corporation to share the cost.
"Our hands are pretty much tied to where we are going to have to institute a Local Option Income Tax," McCullough said. "The study will help us figure out the best way to go and minimize how it will affect the taxpayers."
The council has set up a special meeting to discuss the potential approval of an additional appropriation for the contract at 6 p.m., Aug. 19, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse. The council will also be conducting a preliminary budget discussion during the meeting in preparation for budget hearings, which are set for Sept. 1-3, at the same location.
In other business during Monday's meeting, the council:
* Approved a resolution for the establishment of the Clay County Economic Development Commission, which was needed, in part, because KIHM Metals is considering a $3 million bond issue. The commission is to be composed of three individuals, one apiece to be appointed by the council, Clay County Commissioners and Common Council of the City of Brazil. The council agreed to appoint Tom Ames, who also serves on the Clay County Redevelopment Commission,
* Approved a resolution for the transfer of excess levy funding from the Family and Children Fund and Children's Psychiatric Residential Treatment Services funds to the Rainy Day Fund. The two funds had been taken over by the state last year and new legislation allows for counties to recoup the remaining balances,
* Approved an amended salary ordinance for the LEPC/PRN at $20 an hour. Clay County Health Department Public Health Nurse Diane Dierks said it is for the position of a part-time nurse, and would be partially paid through a grant within the Local Health Maintenance Fund, and
* Approved separate additional appropriations of $200 for bank fees in the Jail CAGIT Fund and $6,100 for Workmen's Compensation in the E-911 Fund.
Because of the Labor Day holiday, the next regular meeting of the Clay County Council will be a 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.